Chronic Adolescence and the Mind of the Radical Left

 

For over 100 years we have watched the Progressives make inroads in their efforts to challenge the integrity of our Republic. They have been dogged in their efforts, and the political Right has had mixed results in trying to stop them. In recent years have witnessed an intensifying of the radical Left’s efforts to insist that their demands are met. Their persistence has increased, their anger and hysteria have grown and in some ways those of us on the Right are baffled, annoyed and are becoming angry at their unceasing determination to get their way. Often, we credit their attitudes and behaviors to utopian thinking. I’d like to suggest that this description is too limited to capture the undermining work they are doing. So I began to study their activities more closely, whether we watch them on social media, in the legislature, in corporations and in our interactions with them. We are not just observing idealistic thinking.

We are watching the playing out of “adolescent dreams,” or more accurately, “chronic adolescence.” By looking at how these mindsets manifest, we not only have a better chance of understanding the current environment, but we may also be able to create strategies that will stymie, if not stop their efforts.

What do I mean by chronic adolescence? In my research, I found behaviors that were often credited to children, but have also persisted into adolescence. (I’d suggest that in today’s world many adolescents act like children, and we can discuss that premise here.) I’m going to describe the “chronic adolescence” generally, and then describe how it shows up in today’s radical Left.

Temper Tantrums—we know how teen-agers can create drama in order to get their way. Sometimes they will argue repeatedly or incessantly that they are certain that they are right and everyone else is wrong. We see these actions in at least three areas: social media, where the radical Left will condemn anyone who does not buy into their agenda. We see them in corporations who threaten employees with poor reviews or even job loss. And the Democrats have their most ardent spokeswoman with those who follow Alexandria Ocasio Cortez; she has criticized those who aren’t radical enough in her own party, and demonizes those on the Right.

Blaming others—when actions are taken that they resent, or that can be capitalized on to disparage us, they will blame others. Donald Trump is a classic example, for just about every action following the 2016 election: immigration policy, the Russian hoax and tax policy. Other decisions blamed on the Right are refusing to enact more gun control policy, rampant crime, voter disenfranchisement and limits on the minimum wage, to name just a few.

Lying—lies don’t seem to matter to the radical Left; Joe Biden has lied about Covid policy; Jen Psaki repeatedly lies or “misrepresents” administration policies; Javier Becerra lies about partial birth abortion; lies are perpetuated about the January 6 riot by many legislators; lies about changes in election rules are made up, lies are used against Justice Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearing. The list could go on.

Name-calling—This list could include homophobe, xenophobe, racist, Nazi, traitor, troublemaker, greedy capitalist, bigot and conspiracy theorist. These personal attacks are frequent and never apologized for when the truth comes out. They pervade social media in particular.

Poor impulse control—when someone’s “button” is pushed on social media, there are often no holds barred: everyone is subject to attack if the person on the radical Left decides they deserve it. And then everyone else piles on. These attacks can be relentless and cruel.

Center of Attention—those people on the radical Left who often get the most attention are the “academics” who have insisted that we are a nation drowning in systemic racism, hatred and white supremacy. They promote these ideas through their books and articles, and they garner a lot of attention and support from their fans.

Inability to practice Self-Reflection—this factor is a key one and affects all the other conditions in the person who suffers from chronic adolescence. These folks are unable to study their own behavior, understand their limitations, or make good choices that could lead them to a life of increased maturity. So, they are stuck in this early stage of development, unable to move forward to choose a life of adulthood, with all its challenges and rewards. They are unwilling to look at life through a lens of rationality, information and common sense and empathy.

To these people, everyone is a threat to their very existence. They are often embattled, seeing dangers from all directions. They are fearful, angry, righteous and refuse to consider other points of view that might endanger their fragile existence. So, they choose to embrace the values and beliefs of others who are much like them, hoping they will find strength and support from those believers.

Anyone else is the enemy.

*     *     *     *

How have so many people become victimized by this arrested development? There are many factors, but I think many of them grew up in homes where religious values were absent, responsibility, accountability and hard work were not respected, and many other attributes were never addressed. They were coddled and led to believe that they were entitled to whatever suited them. They were crippled by a pervasive belief that life should be easy and they only needed to demand what they wanted.

*     *     *     *

Perhaps the most important question is how do we deal with them? At least in terms of our government, the Conservatives need to finally step up and be the grown-ups in every segment of society. They must stop trying to be “nice”; they must demand accountability; they must refuse to go along with outrageous decisions in order to be seen as cooperative. They must insist on promoting and following Conservative values, once and for all.

And they must begin now.

It’s time for the radical Left to grow up!

What proposals do you have for the rest of society?

 

Published in Culture
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 33 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Susan Quinn: How have so many people become victimized by this arrested development? There are many factors, but I think many of them grew up in homes where religious values were absent, responsibility, accountability and hard work were not respected, and many other attributes were never addressed. They were coddled and led to believe that they were entitled to whatever suited them. They were crippled by a pervasive belief that life should be easy and they only needed to demand what they wanted.

    I think that many of them are following the path of least resistance. Their teachers passionately advocate X, and it takes effort to resist. Some of their classmates begin to espouse the same views, and the last thing many schoolchildren want to do is to stick out from the crowd.

    If any cracks appear, they will occur somewhere in the vicinity of the class clowns. Nowadays, the class clowns’ orneriness is likely to be “diagnosed” as a “learning disability” and appropriate pharmaceuticals prescribed.

    Good thing I got out when I did.

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Percival (View Comment):

    I think that many of them are following the path of least resistance. Their teachers passionately advocate X, and it takes effort to resist. Some of their classmates begin to espouse the same views, and the last thing many schoolchildren want to do is to stick out from the crowd.

    If any cracks appear, they will occur somewhere in the vicinity of the class clowns. Nowadays, the class clowns’ orneriness is likely to be “diagnosed” as a “learning disability” and appropriate pharmaceuticals prescribed.

    Great observations, Percival. How could I leave out the impact of the teachers’ on these people? Thanks.

    • #2
  3. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    I remembered the phrase, but not its origins so I did a duckduckgo search. It led me to this:

    Long march through the institutions – Wikipedia

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Django (View Comment):

    I remembered the phrase, but not its origins so I did a duckduckgo search. It led me to this:

    Long march through the institutions – Wikipedia

    Very interesting, Django! Just one more factor to consider. Thanks.

    • #4
  5. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    “Arrested development.” I guess growth blockers were administered long before trans became the identity du jour

    • #5
  6. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Interestingly enough, I think the progress we’ve made in understanding the developing mind in children and adolescents has been a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    Its as if knowing the child’s brain is developing this thing makes parents passive in teaching the thing rather than actively teaching how that thing should be while their brain forms. “Oh, it’s just a phase… it will pass.”

    And then, when the “phase” passes, their parents are frustrated that their 18 year old is still throwing temper tantrums like a 3 year old…

    We have used the developing brain until age 25 to justify low expectations of teens and young adults. Aiming high isn’t going to get us perfection and the developing brain should give us patience and grace, but high standards will get us better than what we have now.

    • #6
  7. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    A personal trait that I find prevalent in many on the left is insecurity.  The obsession with victim culture is a type of projection.  Does this fit with an adolescent approach?  I think so.

    • #7
  8. Ole Summers Member
    Ole Summers
    @OleSummers

    :) You have fully explained my old-standing contention that progressives (or liberals, or …… fill in the blanks of the latest self-appointed title) are merely forever trapped in their sophomore year of college …. or even high school 

    • #8
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Stina (View Comment):
    We have used the developing brain until age 25 to justify low expectations of teens and young adults. Aiming high isn’t going to get us perfection and the developing brain should give us patience and grace, but high standards will get us better than what we have now.

    I agree. It’s a copout, avoiding responsibility started much earlier.

    • #9
  10. Ray Gunner Coolidge
    Ray Gunner
    @RayGunner

    Susan Quinn: We are watching the playing out of “adolescent dreams,” or more accurately, “chronic adolescence.”

    I think this is right.  Lots of “daddy issues” progressives out there.  Sometimes I think young progressives choose the public policies they advocate for based on what they think will p-ss off their dads the most…

    • #10
  11. Doug Kimball Thatcher
    Doug Kimball
    @DougKimball

    There’s all this pressure to “be nice.”  Boys can no longer be boys, fighting one day, best friends the next.  Passivity is taught as a virtue; contrary opinions an indication of oppression.  Debate is dangerous as one might represent the “wrong” and unaccepted point of view.  Debate itself is considered an affront.  Agreement is nice.  Those who don’t agree are ostracized.  Harsh words are violence!  Contrary opinions expressed chill the room and must be countered, repressed or censored.  Once someone is identified as “contrary”, that is one who challenges convention, there are no limits as to what can and must be done to stop them.  And conventional opinion does not rely on science, common sense or truth.  Men can be women and have babies just as men can be women and inseminate other women.  The earth is on fire.  2 million unknowns crossing our borders is not an invasion.  Covid remains an existential threat to humanity (and was not man-created.)  Women are pregnant with fetuses until after some eight hours of exposure to the open air, the fetuses transform into babies.  Carbon dioxide, even at infinitesimal levels, (which we all exhale) is pollution.  Money supply has little to do with inflation.  White supremacy is an existential threat to our democracy.  Joe Biden is fully in control of his faculties.  Covid vaccines prevent disease.  Renewable sources of energy (excluding nuclear and hydro) can reasonably provide enough power, reliably, to run our factories, heat our offices and houses and power our vehicles.  The Social Security Trust Fund is solvent…

    These people are more than just perpetually adolecent, they are insane.

    • #11
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Doug Kimball (View Comment):
    These people are more than just perpetually adolecent, they are insane.

    They are certainly deeply disturbed. As adults, I don’t know if they can come back from their malady; it may be too late.

    • #12
  13. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    A personal trait that I find prevalent in many on the left is insecurity. The obsession with victim culture is a type of projection. Does this fit with an adolescent approach? I think so.

    “Please take care of me, Big Brother. Free me. Free me from the need to support myself. Free me from the need to make decisions.” AKA “The State is mother, the State is father.”

    • #13
  14. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    A personal trait that I find prevalent in many on the left is insecurity. The obsession with victim culture is a type of projection. Does this fit with an adolescent approach? I think so.

    “Please take care of me, Big Brother. Free me. Free me from the need to support myself. Free me from the need to make decisions.” AKA “The State is mother, the State is father.”

    Hey dad, you know my old bedroom?  I was thinking about coming home for awhile.

    • #14
  15. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Most adolescents aren’t that bad. Some are, but it’s rare to find those with good parents. Good kids, even most kids I think, don’t (at least chronically) throw tantrums, lie, call names, and the rest. 

    You know who does? Narcissists, of all varieties, from the borderline personalities up thru the psychopaths. Lesser narcissists resemble something like concentrated adolescence.

    • #15
  16. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    It’s been going on for a long time.  Take a look at some of the speeches given by the campus “radicals” of the 60s.   Looking at them today, one doesn’t know whether to laugh or cringe.  Yet many of these radicals grew up (physically, anyway) to be the parents and grandparents of today’s progressives.

    Who do I blame?  Those members of the “Greatest Generation” who indulged the little monsters.

    • #16
  17. She Member
    She
    @She

    Susan Quinn:

    How have so many people become victimized by this arrested development? There are many factors, but I think many of them grew up in homes where religious values were absent, responsibility, accountability and hard work were not respected, and many other attributes were never addressed. They were coddled and led to believe that they were entitled to whatever suited them. They were crippled by a pervasive belief that life should be easy and they only needed to demand what they wanted.

    Yes,  I’m afraid my generation has something to answer for, insofar as many of us (not necessarily “you” us, but many in the post WWII generation, and mostly boomers), led their children to believe that they deserved lives better than their parents and grandparents had led.  In previous decades (I think) upcoming generations were also taught that they could have better lives than those their parents had had in the old country, or even in these United States, but they were also told that those lives were achievable only through hard work and their own efforts and merit.

    Somehow, that last part of the message seems to have been lost.  Irrevocably?  I hope not.

    It’s time for the radical Left to grow up!

    What proposals do you have for the rest of society?

    I think they should start by picking up a mirror and looking at their own flaws, rather than using a telescope to magnify and intensify what they imagine are the flaws of others.

    I can’t imagine–today of all days–anything that illustrates this point better, or with more (unfortunate) comedy, than the rant of some MSNBS host called Ari Melber rabbiting on about Elon Musk’s buyout of Twitter:

    LOL.

     

     

     

    • #17
  18. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Ole Summers (View Comment):

    :) You have fully explained my old-standing contention that progressives (or liberals, or …… fill in the blanks of the latest self-appointed title) are merely forever trapped in their sophomore year of college …. or even high school

    I would have said more like their sophomore year of high school… perpetual fourteen-year olds.

    • #18
  19. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    She (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn:

    How have so many people become victimized by this arrested development? There are many factors, but I think many of them grew up in homes where religious values were absent, responsibility, accountability and hard work were not respected, and many other attributes were never addressed. They were coddled and led to believe that they were entitled to whatever suited them. They were crippled by a pervasive belief that life should be easy and they only needed to demand what they wanted.

    Yes, I’m afraid my generation has something to answer for, insofar as many of us (not necessarily “you” us, but many in the post WWII generation, and mostly boomers), led their children to believe that they deserved lives better than their parents and grandparents had led. In previous decades (I think) upcoming generations were also taught that they could have better lives than those their parents had had in the old country, or even in these United States, but they were also told that those lives were achievable only through hard work and their own efforts and merit.

    Somehow, that last part of the message seems to have been lost. Irrevocably? I hope not.

    It’s time for the radical Left to grow up!

    What proposals do you have for the rest of society?

    I think they should start by picking up a mirror and looking at their own flaws, rather than using a telescope to magnify and intensify what they imagine are the flaws of others.

    I can’t imagine–today of all days–anything that illustrates this point better, or with more (unfortunate) comedy, than the rant of some MSNBS host called Ari Melber rabbiting on about Elon Musk’s buyout of Twitter:

    LOL.

     

     

     

    Once in the past I was assigned the job — and it was a JOB — of mentoring a young woman. It was not pleasant, but years later she told me that she finally understood the problem. She told me that she had been taught by her parents that if you work hard and play by the rules, everything will work out. She followed up by saying that what they didn’t teach her was how to deal with it when things didn’t work out. I happened to be there just at that time: Rough divorce; moving across the country on impulse; getting herself into a job she wasn’t prepared to handle. And cherry on top of that was dealing with me as a “mentor”. She turned it all around and became VERY successful. I don’t think many have such success. 

    • #19
  20. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Most adolescents aren’t that bad. Some are, but it’s rare to find those with good parents. Good kids, even most kids I think, don’t (at least chronically) throw tantrums, lie, call names, and the rest.

    You know who does? Narcissists, of all varieties, from the borderline personalities up thru the psychopaths. Lesser narcissists resemble something like concentrated adolescence.

    You bring up a good point, Barfly. Most adolescents aren’t that bad. But I think many of them, at one time or another, show these attitudes and behaviors. Even radical Leftists aren’t that way all the time. 

    I was a well-behaved adolescent, most of the time. But I could have a mouth on me. And I also had good parents. Thank goodness.

    • #20
  21. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I’m wondering what might shift some of the less radical Lefties is the realization, at some point, that there is a huge gap between their perceptions and  what is happening under the Biden administration. They’ve deluded themselves for a long time, but they have will have two more years to face the cognitive dissonance. Thoughts, anyone?

    • #21
  22. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Spot on.  I might add that the problem is not just not being taught moral behavior, but being taught why this moral behavior is important.  And I think that the behaviors needed to be modelled and weren’t.

    Specifically, the obstreperous, self-absorbed thirty-somethings of today (I suppose they are called millennials) are the grandchildren of the relaxed and affluent Boomers who became adults starting in the sixties.  And the thirty-somethings of today are the third generation raised in an environment of a ease, prosperity, and permissiveness.  It’s not that they don’t know better, it’s that their parents had poor role models and didn’t know better.

    The dysfunction is cumulative and the fourth generation is being willingly castrated with puberty blockers — talk about enforced adolescence.

    • #22
  23. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Most adolescents aren’t that bad. Some are, but it’s rare to find those with good parents. Good kids, even most kids I think, don’t (at least chronically) throw tantrums, lie, call names, and the rest.

    You know who does? Narcissists, of all varieties, from the borderline personalities up thru the psychopaths. Lesser narcissists resemble something like concentrated adolescence.

    You bring up a good point, Barfly. Most adolescents aren’t that bad. But I think many of them, at one time or another, show these attitudes and behaviors. Even radical Leftists aren’t that way all the time.

    I was a well-behaved adolescent, most of the time. But I could have a mouth on me. And I also had good parents. Thank goodness.

    Two things rescued me: good parents, and teachers perceptive enough to realize my biggest problem with school was that I was bored out of my skull. 

    • #23
  24. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    I agree with the prescription, but I don’t think I agree with the diagnosis. The therepeutization of political differences is what they do: ‘I don’t have to engage with your ideas about nation, religion and truth because you’re a —phobe’. (One thing we can say is that their tactics are successful, and it can’t only be because our side are terrible on defence.)

    Perhaps I want to say that we must be careful to understand that they are sick because they are wrong, not wrong because they are sick. 

    • #24
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    genferei (View Comment):
    Perhaps I want to say that we must be careful to understand that they are sick because they are wrong, not wrong because they are sick. 

    An insightful observation, genferei. Thank you.

    • #25
  26. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    genferei (View Comment):

    I agree with the prescription, but I don’t think I agree with the diagnosis. The therepeutization of political differences is what they do: ‘I don’t have to engage with your ideas about nation, religion and truth because you’re a —phobe’. (One thing we can say is that their tactics are successful, and it can’t only be because our side are terrible on defence.)

    Perhaps I want to say that we must be careful to understand that they are sick because they are wrong, not wrong because they are sick.

    It can work both ways: Psychologically damaged people tend to be more attracted to bad political movements, but at the same time indoctrination can warp the minds of otherwise healthy young impressionable people.

    • #26
  27. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Django (View Comment):

    I remembered the phrase, but not its origins so I did a duckduckgo search. It led me to this:

    Long march through the institutions – Wikipedia

    Buttigieg 

    • #27
  28. Nanocelt TheContrarian Member
    Nanocelt TheContrarian
    @NanoceltTheContrarian

    Boy am I confused. I thought you were describing Donald Trump.

    • #28
  29. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Maybe it is not a meaningful distinction but there appears to be a difference between being an adolescent and being anti-adulthood.  Wanting to party and stay youthful forever is understandable.  But a rejection of adulthood as a bad life condition is qualitatively different.

    Those of us who grew up the 1960s had a decade of books and movies starting in the 1960s that decrying the boring, stultifying conformity of the workplace.  The organization man married to the perfect housewife was a sentence to be a feared.  We were forced to read Catcher in the Rye featuring narcissistic jerk adolescents who claimed to hate everything that was “phony.”  We would bring an authenticity to the world lacking in the existing adult order.

    The rejection of traditional values on the basis of a faith in one’s own superior vision creates disorder.  Most societal rules and expectations exist to curb certain behaviors.  Accepting the responsibility to follow and enforce the rules is what makes one an adult in every society.  When feelings, desires, and appetites in conflict with the rules are affirmed, adulthood is stunted and adolescent imbalances manifested.

    • #29
  30. GlennAmurgis Coolidge
    GlennAmurgis
    @GlennAmurgis

    I will add entitlement and treating victimhood as the greatest virtue

     

    • #30
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.