THIS JUST IN: ‘Young people are Stupid…’

Dunce-Cap-5 Listen up, gang: when you can get polar-opposites such as Craig Ferguson and Jonah Goldberg to agree on ANY subject, everyone should probably pay a bit of attention…

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.

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13 responses to “THIS JUST IN: ‘Young people are Stupid…’

  1. This has been said before, but the problem with young people isn’t that they know nothing. It’s that they THINK they know everything.

    Re: self esteem, it’s not just families—it’s schools. Too many educational institutions, from the local elementary school to the Ivy League, have de-emphasized real learning in favor of clap-trap pop psychology designed mainly to assure that the little darlings FEEL GOOD about themselves. The result is nonsense like grade inflation, trophies for everyone and the banning of events that might make some children feel “inferior” in some way to others.

    Having been told all their lives how very special they are, these kids are in for a rude awakening when they get to the “real” world. In some extreme cases, they go into job interviews with lists of demands for offices and other perks that wind up getting them laughed right out of the building.

    The Wellesley commencement speech is a good start, but I can imagine a good portion of the graduates sitting there rolling their eyes. WhatEVER…

    Bottom line: you’re right, JTR, Jonah’s right, and, God help me, Craig Ferguson is right. But the only way most kids are going to find out is by learning and experiencing things for themselves.

    I am looking forward to the day when my daughters (ages 22 and 18) decide maybe ol’ Dad might have known what he was talking about, after all. I hope, if/when that day comes, they will let me know.

  2. They will, Buckeye, they will.

    I can remember when I moved out & got my own apartmment.
    I could literally HEAR my parent’s voices in my head, telling me to “put the milk away”, or that the walls in my new place “could probably stand a good cleaning, don’t you agree?”, or even that the yard (which I didn’t even OWN, by the way) would look better if I “edged along the sidewalk there”.

    It was creepy,….but verrrrry effective.

  3. It still surprises me sometimes to learn how many of my favorite political authors were socialists in college; Thomas Sowell, Jay Richards, Robert Sirico. But experience that only age can bring taught them otherwise and now they are some of the staunchest conservatives.

    Having just recently hit my 30’s I can attest to the fact that young people are stupid. I met a lot of them in college and had many of them for friends.

    • When you’re young, a lot of things make sense to you that…don’t actually make sense. That’s my only explanation for some things that I thought and did when I was younger.

      And you’re absolutely right, DD: some of our greatest minds started out on the other side, and then saw the light. Just another sign of the wisdom that (usually) comes with age.

  4. Pingback: Follow up re: “Young People are Stupid”…it’s worse than we think « Two Heads are Better Than One

  5. I had a child late in life so may not be here when the realization hits that dad knew a few things. Should I have “I know” placed on my tombstone?

  6. Reblogged this on That Mr. G Guy's Blog and commented:
    Yeah, I was young once.

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