16 September 2003

Age's quest for puerility

Today's Breakpoint commentary by Chuck Colson is titled "My Own Private Neverland: A Culture of Lost Boys." It concerns the trend, especially amongst my own baby boomer generation, to cultivate deliberately juvenile tastes and to spurn adulthood. Writes Colson:

A surprisingly large part of the audience for children’s television shows like the Teletubbies are “young adults.” And more people between the ages of 18 and 49 watch the Cartoon Network than watch CNN. And I’m not making that up.

He doesn't say whether these "young adults" might themselves be parents of small children, which would explain their viewing habits. But let's assume he has picked up on a genuine trend. I personally believe he's on to something.

Could this grasping for childish things be one of the ripe fruits of the liberal emphasis on the self and on individual rights? The demand for rights without the countervailing recognition of responsibilities is, after all, exactly the sort of thing one expects from children, apart from the restraining influence of parental discipline. Now it increasingly receives the sanction of the courts, as well as of the larger popular culture.

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