Have you ever seen a movie of a future where the humans are enslaved or are otherwise some form of automaton drooling slug? It’s going to happen. Or is it? Yes.
Now most of you (none of you) are probably wondering what I think of the People’s Republic of Donetsk Air Defense Corps’ inability to read internationally recognized aviation identification codes. Well, to be honest, I don’t have it in me today. Maybe next week. I guess. Just say a prayer for everybody. Even the missile guy who pulled the trigger. Everybody. That’s enough for now.
So last week The Economist ran a long piece on why young folks aren’t the disaster society claims they are:
They reference trends that show drug & alcohol use, sex, and violent crime are beginning to decline among the Western world’s youth population. These are clearly encouraging changes. So why is this happening?
The Economist roughly sites:
– Increasingly aggressive enforcement by the enforcers
(because the enforcers love to enforce the rules upon your soul)
– The increasing average age of population as a whole
(we’re having fewer kids than pandas)
– Rising education levels that make teens less likely to act like fools
(although the overall value of said education is in question)
– High pressure by society for kids to perform
(because it’s important to know lots of math so you can forget it later)
– More supervision by parents
(even though the parents didn’t have their own lives wired when they were young)
– And a whole slew of other factors which may or may not be important
(randomness can fog an article, just ask this blog’s author)
Kids can’t expect to have the time & money to burn on fun when they’re six-figures into debt before their 23rd birthday. When you’re just short of your 24th birthday, and you discover you’re again living with your parents, it’s harder to bring that person home for the night. How are you to overturn a flaming trashcan on Main Street when you’re trapped with Call of Duty or Instagram in your parents’ creepy basement (because they turned your old room into a Memorial to Satan)?
The Economist states:
For much of the 20th century, children were largely ignored and allowed to roam free. If they acted up, they were typically punished with violence. Now, however, parents are expected to be intimately involved in their children’s lives, says Ms Gardner. They supervise homework; attend parents’ evenings; go to prenatal and parenting classes; read blockbusters about child psychology.
How far have we gone in the other direction? In 1930 you probably had your 11 year old working in a sweatshop. After hours, they’d go screw off somewhere with their friends and the parents didn’t have a clue. Yet somehow the universe didn’t collapse. Go figure.
Now in Connecticut, if you leave your 11 year old alone in a lukewarm car, you get arrested and charged by asinine bureaucrats that rule our lives even though they’re all too stupid to run a newspaper stand:
This brings me to the core of why I have a problem with all this. From the article, I’ll let the Leeds barkeep lead off with his view:
“Kids these days just want to live in their fucking own little worlds in their bedrooms watching Netflix and becoming obese,”
Even The Economist, that ends its article with the optimistic line, “They want to build something better.” is forced to admit the serious drawbacks of our newly well-ordered adolescence:
What this adds up to is a generation that is more closely watched and less free to screw up. So perhaps it is unsurprising that better behaviour has not, as yet, translated into greater happiness. For all their disavowal of inebriation and criminality, young people are still proving more likely to be diagnosed with depression and anxiety. They are often obsessed with their careers—and rarely satisfied. Young people repeatedly report less job satisfaction than their parents or grandparents.
In other words today’s youth are better behaved but depressed and feel worthless. Gee, doesn’t this sound fun! Aren’t we all so glad that we’re gallantly obeying the rules?
Their lives are completely controlled, by society, by the law, by their parents, but most importantly by their own brains. This is not a mindset that encourages creative thought, ambition, risk-taking, open brains, or all the other crucial things that make humanity special and enable our joy.
We’re raising a generation of compliant, faceless, joyless machines. To me, better a pot-smoking-hippie-douche than an internet-obsessed-sober-student-indebted-introvert. At least the hippie is outdoors and (in theory) believes in something.
I’ve got a better idea. How about we let a dozen teenagers roll off to a bar to drink (illegal), after the government mandated curfew (illegal), they blow ton of money on booze (unwise), they hook up with abandon (unhealthy), get belligerent with fellow bar patrons (unwise), and close out the night with a vicious teenage bar brawl (illegal).
Why do I advocate this? For two reasons:
1) Because after this one night there’s no disputing that those teenagers are alive. Truly hopping in mind, spirit, and body.
2) Because I guarantee you those teenagers will have learned more about themselves, each other, and life in that one night than all the required educational moments the culture imposes upon them. Even if every single lesson was learned the hard way? So be it.
So here’s to drugs, alcohol, sex, petty crime, and other nonsense teenage behavior. Because ultimately, we’ll all be a lot happier and prosperous that way. The alternative is a future room full of joyless ants, under the warm gaze & tireless orders of Grand-Parade-Ground-Major Obey.
Keep swinging, pot’s in the corner, the girls & boys are all watching while thinking about sex, have another round on the house, feel alive, be happy.