My sons were in college and I was in the old USSR studying Soviet ways when Millennials were born. (The early 1990s.) Personally I know very little about them, except by observing them during my daily mid-morning routines at the Y. I see them often on Twitter, but never engage, only observe. My opinion of Millennials has generally been negative, in part because they have such a high opinion of themselves yet know so little, and in the Natural Law sense, can only know a little simply because they haven’t lived on earth long enough to have experienced a lot. Pascal would have included them in that group who are lost, only don’t know they are lost, so aren’t seeking to be found…and thus, may never be found. Pascal considered this to be a tragedy for the individual soul, as do I, for the soul of a people.
It would amaze you to consider how many nations have been walking around “lost” for decades, even centuries, not knowing they are lost, all because their upper 10%, (call them “management” if you wish, but for the longest time, then went by “Lords and Ladies”) think of themselves as very much “found”, Thank you, and all who even merit being “found”, and otherwise indifferent, caring nothing about the other 90%, having been engrained by their station to never feel compelled to give a second thought to the aspirations of the have-nots.
At least that was the way the world had worked for 3000 years plus, until this little upstart bunch of farmers formed their own nation, and by some strange magic, those other 90% began finding out that such a place as a “republic” could exist.
So, it stands to reason that at one level, America, from its very beginning, became the natural enemy of the world’s “management” classes.
I honestly don’t know how many Millennials, or even Gen-Xers, except my sons, were ever taught this aspect of American and World History, although it was commonly passed on via public schools in my generation. The fiction of Tolkein played a great role in portraying the existence of Evil in my generation, extending into my children’s generation, but I don’t know if it has carried forward.
But lately, I’ve bumped into a few younger people who seem to have worked out how to go about learning a thing or two on their own, following guideposts of their own finding…which encourages me, for over the next 15-20 years, they will form the nexus of a real ground army who does more than just ramble on about America being lost from the comfort of their iPad in their lap while sitting on the couch.
@ErinSmithSF is just such a young woman who I only followed recently on Twitter. I think she has 477 followers, but from the strength of the ContextualInsurgentproject she and her colleagues have put together, they apparently spend their time more beneficially with podcasts and some very fine reportage and analysis, one of which I have just posted on this site. They seem to have the maturity to keep Twitter in perspective, which, coming from me is high praise indeed for theirs is a generation that has caused me, in the words of Jefferson, to “tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just“.
At my age, I won’t have time to debrief them, but I can outline some bullet points on How Things Work under Natural Law, and how every diagnosis of every problem must begin with a Unified Theory, and, depending on where one is by age, education, temperament and inclination toward rational inquiry, how many times that Unified Theory may have to be revised simply because their own perspectives will likely change the more knowledge and experience they get under their belt.
To be able to “pause and reflect” and alter course is a sign of humility, while a refusal to do so is a sign of vanity and conceit. Teat-fittery. Millennials are eaten up with this disease, so those who are not afflicted need to know they are likely not in the majority, and that it will be a long grind to defeat them both politically and culturally; in short a generational war to reverse this very self-destructive move toward any number of ‘ism’s that involve a ruling elite.
To understand why this is so is to understand that in the end, Natural Law always dictates the outcome of any plan on the simple criteria of Survival; the conduct is either “Enhancing” and “Endangering” for the whole, not elites. This is why authoritarianism always fails and why freedom and self-determination, succeeds once it can cement that ethos into the popular culture.
Whatever formula America had from the 1600s thru roughly 1960, through fourteen-plus generations it seems to be losing that or maybe even has lost.
It is for this generation of Millennials to find that old lost trail, overgrown in bureaucratic underbrush, and absent a true map for about 50 years (my generation’s fault, for we just assumed the schools would continue doing the work my dad’s WWII generation thought they would do, neither knowing that both our generations were being smothered by a new managed-view of our world, and it was being redirected under our very nose.)
Learning these things entails several matters, just as confronted the Founder, 1776 through 1828, in terms of dismantling the old while forging new forms of “reciprocity” (humanity’s Natural Law restatement of the Golden Rule) that would not only withstand, but grow in strength by the addition of the world’s social detritus a century and a half later,
So first learn How Things Work in the Cosmos (i.e., unbendable Natural Laws whose rulings are final and cannot be appealed), which has to be satisfied before any Unified Theory on human institutions can be made to stick in the passage of generations. Nature has already ruled on the ‘ism’s, but so powerful were some of them, Feudalism the longest running, it took over a millennium to undo, and then, only pass it onto a more localized ‘ism. Marxism’s individual laboratories have yet to make it past three generations, but what it has left in its wake has been a generation cast adrift, with no moral stars to guide their passage, and no history or heroes to cling to. China will soon suffer a similar fate. It is still all about that 10%.
Young people are incapable of a unified theory that will stick. They know so little because they have experienced too little, having no idea how things have worked, and not worked in history. But if they seek wisdom and can think critically, they will amend their thinking as they age, until they find a Unified Theory that will transcend the generations ans will not upset natural law. Those foundational natural laws are the ones hardest to discern, and easiest for the young to reject, but once learned they can then apply that “how things work” inside a human system to mechanical system and make something as perfect as a ’57 Chevy internal combustion engine. These things must be known before a Unified Theory can be designed to undo it, and repair it, or replace it. (Our Founders did a helluva job, in my view.)
I’m going to back to all my Dark Alley pieces and revise them as if addressed to Millennials, since i know they’re out there, versus the old bags of bones from my generation just sitting around in front of the teepee smoking the pipe.
There’s a lot of natural law life lessons I missed when I first saw this film as a teenager. And again as a father of teenagers. It was not until I was a grandfather, worried about how well my son would teach his sons, that I “got it” this third time around.
(JohnWayne is another reason to see old films, for history lessons and how the Greatest Generation learned most of theirs (they weren’t big book readers, either).