AMERICA'S CHILDREN — THEN AND NOW
“There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless
their mother. There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes,
and yet is not washed from their filthiness. There is a generation,
O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up. There is a
generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives
to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among
“And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule
over them. And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another,
and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself
proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable . . .
As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule
over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err,
and destroy the way of thy paths.”
—Isa. 3:4, 5, 12
People used to begin showing all the signs of adulthood at a very young age. The term "teenager" was rarely known or used until the late 1940s. Until then, people were considered to be either in a state of infancy, adolescence or adulthood. Adolescents were considered to be adults-in-the-making. They were thought of that way, and thought of themselves that way — as adults in the making, gradually learning to think responsibly and accept responsibilities historically and universally associated with adulthood.
Perhaps one of the reasons for the revision, general dumbing down and outright erasure of American history in public schools has been to obscure how Americans have historically thought in terms of the correlation between adolescence and adulthood. Perhaps the attempts to obscure this reality have been for the sake of preempting any self-suspicions teens and twenty-somethings might have that it isn’t normal for them to think, look and act like children who need a shave and a good spanking. There are great numbers of Peter Pan types in their teen’s, twenties, thirties and older whose lives cry out as Peter Pan did, “I don’t wanna grow up!” Perhaps the history revisionists and eradicators want to shelter these people from facts that would suggest to them that they ought to grow up, that they ought to have already grown up, and that there is something really unnatural and dangerous going on when the very concept of adulthood is lost on, and to them.
It needs to be remembered that major accomplishments throughout our history were carried out by people still in, or barely out of, their teens. For starters: These were those young people who settled this country and won our independence as a nation. These were those who then went on, all mostly in their 30’s and 40’s to, as the Founders, to draft the framework for the greatest liberty-insuring government the world has ever known. It was people in their teens, their 20's and 30's who then went on to do the "heavy lifting" to build America into the great nation that it rapidly became.
Men like Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Jim Bridger, Kit Carson, and many others like them were renowned frontiersmen while in their teens and twenties. Later on, many men like Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson hunted buffalo, led settlers westward, fought Indians and served as sheriffs and federal marshals bringing law and order to untamed towns; doing all this before they were thirty years old. The famous “Buffalo Bill” Cody at age 11, following his father’s death, became the sole support of his family. When 14, he was a valued rider for the Pony Express. When 17 he joined the Union army, and by the time he was 18 he had distinguished himself in some of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. At age 26 he was awarded the Medal of Honor for service during the Indian Wars.
George Armstrong Custer, the son of an Ohio farmer, at age 23, was the youngest man ever to attain the rank of Brigadier general. He led Union troops in several major battles during the Civil War, was decorated numerous times for valor and was a nationally known and celebrated author before, at the age of only 36, he was killed at the Battle of the Little Big horn during the Sioux Indian wars. He has his fans and his critics among historians, but the fact remains that he performed great acts on individual courage and made significant contributions to his country while still very young -- something not uncommon in days before young men were busy, to borrow from the title of a book by Neil Postman, amusing themselves to death with cellphone selfies and video games.
Most of the heroes, uniformed in both blue and gray during the Civil War, were still in their teens and twenties. The brave men killed storming the shores of Normandy were almost all under the age of twenty five. Audie Murphy is a good example of the character that used to predominate in American youth. After his father’s death, he took responsibility for the support of his family before he was in his teens. At the age of 19 he won the Medal of Honor during World War II. By the end of the war, at age 21, he had become the most decorated soldier in American history.
Up until around the nineteen fifties and nineteen sixties people like John Hancock, Ben Franklin, Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and J. C. Penny were running companies and serving as statesmen; inventing, starting industries, building businesses and amassing fortunes at an early age. Many of our most famous authors, songwriters and playwrights were making their mark as young men and women while in their twenties. Those who would be considered “college age” today, were religious leaders; preaching, teaching, founding and leading Christian institutions and organizations. (Although he wasn’t an American, George Whitfield at age 19 was the leading figure in spearheading and sustaining the Great Awakening. Throughout most of our history, young people have been indispensably useful to their communities and to the building of our nation,.
It was common, until recently modern times, for couples to marry while still in their teens and set out together to do whatever it took to have and operate a ranch or farm. In the cities young men got jobs and most young wives stayed home to do their part as homemakers (the most demanding and honorable work a woman can do); and together they conscientiously and sacrificially worked to raise good children, build their homes and be responsible citizens. They didn’t know anything about government welfare, and didn’t want anything to do with it. They took pride in taking care of themselves.
Integrity, intellect, industry, and a capacity for vision and follow-through were common traits among America's youth population in our recent past. They were producers, protectors and providers. Concepts like dutifulness, diligence, hard work and honesty weren’t unfamiliar to them; these things were instilled in them and embraced by them. They shared the sentiments reflected by an old man I heard recently who said, “I never wanted anybody to give me anything.” There are still many young people like this in America, but their numbers are diminishing at what seems like warp speed.
A drastic and rapid change in how America's young people thought of themselves and were thought of began just prior to the beginning of the 1960s. The term “teenager,” virtually unknown until the 1950s, became common, identifying a class all its own. Hollywood and the music industry popularized and promoted the stereotype of the “teenager” as an immature, irreverent, reckless, rebellious free-spirited wild child, and produced young celebrities, on stage and screen, to personify, undergird and glorify this image. Also, false and foolish dogma such as “young people have to sow their wild oats” was subtly introduced to American thought life. By the way: Young people do not have to sow wild oats, and they shouldn’t be allowed to sow wild oats because what is sowed must be reaped and the crop produced from the sowing of wild oats isn’t a good one. This is a principle embedded in the Word of God which says, "For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind," and "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Hos. 8:7; Gal. 6:7).
It is a matter of documentation that the enemies of liberty and of America long ago outlined a plan for the overthrow of our Constitutional Republic. Critical to this plan was The Vanishing of the American Adult and The Death of the Grown-Up (The titles of two books authored respectfully by Ben Sasse and Diane West that should be read by every American; especially parents). The endgame of this plan was to produce an army of people whom they called “useful idiots” who would infiltrate and take over our institutions and become a massive voting bloc. Success in all this was predicated on the redefinition of “youth” and the corruption of America’s young people. The role that flag-burning, monument destroying, filthy-mouthed young adults are playing in the destruction of our country is ample evidence of the success of our enemies' agenda for our national downfall.
Multitudes of these characterless youthful and not so youthful "useful idiots", have now infiltrated and to some extent dominate government at every level, our educational system and the press, etc., and head up boards of industry and major companies. Hundreds of thousands of other such “youth” constitute screaming hoards of brats here and there, stomping and screaming and demanding to have their way. They fill the ranks of groups like March For Our Lives, BLM, Antifia, etc. Many live in their parent’s basements and off college loans and welfare as they dream of Socialist Democratic politicians coming into power who will give them more “free” stuff from the government.
America is infested today by swarms of teens, twenty-somethings and thirty year olds who are like delusional children and stupefied by an absurd sense of their own importance and significance; convinced that they are entitled to say, do and have, whatever they want. They’ve been allowed, and have allowed themselves, to become useful idiots. And so they carry on, pontificating to the rest of us, pouting, pooling their ignorance and generally playing the fool.
Useful young idiots, described by one radio commentator as having, “heads full of mush,” are at large in the classrooms, the newsrooms, in Hollywood and all over your neck of the woods. Like mindless termites they’re eating away at everything foundational to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in America. They are like feral hogs or cats in terms of morals, common sense, recognition of authority or capacity to appreciate or be committed to anything or anyone. They tear in, tear up, tear down and tear out whenever, wherever and however they want to.
This is what happens when hard working, patriotic parents become soft in the head with a determination that their children "will not have it as hard" as they had it growing up, and feel a false guilt about denying their children anything, making them work for anything or demanding that they act with the responsibility associated with ladies and gentlemen. This is what happens when permissive, irresponsible, lazy, cowardly Peter Pan type parents who’ve never grown up themselves, don’t teach their children to fear God or to have a work ethic. It’s what happens when parents don’t made sure that their children are getting an education that will make them good citizens, desirous and capable of sustaining our liberty. It’s what happens when parents don’t teach their children to respect, and earn the respect, of others. This is what happens when those who have authority over young people don’t exercise authority over them. It’s what happens when the police don’t throw “youth” into jail when they break the law. This is what happens when people forget that, as Seneca said, “Virtue is a hard thing to youth, it needs a ruler and guide: vices are acquired without a master.” This is what happens to a nation that rejects God.
Historically and traditionally adolescence in America was once a time when boys were deliberately taught, and consciously aspired, to become responsible men — and hopefully gentlemen; when girls were deliberately taught, and consciously aspired, to become responsible women—and hopefully ladies. This is what right thinking parents still want for their children and what right thinking young people want for themselves.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”