The age of the juvenile

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The American philosopher Eric Hoffer observed in the 1970s that juveniles were the ascendant power in the world. He thought this was a very bad thing and wrote that is was the chief problem that the West would have to overcome. Hoffer stated that while an adult knows when he is being an ass, a juvenile never does.

For at least 3 decades , the juvenile and youth have been worshipped as gods. Older people are the object of scorn and the assumption is that it is always better to be young. Many if not most TV shows are aimed at females and juveniles. This keeps people thinking as juveniles.

Being in the Army, I work with my fair share of young people, and have noticed something that stands in opposition to the general zeitgeist of the age: Older people are better at almost everything than young people. This includes physical exercise. Of course there is an eventual drop-off in physical capability, but this does not seem to occur until the 40s for many people.

There are several characteristics of the juvenile that I’ll list here, most of them negative.

  1. They overestimate their capabilities, especially when compared to older people. They believe older people must walk with canes and talk about Lawrence Welk, but are not up to the juvenile’s level on anything of substance.
  2. They can take nothing seriously. Everything is a joke. Work does not have to be completed on time, and all rules are a suggestion to them.
  3. If they feel discomfort, they believe something is wrong with the universe.
  4. Juveniles  believe that real skills are mastered in a few days.
  5. Modern juveniles feel scorn for almost all people over 30.
  6. Juveniles are dogmatic in the extreme. They believe stated ideas without ever considering the nature of the source. Hence, as Eric Hoffer pointed out, juveniles make up the main body of any mass movement. The prime characteristic of the juvenile is his credulity.

In former days, the juvenile wished to reach adulthood as quickly as possible. Adults had to apply the brakes for the juvenile, who always wanted to partake in adult activities. Now, the juvenile wants to extend his juvenile state for as long as possible. He feels his life is over when he reaches adulthood. Many people feel they are ready for the dump yard after 30. Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon at 50 years old, after spending almost 6 years in the field fighting barbarians. Not surprisingly, since past people wanted so badly to pass from youth to adulthood, many, such as Alexander, took on incredible tasks at ages which we now hesitate to let people cross the street alone. Carl von Clausewitz was a soldier in the Prussian army at 12 years old. He’d fought in 5 battles by the time he was 13.  Barack Obama wasn’t even leading the Choom Gang at that point in his life.

Then there’s our pop culture. Look at ‘Lil Wayne. Even his moniker denotes youth. Here he is, with a predictable demograph of fans, stomping on the American flag. Young people love him. So does our president.

This is the exact opposite of former times. Spartans were not allowed to vote until they were 30. Why? Because young people are stupid. As Jonah Goldberg has pointed out, nothing correlates more with stupidity than youth.  Everyone knows it. Kind of like how they know puppies are stupid, but people still worship puppies. People may even let puppies drive their car.

Youth is no longer a time when people prepare themselves for adulthood. It is a time for people to “find themselves.” i.e. wander aimlessly hoping they don’t end up in jail.  Life is not to be taken seriously, for the fear, more than anything, is that the young person will end up a curmudgeon, unable to make jokes about old people or unable even to fall deeply into the thrall of a good game of Angry Birds.  Chess is a game for old people.

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7 thoughts on “The age of the juvenile

    Royce said:
    April 8, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Ahhhh Magnus — I totally agree with everything in your post. I am long past being described as “mature” and rapidly approaching the time of “are you still alive?/ WOW, but I have the pleasure of being friends with and interacting with about 10 young people in their late teens and early 20’s. These are not relatives but just young adults who come by to visit. While most of the things you list apply to these “kids” they also are struggling with serious issues that they don’t know quite how to handle — hence their visits. They worry about finding a mate, getting a job, finding the money to move out of the parental home. These are all good kids who I think are scared of adulthood but realize it’s inevitability. I think your summary is correct but I don’t think it is universal. I think for the most part these kids have it harder than I did at their age. I don’t think wealth, technology, and a having everything in childhood has been good for them. I think a little denial and some challenges in childhood would have benefited most of the kids I know. I think by giving our children and grandchildren everything they could ever want had done more harm than good. Check your list and ask yourself of the kids who fit that list had been told NO more often, given less, and had more responsibility — would the list still apply.

    You are an amazing man yourself and seem to have overcome your own challenges. Suggest you read “Your Life’s Plan” by Robert Schwartz.

    VXXC said:
    April 9, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    Whoah!! Cheer up and go downrange more. Those aren’t the kids I saw a few years ago.
    If you have to go 11, 12, 19 MOS then do it.

    As to the rest..um..as long as we keep saying “yes dear” it’s only gonna get worse.
    Let’s take say…Black America as example. Dude, it’s the women. It’s Baby Mama. The rest are simply following mama’s example.

    Which was the canary in the coal mine we didn’t heed.

    Our kids are responding to the cultural incentives, that’s all. This BTW goes back to the Boomers, the first generation ever marketed to…it actually never reaches their nadir again [70s]. They’re actaully getting better.

    Now what TF about us? How long we gonna keep standing around belaboring the obvious and bitching but doing nothing ? [40s]

    Also dear Sir you may be getting a false or misleading sample from the day job..yes?

    And it’s like the commercial a few years ago that was Anti-Drug. “kids it’s you against them.”

    Excuse me? WTF ? Bullshit it is.

    Except that ..it is. And will be, and is worsening. Because you, I and people who know better continue in obedience to madness and evil. We’re the solution working for the problem. Boxer with the gun. [animal farm].

    oh and cheer the F up Sir…cheers…it could be worse…and will be…unless…

    Anderson said:
    April 9, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    Firstly, I’ll say I am a young adult brought up by our 21st century. Comparing the youth of today to the youth of Alexander’s time or EVEN the youth brought up during the mid to early 20th century is a bit unjustifiable in my opinion. These are extremely different times. Society’s focus has changed as a whole and the youth only adopt and mold themselves to the expectations placed upon them. Today, what is looked highly upon are subjects entirely unethical. Instead of judging individuals on their merit, duty, dedication to positive causes, and restraint, one is looked favorably upon if they are self-indulgent, possess a pompous personality, and in many cases if one lacks respect for authority. More of an emphasis is being placed on how social an individual is rather than how hard working they are or what their life’s goals are. I’ve noticed myself in my service, awards getting passed up from the more productive individuals to those who have a more engaging personality, can flatter the higher-ups, and make others laugh! What use is a joker in society?
    Look on the television, look all around you, and you will see that in today’s society the joker does have a place. He seems to have more of a place than the individual with a deeper wisdom and information to spread. Look at the television shows being broadcast with an emphasis on bombastic characters. MTV,VH1, and most sitcoms and movies focus on these individuals. This is what the generation idealizes and strives to be. Your example of Lil Wayne is perfect. He is the image young individuals wish to portray. This isn’t the age of chivalry anymore or the early 1900s where you pull yourself up from your bootstraps to support yourself and your family. There really are very few positive role models today. The few that do exist, are sadly overshadowed by the stupidity that finds its way in your view.
    This is why I don’t feel it is accurate to point the finger at the youth themselves as if they are born different genetically or are weaker or less intelligent than their formers. They….we, are simply a product of our environment. Brought up in a backwards world. I speak of western society of course. Many countries in the eastern world have their own issues and many of their youth could probably use some of the ‘free expression’ that we have far too much of.

    VXXC said:
    April 9, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    And if you insist on being grim: the sooner you make the solution the job, instead of dreading it the better you’ll feel.

    Fuck the Cause, build the Army. Or nothing.

    magus71 responded:
    April 10, 2014 at 12:14 am

    Don’t worry, I’ve been working on a slightly more chipper post.

    magus71 responded:
    April 10, 2014 at 12:19 am

    Anderson, I’m not saying that the youth of today are much different than youth have ever been, except that the youth of yesterday knew they had some growing up to do. Really, the polls show young people today think they’re much better than they really are when compared to college performance of people in the 70s. I absolutely agree that the culture is forming our youth; it’s time for older people to take back control. As Hoffer says, a society controlled and worshiping youth is doomed. Bottom line: if you’re not better when you’re 40 than when you’re 20, you did something wrong. Why do you think the Dems win college campuses so easily. Stupid, that’s why. I was stupid when I was 20, and I bet when you’re 40, you’ll look back and shake your head, too.

    VXXC said:
    April 11, 2014 at 3:47 am

    Youth Vote: They win college campuses due to the politics of debt slavery. They’ll win the young getting older behind the barrista but not much further out of debt until the debt slavery economy isn’t around anymore.

    You know the last time America was denied manufactures by a distant and royal government but forced into debt by circumstance, something strange happened.

    Yes Magus we adults are failing them. Me too.

    I think the Boomers as they pass will quite blame and burden unto ruin the youth, as they blamed, burdened and ruined their parents.

    However again Fuck the Cause, build the Army. Or nothing.

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