Both men (one a Scottish liberal comedian; the other an American conservative syndicated columnist/author) are bizarrely in synch on this single, inarguable fact: young folks, by virtue of their youth, simply don’t know much. They certainly don’t know a fraction of what they will later on, when they’ve vastly more life experience. So why in the world does society give youth so much credence?
Let’s give a listen to Ferguson’s explanation first:
Now, compare that with Goldberg’s assessment:
“It is a simple fact of science that nothing correlates more with ignorance and stupidity more than youth,” the National Review Online editor said in an interview. “We’re all born idiots, and we only get over that condition as we get less young.” So why all the focus on the youth vote and “millennials” in politics? Goldberg says young people having so much influence in a society is unhealthy. My view is, they’re going to run the country some day, so we should really explain why they’re so frickin’ stupid about so many things,” he said. “The fact that young people think socialism is better than capitalism … that’s something that conservatives have to work hard to beat out of them, either literally or figurative, as far as I’m concerned,” he joked.
I doubt very much that these guys compared notes on this. So is this theory, which they each arrived at independently, correct? With apologies to the non-aged folks reading this: of course it is. Lord knows that I was cocky when I was in my teens and 20’s, but there’s no question I was comparatively dumb back then. That’s not to say I’m Mensa material now, just that my opinions and decisions are better informed now than they were then. The youth today are being feted by advertisers, polls, politicians and schools in ways that have never happened previously, and it’s true that you won’t go to your average septuagenarian if you want help fixing your PlayStation 3. But life is more than Twitter skills or the having the most friends on Facebook. Life is hard, and making proper decisions makes life easier and infinitely more rewarding. I had a conversation with a youth minister a couple of weeks back on the challenges of kids today, and we agreed on one thing: too many families today are focused on the self-esteem of kids, and not focused enough on the actual life lessons that are needed to turn them into functional, mature adults. We do a disservice, a crime, really, to our kids when we don’t force them to comprehend how little they actually know, and instill in them both humility and the desire/necessity to learn, forever. I know that my wife and I are certainly trying to give these lessons to our boys. We’re not trying to crush their spirits or hurt their feelings; we’re trying to prepare them for a successful and productive life. My guess is that your average college-age Social Justice Warrior has self-esteem scores that are off the charts, but how mature is their worldview when they demand that their self-imposed college loans be expunged? This is changing, …slowly. There is a coming wave of what can only be viewed as counter-culture parents; parents that recognize that kids are kids and they need to fail, to fall down and learn from it. Children are not the pinnacle of human achievement: they’re just the latest model of an ever-changing product line. We need to stop accidentally raising more members of Generation Bubble-Wrap™, else we guarantee our country’s demise. Ferguson and Goldberg each figured this out, and I’ll wager they couldn’t agree on the time of day. For a dose of optimism, I’m including the below video as a sign that our country hasn’t (yet) morphed into the Lord of the Flies, writ large. And while informing your child “you’re sorta stupid” may not sound particularly loving, I’m willing to bet the alternative is far, far worse.