A Nation of Selfies?

By | November 25, 2018 | 2 Comments

If we were to name the prototypical invention of our time, would it be the iPhone? The laptop? The self-driving car? The MRI? The space station? Or would it be the selfie stick? Self-absorption has been a universal trait of humanity throughout history. But somehow it seems more pronounced today. And who is more self-absorbed than the typical teenager?

Chronologic age has nothing to do with a teenage mentality. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is 28, and Bernie Sanders is 76, but they share the world-view of teenagers ‒ young teenagers at that. Free health-care for all? Free college for all? Food stamps? Rent assistance? And open borders, so “all” includes the tens of millions who will come for the freebies. That is the thinking of a naïve 14-year-old.

By the time they reach 18 or 19, most young people have waited table, or clerked in a store, or helped out in their uncle’s business, and have some idea of how things really work. But not these folks. They retain their juvenile illusions into old age ‒ and try to impose them on all of us. Of course, attending a university often solidifies a juvenile world-view.

The invention of the teenager was a mistake. Once you identify a period of life in which people get to stay out late but don’t have to pay taxes ‒ naturally, no one wants to live any other way. ‒ Judith Martin

Some people regard the government as their parent. They expect it to supply the needs of their young children, their elderly parents, and sometimes themselves. In these respects, some Americans − and many Western Europeans − act like children. Children know they need their parents to protect them, provide for them, and make decisions for them.

But then, unlike many Europeans, many Americans become teenagers − which they may remain all their lives. They still depend on their “parent,” the government, to protect and provide for them – but they resent their dependence. They insist on being treated as adults, but they do stupid, self-destructive things – then expect their “parent” to bail them out:

They want to spend their money on cars, clothes, electronic devices and entertainment – but they want “mom” to provide health care.

They want their own apartment or house – but they want “dad” to help with the payments.

They want to drive without seatbelts while talking on cell phones or texting − but if they have a crash, they expect someone else to pay for their care.

They want to be safe on the streets − but they hobble police with unrealistic restrictions, then complain about violent crime.

They want to be safe in their homes − but they push laws to disarm law-abiding citizens, then complain about violent crime.

They want to be safe from foreign threats − but they oppose appropriations for new weapons, better training, and adequate pay for our troops.

They want to be safe from terrorism − but they oppose searching for terrorists as “profiling,” oppose security measures as “shredding the Constitution,” and oppose alerts as “political,” then have the gall to complain when attacks don’t occur.

They want terrorists defeated – but without casualties. They point to the deaths of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and want us to abandon the countries. So far this year we have lost 12 dead in Iraq and 3 in Afghanistan. But any more people are murdered in Los Angeles or Chicago. Should we abandon our own cities?

They want open borders − but they grumble about crowded schools, crowded hospitals, and crowded jails.

They want open borders − but they also want Social Security, free health care, and a free college education for all. This is unworkable, even delusional. Open borders. A welfare state. Choose one. Or better yet, choose neither. But you can’t have both.

They want to immerse themselves in careers – but they whimper about feeling unfulfilled when they reach middle age.

They want relationships without commitment and sex without consequences – but they whine about loneliness when they reach middle age.

They want to ignore the fact that 40% of American babies are now born to single mothers − but they bleat about problems caused by fatherless boys.

They want to spend their money on everything except health insurance – but they wail about lack of coverage.

They want to eat and drink to excess and exercise little – but they moan about the quality of health care when they get sick.

They want to spend their time watching TV sitcoms and playing video games – but they complain when politicians pick their pockets.

They want more government benefits – but they are shocked when the word “trillion” applies to the deficit and not the space program.

They want the government to make important decisions for them – but they protest when things go badly.

They want unelected judges with lifetime jobs to decide vital issues – but they gripe that no one consulted them.

They want to attend church rarely if ever – but they criticize mercilessly when the church runs into trouble.

They want to give little to charity – but they claim to be kindhearted because they vote the “correct” way ‒ Democratic.

They want to neglect their family and mistreat their employees – but they claim to be kindhearted because they vote the “correct” way.

They want “alternative energy” − but they block nuclear plants because they are “dangerous,” they block windmills because they are “ugly,” and they block solar power because it “disturbs the desert ecosystem.”

They want computerized medical records ‒ but they are unaware that 7% of words dictated by voice-recognition software are incorrect, as well as such records being subject to hacking, computer crashes, and password loss.

They want to bask in the phony warmth of pacifism and nonviolence – but they expect others to defend them from enemies who want to slit their throats.

They want to “love all humanity” – but they ridicule their own people.

They want to be “citizens of the world” because it requires nothing of them − but they belittle those who risk their lives for our country. Of course, “citizens of the world” have no guaranteed rights, inalienable or otherwise.

They want to “support our troops” – but they express contempt for the troops and for what the troops are doing. That’s support?

They want to “love America” – but they condemn its history and make excuses for its enemies. That’s love?

They want to be independent − but they insist that we pass a “global test” and can’t act in self-defense without the permission of the “world community.” That’s independence?

They want to act like fools − but they come running to “dad” to bail them out. That’s their notion of independence: Do as you please, and leave your mess for others to clean up.

They want freedom without the risk of fighting for it.

They want security without the expense of providing it.

They want advantages without being grateful.

They want blessings without being prayerful.

They want to feel good without the difficulty of making moral judgments.

They want to live beyond their means without the bother of repaying their debts.

They want to be independent when things go well, but dependent when things go wrong.

They want to be capitalists when the market goes up, but socialists when the market goes down. They want to privatize their profits, but nationalize their losses.

They want the adults to clean up their mess. But they are the adults. And if they don’t start acting like adults, we are all in trouble.

In the end, we must bail ourselves out. And then we must live so that we won’t need to be bailed out. That’s how responsible adults behave. A nation of teenagers won’t last long in a dangerous world.

But lest you despair, recall that we are blessed with young people who are responsible, mature, courageous, altruistic, and wise beyond their years − for example, those who are risking their lives for us in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Our future depends on whether we raise young people to be the responsible, conscientious citizens essential to a free nation ‒ you know, like the young men on the 15:17 train to Paris. And they need effective weapons to combat violent crime at home and terrorism abroad. Selfie sticks will not do the job.

Contact: dstol@prodigy.net. You are welcome to publish or post these articles, provided that you cite the author and website.

www.stolinsky.com

2 Comments

  • Frieda31 says:

    You are too hard on young people. When we were young we went around with disposable Kodak and Fuji cameras and asked strangers to take our photos in front of landmarks. Same thing, no?

    • David Stolinsky says:

      That’s true. But perhaps the ability to take selfies constantly just feeds the narcissism. We all have negative tendencies. Things should be arranged to inhibit them and encourage the positive tendencies. We seem to be doing the opposite.

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