Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hating on the young for being young

Do elderly conservatives hate young people for being young? That's the suggestion of this post at Pandagon.

An excerpt:
Needless to say, [Rep. Virginia] Foxx considers herself "pro-life". I point this out, because "pro-life" people want you to believe that they're in it not to punish women for being sexual, but that they just really are The Protectors of the Young. Well, that's clearly bullshit. Anyone who really cared a whit about the young would take this student debt and employment crisis seriously. I'd argue that instead of actually being protectors of the young, conservatives are haters of the young. Anti-choice is actually a piece of this, because the idealized victim of their policies is a young woman, being punished for her youth and sexuality. It really comes across in the comments of this article about the employment/debt crisis that Atrios linked:
They want to go to a boutique college, borrow money or receive grants to cover the $50K tuition, major in an arcane subject like gender studies or urban anthropology, and then have someone hand them a well paying job, so they can maintain a hipster lifestyle in a trendy neighborhood.

Here are the most popular majors, in order, according to the Princeton Review: business, psychology, nursing, biology, education, English, economics, communications, political science, and computer science. It seems that kids are mostly picking majors that will lead to the kind of professional careers that they're told they should want. This commenter betrays himself with his ignorance, sure, but also with the phrase "hipster lifestyle". This is all about hating the young for being young, wanting them to suffer because they still have hard bodies and high libidos while your aging body makes it increasingly hard to ignore that death is coming for all of us. It's basically asshole behavior, believing that you had a right to be young, but no one else does now that you aren't anymore. ...

Please review that list of the most popular majors to understand what an asshole this guy is. One in every four degrees handed out is a business degree. The notion that kids aren't viewing their education as job training is a farce. On the contrary, the complaint now is that students are too focused on how to get from school to work, and find any class that doesn't have immediately obvious relevance for future employment to be a waste of time. Once again, the underlying sentiment here is that now that the commenter is no longer young, no one else has a right to be, and that young people should have grim, colorless lives so that he feels better about not being young anymore.

These people aren't the protectors of the young. Remember these attitudes every time a conservative waxes on about how they love babies. If they really did, they would want those babies to have meaningful lives with joy and color in them, not the grim existences of all work and no play that these wingnuts feel is the only acceptable youth now that theirs is gone.

I'm no longer young, myself, but there might be something to this.

Partly, I suppose, it's just human nature. One of the favorite occupations of the old is to complain about the young.

Do we just forget what it was like when we were that age? Is it all a matter of remembering the past through rose-colored glasses, or more that we simply find it easy to excuse our own behavior, when focusing so intently on everyone else's?

And conservatives find it harder than most to keep up. These people drag their feet as society advances, ending up completely out of step in the modern world (even more so than the rest of us). That seems to make them angry - angry, perhaps, at their lost youth, angry that the world has moved on without them.

And so, a person who was once young himself becomes a grumpy old man, yelling at the kids to stay off his lawn. But always "pro-life": loving fetuses, while ignoring children and hating youth.

I don't know. Are most conservatives like this, or just the wingnuts who've taken control of today's Republican Party? Or is it something else entirely?

It's an interesting thought - and maybe worth remembering when you get older. :)

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