There has been large number of explanations, reasons and even derogating of the elite and those on the right concerning their behavior and seemingly lack of compassion. Ranging from fascist ideology to even psycho-pathology. Greed, racism, ignorance, close mindedness and even mental illness. And I will agree that in a number of cases that more than a few of these do apply.
However I believe that there is another reason far more foreboding yet straightforward for this. An article in the Books Section of The New Yorker may give some insight into some of what has been transpiring. In the article – Spoiled Rotten: Why do kids rule the roost? -
Elizabeth Kolbert examines the work of Carolina Izquierdo, an anthropologist at the University of California who spent several months with the Matsigenka, a tribe of about twelve thousand people who live in the Peruvian Amazon. Izquierdo decided at one point to accompany a local family of this tribe on their food gathering expedition. Another member of the family, a young girl of only 6 years, asked to go along. Though she had no clear role in this as yet, she spent here time cleaning off the sleeping mats and helped stack the kapashi leaves for transport back.
In the evening, she fished for crustaceans, which she cleaned, boiled, and served to the others. Calm and self-possessed, Yanira “asked for nothing,” Izquierdo later recalled.
This behavior made a strong impression on the anthropologist.
Kolbert notes that while Izquierdo was doing her field work a college was doing a study on 32 middle-class families in Los Angeles for 21st century family life. Giving examples of a 5 year old boy who after being asked 5 times to take a bath or shower and then put into the bath room by his father, still just left and went to play video games. An 8 year old girl finding no silverware at her place on the table just sat and complained until another girl got up and got some. And another boy who could not get his feet into his sneakers, cajoled his father into untying them for him.
The author finally stating that:
With the exception of the imperial offspring of the Ming dynasty and the dauphins of pre-Revolutionary France, contemporary American kids may represent the most indulged young people in the history of the world. It’s not just that they’ve been given unprecedented amounts of stuff—clothes, toys, cameras, skis, computers, televisions, cell phones, PlayStations, iPods. (The market for Burberry Baby and other forms of kiddie “couture” has reportedly been growing by ten per cent a year.) They’ve also been granted unprecedented authority. “Parents want their kids’ approval, a reversal of the past ideal of children striving for their parents’ approval,” Jean Twenge and W. Keith Campbell, both professors of psychology, have written. In many middle-class families, children have one, two, sometimes three adults at their beck and call. This is a social experiment on a grand scale, and a growing number of adults fear that it isn’t working out so well: according to one poll, commissioned by Time and CNN, two-thirds of American parents think that their children are spoiled.
Kolbert then goes onto to talk of Pamela Druckerman, a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal who had moved to Paris. and talked to a lot of French Mothers.
She learned that the French believe ignoring children is good for them. “French parents don’t worry that they’re going to damage their kids by frustrating them,” she writes. “To the contrary, they think their kids will be damaged if they can’t cope with frustration.” One mother, Martine, tells Druckerman that she always waited five minutes before picking up her infant daughter when she cried. While Druckerman and Martine are talking, in Martine’s suburban home, the daughter, now three, is baking cupcakes by herself. Bean is roughly the same age, “but it wouldn’t have occurred to me to let her do a complicated task like this all on her own,” Druckerman observes. “I’d be supervising, and she’d be resisting my supervision.”
She (Druckerman) also learned the French are great believers in non. Saying “No” and for their children learning to cope with that. And when the French say no, they mean it and it sticks.
I would say that this type of spoiled upbringing has been going on for generations. Either from a resentment of how the parents were raised or the parents themselves were raided this way. Interestingly, enough children from overly authoritarian families quite often develop the same personality disjunction as neither are encouraged to develop personal responsibility and the self worth that comes from that. They learn to expect the world to be handed to them on a silver platter and to be able to control and/or cajole, manipulate, lie and extort whatever the feel they want. Or buy it if necessary.
Romney and Obama and I would say the vast majority of those in Congress – especially the Ayn Rand supporters like Ron and Rand Paul – came from these very types of backgrounds.
At least when there was a military draft, the experience there gave some of them a chance to develop some maturity, which is so obviously missing these days. That we have been raising so many people like this is especially troubling.
There was a time when this type of behavior was only present in the very well to do. Where from an early age children were taught responsibility and gained maturity through their family interaction and those of their peers. Even for those families that were pretty well off.
But now we have people in high positions with all the maturity of a badly parented 2 year old.