What is the end effect on society? Do millionaire game shows and promises of lottery millions help to further erode the ethic of work and self-reliance that once embodied the American Dream, replacing it with an ethic of luck? Or are these sources of instant gratification merely products of an ethic already lost to some Americans? Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
The even darker side to this cultural phenomenon is how the sense of entitlement has spilled over into a lack of responsibility. The fact that so many Americans are willing to utilize litigation to cash in on the American Dream is disheartening. Failing to take responsibility for their own mistakes, plaintiffs look to the legal system to make misfortune into fortune. Again, marketing and an avalanche of advertising by personal injury lawyers helps encourage would-be injury victims. Still, the readiness of people to sue is a key social factor.
Ultimately, most Americans would like to achieve the American Dream of financial independence. Yet it is the means to achieving it that are essential to the nation's ethical foundations. It seems that many Americans covet the easy road to the Dream and in the process undercut the core values that established the Dream in the first place. Equally culpable are the big businesses that capitalize on the quest for the Dream. In an ironic sense, such businesses are fulfilling the Dream for themselves while dangling the possibility of the Dream over the heads of the public. There can be little doubt that the producers of the millionaire games shows, the state lotteries, and lawyers are getting rich on other people's yearning for the American Dream. [continues]
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