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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.
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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.
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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?