Anecdotal insights indicate that entitlement might be a root of poor critical thinking skills.
These days, it is often lamented among secondary educators that students lack critical thinking skills. That sentiment is echoed by college professors at all levels from lower division undergraduate to doctoral candidacy level. It simply cannot be said clearly enough that students need and are lacking critical thinking skills.
What is at the root of the lack of critical thinking skills? While a novice professor of remedial mathematics students, I encountered a student who made an immensely profound statement. This student caught me outside of the classroom right before the first class period following our first test of the semester. The student was more than unhappy and boldly declared that the test was completely unfair. This is a hallway across for the academic dean's office! Hoping to diffuse the situation and preserve my fledgling career, I calmly asked the student why the test was deemed unfair. I noted that we had done examples in class of every type of problem that would be seen on the test and that, as far as I was concerned, I had taken great care not to include anything on the test that had not been discussed in the classroom. These were remedial students. Many of them were suffering from math anxiety. So, building success was a primary goal. Add to that the fact that as a first-year teacher I knew I had a great deal to learn about managing a classroom, and I genuinely wanted to know why this student held this opinion. What the student said has remained branded on my memory. Responding in a completely serious manner to my query regarding why the test was unfair, the student unashamedly declared the test was unfair because all of the numbers on the test were different from those in the classroom examples!
After recovering from my shock and suppressing the incredible desire to engage in uproarious laughter, I realized that this student lacked critical thinking skills and would need additional assistance. More profoundly and much more slowly, I came to realize that this individual's lack of critical thinking skill was rooted in an innate sense of entitlement. The student genuinely believed that being provided all of the same numbers (and by extension, the solutions) was a right carried by students; students as human beings were entitled to this information. They genuinely believed they should not have to work at critical thinking but that things such as test solutions should be provided to them without requiring work or thought.
To be sure, this is anecdotal information. Clearly the lack of critical thinking skill is a complex issue. However, it would well be worth researching the possible connection between a lack of critical thinking skill and the entitlement attitude of the upcoming generations.