Generation suck

Kids today are going completely to hell. Everybody should read this editorial in today’s Washington Post, or one like it.

Then take a second and glance over the comments that follow, since, as might be expected, they’ve been almost unilaterally submitted by those who either didn’t read the article or didn’t grasp it.

The editorial provides two constants to support its assertion; the lack of historical background by those making the claim, and the lack of any factual data to support those offering the argument. To wit, I’d add a third component; the complete inability to realize that those making the argument are demonstrating the exact same characteristics that they’re allegedly so upset about.

It’s irrational, emotionalist and ignorant. If things seem skewed to one, its easy enough to be certain that the experience only demonstrates the truth of the statement “a little nostalgia is a dangerous thing”. To paraphrase Alfie Kohn’s own observation, not only would someone once said the same of you, someone else would have written an editorial pointing this out. And that, too, would have been conveniently ignored.

Narcissism? What could possibly be more narcissistic than asserting one’s superiority to a demographic with no particular recourse to defense? After all, they’re just kids — who’s going to believe a kid over an adult? Which is an even greater conceit, still, since after all, the dividing line that should distinguish the two is logical/rational versus emotional/impulsive.

In a 1995 Gallup poll, 94 percent of parents of preschoolers admitted to having struck their children within the previous year…

This is where the argument ends. Boom. We’re talking about a subject that isn’t subject to tremendous documentation in the first place, but it bears repeating that what little there is gets ignored anyway. People think what they want to about the subject. Should they be faulted for it?

Is parenting really an appropriate topic on which to display the cumulative effect of every cognitive bias we’ve managed to quantify thus far? You’d think that the subject should be taken fairly seriously, after all. Either these folks think that 6% of a population justifies an anecdotal generalization or they’re arguing from a rational disconnect.

That said, we can pretty much count on history repeating itself, and the best that one can hope for is to avoid making the same mistake themselves. But in so far as anyone with a working memory should be able to avoid it, it certainly seems well worth doing.

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