Anthem for Doomed Youth
The campaign to dis-invite Condoleeza Rice from the Rutgers commencement and the pointless extravaganza of the White House Correspondent's Dinner both underscore how, despite pretensions to being a society of youthful cool, the prevailing orthodoxy is really about as young as a roomful of NBA players owned by Donald Sterling. No it's worse than that. What passes for elite youth culture today is simply variety of Western Maoism.
Just as the Red Guards were merely a bunch of physically youthful dupes simply doing the dirty work of old guys (as were the Hitler Youth), not a genuinely autonomous movement of the young, events at Rutgers and the Correspondent's dinner resembled nothing so much as grant-starveling students trying to suck up to the faculty or a meeting of the Soviet Union of Writers. They were both were as daring as an officially sanctioned performance of the Detachment of Red Women.
The youth movements of the past were demographically driven. When you watch a performance of Les Miserables remember that the young people depicted on the barricades made up the great bulk of these societies in ferment -- and they were rebelling against the codgers not working for them. Today Western societies are demographically old and through the help of people like Dr. Kermit Gosnell, abortionist, they are continuously getting older. The young no longer have the advantage of numbers. And even if they did, the drones are great equalizers.
While in the past rebels endeavored to stick it to The Man, the tedious causes espoused by today's student "activists" are made in their university's faculty lounges. The mobs clamoring to exclude Condoleeza or boycott Israel aren't daring rebels but represent the ultimate in apple-polishers. As for the White House journalists, the point of the evening seemed less to Stick it to the Man as much as get a closer look at the finery the King's court iss wearing.
The correspondent's dinner was a thoroughly medieval spectacle. Never was a lord's hall so earnestly thronged by grateful peasants as that venue. The comparison was nearly exact since it featured jesters, court ladies and the obligatory men-at-arms hovering outside the drawbridge of the castle. Royalty was of course in attendance, resplendent in its dazzling gowns and chic elegance.
The designated buffoon of the evening was Kathleen Sebelius who was employed as a sight-gag as an obligatory adjunct to something broken as if she could absorb for herself the sins of the King.
The last decades have been hard upon the Western youth. They have little prospect of employment. In Europe youth unemployment is nearing 25% in places. Some have no choice but to linger in their parents basements into middle age and beyond. Each additional dollar of deficit is another dollar they have to discharge in order to pay for the bills of the Boomers.
The Obamacare goal to recruit fill at least 40% of its ranks with "young invincibles" is nothing but a requirement for young to pay for the old. It may have ever been thus, yet never so cleverly spun. George Orwell's vision of the future was "imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." Today's is "imagine yourself waiting at a table -- forever." For some people that will be literally true.
The men at the Head Table have taken future the future of the young. That would be bad enough; worse the current generation of leaders has taken their youth. Youth is more than a bodily state. It is a condition of the mind. It was the once birthright of the young to dream about what lay over the next range of hills; it was their unquestioned heritage to gather in cheap cafes to plot a new world.
But that is no more. Even childhood has been taken from them. The children we profess to love are drugged against ADD, hunted by pedophiles who are unaccountably more numerous than before. For play they have rubbery health and safety things, in place of things like climbing trees or discovering their neighborhoods. It means being enclosed in "schools" some of which can't even teach them to read their names yet require they stay in place when some nutcase comes a-gunning for them, without even the protection of their elders, who are curiously disallowed the means to defend their charges, maybe for the first time since humanity emerged.
The youth are less their own selves than the object-playthings of ancient and evil men. Is the Red Guard comparison really hyperbole?
Yet they must spend their passing vigor with their shoulders to the wheel. Escape to the next valley has been shut to them, NASA being otherwise occupied raising the self-esteem of Muslim populations instead of building ladders to the planets. On our solitary world every moment must must be devoted to servicing a student debt so crushing they might as well have sold their souls to the company store, though they can at least pay on installments. Or so the King has decreed.
And as for causes, if they have none of their own they can have the cast off bete noires of the faculty lounge, refurbished from the 1960s. If they're lucky they can afford posters like Jay Carney's featuring the latest in Soviet agitprop. Or maybe even an original by Shepard Fairy, which is exactly the same thing as a 1930s Stalinist Poster. Oh to be young in Obama's America!
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells,
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
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