Thursday, November 5, 2015

Noonan: Culture Creates Kids Whose 'Nerves Are Shot'

An extraordinary reflection by Peggy Noonan (at CNN and in her new book) remembering her childhood years:
Things hadn't been let loose to such a degree. The messages, permissions, incitements and inducements of the culture were not rough, lowering, frightening.
Life then wasn't Arcadia, there was murder and mayhem because humans are humans, and "history is an abattoir" -- but there was a greater feeling extant of safety on the street. Parents could say to their kids, essentially, "Go out and play in America," and know they'd come back OK that night.
People don't feel that so much anymore, and it's a real loss. (It is right here to note that life would not have been so safe for a little girl and an old woman of color; the world might not have been so kind. But the larger point, that everyone was at least a little safer, I think maintains.) Sophisticated Europe, I learned years later, had looked at our culture -- its blandness, its innocence, its babyish assumption that the good would triumph -- and saw it a culture of children. We were more appropriately understood as a culture for children. And you know, that's not the worst thing.
Here is my concern. There are not fewer children living stressed, chaotic lives in America now -- there are more. There will be more still, because among the things America no longer manufactures is stability. And the culture around them will not protect them, as the culture protected me. The culture around them will make their lives harder, more frightening, more dangerous. They are going to come up with nothing to believe in, their nerves essentially shot. And they're going to be -- they are already -- very angry.
Click here to read the whole piece.

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