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In Defence Of Youth

Written by ReturnOfTheJ355 Dec 22, 2005

(cross posted from own blog, Change and Exchange)
I had the opportunity to see this post on youth culture on the National Youth Rights Association’s forums:

Firstly, let me make clear that I am a 17 year old Greek Cypriot, I live in London and I am not an ‘old man’, but I believe youth culture is disgusting and yet another angle of Anti-Intellectualism, encouraging children to make idols of Musical Stars, drug abusers, single mothers and other dregs of society. This MUST be dealt with sooner or later, why cant youths have people like Cicero as their role models?

Youth culture is basically a sort of mash of these key points, resulting in one of the greatest disasters in History, and the gradual erosion of High Culture:

– Tendency to listen to Modern Music and despise the greats of Music like Wagner, Beethoven, Vivaldi, Mozart and Strauss.

– Teenage Pregnancy.

– Explosion in crime, especially street crime such as pickpocketting. Liberals accuse those who cite Crime statistics showing this as ‘Ageist’, and ‘Against Popular Culture’.

– The gradual explosion of ‘pop culture’ leading to incredibly disgusting activities in Society.

– Lack of Classical Education in Greek Philosophy, The Roman Empire, The Renaissance, The Age of Reason e.t.c.

– Tendency to go to nightclubs and start fights.

– Have a larger Marginal Propensity to commit violence against others because of Alcohol of Marijuana fueled highs. Though it must be noted expensive alcohol such as a good Malt Whisky is a good thing, we are talking about cheap alcohol here.

– Use of inexpensive drugs.

– Lack of monetary assets, resulting in anger at ‘The System’.

– Campaigning for things such as the Legalisation of Rape and Paedophilia, and the introduction of free social housing for any youths that decide to have children at the age of 12.

– Inter-class breeding. Resulting in a problem for the gene pool.

Youth culture is a stain on Society, what would Aristotle, or Octavian, or Charlemagne, or Hitler say if he saw our society today?

Although I can understand this young man’s frustration at the vapidity of a lot of youth culture, I do not understand his desire to malign youth at large and blame popular culture for the decline of high culture. There is no real relation between age and interest in popular culture over high culture. Rather, the interest in high and popular culture has more to do with an individual’s interests and intelligence rather than said person’s age. There are older people who grew up in ‘better times’ who are quite content with watching shows like ‘Jenny Jones’ and keeping track of all the latest stars’ misdeeds. There is no need to mischaracterise all youth as being vapid because some of us want to enjoy popular culture.

Popular culture isn’t causing high culture to erode as the two forms of culture tend to exist in separate continua unless someone wants to bring the two together and manage to connect both the high-brow and the low-brow. Even in the writer’s romanticised Graeco-Roman era, there was still a distinction between high and popular culture and people enjoyed things that were in their social milieux. The artists (either verbal, music or pictorial) that seem to have the most timeless characteristics in either high or mass culture are not the ones who disdain popular culture, but the ones who attempt to transcend class boundaries and have their work be comprehensible to everyone, whether they be the hoi polloi or the intelligentsia.

There are some elements of his statement that are disturbing as well as just being flat-out wrong. He had said that interbreeding in classes was wrong because it corrupted the gene-pool. However, that is incorrect. He seemed to assume in another post that the upper classes were naturally more intelligent. That’s also wrong; there seems to be a normal distribution in intelligence no matter what social class you are in. In addition, lower intelligence scores amongst the poor can be attributed to malnutrition (which stunts cognitive development), a higher occurrence of fetal-alcohol syndrome and other health and environmental problems rather than an inherent lack of intelligence amongst the poor.

His statistics are also wrong. Teenage pregnancy is on the decline. There has been no youth movement to legalise rape and paedophilia. And what is the difference between cheap alcohol and drugs and expensive drugs and alcohol? This young man is apparently wealthy, so I imagine that these ‘statistics’ are more snobbery than actual fact.

(And just for kicks, I wrote this post whilst listening to Aqua’s ‘Barbie Girl’.)

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