Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, Second College Edition defines the word enable: “To make able; to provide with means, opportunity, power or authority to do something. To make possible or effective.”
Simply stated, “enablement” is good when it makes human beings better and bad when it makes them worse. For example, enabling a child with an education will make him a better person if he takes advantage of the opportunity. On the other hand, enabling a drunk or drug addict by giving him money is not going to make him into a better person. To the degree that our society is characterized by positive enablement this is a good thing; the opposite is indicative of negative enablement.
Parents are tempted to spoil their children. These parents opt for the short term approval of their children by purchasing gifts or pampering their kids. The results are usually negative unless the child somehow learns to appreciate the true sacrifices of the parents. Ironically, far from appreciating the lavishness of their parents, spoiled children often respond with a lack of respect and backtalk. Children from poorer families, whose parents don’t have the material means to spoil them, are more likely to be respectful of their folks, knowing that they are doing their best.
On a larger and more tragic scale, the US Government is an enabler of hundreds of millions of its citizens who qualify for welfare and other Federal Aid programs. Rather than striving for financial independence through education and hard work, the recipients of these programs lollygag along, without purpose or motivation as they wait for their next monthly Government check. In return for a monthly check they abandon their mental creativity, almost never experience the satisfaction of a hard day’s work, and are void of the self-respect that comes with true accomplishment. Regardless of their race, religion, or ethnicity they are on the “new plantation” of governmental control and dependence, with little likelihood of returning to real personal freedom.*
These “welfare” programs are concealed in the guise of “helping the poor”, while they serve mainly to propagate generation after generation of poverty. I would not be the first to suggest that welfare programs have been a leading cause of the breakup of the family social structure. Those families that have remained intact without government aid soon break the cycle of poverty, due to their emphasis on the education and discipline of their children. Families that accept government aid are more likely stay poor due to their lack of emphasis on education or personal discipline. In short, enablement quickly becomes entitlement.
With the explosion of entitlement programs our government is going broke. Politicians argue that more public money needs to be spent on the poor; that our society is better and more humane as a result. Perhaps we can kill two birds with one stone if we make noticeable cuts to Federal entitlements. First of all, these cuts will lower the deficit. Second, and perhaps more important, entitlement cuts will make about five million “spoiled kids” get out there and do something for a change.
*According to the US Commerce Department the percentage of black Americans that are on welfare (39.8%) is roughly the same as the percentage of white Americans that are on welfare (38.8%). Hispanics and Asians have far fewer percentages of their families on welfare (15.7% and 2.4% respectively). Click for Commerce Department Link