At this point, virtually all of us over the age of forty have encountered enough “snowflakes” (those Millennials who have a meltdown if anything they say or believe is challenged) to understand that, increasingly, young people are being systemically coddled to the point that they cannot cope with their “reality” being questioned.
The post-war babyboomers were the first “spoiled” generation, with tens of millions of children raised under the concept that, “I don’t want my children to have to experience the hardships that I faced, growing up.”
Those jurisdictions that prospered most (the EU, US, Canada, etc.) were, not coincidentally, the ones where this form of childrearing became most prevalent.
The net result was the ‘60’s generation - young adults who could be praised for their idealism in pursuing the peace movement, the civil rights movement and equal rights for women. But those same young adults were spoiled to the degree that many felt that it made perfect sense that they should attend expensive colleges, but spend much of their study time pursuing sex, drugs and rock and roll.
Flunking out or dropping out was not seen as a major issue and very few of them felt any particular guilt about having squandered their parents’ life savings in the process.
The Boomer generation then became the yuppies, as they hit middle-age and, not surprisingly, many coddled their own children even more than they themselves had been coddled.
As a result of ever-greater indulgence with each new generation of children, tens of millions of Millennials now display the result of parents doing all they can to remove every possible hardship from their children’s experience, no matter how small.
Many in their generation never had to do chores, have a paper route, or get good grades in order to be given an exceptional reward, such as a cell phone. They grew to adulthood without any understanding of cause and effect, effort and reward.
Theoretically, the outcome was to be a generation that was free from troubles, free from stress, who would have only happy thoughts. The trouble with this ideal was that, by the time they reached adulthood, many of the critical life’s lessons had been missing from their upbringing. In the years during which their brains were biologically expanding and developing, they had been hardwired to expect continued indulgence throughout their lives. Any thought they had was treated as valid, even if it was insupportable in logic.
And, today, we’re witnessing the fruits of this upbringing. Tens of millions of Millennials have never learned the concept of humility. They’re often unable to cope with their thoughts and perceptions being questioned and, in fact, often cannot think outside of themselves to understand the thoughts and perceptions of others.
They tend to be offended extremely easily and, worse, don’t know what to do when this occurs. They have such a high perception of their own self-importance that they can’t cope with being confronted, regardless of the validity of the other person’s reasoning. How they feel is far more important than logic or fact.
Hypersensitive vulnerability is a major consequence, but a greater casualty is Truth. Truth has gone from being fundamental to being something “optional” – subjective or relative, and of lesser importance than someone being offended or hurt.
Of course, it would be easy to simply fob these young adults off as emotional mutants – spiteful narcissists, who cannot survive school without the school’s provision of safe spaces, cookies, puppies and hug sessions.
Previous generations of students (my own included) were often intimidated when presented with course books that had titles like Elements of Calculus and Analytic Geometry. But such books had their purpose. They were part of what had to be dealt with in order to be prepared for the adult world of ever-expanding technology.
In addition, it was expected that any student be prepared to learn (at university, if he had not already done so at home), to consider all points of view, including those less palatable. In debating classes, he’d be expected to take any side of any argument and argue it as best he could.
In large measure, these requirements have disappeared from institutions of higher learning and, in their place, colleges provide colouring books, Play-Doh, and cry closets.
At the same time as a generation of “snowflakes” is being created, the same jurisdictions that are most prominently creating them (the above-mentioned EU, US, Canada, etc.), are facing, not just a generation of young adults who have a melt-down when challenged in some small way. They’re facing an international economic and political meltdown of epic proportions.
Several generations of business and political leaders have created the greatest “kick the can” bubble that the world has ever witnessed.
We can’t pinpoint the day on which this bubble will pop, but it would appear that we may now be quite close, as those who have been kicking the can have been running out of the means to continue.
The approach of a crisis is doubly concerning, as, historically, whenever generations of older people destroy their economy from within, it invariably falls to the younger generation to dig the country out of the resultant rubble.
Never in history has a crisis of such great proportions loomed and yet, never in history has the unfortunate generation that will inherit the damage been so unequivocally incapable of coping with that damage.
As unpleasant as it may be to accept, there’s no solution for idiocy. Any society that has hardwired a generation of its children to be unable to cope, will find that that generation will be a lost one.
It will, in fact, be the following generation – the one that has grown up during the aftermath of the collapse that will, of necessity, develop the skills needed to cope with an actual recovery.
So, does that mean that the world will be in chaos for more than a generation, before the next batch of people can be raised to cope?
Well, no. Actually, that’s already happening. In Europe, where the Millennial trend exists, western Europeans have been growing up coddled and incapable, whilst eastern Europeans, who have experienced war and hardship, are growing up to be quite capable of handling whatever hardships come their way. Likewise, in Asia, the percentage of young people who are being raised to understand that they must soon shoulder the responsibility of the future is quite high.
And, elsewhere in the world – outside the sphere of the EU, US, Canada, etc., the same is largely true.
As has been forever true throughout history, civilisation does not come to a halt. It’s a “movable feast” that merely changes geographic locations from one era to another.
Always, as one star burns out, another takes its place. What’s of paramount importance is to read the tea leaves – to see the future coming and adjust for it.