Islamization and the West’s Loss of Maturity
From the desk of The Brussels Journal on Thu, 2007-08-30 07:07
A quote from Bruce Thornton’s review of Diana West’s latest book, 24 August 2007
Much of the jihadist picture of the West is distorted, a caricature based on superficial observation and selective evidence. Yet there remain troubling aspects of American culture that give traction to the Islamic critique. In her book The Death of the Grown-Up, Diana West, a syndicated columnist for the Washington Times, pulls together the various dysfunctions and discontents of American civilization by seeing them as the expression of a unique historical development, the “death of the grown-up.” The demise of the adult has led to the abandonment of adult virtues and mentalities, and their replacement by the instant gratification, impatience with the limits of reality, and the obsession with the self typical of the teen-ager.
West starts by explaining the historical conditions of the “rise of the teen age,” a time of life unknown before modernity. Rather than flog the 60’s, West correctly sees that decade’s cultural degeneracy as the “epilogue” of the 50’s and its post-war affluence, demographic explosion, and increased freedom for the young. Changes in family size, the advent of work-place skills that demanded longer education, the discrediting of authority spawned by fascism, the inevitable progress of liberalism towards radical individualism – all contributed to the shift from an adult-centered world to a child-centered one. Also important was the development of adolescents into the most coveted demographic for consumer capitalism, the group most prone to transient fashion and impulse buying – and now possessing the funds to gratify those ad-stoked desires for products like Princess telephones, portable record players (six million sold in 1952 alone), 45rpm records, hairspray, and movies like Rebel Without a Cause that flattered and glamorized teen-aged angst and petulance. [...]
One of West’s shrewdest ideas is to link multiculturalism’s self-loathing idealization of the “other” to the adolescent “identity crisis.” Our ignorance of the West’s unique goods enshrined in its history and traditions has led to a loss of cultural identity, which “would seem to be linked to the loss of maturity. At the very least, the easy retreat from history and tradition reveals the kind of callow inconstancy and lack of confidence that smacks of immaturity as much as anything else. It seems that just as we have stopped ‘growing up,’ we have forgotten ‘who’ it was we were supposed to grow up into.” At the same time, we give to non-Western cultures a groveling respect and timidly acquiesce in their dysfunctions. This bad habit, as West shows with numerous examples, is particularly dangerous for the struggle against Islamic jihad. That battle isn’t going to be won by calling Islamic terrorists “gunmen” or “activists,” or by ignoring the West’s long, unique tradition of tolerance for the “other” at the same time we indulge the myth of Islamic tolerance.
Submitted by kristof on Sun, 2007-09-02 06:20.
Robert Epstein talks about the same problem in his book The Case Against Adolescence. it's the not the teenagers' freedoms that are the problem, it's their freedom to do anything but enter the adult world, something they once were free to do a century ago
an interview :
We have completely isolated young people from adults and created a peer culture. We stick them in school and keep them from working in any meaningful way, and if they do something wrong we put them in a pen with other "children." In most nonindustrialized societies, young people are integrated into adult society as soon as they are capable, and there is no sign of teen turmoil. Many cultures do not even have a term for adolescence. But we not only created this stage of life: We declared it inevitable.
Mr ED: Horse sense or horse feathers?
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Fri, 2007-08-31 11:48.
In Reply to Bruce Thornton on 'the West's Loss of Maturity'
Submitted by Kapitein Andre on Fri, 2007-08-31 03:01.
Thornton: "Much of the jihadist picture of the West is distorted, a caricature based on superficial observation and selective evidence."
A "distorted" concept of an "other" does not necessarily result in the type of tensions that exist between European* and Islamic societies. Certainly many Canadians and Americans have misconceptions about one another, however, they are economically and militarily interdependent, despite that the former is a middle and minor power in those respective areas. Islamic aggression is an almost inseparable fusion of legitimate greivances (based on historical and contemporary foreign interference e.g. political, military and economic) and socio-cultural differences (which involves xenophobia, racism and supremacism).
Thornton: "Yet there remain troubling aspects of American culture that give traction to the Islamic critique...The demise of the adult has led to the abandonment of adult virtues and mentalities, and their replacement by the instant gratification, impatience with the limits of reality, and the obsession with the self typical of the teen-ager."
Though an intriguing point, the 'shoe is on the wrong foot.' It is Muslims who are the epitome of youthfulness, and who emphasize direct action, combat, death, heroism and sacrifice as opposed to retirement properties and affordable healthcare.
Thornton: "West correctly sees that decade’s [the 1960s] cultural degeneracy as the “epilogue” of the 50’s..."
Firstly, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out. Secondly, all decades are "culturally degenerate" in equal measure. During the explosion in affluence and religiousity in the United States during the 1920s, prohibition fueled unparalled organised crime and violence, and the excesses of segregation and the Ku Klux Klan were at their peak e.g. the latter claimed millions of members.
Thornton: "...the West’s long, unique tradition of tolerance for the “other” at the same time we indulge the myth of Islamic tolerance."
Long...if 20 years can be considered long. Oh sorry, 30.
Back to Thornton and the other West
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Thu, 2007-08-30 11:27.
Title: The Indictment of the West.
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Thu, 2007-08-30 11:02.
For all you contrarians out there...
Title: Arrested Development by John Leo
Plague of the Baby Boomers
Submitted by Amsterdamsky on Thu, 2007-08-30 08:51.
"West starts by explaining the historical conditions of the “rise of the teen age,” a time of life unknown before modernity."
Much of this was just pandering to baby boomers and helping with the rejection of their parents values of stability, responsibility and hard work. Having baby boomer parents myself I would describe the the unwritten goal of my generation as to destroy everything that reminds us of the 1970's absurdities that led to our current distopian multicultural insanity and eventually economic collapse caused by an aging population without adequate resources to pay for them. Do you think ANYONE of my generation will be able to retire at 55 from the public sector with a full pension? HAHAHAHA!!