It used to be that people raised a family; now they raise children. Most of our married/parented friends have kids in their 20s and even 30s coming to the parental nest to live, or never really left it. They claim they are helping the kids. They go on about how the kids can't be expected to make it in the current economic climate.

What they are really saying is that they have created new lives who not only can't support themselves, even well into their adulthood, they don't give a single thought to how they can be starting to take responsibility for their elder parents. For, about half of these parents had their kids in their late 30s or 40s, and are now at retirement age (forced or otherwise) and trying to figure out how to get by with exploding health care costs, decreasing return on retirement savings, and the inability to sell their houses.

What they are really saying is that it is unthinkable that their kids should have to live at a lower standard of living than the parents worked to earn for the kids, and the standard to which they became accustomed.

Parents and teachers and the media and the entire social services and mental surveillance/normatization industry go on and on and on about how Every Child Is Special. But I look around and see mostly very ordinary, or very pathological, people. What happens to all these Magickal Children that they suddenly become just regular humans? Truth is, they always were.

There's also the consumerist/mass marketing of "lifestyle," a term that didn't even exist before Adler coined it. What makes some people feel entitled to special treatment is this late 20th century nonsense that interprets life as a series of consumer decisions, a big shopping mall with everyone entitled to gourmet designer luxury name brand fashion...to which string of adjectives we now have to add "sustainable organic artisan free range locavore carbon neutral." This is how the twentysomething offspring of well off people, living at a higher standard of living than I ever managed working 70 hours a week for 30 years in my profession, can take their EBT cards to Trader Joe's to purchase organic quince paste. Just as, in their teens, if they couldn't afford something at the mall, they shoplifted it, foisting the costs onto others, most often without accountability.

This is how the so-called "occupy" movement could say with a straight face that because so many young people expected adults to keep supplying them with endless luxe handouts (camp, junior year abroad, college, grad school, cars, starter house down payment, the latest technological gadgets, three years at Art School in expensive cities, etc.), the young people's discovery that the gravy train was derailing was simply unacceptable and SOMEBODY had to be found to pay off their incurred obligations (school loans, mortgages, credit card debt...) so they could retain their fantasies about what adult life is.

The era of entitlement is hitting the wall because we who have always simply shut up and paid the bills (or who protested, but got called names and were socially ostracized) cannot be milked any further. The real question is, why to some people feel entitled to special treatment in all things, despite accruing evidence that their expectations are socially and economically out of touch. And the answer is the usual: selfishness, narcissism, sociopathology, immaturity.