Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
I turn 52 in a couple of weeks. So I remember my teenage years, back in the ’80s. They were magical. Horrifying and terrifying at times. But magical. The idea that I had my own mind, and that I could think for myself – I was intoxicated with my newfound independence, even if it was only in my own mind. Questioning my parents, and my teachers, and all other old people (defined as anyone above, say, 24 years old) – it went from unthinkable to a natural reflex in a matter of months. And like other forms of intoxication that I discovered later, it was overwhelmingly addictive. I was hopelessly hooked, and I didn’t even know it. I questioned everything.
Well, that’s not quite right. I didn’t exactly question everything, as much as I simply disregarded everything. Adults in my life thought they were right. Which no longer mattered, because I knew I was right. I wasn’t engaging in debate, but rather in rebellion, and it gave me as much pleasure as it gave my parents pain. Which was ok, because I didn’t care. The arrogant rebellion of the teenage years was the greatest drug I’ve ever tried. I still miss it. As a matter of fact, I miss it, because I can’t find it. Anywhere in today’s society. I wonder where it’s gone?
The oblivious obedience of today’s youth mystify me. I just don’t understand. They believe what they see on CNN? Are you kidding? I didn’t believe what my own parents told me. And I knew they loved me and cared for me. And I still questioned them.
How a teenager can just meekly accept everything his teachers and media are feeding him is, well, simply astonishing to me. That kid has never been 50 years old, but I’ve been a teenager. And I just can’t relate.
There is, of course, a strong impulse for teenagers to seek the approval of their peers. But even that doesn’t explain the remarkable obedience of modern young adults. I just can’t relate.
It’s odd that the modern radicals are the conservatives. In order to be a conservative college student, you must be the independent thinker who questions everything she hears. That is not the stereotypical conservative. But it is the modern conservative.
This phenomenon, even though it leads to brutal ostracism of those independent enough to become conservatives, may lead to a strengthening of the conservative movement. Anyone who can sit in a college class with 100 of her peers and clearly understand that they all would hate her if they knew what she really thought – that is a strong person, who becomes stronger by being forced to clearly think through her personal philosophy. Every day, every day, every day.
A liberal college kid can hit 22 years old without ever having her world views questioned, even mildly. A conservative college kid is forced to reckon with direct challenges and nasty disputes every day. Every day, every day, every day. That tends to create a very mature and confident young person.
Someone who knows exactly what they think, and they know exactly why they think it. They didn’t just absorb their philosophy from those around them, in a subconscious effort to avoid conflict and get along with their peers. They’ve spent years working through the painful process of figuring all this stuff out on their own, swimming against the tide the whole way. The result is a confident, thoughtful, mature person. An individual to be reckoned with.
Decades ago, the whole point of going to college was to engage in the chaotic exchange of ideas to challenge your own presumptions, thus creating entire classes full of confident, thoughtful, mature people. But in today’s age of universally enforced wokeful conformity, colleges produce only a few of these. And they are the conservative students. Because they’re the only ones who spend their college years questioning and thinking.
If the leadership of modern universities were capable of independent thought, this would concern them. But they’re not. So it doesn’t.
But those confident, mature, conservative students are not who I’m talking about. I’m talking about young leftists.
I see these mind-numbed zombies who wander around and simply regurgitate whatever they’re fed, and I try to relate. But I can’t. My experience, in my glorious terrifying teenage years, was a polar opposite to such conformity. I didn’t always understand everything that adults said. But I knew that it was wrong. So whatever. I’d shrug my shoulders and do whatever the heck I wanted to. Whatever.
Looking at the obedience of young adults now – it’s surreal. Like an odd, unbelievable sci-fi movie. C’mon – that could never happen…
But it’s happening. Every day, every day, every day.
And I can’t relate.Published in