Scott Presler opines that for the GOP to have long term success, it is going to have to become the natalist party – that is, the party in favor of family formation. This is true. Attentive readers of the Mirrors series have probably figured out that Queen Caelestine is pro-natalist; always trying to get people married and wanting everyone making babies at a rapid clip. This is, of course, a bit of my philosophy being inserted in a small way to the narrative. But I don’t think we’ve really thought much about how this would come about.
It seems to me that our problem here stems from our too-long adolescence and too-long education.
Remember that back in the day, a girl and a boy getting married at 16 or 17 wasn’t at all unusual…with the young couple then either working on the family farm/business or striking out on their own. It is a bit of a shock to the modern mind to think of that – in fact, we probably think of it as tragic. But the bottom line is that we become physically capable of bearing children at a pretty young age: and if one wishes to argue against biology, that is fine – but the reality is that our physical being is ready for childbearing a lot younger than we find acceptable in the modern world.
Right after I read Presler’s Tweet the Rush song Subdivisions came on the playlist and the refrain just leaped out at me:
In the high school halls
In the shopping malls
Conform or be cast out
In the basement bars
In the backs of cars
Be cool or be cast out
All of us, I think, can remember back to our middle and high school years and remember how out of sorts and out of place we felt. That sensation is what Neil Peart was writing about in the song. But what, really, was the problem? That we were 16 or 17 years old and felt we had no proper place in the world. That we didn’t know what our lives were for or what we would do. By that time we had already been in school ten or eleven years, had at least a year or two left to go…and then the prospect, pushed massively by society, that we would do at least four more years of school after that and then start our career…and don’t get married! You’re “too young”. You’ve got plenty of time for that! Get your education. Get your job! And, hey, the old morals are gone so just find someone to have sex with…its ok. Nobody will judge you.
Except yourself, of course. The mind rebels against what is wrong even if that mind can’t articulate it.
I conclude – and this literally just flashed in my head earlier today – that the increasing alienation of youth since, say, World War Two is based upon this lifestyle of 12-16 years of education followed by career and then marriage and children if convenient. The final result of this is kids who are saying they are non-binary or what have you: we’re so long down this path of essentially denying biology – denying our own humanity – that the latest generation is rejecting the very idea of biology and what it means to be a human being – what it means to be male or female. We’re getting here – and it is likely to get much worse – because we have tried to craft a lifestyle which is not adjusted to humanity. We’re trying to be cool so we aren’t cast out…but what we’re not trying to be is human. And even the adults who get through this to become functional members of society are still awash in divorce, anti-depressants and pathetically going to fertility clinics at 35 in a desperate bid to push out a kid before the clock expires.
We forgot that the Sabbath was made for Man, not Man for the Sabbath. We’ve been going about it backwards – trying to rework humanity to fit a certain sort of society when sanity lies in making society conform to human needs.
Laying aside the animal need for food, water, shelter and clothing, the primary thing a human needs is community. We are a social species. We literally cannot survive as a species without others of our kind around…and even individual survival is gravely threatened when we are on our own (break your leg on a hike with friends and you’ll probably make it – break your leg hiking alone and there’s a good chance you’re going to die). Biology commands – and we Believers hold that God also commands – that we engage in sexual relations. Anyone who remembers being 15 knows this – the urge was persistent and insistent. It was so strong that all of us did wonder for a bit just why there was a moral code against rampant sexual activity. But especially as we aged, we understood the wisdom of confining sex to a committed relationship. But I think we get it wrong – backwards – when we say, “hold off on that urge until you’re 25! Gotta get that education and career, first!”. We’re also kinda stupid – the sex urge will not be repressed for that long. I do believe that if we really want to fix what is wrong, we’re going to have to really think about what we want.
I do think we spend too much time on education. Don’t know about you, but high school was mostly pointless for me. They weren’t teaching me anything new – and in the things I was actually interested, I was rapidly far in advance of what the school was teaching. It might very well be that adding high school to the education mix for 90 percent of us is a waste of time. And if high school is pointless for most of us, college even more so.
Plus when we take a kid of 14 and say, “hey, just 8 more years and you’re done with school”, we’re telling someone who wants to get rolling on life right now that they’ll have to wait. That they have to stay in leading strings for years longer and then, if the behave, they’ll be allowed to start doing the Adult things.
I’m not saying there isn’t a need for higher education – but what I am saying is that almost nobody needs it and, in truth, it has long become counter-productive. First off, on account of it being dumbed down. In order to keep up the fiction of Education – Career – Marriage we’ve routinely lowered the standards for higher education to the point that a mediocre 12 year old from a century ago knew more than doctoral students at Ivy League universities today. You can only keep the fiction going, after all, if it is for everyone. But, of course, everyone isn’t suited to higher education – and nor should they be. A healthy society has a certain number of artists and thinkers…but usually less than 1 percent. And they are only able to create art and thought because almost everyone else is busy making things happen.
And after community, the next thing a human needs is to be needed. We are built to contribute – to do something useful for ourselves and our community. It is, as I’ve noted, the only way we can survive. Except for short periods and baring physically debilitating accidents, we can’t even feed ourselves without the assistance of others.
How useful does a 20 year old in college feel? And there’s your answer to why the purple hair, nose ring and a sudden assertion that they are a different gender. They are doing nothing. They aren’t really learning anything – save for spoon-fed Marxist drivel. Small wonder they get a little kooky…like a junior league Nero or Caligula…the real difference being that Rome in ancient days could only carry the freight on a few of them at a time…while our overly wealthy society affords millions nominating their horse to the Senate. And here’s the real kicker – almost all 20 year olds in college are incapable of higher education. It is supposed to be for the 1 percent – maybe the top 5 percent if you’re being really generous in giving out passing grades. These poor kids are uselessly doing something they are entirely unsuited for. Lunacy does result. BLM/Antifa riots, as well – not for nothing did fascists, Communists and Nazis find their most ardent spirits among 20th century college students…a collection of increasingly mis-educated kids unsuited for higher thought but who were also being quit useless…and here comes The Cause to give their existence a point.
As Chesterton pointed out, we have to begin all over again at the start. If a house is built so that it knocks a man’s head off as he comes through the door, it is built wrong. You can’t reform it – you have to tear it down and build it again. Properly.
There was a little joke meme I saw the other day which went along the lines of “me who had my kids at 18 and 20 watching from the beach as my 40 year old career-first friend deals with her 4 year old”. Lot of truth in that. It really comes down to how we will spend the best years of lives.
Do you remember being 20? My goodness, the energy. As I was in the Navy at the time this manifested itself in my ability to spend weeks at sea in a four hours on, four hours off rotation, hit the beach in a liberty port, party with the shipmates for 24 hours straight and then immediately go back to sea. We all had it. We were inexhaustible and indestructible. We could eat and drink all we wanted and it just fueled our ability to do more and more and more.
Do you remember being 35? You had stayed out until just a shade after midnight the night before and had that third drink and now, bleary eyed and exhausted, you faced the grim task of going to work and, dang it, why does my back hurt?
Question: which you was better suited to chasing around after a rambunctious 2 year old? Which of you could better deal with screaming kids, household chores and putting in a 50 hour week at work without complete mental and physical collapse?
Life is for youth, boys and girls. And we’ve been doing it all wrong. What we should have been doing is giving our kids 8 years of basic education, siphoning off the cream of the crop for higher education and sending the rest to trade school while positively encouraging early marriage and children. This is much more in line with human needs than our current model – and given our advances in production and medicine, it doesn’t preclude anything. Suppose at 45 you decide to move off from the construction job that paid for your house and raised your kids, now moved out, and take a stab at a college degree? You can do it. Nothing to stop you. And zero chance of regrets – you’ve already done the most important part of living. You took a man or woman’s place in the world. You already proved who and what you are.
I am open to dispute here – I don’t know if I’m completely right. I only know for certain that we’ve been doing it wrong. And if we want a healthy society, we are going to have to change how we’re doing it.