If the lifespan of man is upwards of eighty years, then my question is, has there been an eighty-year-old man anywhere on the planet during the last 500 years who did not live through momentous changes or a momentous event? Eighty-year-olds today certainly have.
Every morning across the country, 80-year-olds and their young 60-year-old friends sit around drinking their coffee, telling stories, ruminating, and reminiscing. Any of them can easily recall the great changes that they have seen in their lifetimes. They can also remember when they stood four feet off the ground watching their grandfathers do the very same thing.
And their grandfathers, our great-greats, certainly would have heard our great-great-great-great-grandfathers saying the same things that old men today say about young people today. This paradigm of the old and grizzled criticising the young and naive is as old as time, and timeless too because, like getting old, it is just part of our human nature.
There have always been and will always be old fuddy-duddies who talk nonsense and don't understand, and young whippersnappers who know-it-all or who are dumber than boxes of rocks.
But just as today’s fuddy-duddies grew and matured, so will today’s whippersnappers. That too is the nature of things.
It may be tempting to be critical of young people but we need to remember how we were. It is simply impossible to fully grasp the depth and breadth of the human experience at age 20.
I posit that today’s young people are no dumber or smarter than we were, but I will suggest that today’s young people are going to contribute a great deal more than we contributed to our collective struggle against the madness of this age. I believe this because they have two things that we did not, i.e. hindsight and us.
By ‘hindsight’ I mean that those born in 2000 that are now coming of age can begin to see the damage caused to their culture by the Cultural Revolution of the 1960’s. For them the danger is not hypothetical – what may happen. No, for today’s young, the history that my generation lived through is the proof in the pudding that Progressivism has in fact been a cultural catastrophe.
By ‘us’ I mean that right-thinking young people today can be and are being made to understand what has happened to their country since 1970, and contrary to what our post-WWII youth culture would suggest, young people do, and always have listened to what their elders have to say.
The war against the Cultural Revolution of the 1960’s has been heating up the entirety of my lifetime (b.1966), though my generation, and the Boomers before us, have barely managed to hold the line. But we are still in the fight, and being the optimist that I am, I believe that with our help the Conservatives of the Millennials and Gen Z will be able to begin pushing back hard. And maybe it will be the children of the Z’s who will at last raise our flag atop the ruins of Liberal ideology.
Today’s right-thinking young people are smarter and tougher than we may think, and I for one feel good about them.
This post was previously published on Look Away on Oct. 26, 2021.
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Mark Atkins has six wee bairns who are all seventh-generation Henry County, Tennessee, and all from the same doe. It is the people of Henry County that he most wants to reach but writes to Southerners generally. He is without credentials but rather dares to speak by the same authority as the little boy who cried 'The king has no clothes!' His core belief and starting point is that like everything, we humans have a nature, it is not so hard to understand, and to pretend that it is other than it is, is to jump off a cliff. Which is what we Americans have in fact done.