And here are three accounts, one with a short video:
Justice Thomas: Americans Little Disposed to Sacrifice and Self-Denial
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Justice Clarence Thomas says Americans today are less willing to sacrifice during hard times, and he lays the blame on the “self indulgent, me generation” of the 1960s.
In a speech yesterday at Washington and Lee University, Thomas recalled the messages he heard over and again as a child, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. "Learn to do without," he was told. "Prepare for a rainy day," and "No one owes you a living."
"These days, there seems to be little emphasis on responsibility, sacrifice and self-denial," Thomas said, according to the Times-Dispatch account. "Rarely do we hear a message of sacrifice, unless it is used as a justification of taxation of others or a transfer of wealth to others."
Thomas recalled President John F. Kennedy’s famous speech and said the words no longer ring true. “Today the message seems to be, 'Ask not what you can do for yourselves and your country, but what your country can do for you.' "
Thomas thinks that needs to change, the Associated Press reports in its account of the speech. "Our country and our principles are more important than our individual wants," Thomas said.
Supreme Court Justice Thomas visits Washington & Lee
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas doesn't make a lot of public appearances but he did Monday night at Washington and Lee University.
This was a homecoming of sorts for Justice Thomas.
He spoke at Washington and Lee before he became a Supreme Court justice and his son attended VMI back in the 90's.
"I have nothing, but fond memories of the time I came and spent here at VMI and here in Lexington," says Justice Thomas.
Justice Thomas touched on a number of topics during his speech inside Lee Chapel.
He says while most Americans appreciate the constitution they don't exactly know what's in it.
"It is at least as easy to understand that great document as it is to understand a cell phone contract," says Thomas.
Justice Thomas also believes too many Americans expect too much from their government.
"The message today seems more like ask not what you can do for yourselves or your country, but what your country must do for you," says Thomas.
It's not everyday you get insight into the Supreme Court.
Thomas says justices base their decisions on what the original framers intended, not their personal opinions.
He criticizes judges who do.
"What restrains us from imposing our personal views and police preferences on our fellow citizens under the guise of constitutional interpretation," says Thomas.
During a question and answer period with the audience, Thomas was asked a lot of questions.
One dealt with whether the constitution allowed slavery.
"I don't think there was any question slavery was constitutional. Was it moral? No. Was it wrong? Yes, but it was there," says Thomas.
Thomas spoke to a crowd of nearly 300 people.
He received a number of standing ovations.
For now, the above story has a video report.
Americans not inclined toward sacrifice, Justice Clarence Thomas says
By Rex Bowman
Published: March 17, 2009
LEXINGTON -- Values eroding, Thomas says 'Little emphasis' on sacrifice, self-denial, justice says at W&L
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas told a crowd at Washington and Lee University yesterday that today's Americans seem little disposed to sacrifice during hard times -- even if the government asked them to do it.
"These days, there seems to be little emphasis on responsibility, sacrifice and self-denial," Thomas told about 300 people gathered in the Lee Chapel on campus.
Thomas is not a frequent public speaker, but last week he spoke at Howard University, and he said he came to W&L yesterday at the request of Robin Wright, a senior from Little Rock, Ark. Wright's mother is a federal district judge in Arkansas.
During his speech, Thomas contrasted the values Americans learned during his boyhood with today's values, which he suggested are more selfish and lead people to look too much to the government for help.
Growing up, he said, he constantly heard, "Learn to do without," "Prepare for a rainy day" and "No one owes you a living."
"Those truths permeated our lives," he said, so President John F. Kennedy's call for service resonated with everyone. "It all made sense."
"Today we live in a far different environment," he said, laying the blame on the "self-indulgent 'Me' generation of the 1960s."
"Rarely do we hear a message of sacrifice, unless it is used as a justification of taxation of others or a transfer of wealth to others."
Though Thomas mentioned no particular federal policies or politician, his criticism comes as President Barack Obama's administration is wrestling with a deepening recession and spending hundreds of billions of dollars to put people to work. Conservatives have lambasted the Obama stimulus package as a step toward socialism.
"Today the message seems to be, 'Ask not what you can do for yourselves and your country, but what your country can do for you,'" Thomas said.