The Youth Road to Serfdom by Bill Buppert

“A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.”

– Edward Abbey

We just got finished watching the older movie, Red Dawn, the other day and it struck me how out of touch modern American teenagers are to the protagonists in the film.  I get it; the film is homage to hyperbolic patriotism in the fight against a foreign invasion as unlikely as the scenario could be even in the heyday of US-USSR global bipolar disorder.

With three dozen acknowledged insurgencies world-wide and realistically hundreds in reality, these partisan scenarios played out against internecine rivalries for power within or around various nation-states are ubiquitous and overwhelmingly a young man’s endeavor ranging from the prepubescent fighters in the Lords Resistance Army to the twenty- and thirty-somethings that made up the bulk of the fighters in Northern Ireland, Chechnya and Afghanistan among the innumerable ranks of trigger pullers battling for some cause world-wide.

But I have to wonder just how fit the modern American teenager is for this kind of fighting whether initiated by a foreign invasion or the far more likely notion of battling a brutal and repressive regime from DC visited against its own citizens resisting the increasingly totalitarian notions of Potomac America where freedom demands a license and laws are so legion that one can’t walk through a day without violating some obscure Federal statute.

America’s youth seem to be fatally tethered to a need for information which has become so addictive that it is hard to pry one’s children from the phones and computers that shadow, if not dominate, their every waking minute and hour.  One would think that a forward looking mind that has access to the greatest store of knowledge ever in human civilization would render a new golden age peopled by superior thinkers, new inventions and new areas of cognition that would propel us forward into a brightly lit future of unlimited potential.

Not so much.

If we were to harness the endless dithering about bowel movements or online gaming marathons and turn it into energy, we would have no need of any other terrestrial fuels to light up the planet.  I remember talking to one shambling shibboleth of sloth who told me in five years of gaming World of Warcraft, he logged an entire human year playing.  A year!  Good God.

This electronic renaissance has accomplished just the opposite, it has ushered in the most lethal and effective device yet known to man to harness every man to feudal state of being and every woman to the notion that her sin qua non is the  incessant broadcasting of her most banal daily activities and constant concern for the appearance of her photographic life on the wall of various virtual town halls where immediate satisfaction and the sharing of formerly idiotic behavior is the hallmark of a fulfilling life.

No state or government could have engineered such an ingenious device to enslave minds and distract humans from doing anything but…dithering.  Shut off the internet connection at any government facility with the armies of drones shuffling virtual paper from one inbox to another and the exodus from the physical facilities are amazing to behold.

Given the nature of this transformation from homo sapiens to homo insipid, we see an evolution toward sloth and servitude, not advancement of knowledge and the pursuit of ever more productive ways to serve our fellow man in the market.

These are not the qualities of fighters.  As much as the mall ninjas and violent gamers like to brag about skills, when the shots ring out and they are zombified in their haze of Condition White, they will be nothing more than targets playing the age-old game of whack-a-mole that has been littering battle zones with corpses for centuries.  As Heraclitus taught us two and a half millennia ago:

” Of every One-Hundred men, Ten shouldn’t even be there,
Eighty are nothing but targets,
Nine are real fighters…
We are lucky to have them…They make the battle,
Ah, but the One, One of them is a Warrior…
and He will bring the others back.” 

 There are southern and inland western youth in America who still hunt, shoot and otherwise pay homage to the martial arts (beyond the repetitious Asian arts that play at defense and fail in the end with the honorable exception of Krav Maga and Haganah).  The subculture of the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) practitioners and their fans encourage me but an increasing large slice of that following are falling into the silly hero-worship and geeky fandom of professional wrestling.  There certainly is a tactical sub-culture in the US but the majority are kit-geeks who collect more than perfect and are making a sizable profit in sales for the largest waist size in “operator” pants outside of Mexico [I know from personal experience the tactical obesity of Mexican constabulary and armed forces].

Look around, not only are Americans obese and out of shape; they take pride in their lack of self-sufficiency and American teenagers are rarely unconnected unless forced to do so.  Their primary predilection in their waking hours is the addictive updating of the banality of what passes for their existence.  They read but they don’t read books nor do they take the time to do what is the most basic first step in cognition and reflection, stand still, concentrate and think.  War-game solution sets, extrapolate outcomes and puzzle out second and third order effects.  It is not happening and it may form a fatal national amnesia that will make them putty in the hands of any political opportunist who can readily manipulate an unreflective people whose notion of virtue is learned not from Socrates and Seneca but Jersey Shore and JZ.

They cannot defend themselves much less fight for a virtuous course that will put their safety (or internet connection) in the hazard.  No invasion is necessary because the surrender has already occurred.

Teach your children well.



“The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

7 thoughts on “The Youth Road to Serfdom by Bill Buppert”

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  3. You could modify Heston’s “cold dead hands” comment when arguing about ipods and so-called “smart phones” with todays booboisie. Smart? You’ve got to be kidding me! You have these idiots glued and tapping away on these damn things while sitting at the table oblivious to your presence. What in the hell happened to conversation or simple courtesy? Is that latest twitter or jingling ring-tone more important than that face staring right at you? To these I say, “Get thee to hell”

  4. Great essay Bill; way to take the pulse of another generation. For once I get to be the optimistic one.

    First, as you noted, this cuts across the generation, enemies as well as allies. And while I would never denigrate physical skill and/or preparation, we’re really not looking for a world in which there’s more fighting, right? Maybe better when it’s necessary, but not more. And since our enemies are more ignorant than our allies…well, like I say, ineptitude in fighting cuts both ways. I think you wrote an essay about that recently.

    A little more complex is the issue of the Information Age. This will prove to be all good over time, and we’re just starting to see it now. The so-called “privacy issue” is a complicated one. The issue never was the privacy that we have or don’t have, but rather what someone else can do with that information. THAT’S the evil. It’s not what anyone else knows about a person, but the force they can bring to bear–inevitably by the State–because they know it. I want you to make millions of dollars but the way it’s been, if you make millions of dollars, then danger is brought upon you if other people know it. Besides potential street thugs, there is the great Leviathan who claims a large part of it for Itself. THAT’S the problem, not that I or anyone else knows about it. So it is with almost all of our actions in life, from jaywalking to so many willing transactions between otherwise free individuals.

    Yes, there will always be a tiny number of street thugs. But I’m sure you’re like me…that’s not much of a problem. Being from Detroit, they’re more like background noise to me, and not even much at that. We both know what the real problem is.

    Besides, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about this. The FACT is that a huge amount of information about all of our activities is traceable and public. That’s the way it is and it’s not going to diminish. Quite the contrary, obviously. Cameras, microphones, email, websiites…eventually nearly every move we make will be on the record.

    That’s the shocker—this will prove to be a good thing, not a bad thing. It’s something else that cuts both ways. In a nutshell…just as an armed society is a polite society, so a transparent society will be a civil society.

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