December 28, 2011 by William Hennessy
What Scrooge Teaches Millennials
Because so many school systems have driven great English literature out of students’ hands and minds, it’s possible that some kids never read Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. If you’ve never read this classic, please do so now. You need it.
Back? Good. Fascinating stuff, isn’t it? And so much more accessible than David Copperfield, which was my introduction to Dickens.
So now you know that Scrooge was a miser who treated the whole world and all of its inhabitants with a cruel contempt. Scrooge loved money and nothing else.
But during the course of the story, a series of spirits massage Scrooge’s conscience. They begin with his own happy youth, when Scrooge still enjoyed the presence of other people. They proceed through Scrooges present and into his future.
Somewhere along the way, Scrooge changes. He has a conversion. He learns to love others as himself.
If I were a Millennial—those born between 1983 and about 2002—I’d ask myself, “why?”
The spirits didn’t argue politics or morality with Scrooge. They didn’t tell him his taxes were too low, and they didn’t send bureaucrats to audit his books and extract fines.
Instead, they made it personal. They showed him his real life—past, present, and future—in living color and 3D. They simply held up a mirror and provided him clear evidence of what his future would be if remained on the path he’d taken.
Scrooge reformed because he knew a lonely, unhappy death awaited him. He knew that people would mock his memory.
Millennials should take a hard look at our national debt. Not just where it stands, but the direction it’s going.
Look at the amount of debt that Gen X, Boomers, and WWII have saddled you with. It’s about $50,000 and going up every day.
What did you get for that money? Not a damn thing, really. Most of that debt went to pay for people who are already retired. In other words, your grandparents are borrowing money, spending it, and passing the bill onto you.
I know you’re a generous group. You want to help. You believe in this country, and you’re willing to sacrifice to make it stronger.
We all are. That’s a common trait of Americans.
But how much can you bear? How much of a debt burden can your generation really handle?
On top of Washington’s $15 trillion in debt and $60 trillion in unfunded liabilities, most states hold hundreds of billions or more in combined debt and future pension obligations. Those aren’t your pensions, but the pensions of people in older generations.
Well, you weren’t asking for all that debt. Now you’re stuck with it.
Again, how much more can you and our society handle? And does it really help anyone for the government to make promises it can’t keep?
Scrooge looked at “Christmas Yet To Come” and saw his horrible death. Unless he changed.
When I look at America’s future, I see the same.
The spirits gave Scrooge the chance to reform, and he took it.