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Yesterday I wrote a short diary asking “where are the young people?”, commenting that it is the youth that traditionally energize uprisings or dissent in politics.  To my surprise I found an article on alternet this morning that explains why the young people aren’t in the streets.  It is worth reading.

Bruce E. Levine is a clinical psychologist and author of Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite  (Chelsea Green, 2011). His Web site is

This is the title of his article.  I will just try to summerize in order to not violate fair use standards:

8 Reasons Young Americans Don't Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance
The ruling elite has created social institutions that have subdued young Americans and broken their spirit of resistance.

Student-Loan Debt. During the time in one’s life when it should be easiest to resist authority because one does not yet have family responsibilities, many young people worry about the cost of bucking authority, losing their job, and being unable to pay an ever-increasing debt.

Psychopathologizing and Medicating Noncompliance. He talks about new diagnose including that are medicated in young people including“oppositional defiant disorder” (ODD). The official symptoms of ODD include “often actively defies or refuses to comply with adult requests or rules,” “often argues with adults,” and “often deliberately does things to annoy other people.”

(a side note here:  my sister's grandson was telling her the other day that he has been diagnosed as having defiant syndrome.  I always thought they called that being a teenager)

Schools That Educate for Compliance and Not for Democracy

“No Child Left Behind” and “Race to the Top.” The corporatocracy has figured out a way to make our already authoritarian schools even more authoritarian.

 Shaming Young People Who Take Education—But Not Their Schooling—Seriously.  

I’m including this relevant quote from the article: That was not always the case in the United States. Mark Twain famously said, “I never let my schooling get in the way of my education.”   I want to add here I dropped out of school in the ninth grade because I saw it as a way of trying to control me.

The Normalization of Surveillance. The fear of being surveilled makes a population easier to control.

Television.  Include computers, iphones, etc.  Self explanatory.  We all complain that kids spend all their time on the computer and watching TV.

Fundamentalist Religion and Fundamentalist Consumerism.  All varieties of fundamentalism narrow one’s focus and inhibit critical thinking.

Please read the whole article. Levine elaborates on each of these points.  It is worth the time to figure out what is going on.  As I lamented in the end of my diary yesterday, the youth is lost, so the country is lost.  

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    I am the fellow citizen of every being that thinks; my country is Truth. ~Alphonse de Lamartine, "Marseillaise of Peace," 1841

    by notdarkyet on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 09:38:23 AM PDT

  •  Some interesting points there (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but I disagree that fear of surveillance is a huge behavior changer.  I think the new maximum-information minimum-privacy paradigm is second nature to young people, and doesn't really bother them.

    I think fatalism about being past environmental tipping points is a huge factor.

    I also think resentment of the prospects of supporting a graying population, is a real thing.  Cutting Medicare and SSN isn't anathema to those who will be paying in for a long, long time for a distant and remote pay-out.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 09:50:48 AM PDT

  •  What's that line from Revolutionary Road? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AuroraDawn, notdarkyet

    "plenty of people are onto the emptiness, but it takes real guts to see the hopelessness"

    T & R'd for you guts my friend.

  •  Well, they are busy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Some of them have tuned-out politics.  College age students have a pretty good bullshit detector and they can see what is going on.  So, they focus on the moment--enjoying life...friendships, travel, new experiences.  

    Also, a lot are just really busy.  They want to stay in school, but are worried about massive loans.  Graduates have moved home with their parents and are hoping for a job making coffee.

    It's not a culture where idealism is winning the day.  Hopelessness breeds apathy.  

  •  I knew about them over-medicating... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    kids who have (or supposedly have) ADD, but I hadn't heard of ODD. The symptoms really do sound like average teenage behavior.

    often actively defies or refuses to comply with adult requests or rules,”

    Apparently, they would prefer these children to behave like robots. Scary.

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

    by AuroraDawn on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 09:54:46 AM PDT

    •  That part really bothered me too. Also I have (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      read statistics that almost half of kids are now medicated.  It was weird hearing my sister's grandson say that.  Who the hell tells their kid they have defiant disorder?

      I am the fellow citizen of every being that thinks; my country is Truth. ~Alphonse de Lamartine, "Marseillaise of Peace," 1841

      by notdarkyet on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 09:57:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Undoubtedly, some children... (0+ / 0-)

        need medication for various ailments, but I find it hard to believe that HALF of all American children are in genuine need of medicating. That number is just outrageously high.

        Who the hell tells their kid they have defiant disorder?

        Actually, I can think of a few adults I knew growing-up (neighbors and my mother's step-sister, among them) who would have happily told their kids this if ODD had been discussed ten-fifteen years ago.

        Many parents are so busy, working, trying to make ends meet, etc., I can see how some might be tempted to give their kids pills to make them more compliant. That doesn't make it right, though. And what are these medicated children going to be like as adults?

        First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

        by AuroraDawn on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 10:24:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Without the youth (0+ / 0-)

    there is no real resistance.

       The elders are too invested in the system. They will only be fighting for SS and Medicare.
       The truly poor have never been revolutionary.

     Of course a complete breakdown of the system changes everything, and I wouldn't bet against it.

    "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

    by gjohnsit on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 09:55:32 AM PDT

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