- - Monday, March 21, 2022

When I was a child, I was really bad at sports — all of them — and I learned how truly awful I was at athletics because I never won anything for my participation in them. Academics was a completely different situation — I did well, and most of the children who were good at sports did not — and we all recognized this because there, I garnered recognition, and they did not. It’s such a simple social structure that America used to have: Reward children for being good at stuff; don’t reward children for not being good at stuff.  

This stopped happening because the left didn’t want to risk hurting anyone’s feelings — and the results of this are now the bane of our everyday lives. 

The participation-trophy generation now believes that they’re right and significant all the time because they were never told otherwise. This hasn’t just shifted culture — it might have just irreparably damaged it. As adults, instead of participation trophies, people are rewarded with a tolerance of nonsense that would have never occurred at any previous time in American history.

There’s no greater evidence for this culture shift than the profession of journalism. At one point, it was one of the only means that we would be able to learn about the world and its happenings. We trusted — perhaps foolishly — that those in the field were working hard to actually bring us critical information. And while it’s very easy to observe the obvious biases that we’ve seen in the reporting of science and politics in our recent past, we should really step back and look at what overall emptiness our society is giving credence to. 

Vice.com is a great place to turn to if you want to lose most of your hope in the future of humanity. While some of its articles and documentaries have been incredibly informative and powerful, it also gives a platform to what can be best described as writers’ self-satisfying jargon about common topics.

One such piece that caught my attention was covering a “brand new” concept they labeled “radical monogamy.” What exactly is radical monogamy? According to the author, it’s monogamy, but with about 1,000 words of gender studies nonsense attached to it.  

This Vice article is the perfect storm of the participation-trophy generation: It attempts to rebrand a common concept that has existed since the dawn of man — repackaging it in such a way as to make someone feel as if they are unique and special for something nearly everyone does. The icing on top is that Vice, which has glimmers of legitimate reporting, rewards this empty nonsense by platforming it. This rewarding of the unexceptional is where our culture becomes corrupted.  

Look at the current state of the service industry. It doesn’t matter what part of the country you live in; finding people willing to work in a restaurant has become as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack. The participation-trophy generation has been taught that they are more valuable than someone who has to work hard to earn a living. While they may talk about “grinding” to make it, many believe that grinding entails working nearly 12 whole minutes to get the right camera angle on their butt on Instagram instead of being on their feet for 12 hours bussing tables. Today’s American dream involves hitting the lottery on social media instead of working your way up through the labor force.

The ultimate example of this corruption of society can be found on TikTok. While many conservatives think this corruption is merely the weird people on the platform saying weird things about where they stick their weird body parts — they ignore the root of the problem, which has led these people to do this — the rewarding of the unexceptional.  

The concept that you get a reward for merely existing — or doing something common like being monogamous — plays into the mindset that your life shouldn’t involve any hard work because you’ll strike it rich for just being you. Sadly, more and more people have taken on that mindset.

There are a lot of fires to put out in America right now — and we’ve become accustomed to reacting to the smaller issues rather than what’s truly been fueling them. While we’re justifiably busy removing teachers from classrooms for their insane TikTok videos, we should focus on why they’re there, to begin with.

Teaching children that they aren’t always the best and that they can lose is a great way to begin to correct this. Until that begins, and we start phasing out the participation-trophy generation, we can expect to find fewer and fewer people wanting to take on not only service industry jobs — but anything that would require long hours and actual hard work.

• Tim Young is an author, host, comedian, Washington Times columnist and SiriusXMPatriot personality.

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