07 June 2008

Kindergarchy of the Western World

Having only one or two children allows parents to shower a great deal of attention upon each child. And that must be a good thing, right?
No other generations of kids have been so curried and cultivated, so pampered and primed, though primed for what exactly is a bit unclear. Children are given a voice in lots of decisions formerly not up for their consideration. "If it's your child, not you, who gets to choose your weekend brunch spot,"

...Every high school now has its battery of counselors: guidance, psychological, college. A larger and larger segment of the student population seems to bring its own psychological tics and jiggeroos to school with them: ADHD, dyslexia and other learning disabilities, various degrees of depression requiring regimens of pills and therapy sessions. Some of these defects and disabilities are the result of parents' having their children at a later age. Might others be that the children are so intensely watched over and tested that more and more defects and disabilities show up, some among them possibly imaginary?

...So often in my literature classes students told me what they "felt" about a novel, or a particular character in a novel. I tried, ever so gently, to tell them that no one cared what they felt; the trick was to discover not one's feelings but what the author had put into the book, its moral weight and its resultant power. In essay courses, many of these same students turned in papers upon which I wished to--but did not--write: "D-, Too much love in the home." I knew where they came by their sense of their own deep significance and that this sense was utterly false to any conceivable reality. Despite what their parents had been telling them from the very outset of their lives, they were not significant. Significance has to be earned, and it is earned only through achievement. Besides, one of the first things that people who really are significant seem to know is that, in the grander scheme, they are themselves really quite insignificant. __Source_via_aldaily.com
Even "only children" raised without siblings, full of self-esteem and their own specialness, are in reality "quite insignificant." Sequestered in classrooms until their twenties or later, protected from any real responsibilities, prevented from being tested by the larger world, they are finally tossed into reality demanding everything but qualified for little or nothing.

These "special" children are turning into psychologically neotenised lawyers, politicians, journalists, judges, political activists, bureaucrats, educators, clerks, and any other occupation where they can frequently turn their feelings into a quasi-truth.

Heaven help these poor children who fall into a field where they are actually tested against reality in a meaningful way. Working physicians, engineers, IT workers, technologists and technicians, military, ICU nurses, maintenance and construction workers, law enforcement, pilots, researchers and lab workers who are required to develop things "that work", EMS, business people who must "deliver the goods"--these are examples of people who have to go beyond their feelings and actually be competent.

There are many examples of psychologically neotenised people who got into "competence-tested" fields by mistake. They flew the plane drunk, killed or terrorized innocent people, operated on the patient under the influence of drugs. They fudged their data, produced sloppy code, and designed buildings that fell down.

Unfortunately, parents in developed societies are turning their few progeny into more and more psychologically neotenised princes and princesses. Full of self-esteem and a sense of entitlement, they are spilling out into all occupations and fields. What have they done? Nothing. What can they do? Nothing. What are they willing to learn to do? Almost nothing. What do they want? Everything!

In November, voters in the US will have the opportunity to elect a US President who has done essentially nothing. Never flew a jet fighter or served in any type of military or national guard unit. Never operated a successful business or served in an important administrative position. Barely served half a US Senate term. Never faced re-election as US Senator. No record of achievement, legislation, or accomplishment. The very picture of a quite special psychological neotenate, sliding his way toward an important position at a time in history where challenges to western civilisation are growing critical.

Welcome to the Kindergarchy.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Saturday, 07 June, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

The US has strong regions and weak regions. California's dysfunctional state government has made it weaker by the year. It is a good example of your downward populist road typified by Venezuela.

If the US elects a Rorschach blot as president, it will have taken a huge step down that same road.

Of course, the current US Congress is doing everything it can to destroy US competitiveness in the world by restricting or denying viable approaches to building domestic energy supplies. Federal Reserve Bank policies of intentionally weakening the US dollar have not helped either.

The bottom line for the US is whether it can bring fiscal discipline back into government. If not, the long term prospects for not only the US but also global prosperity and stability are poor.

Sunday, 08 June, 2008  
Blogger kmg said...

Market forces will, painfully, sort this out.

Indian and Chinese kids are not so pampered, but are harder working. They will capture the best opportunities, with the whiny American kids occupying the lower rungs.

If US politicians become so leftist/populist that the top achievers are no longer happy, they will go elsewhere, much in the way people came to the US in the first place.

Sunday, 08 June, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

Interesting scenario, kmg.

The American kids who have been psychologically neotenised and academically lobotomised are indeed quite whiny.

Indian and Chinese markets are emerging, after all, so it will take time for children in those countries to catch up to their American counterparts in dysfunctionality.

India and China are currently growing at the whim of the developed world. If the developed world goes down due to political decadence and ineffectual behaviour, India and China will suffer significantly.

Monday, 09 June, 2008  

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