The Millennial Generation is a sad group. Not that they are themselves sad, for the most part they feel quite good about themselves and about life. For those with the wit to see how lost we are, we are a cause for great concern. Lest it need be said, I am myself a Millennial, so I am not an outside critic.
Some time ago, September 25 of 2011 to be exact, I enjoyed a long conversation with a very wise woman in my family, we talked about the current generation of youth and how nigh to hopeless they are. I’ve reproduced a few of our lucubrations, I hope some will find them of benefit.
Greatness, in the guise of both good men and evil men, the literary genius, scientific wizard, powerful statesman and towering philosopher seems to have appeared in almost every age in human history. Yet our age seems somewhat devoid of such individuals. Is it possible that we are unable to produce great individuals? It may be. We do not see the like of Dickens or Tolstoy, Churchill or Adams, Plato or Aquinas.
The youth of today are lost, and do not know it; irrational, small-minded, slaves to their own desires, and think themselves free to live as they please. Living as one pleases, we think, is the goal of life itself. Whether there exists any real purpose or end to life itself is a question that cannot be asked, much less answered. The point made by Aristotle more than two millenia ago are no longer heard or wished for.
The books written today about the youth and those in their 20s, such as the current author, do not speak well of us. Such works as The Dumbest Generation describe in detail how we are lacking in the skills held by previous generations as basic. We are seemingly losing the ability to hold a real conversation, one not involving electronic media, and thereby succumbing the lure of the machine, that fatal attraction that what we’ve created in a machine or computer network is as good as what God created in human relationships.
It may be that some future historian will look back upon the last year or so and think that my generation were either great idealists or great fools. I am partial to the latter. We helped to elect into office perhaps the most dangerous president in American history and were a large part of the jejune stupidity of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The sort of stupidity we engaged in are to be found in multiple reports on National Review, Mises Institute and Glenn Beck TV, not to mention the countless videos on YouTube. Among the suggestions made were musings that we should appropriate all wealth from an ill-defined by morally guilty class of ‘the rich,’ to the idea that we should abolish money, have the government pay all school loans or to abolish capitalism and establish a socialist economy in its place. The economic mis-education and errors in these ideas are so immense it would take several books to destroy them all, thankfully that has already been done, in some cases, decades ago. If this is the class of men and women we are to expect to rise in the coming decades to rule, teach and run the United States then we should fear for the great Republic, for her children hate the mother that bore them.
The horizons are dark for my fellows, and for myself. We do not see the way ahead, for we do not know the past and we are seemingly unable to learn. Not all is lost, there is yet hope, while there remain those who are willing to say “Here I stand” as did Luther, to stand by human freedom and dignity against tyranny and evil, in the tradition of Churchill, Bonhoeffer, Havel, Thatcher, Reagan and Solzhenitsyn. If there are to be great ones in my generation, as I daily pray there will be, let them be first and foremost lovers of God and men and women of prayer. We have need of praying men more than any other kind, for only praying men are able to seek the aid of the King.
Apart from that deep spiritual need there is much more to be done. There is a need for morally righteous men who will live by their convictions, who will stand for Truth and right even in the face of great cost. Mankind does not learn moral goodness but by example, both common, the father or grandfather who teaches a young man to follow God, to the towering giants who inspire generations to oppose the ‘blood dimmed tide.’ I think there are yet two groups in America which may yet provide the sort of men needed, the military and the homeschool movement. Military men and women often share a common code of values and a sense of brotherhood, a commitment to what is just and a willingness to fight and die for them. The homeschool movement in America is yet young, barely a generation old and its sons and daughters are still young. If there is to be a great writer, thinker, poet or other great figure after the image of Dante, Eliot, Burke or Solzhenitsyn, I think it will come from homeschoolers, for they allow the freedom needed to think and read deeply, to experience the world and to learn wisdom. Let us look forward to what God may bring, and let us pray that He will do a great thing in our age, and in our lifetimes.
Your Humble Servant, C. McDonald