Have I mentioned recently how much and with what kind of purple passion I hate the stupid aphorism that “Hard times make tough men; tough men make good times” etc, ad vomitous nauseum?
Oh, sure, it’s consoling, isn’t it? You look at the current generation and you go “oh, well, now they’ll have hard times and my grandkids will be tough men, with hair on your chest.”
Atchually, there’s a good chance your grandkids (or great grandkids depending on your age) and mine too will be none existent. And there’s a reason for that. And no, it’s not because they “had it too easy.”
Look, for the last 500 years or so, absent wars and other external f*ck ups mostly of a governmental choice, it’s been an ideal fail mode for parents to go “Those darn kids just had it too easy” no matter in which way young disappoint the old.
Heck, go far enough and Romans are going on about the decadence being caused by youth having it too easy, not like their noble ancestors subsisting in caves on acorns.
It was tommy rot then and it is tommy rot now. What caused the Roman decadence was not prosperity but a combination of loss of purpose and a bizarre addiction to slavery and welfare.
As the stupid mouse habitat experiment actually showed (and the debunkings seem to have disappeared from within “easy search” online) is that loss of social role causes all the problems we associate with oh, overpopulation, moral decadence, too much abundance, or whatever it is you feel like railing against today. (I feel like railing against stupid, facile sayings the right embraces because they give the moralists warm fuzzies.)
Let’s begin by saying I agree with Heinlein, that you can ruin your kids by making their life too easy. I tried really hard not to. I think I succeeded, in so far as necessity is the mother of invention, and the boys invented all sorts of things, because I wouldn’t buy them. (Mostly because I was subsisting from writing, and not that well off.) I might have fallen in the other failure mode of this, insofar as older son told me he has to talk himself out of stupid projects because “I can make expensive thing so much more cheaply. Only I don’t have the time.” Which, btw, gentle readers is my failure mode, since my parents raised me on spit and scrapings which is all they could afford.
But there are many, many failure modes of child raising. There are many many success modes, since the intersection of kid and parent is always unique.
Let’s also agree that “suffering” by itself does bog standard nothing. Unless you think that Japan came out of WWII saner, and more able to compete. (Hint, it didn’t.) Or that all the republics that suffered horrible deprivation under communists are now healthy and filled with self actualized citizens (hint, they aren’t. Poland is a little less f*cked up than the rest.)
So this whole bullshit of hard times? Yeah, hard times will create mostly wimps who lean on government for support. And if you think I’m wrong explain why FDR engineered the great depression, leading to the LARGEST expansion of government ever.
Which brings us to what our kids are suffering from, why they’re growing up really slowly (even mine track about 10 years younger than I was at their age) and why all of us know any numbers of failures to launch: I’ll give you another Heinlein example: if you take a puppy and beat him randomly, for no clear purpose.
Okay, you’re saying most people don’t beat their kids. No. I know. But you know what, there are worse things than physical beatings.
As someone who grew up with both, I’d rather have the quick swat on the behind (or even the extensive spanking) than the slow burn recrimination over days. Particularly if it was — as it so often was — for either an accident (Dropping and breaking something happened with amazing regularity, a combination of clumsiness and undiagnosed astigmatism) or for something I didn’t know was wrong/hadn’t understood was not supposed to be done, like you know, never having been given the rules of common social intercourse, and then being punished because I don’t know them.
Now let me shed some light on how the current generation was raised: Oh, not by their parents. In fact, a vast number of the current generation had only “Quality time” with their parents, which might amount to a few hours a week. And in those hours eating and homework had to be accomplished.
Look, I raised kids between 20 and 30 years ago. I’m sure it’s worse now.
Messages the school gave my kids:
-Humans are ruining the Earth and will destroy it if it goes on.
-You’re in 9th grade now, you should sign this pledge that you’ll never have kids, because we’re overpopulated.
-Because every industry is polluting, you should not expect to have as good a life as your parents or grandparents. Dream small.
-You’re the brightest, best, smartest, and we expect you to change the world just by existing.
-The best way of changing the world is realizing how privileged you are and working for the underprivileged.
-Everyone who has more than they strictly need, has stolen it.
-The other sex that you’re naturally attracted to hates you and wants to destroy you/exploit you.
-The US was only ever rich because it was stolen from Amerindians/result of slavery.
-We’re all going to die in 12, 10 whatever number of years.
-If you’re hit you shouldn’t fight back, because that’s worse.
Should I go on?
My kids were exposed to a steady diet of this effluvium. They were SLIGHTLY luckier than their classmates because I was at home screaming “That’s all bullsh*t.” But even half the other kids that had parents at home, the parents agreed with the school.
Put on top of that that these kids were expected to be responsible and capable BEYOND THEIR NERVOUS SYSTEM. Particularly boys. If you have a boy, and he starts failing in middle school? They expect the kid to be able to plan his life ahead for weeks, and remember to give in homework/do things without being reminded.
Boys are NOT mature enough to do that. Some girls are. Their nervous systems develop faster.
But here’s the thing, the schools do this under the impression that they are “being tough.”
In fact, it’s a lazy teacher thing. They don’t want to remember to remind the kids. So the kids have to be hyper-organized because their teachers aren’t.
And since what they’re being asked to do is in most cases quite literally impossible at that age, they have to ask parents for help. This bakes in the idea that they are uniquely flawed. Because the teachers are asking people to do this, other people do it, but the parents have to help them. So, they’re broken, right. (BTW this is not just with scheduling. We refused to do the homework for our kids, and were known to descend on teachers with developmental psychology texts. Doesn’t mean our kids didn’t internalize the message.)
Do this at the same time you cast doubt on and remove the traditional frameworks that give meaning to life: religion, patriotism, family. Make people feel guilty and stupid if they adhere to it.
What you have are puppies who have been beaten every five minutes for no sane reason, and told and shown over and over that they’re defective. Oh, and those who have any success are evil and exploiters, and probably robbed all they have.
Sure, they’re going to get right out there and go into the world with sword drawn to conquer. Oh, wait, conquering is wrong. And going to space is wrong. And doing anything new is probably a form of privilege.
The surprising thing is not that a vast majority of kids spend their lives finding new ways to declare victimhood. The surprising thing is that some of them are fairly normal and functional, even if even those are too depressed and scared to do much.
Only the psychopaths thrive. Oh, and the Amish, because they don’t attend public schools. And some of the homeschooled kids, of course, though the messages are pervasive in the culture, and reach even them.
So, making their life touch will do absolutely nothing, except cause kids to crawl into a hole and die.
Most of that generation is lost, and it was made so on purpose, by people who taught them poisonous, horrible ideas and made them feel stupid and inept. Because they could.
Standing in front of them screaming “What you need is some hard times” should get you shivved. It won’t because they already feel too guilty for breathing.
They might call you fascist or something, because that’s the only way they were taught to escape mroe pain and punishment: to join with the mob and pile on.
But that’s it.
What can be done? Well, we can get rid of brandon and create a vibrant economy that actually pulls them in and knocks the nonsense out of them by giving them opportunities for success. I have a private belief this is why Trump had to be got rid of. Because he was doing that.
We can give them a framework for success: Why do you think the left hates Peterson? He does that.
Tell them, show them, counter the gospel of despair they were brought up in. We know people abandon nihilist beliefs given a chance, but you have to give them a chance.
Because condemning them and calling them terrible failures isn’t working. And we can’t afford the now going on 2 generations that we’re losing to…. nothing.
Sure, they have material comfort we didn’t have, and more opportunities for distraction than we had (which is good and bad) but take those away without giving them some mental and emotional thing to lean on, and all you have is suicide.
Give them a lifeline. Give them something to believe in. Give them something to fight for.
Go snatch brands from the fire, before it’s too late.