Monday, March 22, 2010

Deifying Adolescence

Actually, this World Magazine column by Janie B. Cheaney is entitled "Abetting the Clueless." Even so, I chose to title this post a bit more strongly, and when you read Ms. Cheaney's editorial, you'll see why.

Ms. Cheaney is discussing the recent death of author J.D. Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye." The book is required reading in many high schools across the country, and has been for years. To be honest, the book bored me to tears. But I think Janie is on to something in her column. I love this quote especially . . .

Why do some adults romanticize a time of life that almost no one wants to revisit? Though youth has its joys, those years might best be summed up as "Clueless in the Universe": cruelly self-aware but without perspective. Society seems equally confused about teens, allowing them to drive at 16 but not to rent a car until 23, encouraging sexual activity through entertainment and dress while discouraging it through abstinence programs, celebrating youthful alienation in literature but deploring it in the classroom. The idealization of adolescence does it no favors. Psalm 103 offers a better attitude: "As a father shows compassion to his children . . . "

Ms. Cheaney also records a line from the novel King Dork, which excoriates the "Holden Caulfield cult" among educators . . .

They're looking over your shoulder with these expectant smiles, wishing they were the ones discovering the earth-shattering joys of The Catcher in the Rye for the very first time. Too late, man. I mean, I've been around the . . . block. I've been forced to read it like three hundred times, and don't tell anyone but I think it sucks."

There is so much there to ponder if you just let yourself for a while. The damage done to our society and country -- not to mention to the next generation -- by a whole slew of 1960s liberals who have deified adolescence with all of its narcissism is incalculable.

We've just seen a sliver of it in the health care debacle this past weekend. The entitlement culture and mindset will be the eventual ruin of the United States.

We're just too adolescent to see it.


Rob Auld said...

In a country that can afford a military budget larger then all the other countries combined, how is ensuring all your people have healthcare bad?

Reduce your military budget, bring home the troops from Iraq and we solve the budget deficit.


Solameanie said...

Ah, Rob. Deliciously simplistic as usual. What would I do without you?

Aside from your idea about the military budget, it might be helpful to recognize something about health care. It's a product/service, not a right or entitlement. That's hard for the socialist-nanny state-womb-to-the-tomb types to fathom, but so it is. At least it ought to be.

America's health care system is not perfect, but it's the best in the world. And we're about to ruin it.

BTW, while you're whinging about this subject, you might have a chat with one of your provincial premiers up there in the Great White North. He apparently likes our system better too.

Palm boy said...

Joel, perhaps its not that we're to adolescent to see it, but that we're to adolescent to do anything about it but spurn the wisdom of ages, until our chickens return to roost.

Rob Auld said...


funny. You don't have the best healthcare in the world. You rank 17th in outcomes. You do have some of the most innovation in healthcare though.

It's sad to see that you can't substantively defend your argument. I think you're slipping. Do you have insurance?


Solameanie said...

PB, I agree.

Rob, as usual you miss my point. I'm not "slipping" as you put it. I don't feel the need to argue endlessly about something that really isn't my main objection.

We could argue (endlessly) about who has the best health care. As you know (or should know), a lot depends on who is doing the ranking, who is paying for the "study," and how objective the ones doing the ranking and studying are. The truth is that socialized medicine has never really worked wherever it's been tried. It ends up with rationing, waiting lists, shortages etc. I'm waiting for you to explain to me why people from other countries where the socialized model is so worshipped by their governments come here for health care. I don't think you can.

But all that is beside the main point I am making. Under the American system as envisioned by our Founders, it is not the government's role to mandate or provide health insurance. Under our Constitution -- by DESIGN -- we have limited government. We are not Europe. We are not Canada. We are not -- thank God -- the former Soviet Union, Cuba or China. We have a free enterprise system where people are to govern their own lives and pursue their own fortunes.

Yes, I have health insurance. But there was a time when I couldn't afford it. And guess what I did? I paid my own doctor bill, even if it took time. I did not want or expect a government handout.