“The Vanishing American Adult”

From the Hoover Institution, Nebraska Senator Benjamin Sasse joins Peter Robinson to discuss his book The Vanishing American Adult and the growing crisis in America of “prolonged adolescence,” the necessity of productivity despite now transitioning into a consumption-focused economy, the lagging of virtues in what has become a preeminent first-world society, and the passivity commonly shown by millennials in the face of this unfolding reality and what can be done to instill better habit formation so as to build a work ethic as well as to learn to appreciate the values our nation was founded on.

I can dig much of what Senator Sasse is putting forth here, old-school and traditional as it can’t help but be. Not that all or even most traditions are wholly useless or obsolete to where they deserve to be discarded in the dustbin of history. In fact, we’d better learn more about those traditions and what all they encompass and why they came into being before jumping to the conclusion that they no longer serve a useful purpose or matter. This is me saying this, of all people. Some things can’t be brought back once they’re gone, and we humans have a bad habit, nowadays especially, of assuming we know more than we do. Thinking we have the right answers when we don’t. Getting caught up in modern life and not taking the time to explore in depth what we’ve historically and evolutionarily come up through.

Life is a massive puzzle that we’ll never be able to completely figure out. But now we do tend to act (at all age levels) as though if we can dream it, we can then somehow bring it into fruition and that will necessarily be good. We’re naive in that assessment, IMO. It’s a grand assumption, very often wishful thinking rooted in nothing but hopes and ideals. If we can’t or won’t seriously grapple with who and what we are—as individuals, groups/tribes, cultures, nations, and overall as a species—then how valuable and realistically applicable can we expect our dreams to be?

An untold number of generations have come before us struggling through entire lifetimes while striving to comprehend life and living, to survive and gain wisdom and insights to pass forward so as to give each subsequent generation a little bit more to work with. Yet we like to act nowadays as if all that’s come before is dwindling in relevancy, archaic, impractical in this day and age. I used to feel the same way when I was a younger. Admittedly still do to an extent, especially when faced with religious fundamentalism and the dogmatic extremes exhibited therein. And yet also I more and more feel drawn toward lessons already out there and articulated, wanting to learn from them instead of stubbornly refusing and attempting to reinvent the wheel. I need to focus more of my own time investigating and familiarizing myself with what has come before. Hard not to feel tremendously ignorant and humbled when confronted with so much information and ideas and observations generated and recorded in the past, just waiting for us in the 21st century to conscientiously engage with it and see what springs forth.

Aristotle sounds like a good place to start.

“Charles Murray on populism, globalization, ‘The Bell Curve,’ and American politics today”

His conversation with Bill Kristol:

Very interesting discussion, after already being familiar with a couple of Dr. Charles Murray’s books and several speeches and interviews.

Pausing at 40:41: It’s taken me a while to come around to the idea, but I can appreciate what he’s suggesting there about a universal basic income. It would replace all other forms of social welfare, including social security payments. His position taken there explains how single mothers would no longer receive any financial incentives from the government for birthing children out of wedlock, which is unarguably a major issue in our country at present. Now, his scheme also requires securing our borders and no longer allowing in low-skill immigrant workers to compete in our workforce, which I would also be on board with. Ideally, it’s not what many of us would envision as a way forward, but we are facing dire straits due to the policies implemented in recent decades, spanning back to the 1960s or before that to FDR’s era. What we do know already is the direction we’re headed for currently is bound to end in national bankruptcy and mass immigration undermining our Western civilizations. So we must start there in considering this matter seriously. Wishful thinking of re-embracing frontier life and simply moving “off the grid” is not a sustainable solution, not for the vast majority of citizens at least.

I am willing to hear the man out and feel his proposal makes a good deal of sense, especially when he is open and willing to critique the globalization scheme we’re all being perpetually threatened by now. Bill Kristol isn’t someone for whom I’ve ever been a fan, but he too claims to be a reformer who’s seen the danger in the G.W. Bush administration and is looking for other alternatives. I will suspend judgment against him if that is truly the case.

My only concern standing would be that people might group up into collectives and then pool their money to afford living expenses while choosing to waste their lives with drugs and whatever else. Which they basically are doing already, so I can’t see why under his proposal it would be any different. But we as a society would have to remain steadfast and disallow these individuals to take advantage of us just because they squandered their own benefits. This is where guns and self-defense tools would remain vital, and we’d have to learn to take them more seriously. Because some people will always seek to take from others rather than earn for themselves, regardless of what they wind up entitled to. That’s just a sad fact of life that we’d be better off coming to grips with sooner vs. later.

But his talk about the advancements in artificial intelligence and driver-less cars is a real concern and certainly will displace thousands, if not millions, of American workers in the decades to come. The mechanics and automotive professionals I’m currently in contact with assure me of this reality. The sooner we prepare, the better off we might be. Might be.

I also appreciate Dr. Murray bringing up the importance of conscientiousness in our jobs. That’s something always worth keeping in mind, especially for those of us who work in unobserved environments. He’s right there, and there’s always somebody else waiting around the corner who can do better what we’re not taking seriously enough.