In 2008, Mark Bauerlein wrote “The Dumbest Generation, How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future.” Judging by events in the intervening dozen years (and especially in recent months), it appears that Bauerlein’s assessment was premature and perhaps even too kind.
Bauerlein correctly identified overreliance on the internet and social media (then still in its infancy) as the primary culprits for Millennials losing their ability to think, learn and communicate coherently. What his analysis perhaps did not anticipate is the number of adults who have come to encourage, empower and support Millennials in these efforts. It is almost as if adults in government, the news media and academia are competing with Millennials for the title.
Consider, for example, the issue of providing college students with “safe spaces,” where they can shelter from the horrors of people, ideas and principles they consider “offensive.” The students may be the ones pushing for these accommodations, but it is the adult college administrators who cave in and make it happen.
Young protesters in Seattle may “occupy” a sector of that once-respected city; they may scream “police brutality” and call for the police department to be “defunded.” Their demands, however, would amount to little were it not for the city’s clueless Mayor Jenny Durken, who lauded the young occupiers as “patriots,” and her namby-pamby police chief, Carmen Best, who decided that barricades which had protected one of her department’s precinct headquarters should be removed as a “gesture of trust” to the mob.
While adult elected enablers of today’s young mobs predominate in west coast cities such as Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, counterparts are found across the country. New York’s dynamic duo of Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio repeatedly praise and encourage the demonstrators, even as they offer virtually no support for police who are left to deal with the looting, arson and violence in the streets. Meanwhile, Cuomo’s narcissistic brother, CNN commentator Chris Cuomo, muses on air that protesters need not be either polite or peaceful.
On the ground in Seattle’s mob-occupied zone, a collegiate-type “safe space” was set aside, but only for individuals with “black ancestry” or who “have experienced oppression because [they] are black.” In an interesting role-reversal, news reports noted that this open-air “Black Healing Space” was enforced against non-black interlopers by young whites.
The profound historical and cultural illiteracy of these young mobs repeatedly is confirmed by actions such as their indiscriminate destruction of public statues simply because they are, well, public statues. Reasoning with demonstrators who have shown themselves incapable of distinguishing between statues of musicians like Stevie Ray Vaughan and those memorializing Confederate civil war generals would be an obvious waste of time.
In Lincoln County, Oregon, officials decreed that black Americans do not have to wear medical masks otherwise required for all citizens, because requiring African Americans to do so would in some way perpetuate “racial stereotypes.” Truly, there would be little point in arguing with adults spouting such nonsense; they have thrown in with the children.
The depth to which these “adult Millennials” and their “true Millennial” cohorts have descended in their drive to protect themselves (and our country) from reality, is perhaps most clearly illustrated by the wrath just recently directed against “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling.
Rowling’s “sin” was to publicly explain that only biological women menstruate, not men who had “transgendered” to women. Adult detractors were not only angered by Rowling’s refusal to kowtow to the New Age gender orthodoxy; they reportedly were deeply “devastated” by the horror of her words.
One such person is a teacher at the highly regarded Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Devin Michelle Bunten. Ms. Bunten penned a New York Times op-ed declaring that people, like Rowling and President Trump, who employ terms such as “male” and “female” are “erasing” transgendered individuals and simply perpetuating what she considers our disgraceful social “patriarchy.”
With adult teachers at institutions of higher learning like MIT spouting such nonsense, it is hardly surprising we have now two generations of illiterate snowflakes who cannot distinguish between Stevie Ray Vaughan and Stonewall Jackson.
Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003 and served as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986 to 1990. He now serves as President of the Law Enforcement Education Foundation based in Atlanta, Georgia.