Perpetual Adolescence

It’s known that in general girls mature faster than boys. What’s not so widely known is why. One reason is because the female brain (setting aside the debate on the spectrum of gender being non-binary) optimizes brain connections earlier than the male brain. The brain’s ability to optimize connections is “designed to give each human the best tools for survival in their environment,” according to psychologytoday.com. This ability also depends on which brain connections are nurtured during childhood. Yet, even though the female brain tends to mature faster than the male brain, it’s my contention that neither Western males nor females are maturing as they should be, and instead, due to certain laws and cultural trends, remain in a state of Perpetual Adolescence.

The psychologytoday.com quote above indicates that the human brain does what it needs in order to survive; that the human brain works toward the ideal of independence. Human beings, then, have evolved to be self-sufficient. Though it seems just recently that humans have strayed from this evolutionary trait; that nature is working toward one end — independence — while humans work against it.

I wrote a column not long ago — “Masculinity, Where Art Thou?” — about the lack of natural male tendencies in today’s 20- and 30-year-old men. It outlines how fatherlessness, online dating, pornography, and feminism all, either directly or indirectly, render the role of males obsolete, and how this damages the male psyche. After some consideration, it becomes apparent that there are also similar — even overlapping — cultural effects that warp the female psyche, too. For example, raising pets has replaced raising children. Though this trend hasn’t stopped the desire to be called “mommy.” Many consider their pets their children. Casual sex with multiple partners as well, once a trait of afraid-to-commit and insecure men is no longer disgusting for women, but empowering. Although a contradiction in thought versus action makes itself apparent when one looks at the number of 20 and 30-somethings who abstain from sex altogether, whether intentionally or not. It is as if culture is urging one thing while nature urges another, though saying so is enough to be ostracized. This fear of challenging cultural norms results in perpetual adolescence — adulthood isn’t mainstream.

By the time today’s Westerner matures, i.e., obtains the ability to be independent, they are past the age of being “stuck in their ways,” which further perpetuates adolescence. At age 30 “your personality has fully formed” says one occupational psychologist to The Independent; in the same article a psychology professor claims “global personality traits tend to remain stable over time, and certainly from age 30.” It is the conclusion of this column that collectivism — both in law and in culture — seeks to perpetuate adolescence in an attempt to obtain power. Obtaining power by stripping freedom from the individual is the topic of another column I wrote: “The Freedom-Haters.” This stripping of power begins around the time young Americans start to become independent, and continues throughout the rest of their lives. Government and culture work together to perpetuate adolescence of the individual to obtain and hold more power.

It all starts when a young man or woman graduates high school. The possibilities at this point are endless. A graduate can go to trade school, join the military, start a business, go into the workforce, enroll in college etc. Collectivist culture, however, which screams at the top of its lungs that post-secondary education is a “human right,” urges all to attend college, though many who attend college shouldn’t be there. College used to be a place where the best minds went to sharpen their skills, to work in fields that the less able could not. This wasn’t discriminatory, it didn’t violate anyone’s rights, it was the best way for society to function. Instead of college, many individuals found careers in trades, civil and military service, starting their own businesses and joining the workforce. It was nothing to be ashamed of to not have a college degree. Collectivist culture changed that. Now everyone needs to attend college, no matter how useless the degree or how backbreaking the debt.

The government agrees and supports this idea by offering student loans to any and all who want to attend. These loans, which 44 million Americans are currently struggling to pay off, limit the possibilities that were so abundant after high school. Instead of becoming an entrepreneur, graduates have to find jobs. And with the market over-saturated with college graduates who have no work experience, finding those jobs becomes difficult. It’s why in offices and apartments across Manhattan history majors are working in marketing, architecture majors are event planning, and cultural studies majors are freelance photographers.

Not to worry, the government eagerly perpetuates this powerlessness — this dependence. The infamous Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly referred to as The Affordable Care Act, or simply, Obamacare, enacts perpetual adolescence under the law. A direct quote from the Labor Department:

The Affordable Care Act requires plans and issuers that offer dependent child coverage to make the coverage available until the adult child reaches the age of 26.

The “adult child” is allowed to stay insured under mommy and daddy for a few more years. Instead of making life choices at 18, the government gives the “adult child” eight more years to figure things out. Of course, the four-year indoctrination camp known as higher-education has usually by then already done its job: set the collectivist mindset on autopilot. While undergrads who should never have attended college in the first place finds themselves disgruntled because the free market rejects them, idealizing collectivists like Marx and Keynes comes natural. Instead of blaming a culture and system that forced them into a degree program that had no aim other than collecting money, they blame the free market. They blame capitalism. They play right into the hands of the collectivist — and all at once lose their independence of the collectivist system.

The perpetually adolescent adult child is now 26 years old, indoctrinated into thinking that collectivism is the best way for society to function, and willing to vote for policies that continue the cycle of dependence. Put another way: a collectivist is born. They have never had to make a decision on their own — they have never had to think. Mom and dad made their choices for them while they were children. College professors told them how and what to think for four years after that. And while they stew for years after graduation, wondering what they can do with their college “education,” they watch as others around them who didn’t go to college prosper in the free market. They are childless and dependent. They are unmarried and unwanted.

What’s most depressing about the perpetually adolescent adult child is that instead of breaking the cycle, they embrace it. They hear a politician tell them that every privilege offered by the free market — medical care, work, education, housing — should not only be free, but provided by the government. And they don’t have to worry about paying because it’s the workers, the tradesmen, the civil servants — the adults — who get taxed to pay for such things. They do not appreciate the worker, they wage war upon him. They do not glorify the entrepreneur, they smear her as greedy. They have never had to make a decision in their lives, except only to vote for policies that perpetuate their adolescence.

Image credit: Wiki Commons

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