CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Adventures in Neverland: A Culture of Brats, Bullies and Cry-Babies

Jan 30, 2018

Most folks know about Peter Pan. He is a fictional character created by Scottish writer J. M. Barrie in the early 1900s. He is “a free-spirited and mischievous young boy who can fly and never grows up. Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood having adventures on the mythical island of Neverland.”

Various versions of the Pan story have been produced. If you are not familiar with some of the earlier works, you might have seen the 1991 film version Hook directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Robin Williams. Regardless, Peter Pan is well known as someone who refuses to grow up.

Hmm, sounds awfully familiar. Why does it seem that the West today closely resembles Neverland? The sad truth is, we are now raising an entire generation of Peter Pans. We are now creating millions of individuals who refuse to take responsibility for anything, who refuse to grow up, and who refuse to live in the real world.

They are in a state of perpetual adolescence, and many might argue they have not even progressed beyond the toddler stage. They act just like self-obsessed juveniles, forever interested only in themselves. As pampered snowflakes, they are ever ready to lash out at anyone and anything that challenges them or causes them offence.

They are eternal victims, always being offended and always ready to go on the attack. Incredibly, we mostly see this on display at our college campuses. Students there will declare war on anything that bothers or offends them. They are even happy to declare war on free speech, just so long as they can be free of being offended.

They have never grown up, and it clearly shows in their behaviour. Mature adults take responsibility for their actions, learn to get along with those they differ with, and seek to move forward. But this generation of cry-babies refuses to go this way, relishing instead the victimhood culture in which they forever take offence and live in a flood of microaggressions.

No one is safe in such a culture. The slightest thing can set these folks off, and they will respond with all manner of bullying and abuse. It seems they go out of their way looking to be offended, and then they will take suitable action: lashing out at others, demanding they stop what they are doing or saying and conform to their preferred way of living.

We had a classic example of this just the other day. Consider this story out of Australia:

Customers at a steakhouse in the Melbourne CBD were disrupted on Saturday night as a group of animal rights activists stormed the restaurant. Thirty-five members of the Melbourne Cow Save Animal Liberation Army forced their way into the Rare Steakhouse at around 6.30pm, chanting slogans, standing around tables and holding signs up against windows in an attempt to “speak up for animals where their dead bodies were being consumed.”
In a video posted to the group’s Facebook page, the group can be seen lining the restaurant with customers continuing to eat their dinner despite the demonstration, several bewildered diners reaching for their phones to film the scenes for themselves. “In order to create change in our society, we must challenge current belief systems and force people to take a side; oppression or justice, cruelty or compassion,” the group wrote on Facebook.

‘We will force you to do what is right in our own eyes.’ The coercive utopians in action again. Whether it is burning books in the streets in Germany last century, or shouting down visiting speakers on college campuses today, these snowflake warriors are on the prowl, and will insist that you stop doing what they do not like.

And hey, isn’t it quite common for these very same folks to tell pro-lifers, “If you don’t like an abortion, don’t have one”? Maybe they should apply their advice to themselves. If they don’t like a good steak dinner, then don’t have one, but butt out of other people’s lives here.

Welcome to our brave new world. That plenty of examples of this can be found on a daily basis is a real worry. Even more of a worry is when our experts and eggheads seek to normalise all this. Consider just one recent news item from the UK:

Adolescence now lasts from the ages of 10 to 24, although it used to be thought to end at 19, scientists say. Young people continuing their education for longer, as well as delayed marriage and parenthood, has pushed back popular perceptions of when adulthood begins.
Changing the definition is vital to ensure laws stay appropriate, they write in an opinion piece in the Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal. But another expert warns doing so risks “further infantilising young people”.

Yep, we should just affirm and accept this tidal wave of young adults who refuse to grow up and become real adults with real responsibilities. Let’s just all live in a perpetual state of infantilisation. Beats growing up. Beats being a responsible member of society. Beats having to live in the real world.

Just act like a cry baby, forever take offence, and lash out at anyone who gets in your space or makes you feel bad. Hmm, as parents we tolerated that only slightly when our children were actually toddlers. But even then we sought to teach them how to grow up and better get along with others.

Now we are saying this is the new normal. That is a recipe for disaster. Over a decade ago Diana West penned an important volume entitled, The Death of the Grown-Up (St. Martin’s Press, 2007). The subtitle says it all: “How America’s Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization”

The book asked the question, ‘Where have all the grown-ups gone?’ West argues that America seems intent on creating a generation of adult adolescents: men and women who refuse to grow up, to become responsible and productive citizens, but who instead seek to perpetually remain teenagers.

She looks at various factors which led to this, such as modern marketing, cultural relativism, multiculturalism, and the youth culture – they have all combined to entice adults into never leaving childhood. This widescale case of arrested development, and the mainstreaming of adolescence, spells bad news for the West.

Her book begins with these words:

Once there was a world without teenagers. Literally. “Teenager,” the word itself, doesn’t pop into the lexicon much before 1941. This speaks volumes about the last few millennia. In all those many centuries, nobody thought to mention ‘teenagers’ because there was nothing, apparently, to think of mentioning.
In considering what I like to call ‘the death of the grown-up,’ it’s important to keep a fix on this fact: that for all but this most recent episode of human history, there were children and there were adults. Children in their teen years aspired to adulthood; significantly, they didn’t aspire to adolescence. Certainly, adults didn’t aspire to remain teenagers.

She concludes her volume as follows:

What to do? It’s not enough to yell “stop,” or even “grow up.” It’s a start, though, if, in the process, we withstand the likely excruciating growing pains to undertake a serious, candid reexamination of the human condition, circa twenty-first century: as parents who need to guide children to maturity; as individuals who need to reimpose boundaries on personal behaviour; and as nation states that need to reassert border control and enforce immigration policies that preserve, rather than transform, this uniquely Western culture. Such an undertaking begins by breaking our silence. And breaking our silence begins by conquering our fears. Which is also a part of growing up. We have nothing to lose. It should now be clear that the civilization that forever dodges maturity will never live to a ripe old age.

The opening quote she offers from Eric Hoffer is well worth me closing with:

“If a society is to preserve its stability and a degree of continuity, it must know how to keep its adolescents from imposing their tastes, attitudes, values, and fantasies on everyday life.”

www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/vegan-army-storm-melbourne-steakhouse/news-story/aa3528ff30b7c5224332c9c438debf34?nk=4eb9eec5ef94761caf7b0f3843fb713f-1517278665
www.bbc.com/news/health-42732442

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12 Responses to Adventures in Neverland: A Culture of Brats, Bullies and Cry-Babies

  • Maybe if they are going to change the definition of being an adult to 24, they should increase marriage age to 24 and change pedophile laws to include those aged up to 24? That will keep things interesting…

  • Bill,
    [to extract] “…a society …. must know how to keep its adolescents from imposing their tastes, attitudes, values, and fantasies on everyday life.” : It’s [also] adult cowardice which manifests as kowtowing to what they think are youthful demands for, conspicuously, homosexualist political campaigning. Adults voting “yes” for ss “m” to ingratiate with, or appease, youth will deserve the latter’s eventual contempt. And youth will be led astray by such adult betrayals, some with tragic costs.

  • Thank you for another insightful and timely article, Bill. In the past, childhood was believed to stop at puberty, with employment and marriage following this milestone. I do agree that the term “teen-ager” was not used much before 1941 and that there has been a trend to value youth and leisure time too much since then. I also recall how parents of the 1950s and 1960s tried to instill the values of work, honesty, respect, and tolerance in their children. The lack of these qualities is the main cause of the “crybaby” syndrome of today. It seems such people cannot simply turn away from something they do not like because they believe they have the right to cause a disturbance and to manipulate others into conforming to their ideas or at least getting on their band wagon.

    I remember enrolling in a Christian college 50-plus years ago with the intention of becoming a teacher. The philosophy of the school was that students could learn a profession that would help humanity in some way and have a ministry in their career. I was appalled to learn that the parents of many male students had the idea that their sons would be on “Easy Street” if they could marry school teachers after finding suitable young ladies at the school. The reason was that they did not want “Sonny Boy” to have to work! As anyone knows, school teachers barely made a living 50 years ago, and yet these parents thought their sons should use unsuspecting young women for a “free ride” instead of learning to work for a living and being responsible husbands and fathers.

    Equally appalling is the “new” trend for students at Christian colleges to trash campus buildings on a daily basis and, at the end of the term, throw their own belongings out of windows onto trash heaps below so that they do not have to be “bothered” to move their possessions home for the summer. Obviously, the parents of such students were and are only too willing to replace everything the next year. I had no idea this practice was so usual until two Christian friends, who work at a nearby Christian college, told me about having to clean up the buildings and about seeing furniture and other belongings thrown out of dormitory windows. They assumed this had been going on 50 years ago when I was a student. I was shocked and said, “That rarely — if ever — happened because it was called vandalism and there were very strict rules against it and severe penalties for it.” Furthermore, parents would come to the school to help the students move home. My two friends were dumbfounded that any such strictness or parental assistance ever had existed and gave “Kids will be kids” as the reason for what is happening at their school.

    When is “enough” enough, and when will these irresponsible young people ever grow up?

  • “Just act like a cry baby, forever take offence, and lash out at anyone who gets in your space or makes you feel bad.”
    Ummm, so what happens when individuals like this encounter OTHER people who are ALSO cry babies, forever taking offence etc, who are upset with THEM over something?
    Theoretically this has to happen at some point as more and more, ‘responsible grown-ups’ are weeded out of society – replaced by the always unsatisfied growing majority
    Of course if we see no correction here our collective prosperity and security is inevitably placed in great jeopardy. How long can an infantilised society survive in this harsh, cruel, pragmatic world?

  • I was thinking that maybe the voting age should be increased if we’re not adults until 24. That should take away about half of the Greens vote. Not to mention the right to drive as well as purchase alcohol and cigarettes.

  • The great thing is that being 65 this is unlikely to affect me much ? These “snowflakes” will have to live with what they create and/or clean up their own mess ???

  • The cost to society must be immense. Most of my peers are still not married and I’m in my early thirties. They’re still toying with dating this girl and that and ‘having fun’, which ends up in multiple broken relationships and heartache.

    We should take some comfort in that people from my school – a Christian school – tended towards much earlier marriage and family than my wife’s – a private secular school. The overriding message of that secular (girls) school was the humanist “you can be anything you want”, “follow your heart”, etc which seems to cater towards perpetual adolescence (our own heart never said “get responsible”, “work hard” …).

    Instead whatever it is that we Christians teach seems to cater towards quick maturity: selflessness tends towards responsibly; humility tends towards learning quickly; working for God and good tends towards a harder work ethic and more longevity in that work, there being a higher purpose.

  • bar-mitzvah, a rite of passage to manhood takes place around the age of 13 in traditional Judaism. Islamic tradition also considers boys of similar age to have become “men” too – In certain traditional Muslim divorce scenarios, boys as young as 7 years old are deemed OK to be removed from the custody of their birth mothers.

    While modern laws in Western countries regarding the age of consent grew out of attempts to combat trafficking in the adolescent offspring of poor parents, rise of a teenager sub-culture was not intended or foreseen by the reformers who framed the laws in question.

  • Welcome to our House of Mirrors
    Where confusion reigns supreme.
    We’ve got “spring flings” to entice you.
    You’ll see Kings becoming Queens.

    Re-imagine what you will, sir,
    And then re-imagine back…
    In this NeverLand, remember:
    Lost Boys NEVER give you flak.

    “Real” is really up for grabs here
    Now that truth is up to you.
    It’s a game played in the dark, sir.
    If you dream it, then it’s true.

    It’s a trick that’s quite Occultic,
    It’s delusion at its best.
    There’s no need to hide the children…
    (They’ve already passed our test.)

    Sorry, “Mom”, …Did we not tell you?
    It was last year’s Common Core.
    “Dad”, you really should be proud, sir…
    Junior got a perfect score!

    Blending Gender’s our Agenda…
    Pixie Dust and Magik Spells…
    Watch as Peter Pan goes under
    Then turn into Tinker Bell.

  • I would say they act like toddlers but I don’t want to be offensive to toddlers. I can just see some two year old saying “you think they act like me ?? At least my crap is in my diaper!”

  • And of course these victim obsessed snowflakes never seem to have any problems getting their own way from sympathetic public servants and politicians, who, seeming to do the “right” thing, will throw millions of taxpayer’s money at whatever cause is flavour of the month. Of course, now the same-sex marriage issue is decided, the LGBLT (hold the mayo) group are gorging on its success.
    St Kilda will be the location of a purpose built Victoria Pride Centre courtesy of $28 mills form the taxpayers of Australia and Victoria.The centre will be the first facility of its type in Australia. In 2016, the state government announced.Among the centre’s future residents are JOY FM, the Victorian AIDS Council, the Minus18 Melbourne Queer Film Festival, Midsumma Festival, an “LGBTQI multi-culture, multi-faith Organization,” the Switchboard helpline, LGBTI sporting organization Team Melbourne and the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives.
    Next time the left complains about lack of government funding for welfare. here’s $28 mills I’m sure the Salvation Army or Smith Family would be very happy with.

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