Skip to comments.Infantile Nation: How Breeding Overgrown Children Begets the Nanny State
Posted on 12/27/2016 6:50:24 AM PST by VitacoreVision
A United States naval midshipman, David Farragut, commanded a captured British vessel during the War of 1812 at age 12. Now major universities provide healing spaces with Legos, coloring books, Play-Doh, and puppies for students who cant handle Donald Trumps election victory.
In 1798, Giocante Casabianca, who was 10 to 13, would not abandon his post without his commanders word, and perished on his ships fiery deck during the Battle of the Nile. Today, undergraduates demand protection from microaggressions, which can include statements such as America is the land of opportunity and Im colorblind! I dont see race.
Calvin Graham became the United States youngest decorated war hero, receiving the Bronze Star and Purple Heart at 13, serving heroically aboard the USS South Dakota during WWII. (Hed lied about his age to military recruiters.) Now college students demand trigger warnings when a professor might present something traumatizing, such as The Great Gatsby, whose trespass is that it portrays suicide, domestic abuse, and graphic violence.
Why, we might say todays little snowflakes need to man up, but watch out! That term is verboten on some campuses because, supposedly, its offensive and distressing. But whats really distressing is that many adults today arent half the boys our ancestors were.
In reality, it was common years ago for young children to assume adult responsibilities. Apprenticeships at age eight werent unusual; Spartan boys would be conscripted into military camps at age seven; and in the Middle Ages, six- or seven-year-old boys of noble lineage might begin training to be knights. Teen marriages also werent uncommon; today, perhaps even more teens have children but sans marriages. And now millions of grown Americans while away hours playing video games, with the average age of gamers, as theyre known, being 31 to 35.
It doesnt take great maturity to realize that, somehow, modern society is stunting peoples moral, spiritual, intellectual, and emotional development. This is frightfully alarming for a simple reason: Overgrown children cannot maintain their liberty any more than the young lads in Lord of the Flies could avoid their quick descent from democracy to dictatorship.
Of course, an analysis of whats breeding modern immaturity first requires defining what true maturity is. Obviously, this doesnt merely concern cognitive development; for all we know, with puberty beginning considerably earlier now than 200 years ago, kids may experience this sooner today as well (seems doubtful, though). As serial killers and tyrants prove, intellectual capability without corresponding moral understanding just makes for a more formidable evildoer. No, at issue is the development of something else: virtue that set of good moral habits.
Ah, virtue. While many moderns cant define the term, the Founding Fathers often stressed its importance. Ben Franklin noted, for example, Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters. And Samuel Adams wrote that men will be free no longer than while they remain virtuous. Theres no question someone would be considered mature if hed mastered his moral self and exhibited faith, hope, honesty, charity, fortitude, justice, temperance, prudence, chastity, diligence, patience, kindness, forgiveness, humility, and love (the preceding is mostly a combination of the theological, cardinal, and heavenly virtues). Theres also no doubt that everything we now complain about regarding über-sensitive young people infused with a spirit of entitlement those now dubbed social justice warriors is a function of lacking virtue.
Consider the all-too-common playing of the victim card, the blaming of outside forces (other people, the patriarchy, racism, etc.) for ones own failings, real or imagined; it would be beyond a person who was honest, charitable, just, prudent, kind, forgiving, and loving. For another example, in The Coddling of the American Mind, a 2015 piece appropriately accompanied by a picture of a four-year-old in a college lecture-hall chair, the Atlantic lamented a current movement on campuses that is largely about emotional well-being and presumes an extraordinary fragility of the collegiate psyche. Yet any actual fragility reflects a lack of the virtue of fortitude, whereas feigning fragility is dishonest. And excessive focus on ones own emotions is narcissistic, indicating pride, vanity, self-absorption; it isnt a fault plaguing a humble, loving individual. Of course, the obvious is being stated here: All man-caused problems are the result of sin, of vice. The solution always is virtue.
Whats Going On?
As a house or car left to sit will evidence, things move toward disorder and dilapidation without the application of energy; a civilization is no exception. Failing to forge the next generation properly ensures degeneration; this is why Thomas Paine noted, Whenever we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary, and President Ronald Reagan warned, Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. Our enemies understand this, too. As ex-KGB agent and Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov (a.k.a. Tomas Schuman) once explained, it only takes one generation to complete the first step in the Soviet process of ideological subversion; this step is called demoralization, mind you, and involves undermining the morals of a target nation. Of course, except in the cases of revolution, such as in 1917 Russia, freedoms loss is an incremental process. Yet there is no doubt that, theoretically, we could transition from constitutionalism to communism in one generation were parenting bad enough. This is yet another reason why raising children is a holy calling.
Its no surprise moderns fail to instill virtue in their children; not only is the word poorly understood, its rarely used. Instead we hear statements such as, Children have to be raised with values, which is as meaningful as the diet advice, Food has to contain calories. As social commentator George Will wrote in his 2000 column Forget Values, Lets Talk Virtues:
Today it would be progress if everyone would stop talking about values. Instead, let us talk, as the Founders did, about virtues.
Historian Gertrude Himmelfarb rightly says that the ubiquity of talk about values causes us to forget how new such talk is. It began in Britains 1983 election campaign, when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher jauntily embraced the accusation, which is what it was, that she favored Victorian values.
Time was, value was used mostly as a verb, meaning to esteem. It also was a singular noun, as in the value of the currency. In todays politics, it is primarily a plural noun, denoting beliefs or attitudes. And Friedrich Nietzsches nihilistic intention the de-moralization of society is advanced when the word values supplants virtues in political and ethical discourse. When we move beyond talk about good and evil, when the language of virtue and vice is transcended, we are left with the thin gruel of values-talk.
How very democratic values-talk is: Unlike virtues, everyone has lots of values, as many as they choose. Hitler had scads of values. George Washington had virtues. Who among those who knew him would have spoken of Washingtons values?
Values-talk comes naturally to a nonjudgmental age an age judgmental primarily about the cardinal sin of being judgmental. It is considered broad-minded to say, One persons values are as good as anothers. It is nonsense to say One persons virtues are as good as anothers.
The point is, virtues reflect Truth and are good by definition; values may just reflect individual preference and can be good, bad, or neutral. No parent, anywhere, fails to raise his children with values. Virtues? Ah, theyre a different matter.
Why are virtues are out of vogue? First, they spoil the fun of, and render implicit judgment on, those in vices grip. Its mans nature to seek justification for his sins, and you cant eliminate the concept of vice (thus achieving complete absolution: You cant sin if sin doesnt exist) without eliminating its correlative reality, virtue. Second, however, virtue, again, refers to moral habits, and moralitys existence presupposes a source beyond man: Gods Truth. Thus, a prerequisite for belief in virtue is belief that Truth and, therefore, morality exist. Yet today the vast majority of people are moral relativists as 2002 Barna Group research showed embracing the notion that what we call morals are inventions of man and are thus just preferences. Of course, this is just another way of saying morality and hence moral habits, virtue, dont exist. And then youre left with those generic things, values, whose existence requires only that someone somewhere for some reason values something.
Thus do we today place great emphasis on children being excellent, but not nearly as much on their being good. Parents will spend thousands of dollars on tennis or music lessons or on academic tutors, understanding well that their child likely wont develop the skills or attain the knowledge in question by happenstance. For they well know there are rules (fundamentals) governing these matters and that what constitutes proficiency in tennis, music, or math isnt mere opinion. Yet awash in the relativistic belief that moral rules essentially dont exist (and, of course, some believe this more consciously and completely than others), parents today generally dont know the fundamentals of virtue. And you cant teach what you dont know or model what you dont embody. No matter, though, the children certainly will adopt values, whether they derive them from television, the Internet, school, friends, a combination thereof, or the Devil himself.
Yet as with tennis and math, children wont become virtuous by accident. People once understood this and also recognized that instilling virtue in a child was a prerequisite for everything else; its the fertile soil in which good things can develop and flourish. Ancient Greek philosopher Plato, for instance, wrote at length about cultivating an erotic attachment (meaning, emotional) to virtue in young children. Reflecting my earlier point about the relationship between faith and morals, Declaration of Independence signatory Benjamin Rush stated, The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be aid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty. And virtue-oriented teaching was a staple of American education until it went by the wayside in the first decade of Great American Vice, the 1960s.
Worse still, todays teaching often casts vice as virtues. A generation or so ago, the self-esteem movement began, fueled by the notion that girls performed worse than boys on standardized tests because our white, male, linear-logic, patriarchal society damaged their self-esteem. So self-esteem tests were devised and, sure enough, girls scored lower. Theory proven?
Not exactly. Not only did educators overlook that girls were already getting better grades than boys, they also ignored that scoring highest on the self-esteem exams was the group performing the worst academically: black males. Moreover, that one self-esteem exercise was to have children stand before their class explaining why they were great should have told the tale: Self-esteem had become a euphemism for the sin of pride.
And so it goes. Lust is called sexual liberation and incredulity (lack of faith) sophistication. Envy masquerades as compassionate redistributive policies; and vindictiveness, wrath, and injustice as social justice. Dishonesty is spun as spin or a narrative while imprudence can be a lifestyle choice. Cowardice in action may be called compromise, and indifference is branded tolerance.
Then theres the point that growing up just isnt in fashion nowadays, with many lamenting our youth culture. Yet part of the reason there is a youth culture is youth congregation. For most of history in most places, children were mainly socialized within the family unit, with secondary exposure to the tribe, village, or clan. This ensured ample mature role models and a balance of interaction, with the young exposed to other children, such as siblings and cousins, but also parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, at whose sides theyd often work. Yet modern society has a child spend a good part of each day, five days a week, in institutions composed almost entirely of children. Not only may these youngsters reinforce each others childish behavior, but there is that tendency for the bad apple to spoil the whole bunch. Moreover, todays undisciplined school environment reduces most government schools to babysitting centers at best, quasi-prisons where the inmates run the asylum at worst. This can create a situation vaguely approximating that in Lord of the Flies, the aforementioned 1954 William Golding book about a group of schoolboys who, upon being stranded alone on an island, descend into barbarism.
Consider another aspect of this radical childhood-period departure from the historical norm. Work was always an integral part of most childrens lives. It might have been a boy hunting or tending the fields with his father or a daughter helping her mother keep house. This is significant because as the proverbs tell us, Work ennobles man and Busy hands are happy hands. Work builds character it encourages virtue.
This model began to change by the 19th century, explains the online Marriage and Family Encyclopedia, and, gradually, children as a whole were excluded from the adult world of work and the period of dependent childhood lengthened. This raises an interesting point: We know what dependency breeds among welfare-class adults. Is it much different with children when that dependency becomes excessive?
To be clear, a certain amount of dependency is proper. And we certainly dont want children slaving away 12 hours a day in hellish factories, as could be the case during the Industrial Revolution. Yet an idle mind is the Devils playground, and today we occupy the other extreme. With ample free time, including summer vacations, weve become a decadent recreation culture in which youth sometimes spend hours playing video games or viewing porn (according to psychotherapist and screen addiction expert Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, 8- to 10-year-olds spend 8 hours a day with various digital media while teenagers spend 11 hours in front of screens). College now reflects this, too, with young people having the expectation the play will continue; in fact, going away to university and having the party experience is considered a rite of passage. Even intimate human relations have been made frivolous. Recreational sex and sex toys, anyone?
Moreover, consider the modern parents who, lets say, during summer vacation, struggle to keep their children entertained, only to find the kids ever dissatisfied and craving something more. Such children are typically called spoiled, yet theres another factor: Adults living frivolous, aimless lives can descend into a sense of meaninglessness, which is no doubt one reason Hollywood types too often take the drug-addled walk of shame. And while children are in a different phase of life, they nonetheless have the same human needs. Will they not be happier having a sense of meaning? Weve all heard the catchy proverb, All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, but, not surprisingly, the second part of it is seldom today uttered. To wit: All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
So our problems clearly are systemic. Yet it must be reiterated that things tend to start at home, and today were in the grip of parenting so permissive it permits vice (misbehavior). Family psychologist and writer John Rosemond has called this a dysfunctional parenting paradigm, explaining the permissiveness thus: Where we once viewed misbehavior as a moral problem, we now see it as a psychological problem. Before proceeding, note that this again simply reflects our atheistic, relativistic spirit of the age. After all and harking back to my earlier explanation, we wont perceive moral problems if we believe morality is an illusion. As for psychology, Rosemond slams psychologists as professional enablers peddling a mechanistic lie in which misbehavior is blamed on biology (genes, chemical imbalances, etc.) or environment, with free will removed from the equation. Yet this makes sense from an atheistic perspective. Without a soul, man is a mere organic robot, some pounds of chemicals and water. And then you evaluate him as a robot: Misbehavior is malfunction, caused either by faulty hardware (biology) or software (programming), with all the causative forces lying beyond the automatons control.
The traditional (correct) view is different, Rosemond explains in his 2000 book Raising a Nonviolent Child. It was always recognized that were born fallen and uncivilized, acting on impulse, and prone to selfishness, aggressiveness, and all manner and form of vice and the sooner these impulses are tamed, the better.
Of course, since virtues are caught more than theyre taught, modeling proper behavior is imperative. Yet childhood obedience was also recognized as a prerequisite, for how can someone learn from you unless he first will listen to you? Listening comes before learning. So the traditional parent established obedience, and deterred misbehavior with sufficient punishment.
Today, though, such tactics are deemed harsh and damaging to self-esteem. There is little accountability, and this results in what Rosemond calls the no fear (and no respect) generation, raised by parents who are quite fearful of many things: their childrens misbehavior, not pleasing their children, and not being loved by them. Of course, this itself is selfish. True love means giving a person what he needs, even if it may displease him and make him displeased with you. What these parents are exhibiting is not love, but emotional dependence.
The consequences of not taming the beast, of not instilling virtue, are all around us. So-called ADHD is just an example of professional-enabler psychologists redefining what was formerly recognized as a sin (misbehavior) as a condition of the brain; as Rosemond points out, ADHD behavior is simply typical toddler behavior extended into later childhood by modern parenting. And, not surprisingly, childishness is extended beyond childhood. Do we not see this in the young people rioting because the election didnt go their way and who demand safe spaces, trigger warnings, and other types of coddling?
Moreover, the schools, which Rosemond calls punishment free zones, just exacerbate this problem, with colleges offering a panderly, partying, propaganda-filled atmosphere that can serve to extend childhood beyond graduation.
True civilization is when most people have become morally advanced enough to attain authentic adulthood. And what are the consequences of this not occurring? As I explained in Written in the Eternal Constitution (The New American, April 14, 2008), beginning with the micro, a small child is
incapable of self-government. So his parents must micromanage his life, watch his every move hence baby monitors and the use of cribs or gates or harnesses to limit his movements and do for him what he cannot do for himself, which is a lot. They must be his nanny state.
As he grows, however, matures morally and increasingly starts to impose proper rules and standards on himself, the need for a parent to impose them diminishes proportionately. Then, finally, if his parents have succeeded, he can enjoy the full freedoms of adulthood.
But what happens when his parents dont do a good job? Or when, despite their efforts, outside influences corrupt the child? He then will have weak internal governance. He may descend into vice, taking drugs or drinking in excess; or greed and envy may capture his soul, causing him to covet. And, should his impulse control be poor enough, the overgrown savage beyond the crib may run afoul of the law, perhaps by driving drunk, buying illegal drugs, or stealing. Then, incapable of adequate self-government, he may find himself back in a crib. The authorities will lock him up, and he will once again be controlled from without.
Such an outcome is a disaster for the given family, yet the wider problem arises when barbarism becomes prevalent enough so that it characterizes the people. For a people whose collective mind-set would, like a toddler, make it nanny-worthy, will end up being governed by the nanny state.
The solution? It has already been stated. As John Adams put it, The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure virtue. Were fond of talking about liberty, but like a child who wants freedom but not responsibility, this puts the cart before the horse. Speak of virtue, of morality, of seeking Truth and walk that talk and liberty takes care of itself. Its also now in fashion to speak of making America great again, but this, too, confuses the order of things. The apocryphal saying warns, America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great. Take care of the goodness, and the greatness takes care of itself. Fail to do these things, and, ironically, well be forging our fetters with cries of freedom.
This is what you get from kids who have been raised by parents who think Participation Trophies and PC’ness are the rule of the land. They are totally incapable of coping with the real world. Is it any wonder that these Snowflakes have the highest post-college live-with-parents ratio in history?
Along these lines, the concept that “being judgmental is bad” has certainly been around for awhile, but I think it has noticeably ramped up since Nov 8.
I think the Left has really latched on to this — Trump has things he supports, and things he opposes (who doesn’t?) and the Left now says this is “judgmental” and the big — enormous — problem with the deplorable Trump supporters are that they are all evil, judgmental people. How awful! The special snowflakes know that avoiding any judgments at all is the only moral path — and that is why they so thoroughly condemn Trump and his supporters. The irony escapes them.
A lot of what passes for political science is the search for a structure that does not require a virtuous citizenry.
It doesn’t exist. A moral people can make almost any system work, and in the generalized absence of virtue any system you choose will fail. There is no substitute for moral character.
Libtards want the masses to be dependent on big government. So they purposely try to raise dependent children into incompetent, infantile adults by hampering normal development.
I read the article, and I’m sure most here on FR understand the problem and how these snowflakes got the way they are.
The question is....what in the world can anyone DO about this???
Are these pussified young males irredeemable? Is there any hope of making them productive members of society? Can the young women be turned into responsible ladies who can possibly become wives and mothers?
And...if turning them around is truly impossible....what is to be done with them?
The Great Gatsby was symbolic. I am shaking my head at how little brass some people have.
“Courage is the foundation for all the other virtues.”
The prison cell as a crib for adults.
I love the bit that today’s men can’t measure up to boys of the past.
Obamacare codified infantilism. It promoted “children” as old as 26 being covered by their parents’ health insurance. Now that “benefit” is accepted by too many.
The question is....what in the world can anyone DO about this???\
As to society itself turning around—the thing had to be severely pruned, and while it will happen sooner or later, I can’t imagine anyone pulling the trigger. An EMP, a massive war, or economic collaplse are the only three things I can envision ending this unsustainable spiral, and sooner or later one of them will happen.
This goes way beyond teenagers and 20-something year olds. The “adult child” phenomenon has been around since the dawn of the Welfare State. Before that, if you were lazy, you either mooched off your relatives or died. But gradually, over 85 years, Welfare State Socialism infected this country and more and more people thought it would be OK to live off of someone else’s money. Being protected from opinions you don’t like is just the logical conclusion of generation after generation gradually accepting the idea that its OK for a big chunk of the population — the 47% — to live off the productive as if there were overgrown teenagers.
I think it’s funny to see the “protestors” acting so smart and tough UNTIL the SHTF....Then they all cower and run for their “safe spaces”...LOL
When life gets hard again, people will get hard again.
Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.
C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
“Infantile Nation: How Breeding Overgrown Children Begets the Nanny State”
Or does the nanny state breed overgrown children?
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