In the last weeks of the campaign, the battle between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama has increasingly focused on the psychological consequences of dependency on government. Mitt Romney claims that the 47 percent of Americans who rely on government services, like social security and Medicare, refuse to be responsible for their own lives and feel like victims. Reflecting Republican ideology, he believes that government support fosters pathological dependency, by which he means infantile longings to be taken care of instead of the motivation to fend for oneself. He argues that by reducing government entitlements, Americans would have to become more self-reliant which would strengthen their character.
Is this true? Does dependency on others lead to regression and weaken one’s character?