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Cult of youth spells end of Western civilisation


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#1 advancedatheist

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Posted 04 March 2004 - 03:56 PM


http://www.theage.co...8295445735.html

Cult of youth spells end of Western civilisation
March 4, 2004

Sure it's fun to be young, single and independent. But there comes a time to grow up, writes Tim Ferguson.

The terrorists in al-Qaeda seek to destroy Western culture. They needn't bother. Give Western culture 30 years and it will collapse under the weight of its incontinence nappies.

The West's celebration of youth has infected its culture like a deadly virus. Too many members of generation X go childless as they perpetuate a youthful lifestyle of attachment-free independence.

It's understandable. Today youth is celebrated by the mass media like never before.

Sportswear, soft drinks, junk food and zippy inner-city cars are made by corporations that survive by selling their wares to young, single people with disposable income.

The commercial media have no choice but to deliver a younger audience to these corporations. Youth lifestyle is subsequently promoted by the media as the pinnacle of Western culture.

The lifestyle of the young is seductive. It's not surprising that X-men want to play the never-ageing Peter Pan and X-women choose the capable romantic, Wendy Darling, as their role model.

I call them "Neverlanders".

Like Joan Rivers' cheeks, their youth is stretched to the point where it becomes a little sad, even tragic. The Neverlanders can be found groping each other in doof-doof nightclubs, zipping around the CBD in red convertibles, filling their Bridget Jones diaries with increasingly repetitive tales of increasingly repetitive acts, sobbing once a month as they wonder why they can't meet a nice girl or boy, or both.

Botox, hair implants, boob jobs and makeovers with the unappetising label of "extreme" abound as gen X clings to youth.

If you ignore the sobbing, it's a fun life. But Neverland's ticking crocodile is approaching.

In the 1960s, your average fortysomething was at home most evenings with their spouse and kids. They had enjoyed their jitterbugging youth but had decided that, after their 21st birthday, it was time to "grow up".

The closest many gen-Xers come to being "grown-up" is serial monogamy. The poo-spluttering wailing sirens known as "babies" do not enter the equation. And that's where the whole thing comes crashing, hungover and a bit teary, to the ground.

The capitalist culture of youth contains its own demise. As Neverlanders delay breeding, the quota of new young people shrinks. Each year the value of youth will increase with its rarity, the promotion of youth will intensify and the struggle by the ageing to live the life of the young will go on.

Our society will have fewer babies and more fortysomethings dancing the Time Warp at the Metro.

Treasurer Peter Costello has revealed the awful truth that gen X's inadequate superannuation will not sustain us in retirement. And we can forget age pensions. Our life expectancy is growing faster than our super and the Australian government of 2040 will not have enough taxpayers to sustain the 6.2 million over-65s.

All too soon, a new social group will send our economy and culture reeling. This group will not be the unemployed, the drug-addicted or the homeless.

It will be the single, aged poor. With their savings spent and no children to support them, the burden of the Neverlanders will cripple the West.

We are doomed. There are no solutions.

Pamela Bone ("How about having babies earlier?", on this page last Friday) believes young women should consider having kids before starting a career. She is right. She is also right when she admits there is no clear way to bring about such a revolution in twentysomething culture.

Young women are fully aware that motherhood is rewarding, but they also know how hard it can be. Many figure it's best put off until they've lived a little and their bank balance is healthier. Fair enough.

The boys aren't much help either. Traditionally, men are the ones who propose marriage, but they're procrastinating too. A freewheeling life is an attractive alternative to the pressured existence of father and provider. It's easier to act like a kid than to raise one.

Governments, poor things, can't do much to inspire us to breed. Tax breaks, child care and maternity allowances are all very well, but the choice to have kids requires more than money.

We can't look to the market or media to save us. It is not in the short-term interest of advertisers for consumers to grow up. Health concerns and budget restrictions influence those with kids and mortgages more than those without.

Carefree, single youth will remain our most hyped, celebrated and comfortable lifestyle. And, every day, our population will grow a little older.

Osama bin Laden can put aside his hateful dogma. Instead, he can sit back and quote the crocodile of Neverland - "Tick-tock tick-tock".

Tim Ferguson is a producer and writer of Shock Jock, now showing on ABC TV.



#2 nuenke

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Posted 06 March 2004 - 02:45 PM

There are many reasons why people don't have children or very few. The socialist managerial state takes care of everyone so that children are no longer needed to help the adults in later life. The more educated couple will invest in just one or two children, started later in life, opting for quality over quantity, a known evolutionary strategy. There is also far less eagerness on the part of humans in terms of innate desires to have children versus having just sex.

Once human nature is understood, a nation if it is really concerned with declining birth rates can reverse it by altering its public policies. The problem is that most modern nations have sunk so far into socialist policies that any new radical policies would conflict. A choice has to be made between egalitarian socialism and increasing births as a priority.

#3 Mind

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Posted 06 March 2004 - 03:08 PM

I often ask those "forty-somethings" Mr. Ferguson refers to in the article "Why go through all the trial, stress and tumult of raising kids?". The answer I get is "In the long run, it is worth it". That's it. No other explanation. I am sure if I prodded further they might try to explain it more deeply. My guess is that for many people, raising children (which seems to be the last stage of "growing-up") gives meaning to their lives. They have found no other way to answer "why am I here?" than to have children.

For me, I find meaning in learning and exploring. I am plenty happy without children.

When, Mr. Ferguson claims and end to Western Civilization, he can't be thinking we will all die. It seems he is just reminiscing back to the 50's when people were more religious, job, and family oriented.

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#4 advancedatheist

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Posted 06 March 2004 - 04:03 PM

I often ask those "forty-somethings" Mr. Ferguson refers to in the article "Why go through all the trial, stress and tumult of raising kids?". The answer I get is "In the long run, it is worth it". That's it. No other explanation. I am sure if I prodded further they might try to explain it more deeply. My guess is that for many people, raising children (which seems to be the last stage of "growing-up") gives meaning to their lives. They have found no other way to answer "why am I here?" than to have children.


This article reminds me of "the Seinfeld Syndrome," named after the famous sit-com, about single men in their 40's who still live like they just graduated from college. I suspect in the U.S. economic factors help contribute to this behavior. As a practical financial matter these days, most Americans really can't afford to have children unless they are unusually flush with income from sources that can't fire them. It was probably not coincidental that the Baby Boom after the Second World War happened when the American economy was generating lots of jobs in tangible production, many of them unionized, that provided the prospect of financial security.




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