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.
- 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.
- 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.
- If they feel discomfort, they believe something is wrong with the universe.
- Juveniles believe that real skills are mastered in a few days.
- Modern juveniles feel scorn for almost all people over 30.
- 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.