Friday, February 8, 2008

The Death of the Grown-Up

Karen and I just finished reading the chilling and extremely well-written The Death of the Grown-Up by columnist Diana West. The book starts out by chronicling the rise of the teenager, a word (and a thing) that did not exist much before 1950. The Greatest Generation came home in 1945 and started the Baby Boom, but they also set about down-playing the concept of authority (fearing the sort of authoritarianism demonstrated by the Axis powers). This new philosophy, coupled with rapidly increasing prosperity, gave birth to pre-adult children having pockets full of money and a good bit of free time to kill.

Often considered a time of innocence (and, compared to 2008, it surely was), the 50s actually paved the way for the turbulent and rebellious 60s. Suddenly, the Establishment was on the ropes. These days, youth culture has all but replaced traditional adult culture, putting the old Establishment out to pasture. Every form of rebellion and counter-cultural behavior is now the new Establishment--a new Mainstream with no banks to check its course.

This has led us inevitably to our current PC state of multiculturalism and tolerance. Here's where the chilling part comes into play. Because our culture accepts all others without question (and even prefers them to the detriment of our own traditional Western culture), we are conceding vast psychological territory to the looming threat of Islam. We tolerate even those who are intolerant of our freedom, a situation that can have but one outcome--our enslavement.

West courageously deconstructs the current myth that our enemy is "terror" or even a subset of Islam often referred to as radical Islam. In fact, Islam, at it's very core and in its totality, seeks nothing less than complete control of the earth. Their definition of freedom centers not on a desire for personal liberty, but rather a desire to be free from false religion (i.e., all of the rest of us). They employ both violent (jihad) and nonviolent (mass immigration) means to further this aim. Westerners will be relegated to a second-class dhimmi status.

Meanwhile, our society continues to pretend this "real" culture war does not exist. Since becoming a nation of children and self-absorbed youths (a post-grown-up society), we lack the maturity to label barbarism when we find it and devise a sane plan to halt its advance. West does leave us with some good advice: learn to say "no", learn to cultivate virtues (not mere values) and learn the true power of thoughtful judgment and discrimination. This book is a definite MUST READ!


Stephen said...

Sounds like an interesting book. But isn't it more likely that Western economic and cultural imperialism will eventually win the day?

The Muslims cannot resist the power of capitalism and democracy forever. Their people will eventually demand the freedom and higher standard of living that Western civilization affords.

The weapons that will win the 21st century crusade are global capital markets, international trade, television, movies, music, and the Internet.

Our way of life is simply more efficient at fulfilling human needs and desires, and therefore victory is inevitable.

We would agree this is all leading to a one world government. I just have a hard time seeing the likes of bin Laden and Ahmadinejad facilitating it.

Philip said...

You should really read the book. She makes a thoroughly convincing case. I'm sure our system of free enterprise has made, and will continue to make some inroads into the Islamic world. Unfortunately, I don't think opening a few Starbucks and McDonalds is going to quite do the trick.

After all, the 9-11 terrorists seemed to be living it up, American-style, in the weeks before the attack. These folks have been working up to this for the last 1400 years...

Philip said...

Meanwhile, Tehran keeps edging closer and closer to becoming a nuclear power... Anybody detecting a pattern yet? Anybody?

Travis said...

Good review. I enjoyed this book also. Extended adolescence is an epidemic in western society. Youth is worshiped. No one wants to behave or look like an adult.

I find it interesting that our reading arcs intersect. I'm curious. What are you reading now?

Philip said...

I'm re-reading the Silmarillion. How about you?

Travis said...

I'm reading Lord of the Rings with the boys, but I just finished re-reading The Silmarillion a month ago! That covers my fiction category. For non-fiction I recently finished David McCullogh's 1776 and I enjoyed it so much that I'm now wrapped up in his John Adams. I'm also reading Love & Respect, which I really love and respect.

As for my theological reading I'm focused on the gospel of Mark because that's the book I'm preaching through right now, and I try to read a chapter a day of Spurgeon's Lectures to My Students but I've missed that one for awhile.

Philip said...

That's really funny! If you like historical non-fiction, I would recommend anything by David Hackett Fischer. I have read his Paul Revere's Ride and Washington's Crossing. They are exceptional.

Anonymous said...

"Every form of rebellion and counter-cultural behavior is now the new Establishment--a new Mainstream with no banks to check its course."

The above statement is either quite satirical, or authored by someone ancient.

"In fact, Islam, at it's very core and in its totality, seeks nothing less than complete control of the earth."

And this one is just ignorant and shameful...

...and could likely be said for any religious group and its inevitable extremist offshoots.