A Disillusioned Generation

 

I’m 25 years old.

I arrived on this planet in the midst of a technological revolution. In my lifetime, my generation traveled from VHS to VR.  The generation before me had seen a man land on the moon.  With the internet, the knowledge of the world was now at our fingertips. Disney said “dream big,” our parents said, “aim high.”  The impossible was now possible. “We will do great things!”

Or, so we were told.

At 25, many of my peers are waking up in an average life and wondering if they are a complete failure. Perhaps they hold a steady job to support their family, or they stay home with the kids, but they aren’t the President.  They aren’t walking on Mars. They don’t feel they changed the world the way the adults prophesied they would. Did they “fail”?

My generation, striving to change the world, has fallen out of love with the rhythm of everyday life. They scoff at the beautiful and simple things —belittling love, marriage, and family in exchange for dreams, innovation, and fame. 

The 20 somethings are restless. They take pills to prevent motherhood and creams to prevent aging. They ceaselessly seek the fountain of youth and the tree of knowledge–never letting their soul rest. They forgo the way of life their ancestors treasured, all while feeling like a plane delayed on the runway. 

When they don’t find the beauty in the everyday things, they quickly become disillusioned, uneasy, and even angry.  They claim they are forsaken by the world who told them to aim for the highest star but forgot to mention that the journey is really what counts. 

Is it any surprise to see my generation forgo becoming parents? They feel their life hasn’t yet started. Perhaps once they reach the highest aim, then they will be deserving of love and family–they can’t risk any distractions now. They have a world to change.

How can we correct the course for these restless wanderers? How can we remind them of the foundation on which our success has been built–love, family, and service. 

In essence, after having launched their ambition into outer space, how can we bring them back home?

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  1. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    I don’t want to say I feel sorry for the younger and youngest generations that have only known technology and now think everything is better with an app. But I do, for all the things you mention. I don’t know what to do about it.  It is for the new generations to figure that out. But at the end of the day, this world has known more opportunities, wealth, health, and knowledge than any before it, and yet, it hasn’t produced better people or created more happiness.  You may have found the answer in your own question.

    • #1
  2. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    The younger generations have been hosed by the older generations, especially the Boomers (of whom I am the youngest).  The mind-boggling debt that has been run up has fueled ridiculous stock market values and real estate values. It’s great if you’ve had a 401k since the ’80’s like me, and bought your house in 2001. But if you’re just starting out, investing means investing at a market top and buying a home means buying it at the top of the bubble. My 27 year old son is moving back into the house after trying to live on his own, but the rents have become so insane it’s not possible.  My wife and I paid $300/month back in 1991 for a two bedroom apartment in a suburb north of Boston. My son is paying $1600 and that’s splitting it with a roommate. The artificially low interest rates and Federal Reserve money printing have grossly distorted all markets, to the benefit of those who already own assets and at the expense of those without any.

    The “good” news is that this will sooner or later (probably sooner) blow up in the Boomers faces when this Mother of All Bubbles finally bursts. Then we will get the civil disorder, food shortages, empty shelves, and rolling blackouts characteristic of collapse. The Social Security Boomer’s are banking on will be provided in worthless paper, and they will be waiting in long lines for their hip replacements (that’s probably me in a few years.)

    In those circumstances, I’d rather be 25 than 75. And I wouldn’t blame the kids for saying we got what we deserved.

    • #2
  3. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    And I understand why young people have a feeling of unreality and disconnection. It’s because we actually have become disconnected from reality, with the generations in power preferring their fantasies financed by debt rather than the prudence and discipline a close connection with reality requires. 

    Nature, however, will not be mocked indefinitely, and the lesson she is about to teach is going to be painful.

    • #3
  4. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Mikayla Goetz: They scoff at the beautiful and simple things —belittling love, marriage, and family

    And try to spend their money at Fyre festival

    Perhaps they should read Ecclesiastes – because one thing that it says is absolutely true. Ecclesiastes 5:18

    Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward. – Ecclesiastes 5:18

    In fact it is the only reward you receive in your lifetime.

     

    • #4
  5. Kephalithos Member
    Kephalithos
    @Kephalithos

    I’m 26, and I’m disillusioned — not exactly for the reasons you list (though those sentiments are common), but because of what they say about the culture we’ve inherited: What do we have to look forward to except decay? This has always been a restless country, but that restlessness once had an outlet. Our ancestors built things. They moved west with the expanding frontier and poured their energy into establishing farms, cities, churches, and industries where there had been woodland, swamp, and prairie. They founded the “little platoons” for which America was once famous. They turned the United States into a world power unrivaled in human history. Few of them lived extraordinary lives, but they didn’t need to: The ordinary was good enough.

    We are the victims of their success. What’s left to be explored? What remains to be accomplished? What isn’t yet built? We’ve innovated ourselves out of even the basic human goods: family, friendship, community — all made obsolete by the Internet or else commodified on the app market. Our material needs are met. Food and clothing is just a mouse-click away. High culture is gone, and woke culture is in. Our scholars have nothing better to do than deconstructing their own disciplines and seeking out novel ways to be offended. Our architecture consists of endless repetition of the same drab modernist tropes. Our cinema recycles the same storylines year after year. Our artists would rather shock than beautify — and they fail at even that, since we’ve seen it all by now. We’re alienated from our history, yet somehow stuck in the tar pit of our recent past.

    Plenty of people in our generation still want life’s ordinary blessings. We want spouses. We want children. We want to be regulars somewhere. We want places of our own. But the means by which generation after generation realized these goods are gone. The scaffolding has collapsed.

    The real task isn’t to convince 25-year-olds that they should want a home. The real task is to teach them how to build (and maintain) a home in a world intent on destroying it.

    • #5
  6. Kephalithos Member
    Kephalithos
    @Kephalithos

    J Climacus (View Comment): And I understand why young people have a feeling of unreality and disconnection. It’s because we actually have become disconnected from reality, with the generations in power preferring their fantasies financed by debt rather than the prudence and discipline a close connection with reality requires.

    Nature, however, will not be mocked indefinitely, and the lesson she is about to teach is going to be painful.

    If given the option, the majority will always choose fantasy over reality. But the time is coming when we won’t be given the option. Then, maybe, something good might emerge from the wreckage.

    • #6
  7. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Blaming the “Boomers” is lazy excuse that many use for not taking responsibility for getting off one’s duff and accomplishing something.  In my little corner of the cosmos I am kind of extraordinary.  Few things are going my way, but there are more opportunities to do good than than I have the capacity to meet.  

    • #7
  8. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Kephalithos (View Comment):
    We are the victims of their success. What’s left to be explored? What remains to be accomplished? What isn’t yet built?

    In one of Heinlein’s stories, Mars is inhabited by intelligent beings…but those beings don’t *do* anything, they just sit around “growing together”, as they call it.

    An earth person asks a Martian why he isn’t more active.  His response:

    “My fathers have labored, and I am weary”

    • #8
  9. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    The younger generations have been hosed by the older generations, especially the Boomers (of whom I am the youngest). The mind-boggling debt that has been run up has fueled ridiculous stock market values and real estate values. It’s great if you’ve had a 401k since the ’80’s like me, and bought your house in 2001. But if you’re just starting out, investing means investing at a market top and buying a home means buying it at the top of the bubble. My 27 year old son is moving back into the house after trying to live on his own, but the rents have become so insane it’s not possible. My wife and I paid $300/month back in 1991 for a two bedroom apartment in a suburb north of Boston. My son is paying $1600 and that’s splitting it with a roommate. The artificially low interest rates and Federal Reserve money printing have grossly distorted all markets, to the benefit of those who already own assets and at the expense of those without any.

    The “good” news is that this will sooner or later (probably sooner) blow up in the Boomers faces when this Mother of All Bubbles finally bursts. Then we will get the civil disorder, food shortages, empty shelves, and rolling blackouts characteristic of collapse. The Social Security Boomer’s are banking on will be provided in worthless paper, and they will be waiting in long lines for their hip replacements (that’s probably me in a few years.)

    In those circumstances, I’d rather be 25 than 75. And I wouldn’t blame the kids for saying we got what we deserved.

    wow – what a harsh and depressing comment………..

    • #9
  10. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Kephalithos (View Comment):

    I’m 26, and I’m disillusioned — not exactly for the reasons you list (though those sentiments are common), but because of what they say about the culture we’ve inherited: What do we have to look forward to except decay? This has always been a restless country, but that restlessness once had an outlet. Our ancestors built things. They moved west with the expanding frontier and poured their energy into establishing farms, cities, churches, and industries where there had been woodland, swamp, and prairie. They founded the “little platoons” for which America was once famous. They turned the United States into a world power unrivaled in human history. Few of them lived extraordinary lives, but they didn’t need to: The ordinary was good enough.

    We are the victims of their success. What’s left to be explored? What remains to be accomplished? What isn’t yet built? We’ve innovated ourselves out of even the basic human goods: family, friendship, community — all made obsolete by the Internet or else commodified on the app market. Our material needs are met. Food and clothing is just a mouse-click away. High culture is gone, and woke culture is in. Our scholars have nothing better to do than deconstructing their own disciplines and seeking out novel ways to be offended. Our architecture consists of endless repetition of the same drab modernist tropes. Our cinema recycles the same storylines year after year. Our artists would rather shock than beautify — and they fail at even that, since we’ve seen it all by now. We’re alienated from our history, yet somehow stuck in the tar pit of our recent past.

    Plenty of people in our generation still want life’s ordinary blessings. We want spouses. We want children. We want to be regulars somewhere. We want places of our own. But the means by which generation after generation realized these goods are gone. The scaffolding has collapsed.

    The real task isn’t to convince 25-year-olds that they should want a home. The real task is to teach them how to build (and maintain) a home in a world intent on destroying it.

    You said the bad word – victim. You are channeling destructiveness from wherever you are getting your info. Please disconnect.  There are many many in your age group and a bit older who are discovering life on their terms. We love HGTV, and the many in your age group who are finding dirt cheap vintage homes and restoring them. They love the original finishes and character – Americana.

    The Internet is your worst enemy. Look to your ancestors. Go outside – plant a garden – learn a new skill (at least once a year). Read old books and history. You have it WAY better than those who went before you – especially my family – who survived WWII, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and overcame with little to start with. Think about that.

    • #10
  11. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    I’ll also add something else: my grandparents escaped destruction and fled to the US. They were Ukrainian and Polish (both my mother and father’s ancestry). They escaped a ruined Poland that was absorbed into Russia. There is nothing to like in communism, fascism, or Nazism. Beware of socialism – it has many disguises. It can come upon a sleeping world in a day.  Watch Afghanistan – this is a good lesson. Live your life and make every minute count for something good including helping others.

    • #11
  12. Kephalithos Member
    Kephalithos
    @Kephalithos

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment): You said the bad word – victim. You are channeling destructiveness from wherever you are getting your info. Please disconnect. There are many many in your age group and a bit older who are discovering life on their terms. We love HGTV, and the many in your age group who are finding dirt cheap vintage homes and restoring them. They love the original finishes and character – Americana.

    The Internet is your worst enemy. Look to your ancestors. Go outside – plant a garden – learn a new skill (at least once a year). Read old books and history. You have it WAY better than those who went before you – especially my family – who survived WWII, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and overcame with little to start with. Think about that.

    You’re merely making my point.

    • #12
  13. She Member
    She
    @She

    Good post.

    I do wonder, though, how much the idea of “entitlement” plays into this equation.  Lord, I think the idea of “the sky’s the limit,” “live your dreams,” “you can go further than your parents ever imagined,” “Go West, young man! and “We can do it!” have always been part of the American ethos.

    But the corollary has always been: “You’re in charge, and how far you go depends only on how hard you’re willing to work to achieve your goals.”

    Recently though, there’s been a disturbing shift to the idea that a person is entitled not only to those dreams, but also to those specific outcomes.  And that, somehow, if the dreams don’t come true, or if the outcomes aren’t what was desired, then we need to find someone (not the subject of the failed dreams)  to blame.

    I can’t think of anything to do to ‘fix’ this other than to put people back in charge of their own lives, to tell them that life is hard, uncertain, and often short, and that they should spend every moment of it that they can working to better themselves and the lives of others.  Because they are not the center of the universe, that it existed for millennia before they were born, and it will continue to exist for millennia after they’re dead.

    To put it quite brutally, perhaps we need to let the younger generations know (pace Barack Obama) that they are not the ones we have been waiting for.  Their chance to change the world is as good as, but no better than, anyone else’s.

    PS: A few days ago I was moved by the comments of someone on TV I consider a real hero.  He’s not very old (a few years older than the OP author).  But he’s very smart, and very wise.  I didn’t know much about him, so I looked him up via Google, and read and compared several linked articles about this young man.  Like many of his generation in his chosen career, he’s from flyover country.  But this is what caught my eye.  He was the first person in his family to graduate from high school.

    Not college.  High school.

    And through courage, determination, doing the hard work, overcoming his demons, refusing to be sidelined by self-pity and bitterness, and with a gut-hunch that he was put on this earth to speak for and represent his brothers at the highest levels of politics and media, he’s doing just that.

    Only in America.

    I think we could do worse than convey to any generation, particularly any future generations, that America “owes” them nothing.

    • #13
  14. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Heck I’m 59 and I’m disillusioned. I think it’s the times we’re in. My disillusionment started with the Obama presidency. The nation has drifted so far left it is unrecognizable. We are firmly now a center-left country in all aspects of the country, which has disillusioned me. When I say all aspects of the country I’m mean fiscally, socially, religiously, militarily, and so on. When gay marriage is an accepted norm now, you know the country is not what it was. I didn’t sign up for this. 

    This may sound like a stupid question, so take it from an old timer, but what does VR stand for?  ;)

    • #14
  15. She Member
    She
    @She

    Manny (View Comment):

    Heck I’m 59 and I’m disillusioned. I think it’s the times we’re in. My disillusionment started with the Obama presidency. The nation has drifted so far left it is unrecognizable. We are firmly now a center-left country in all aspects of the country, which has disillusioned me. When I say all aspects of the country I’m mean fiscally, socially, religiously, militarily, and so on. When gay marriage is an accepted norm now, you know the country is not what it was. I didn’t sign up for this.

    This may sound like a stupid question, so take it from an old timer, but what does VR stand for? ;)

    Virtual Reality.  I think.  Like there is any other actual kind besides the real one.  (Frankly, from the perspective of this old granny, there is not.)  

    • #15
  16. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Kephalithos (View Comment):
    Our ancestors built things. They moved west with the expanding frontier and poured their energy into establishing farms, cities, churches, and industries where there had been woodland, swamp, and prairie. They founded the “little platoons” for which America was once famous.

    In John Steinbeck’s story A Leader of the People, a young boy (Jody) develops a friendship with his grandfather (his mother’s father), who led pioneers west many years previously and has a lot of stories about the experience.   Jody’s father, though, is simply irritated by the old man and his endless stories.  The grandfather is devastated when he overhears his son-in-law talking about his irritation at the stories.  To Jody, he says:

    “We carried life out here and set it down the way those ants carry eggs. And I was the leader. The westering was as big as God, and the slow steps that made the movement piled up and piled up until the continent was crossed. Then we came down to the sea, and it was done.” He stopped and wiped his eyes until the rims were red. “That’s what I should be telling instead of stories.”

    When Jody spoke, Grandfather started and looked down at him. “Maybe I could lead the people some day,” Jody said. The old man smiled. “There’s no place to go. There’s the ocean to stop you. There’s a line of old men along the shore hating the ocean because it stopped them.”

    “In boats I might, sir.”

    “No place to go, Jody. Every place is taken. But that’s not the worst— no, not the worst. Westering has died out of the people. Westering isn’t a hunger any more. It’s all done. Your father is right. It is finished.” He laced his fingers on his knee and looked at them.

     

     

    • #16
  17. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    (continuing previous comment)

    But Grandfather was wrong, was he not? At the time of the ‘closing of the frontier’ (1890, according to the Census Bureau), there may not have remained the same opportunities for physical exploration that had existed before, but there were plenty of opportunities, many of them just emerging, for adventure of many kinds: the emergence of aviation, the opportunities in industrialization, the vast scope for medical science and technology.

    And there are plenty of opportunities today.  For example, I know a woman now in her late 30s who, working in a particular industry, identified some problems plaguing that field and started a company to address them. She built the company for 5 years and recently sold it (profitably) to a larger company which will take the business to the next level. It would have been very, very difficult for an individual without significant capital to do anything like that in, say, 1960.

    High culture? The books are still there, the music is still there, the art is still there, whether the professors like it or not.  And there is plenty of opportunity to create your own, without needing the approval of gatekeepers.

    The ongoing political disaster? Never has there been so much opportunity to succeed as an independent journalist, as several recent examples have shown.  Not to mention actually running for office.

    The run-up in asset prices is indeed a big problem for those who want to buy a first house, or start an investment portfolio.  But is it any worse than the financial hit that people took going through the Great Depression and the serving in WWII for several years?

    The fundamental problem, I’d suggest, is not an absence of opportunities or anything economic, it is the destruction of America’s civilizational self-confidence. And for that, I think, the responsibility falls largely on the academi, journalistic, and media classes.

    • #17
  18. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    She (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Heck I’m 59 and I’m disillusioned. I think it’s the times we’re in. My disillusionment started with the Obama presidency. The nation has drifted so far left it is unrecognizable. We are firmly now a center-left country in all aspects of the country, which has disillusioned me. When I say all aspects of the country I’m mean fiscally, socially, religiously, militarily, and so on. When gay marriage is an accepted norm now, you know the country is not what it was. I didn’t sign up for this.

    This may sound like a stupid question, so take it from an old timer, but what does VR stand for? ;)

    Virtual Reality. I think. Like there is any other actual kind besides the real one. (Frankly, from the perspective of this old granny, there is not.)

    Thanks. I was guessing video replay…lol 

    • #18
  19. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Mikayla and Kephatholos,

    You’re two of the young, I’m one of the old.

    My responsibility is at least to ensure that you know ‘what is the problem?’, ‘what is the question?’

    I think you have the question right, so I can die happy.

    • #19
  20. Retail Lawyer Member
    Retail Lawyer
    @RetailLawyer

    Mikayla Goetz:

    How can we correct the course for these restless wanderers? How can we remind them of the foundation on which our success has been built–love, family, and service.

    In essence, after having launched their ambition into outer space, how can we bring them back home?

    I am 70 but I clearly remember a sort of crisis when I graduated from college.  I thought everything I had been told in college was wrong, and still do.  I recovered by the time I was 25, though, and I don’t see your age group easily righting itself.  Ambition for your cohort is sky-high change-the-world and economically you are incomparably worse off than my cohort was. Deferring parenthood until you have a stable marriage and sufficient income is probably wise.  Sufficient to not worry about money all the time.

    I can suggest a few things, though.  I would read Jorden Peterson’s 12 Rules book.  Also How to Fail at Everything book by Scott Adams.  Get or keep yourself in good physical shape and have some wilderness adventures (still America’s mighty advantage).  If you have a secure home, get yourself a good dog and train it.  Respect people who merely contribute and are not up to Elon Musk’s accomplishments.  There is honor and dignity in contributing.  These will help with the problem you stated below:

    “My generation, striving to change the world, has fallen out of love with the rhythm of everyday life. They scoff at the beautiful and simple things —belittling love, marriage, and family in exchange for dreams, innovation, and fame. ”  Don’t do that, and gently call out your friends who do!

    Why and how are you a bit different than your cohort?  I’d like to hear it sometime.

    • #20
  21. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Blaming the “Boomers” is lazy excuse that many use for not taking responsibility for getting off one’s duff and accomplishing something. In my little corner of the cosmos I am kind of extraordinary. Few things are going my way, but there are more opportunities to do good than than I have the capacity to meet.

    That’s great! I hope you are socking away money to pay for the $244,000 you are on the hook for.

    • #21
  22. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    The younger generations have been hosed by the older generations, especially the Boomers (of whom I am the youngest). The mind-boggling debt that has been run up has fueled ridiculous stock market values and real estate values. It’s great if you’ve had a 401k since the ’80’s like me, and bought your house in 2001. But if you’re just starting out, investing means investing at a market top and buying a home means buying it at the top of the bubble. My 27 year old son is moving back into the house after trying to live on his own, but the rents have become so insane it’s not possible. My wife and I paid $300/month back in 1991 for a two bedroom apartment in a suburb north of Boston. My son is paying $1600 and that’s splitting it with a roommate. The artificially low interest rates and Federal Reserve money printing have grossly distorted all markets, to the benefit of those who already own assets and at the expense of those without any.

    The “good” news is that this will sooner or later (probably sooner) blow up in the Boomers faces when this Mother of All Bubbles finally bursts. Then we will get the civil disorder, food shortages, empty shelves, and rolling blackouts characteristic of collapse. The Social Security Boomer’s are banking on will be provided in worthless paper, and they will be waiting in long lines for their hip replacements (that’s probably me in a few years.)

    In those circumstances, I’d rather be 25 than 75. And I wouldn’t blame the kids for saying we got what we deserved.

    wow – what a harsh and depressing comment………..

    This nation has gone through periodic crises. The Civil War – that cost more lives than all our other wars combined – the Depression/WW2… our conceit is that history has somehow stopped and we are not subject to such calamaties. So we indulge in the greatest debt accumulation binge in the history of the world, thinking nothing bad can really happen here no matter what we do. That’s how people think in the 4th Turning. The good news is that much of the insanity going on now, the transgender bathrooms and Critical Race Theory, will be quickly forgotten in the crisis. The forest fire has to happen before true growth can resume.

    • #22
  23. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    Manny (View Comment):

    Heck I’m 59 and I’m disillusioned. I think it’s the times we’re in. My disillusionment started with the Obama presidency. The nation has drifted so far left it is unrecognizable. We are firmly now a center-left country in all aspects of the country, which has disillusioned me. When I say all aspects of the country I’m mean fiscally, socially, religiously, militarily, and so on. When gay marriage is an accepted norm now, you know the country is not what it was. I didn’t sign up for this.

    This may sound like a stupid question, so take it from an old timer, but what does VR stand for? ;)

    I’m 58. It’s hard to communicate to a young person what it was like to grow up in the 60’s and 70’s. They think of hippies and Abba. But the broad center of the culture was still very traditional, and assumed a common set of values without thinking. I grew up in a newly built suburb, with a neighborhood association. We had Halloween Parades and the fathers would take turns each year playing Santa and visiting every house in the neighborhood. We spent a lot of time outside, running all of the neighborhood. The kids respected adults, and if Mrs. Jones called your mom, you were in big trouble because mom would take it as given that you had done something wrong. Parents never worried that their kids would be exposed to something inappropriate at a friends house.

    That common cultural foundation has been obliterated to the point that it is unimaginable. To quote a recent President: Sad.

    • #23
  24. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Heck I’m 59 and I’m disillusioned. I think it’s the times we’re in. My disillusionment started with the Obama presidency. The nation has drifted so far left it is unrecognizable. We are firmly now a center-left country in all aspects of the country, which has disillusioned me. When I say all aspects of the country I’m mean fiscally, socially, religiously, militarily, and so on. When gay marriage is an accepted norm now, you know the country is not what it was. I didn’t sign up for this.

    This may sound like a stupid question, so take it from an old timer, but what does VR stand for? ;)

    I’m 58. It’s hard to communicate to a young person what it was like to grow up in the 60’s and 70’s. They think of hippies and Abba. But the broad center of the culture was still very traditional, and assumed a common set of values without thinking. I grew up in a newly built suburb, with a neighborhood association. We had Halloween Parades and the fathers would take turns each year playing Santa and visiting every house in the neighborhood. We spent a lot of time outside, running all of the neighborhood. The kids respected adults, and if Mrs. Jones called your mom, you were in big trouble because mom would take it as given that you had done something wrong. Parents never worried that their kids would be exposed to something inappropriate at a friends house.

    That common cultural foundation has been obliterated to the point that it is unimaginable. To quote a recent President: Sad.

    Yes!  What the left wanted in the 60s and 70s they finally got in the majority of the nation today.  They never quit.

    • #24
  25. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    The younger generations have been hosed by the older generations, especially the Boomers (of whom I am the youngest). The mind-boggling debt that has been run up has fueled ridiculous stock market values and real estate values. It’s great if you’ve had a 401k since the ’80’s like me, and bought your house in 2001. But if you’re just starting out, investing means investing at a market top and buying a home means buying it at the top of the bubble. My 27 year old son is moving back into the house after trying to live on his own, but the rents have become so insane it’s not possible. My wife and I paid $300/month back in 1991 for a two bedroom apartment in a suburb north of Boston. My son is paying $1600 and that’s splitting it with a roommate. The artificially low interest rates and Federal Reserve money printing have grossly distorted all markets, to the benefit of those who already own assets and at the expense of those without any.

    The “good” news is that this will sooner or later (probably sooner) blow up in the Boomers faces when this Mother of All Bubbles finally bursts. Then we will get the civil disorder, food shortages, empty shelves, and rolling blackouts characteristic of collapse. The Social Security Boomer’s are banking on will be provided in worthless paper, and they will be waiting in long lines for their hip replacements (that’s probably me in a few years.)

    In those circumstances, I’d rather be 25 than 75. And I wouldn’t blame the kids for saying we got what we deserved.

    wow – what a harsh and depressing comment………..

    This nation has gone through periodic crises. The Civil War – that cost more lives than all our other wars combined – the Depression/WW2… our conceit is that history has somehow stopped and we are not subject to such calamaties. So we indulge in the greatest debt accumulation binge in the history of the world, thinking nothing bad can really happen here no matter what we do. That’s how people think in the 4th Turning. The good news is that much of the insanity going on now, the transgender bathrooms and Critical Race Theory, will be quickly forgotten in the crisis. The forest fire has to happen before true growth can resume.

    You think the insanity is going to be forgotten?  I think the crises gives them cover to implement and normalize.  Remember, they are the ones that say to never waste a good crises.

    • #25
  26. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Kephalithos (View Comment):
    What’s left to be explored? What remains to be accomplished? What isn’t yet built?

    Forgive the bluntness, but if you have to ask, you’re not the person to answer the question.

    We’ve innovated ourselves out of even the basic human goods: family, friendship, community — all made obsolete by the Internet or else commodified on the app market. Our material needs are met. Food and clothing is just a mouse-click away. 

    As I keep saying, 1984 turned out to be an all-volunteer affair. There’s that scene when Smith watches in astonishment as O’Brien turns off the telescreen – you can do that? Yes, it is a privilege we have. Today we all have the power to turn it off, and decline to do so, because our necks are accustomed to the position of adoring the chaos and candy pouring out of our devices. None of the things you mentioned have been made obsolete; that’s like putting a box over your head and saying the whole world has gone dark. Yes, Food and Clothing are a mouse-click away, but you have to be fantastically lazy and uninterested in life and society to retreat to that option. Whenever I go to the grocery store – a thrice-weekly jaunt, and I love it – I see some gig-economy worker in a branded shirt frantically filling a cart for someone who can’t be arsed to go to the store and forage, and I feel sorry for both of them.  

    High culture is gone, and woke culture is in

    High culture still exists, even as a shadow government. Woke culture is not culture at all, but a series of frozen postures. I agree that woke culture is hammering at the gates of high culture, demanding the replacement of the old with the pallid examples of the precious present, but that just means we need more bodies to brace the portcullus. 

    Our scholars have nothing better to do than deconstructing their own disciplines and seeking out novel ways to be offended.

    Yes. And we can hope they will argue themselves into irrelevance, while we build something that will reassert the classical values. It’s unlikely we will win the battle of the academy, but if there’s an implosion in confidence in the credentialed class, it will dilute their already minuscule credibility.

    Our architecture consists of endless repetition of the same drab modernist tropes.

    It’s not the repetition that’s the problem – the Beaux-Arts era was nothing but repetition. Modernism’s lockstep phase ended decades ago. The problem now is a fatuous worship of anti-historical European starchirtects, and they are besotted with innovation. I wish these guys were drab. Drab you can fix with shrubbery.  

    Our cinema recycles the same storylines year after year.

    Correction: big budget comic-book movies recycle. It’s possible that the Tentpole Movie is dead, due to the economic pressures COVID inflicted on the movie theaters, and we’ll see more small-scale stuff scaled for streaming. That said, the classic era of Hollywood was all about recycling, over and over. As a wise man said: It’s Wallace Beary! It’s a wrestling picture! What more do you need to know?

    I agree with a lot of your points. It’s depressing. But.

    Plenty of people in our generation still want life’s ordinary blessings. We want spouses. We want children. We want to be regulars somewhere. We want places of our own. But the means by which generation after generation realized these goods are gone. The scaffolding has collapsed.

    No. Move to Fargo, North Dakota. Good jobs. Affordable homes. Safe neighborhoods. An intact, thriving downtown. 

    It’s a big country. And there are lots of Fargos.

    • #26
  27. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    I mean, I agree with a lot of this, but people who are more pessimistic than I am make me insist on finding reasons for optimism. Pessimism  never feels difficult.

    • #27
  28. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Mikayla Goetz: Is it any surprise to see my generation forgo becoming parents?

    I hesitate to ask, but do you have any kids?

    • #28
  29. Mikayla Goetz Contributor
    Mikayla Goetz
    @Mikayla Goetz

    J Climacus 

    Nature, however, will not be mocked indefinitely, and the lesson she is about to teach is going to be painful.

    Have you ever read, “The gods of the Copy Book Headings” ?

    Your final line reminds me of it!

    • #29
  30. Mikayla Goetz Contributor
    Mikayla Goetz
    @Mikayla Goetz

    Instugator (View Comment):

    Mikayla Goetz: They scoff at the beautiful and simple things —belittling love, marriage, and family

    And try to spend their money at Fyre festival.

    Perhaps they should read Ecclesiastes – because one thing that it says is absolutely true. Ecclesiastes 5:18

    Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward. – Ecclesiastes 5:18

    In fact it is the only reward you receive in your lifetime.

     

    Yes, not to mentioned the Fyre festival!

    I love that verse.

    • #30
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