26 May 2012

Looking Into The Minds Of Moderns Or Understanding Children?

An interesting article at today's American Thinker by Cindy Simpson is a perfect follow up to yesterday's post. Simpson's piece uses Diane West's book, The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization as a springboard. The article dovetails nicely with much of what I've written about "Botox for the Brain":

Ever wonder why conversations with adults often leave you feeling like you were arguing with teenagers? . . . Peer approval greatly influences immature minds.  It's the juvenile thinkers that call others names like "racist" and "birther" (and are especially fearful of being called such names themselves), protest with actual sticks and stones, and bully those who don't agree with them.  Gray-haired ponytail types dominate college campuses, teaching groupthink to the next generation . . . Tocqueville warned of the nanny state and the power of despotism as resembling "parental authority if, fatherlike, it tried to prepare its charges for a man's life but on the contrary, it only tries to keep them in perpetual childhood."

Fundamentally, much of the "groupthink" which dominates our educational system is, quite simply, juvenile and the product of those locked in adolescence. Just remember that when you are debating someone with that mindset: you are having a conversation with someone who is, for the sake of your debate, a child. The more one reads their writings about history and listens to their political speeches, the more evident that becomes. This is why I find them so hard to suffer. The older I get, the less patience I have with adults who act like children.

The author of the American Thinker piece concludes with:

More than "stand athwart history, yelling stop" -- we must shift -- not always into "forward," but even reverse at times, to find our way back to the road that leads to the shining city on the hill. [And adulthood.]
The AT piece reminded me of something Richard Weaver once wrote:

Their institutional world is a product of toil and discipline; of this they are no longer aware. Like the children of rich parents, they have been pampered by the labor and self-discipline of those who  went before; they begin to think that luxuries, though unearned, are rightfully theirs. They fret when their wishes are not gratified; they turn to cursing and abusing; they look for scapegoats."

I am repulsed by that mindset - often disguised as "historical analysis" by "historians" and others to ostensibly garnish their own reputation. Unable to measure up to previous generations, they attempt to tear them down. Like a child throwing a temper tantrum over being denied a toy, it gets them noticed - at least by their peers. It is, at its core, pure narcissism; the self-centered and clueless world of a child. 

When I consider the hardships of past generations, I realize how easy our generation has lived - reaping the benefits of our forefathers' sacrifices; standing on their shoulders so to speak. I think of my grandfathers who fought in WWI and WWII, survived and raised large families during the Great Depression and, with guts and sheer determination, rebuilt America into a powerhouse never seen before in world history. And then I observe far too many Americans whine because someone else won't pay their mortgage while they pop another Prozac and flop their collective obese butts on the couch in their air-conditioned homes, remote in hand one hand, a large bag of potato chips in the other while they listen to some other child "expert" reinforce their own lack of personal responsibility - a mindset that now seems to permeate American culture. It's just all so nauseating - and un-American.

Ultimately, historians who represent this mindset have very little understanding of the craft in which they self-proclaim to be experts.  As historian Paul Johnson so aptly points out:

From the early Thirties . . . the intellectuals, carrying with them a predominant part of academia and workers in the media, moved into a position of criticism and hostility towards the structural ideas of the American consensus: the free market, capitalism, individualism, enterprise, independence, and personal responsibility.

Is this not the ideological bent of much of academia and the youth-dominated Occupy Wall Street crowd? Ah, the wide-eyed wonder and naïveté of childhood!

But where are the adults?

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