Are people today unwilling to make sacrifices for the greater good? It can certainly seem that way. The debt crisis has not been greeted universally by steely determination to sort out our collective financial woes.
Although most people accept that the deficit should be cut, or everyone will suffer the consequences, the blame and the buck are too often passed elsewhere. The attitude is that someone else, anyone else, can take our share of the pain.
Don't touch my water rates, my pension, my pay rise or the services my family use. Another sector, another department or another region can foot more of the bill. Even modest economies are fiercely contested. The message that a little restraint today will ensure a brighter future tomorrow cuts little ice.
It's a trite comparison, but one wonders how the United Kingdom would have defended itself had the current crop of Britons been responsible for keeping the home fires burning in the 1940s. The current Government has responded quickly to a crisis it inherited but, despite warning about cuts ahead, there's been little to inspire citizens to do their bit willingly. David Cameron and Nick Clegg speak about society sharing the pain, but their rhetoric is hardly Churchillian.