|The Infamous Pajama Boy: "Insufferable Man Child"|
Reading an American history textbook reveals the continuous level of revolutionary energy among Americans from the time they stepped foot on the continent in the early 1600s all the way through the 1970s.
Then... nothing for 40 years.
The Puritans tamed a wild new continent, fought Indians, and dreamed of establishing a "City on a Hill." The new Zion. Their neighbors to the south in Jamestown were a band of adventurers whom came to North America for fortune and a fresh start.
Religious radicalism created new colonies in Rhode Island, and the First Great Awakening revolutionized the religious landscape.
All the way up through the early twentieth century pioneers conquered western lands and subdued Indian tribes in efforts to carve new habitations for themselves out of wild frontier.
The mid 1700s marked the rise in the American revolutionary movement. British tax collectors were tarred and feathered, tea was thrown overboard, and pamphlets were written and propagated. A war followed, and until the early 1800s the country was engulfed in political conflict and periodic tax uprisings.
During the Jacksonian era, the Second Great Awakening shook the foundations of established religion and produced a plethora of radical new denominations that taught faith healing, the immediate return of Christ, and the dawn of a thousand year period of peace. The Mormon faith was founded by a young incendiary advocating polygamy. He was run out of almost every town his disciples arrived in. Across the country, utopian communes sprung up. They were inspired by transcendentalism, sexual egalitarianism, and radical faith traditions.
At the same time, radical abolitionist societies emerged to lambast the South, fix elections in the West, form the underground railroad, murder slave advocates, and incite slave revolts. In the South, similar sentiments caused plantation loyalists to destroy abolitionist presses and kill its advocates.
In the West, pioneers revolted against Mexico, 150 bowie knife wielding wilderness men took on thousands of Mexican troops at the Alamo, and a new Republic was formed. Manifest destiny sent the nation's youth to battle in the Mexican-American war and US colonial power spread across the continent.
Soon after, the Civil War rocked the country with thousands of underage boys lying to enter combat. In the aftermath, carpet baggers took advantage of the South. Radical Republican abuses during Reconstruction led to the formation of the vigilante KKK to protect southern interests.
The country was soon united by war with Spain, and random militia groups signed up to conquer Cuba, the Philippian's, and Puerto Rico.
On the domestic front, the temperance movement and Women's suffrage changed the face of the US electorate, and ultimately led to prohibition (and all the scandal it entailed).
America was soon embroiled in the second biggest war in human history, followed by the Great Depression, and then the biggest war in human history. These wars shook the foundations of civilization, left millions dead, and established the United States as the most powerful state in human history.
The children of the so called "greatest generation" launched the sexual revolution, invented cultural Marxism, became hippies, destabilized age old norms, overturned racial distinction, and created a drug culture.
The history of America is a history of energy and action; energy which has not ceased since the beginning of the 1600s. One might disagree and even abhor much of what was being advocated or done with this energy, but something was being done.
What has happened since the first half of the 1970s? What has America's youth been fighting for? Answer: almost nothing.
The LGBT movement might represent something, but it represents less the energy of the modern population than the long expected and unsurprising continuation of the sexual revolution and civil rights movements begun in the 60s. The "fight" for gay rights is backed by millions of dollars of corporate money.
Today, the average young adult sits in front of the television, watches porn, sometimes participates in real sex, smokes marijuana, watches YouTube videos, attends school for their second masters degree in tolerance management, and works a part time job unrelated to their area of study.
There's no idea of conquest, no action towards reform, no thought to religion, racial loyalty, or even the future. Post-modernism has swept away all belief.
To convert people to any cause whatsoever is now regarded as the sin of "ideological imperialism." To criticize anyone for anything considered polically correct is to be "ignorant" and "intolerant." To pursue a goal beyond money is to be an "extremist." Being "nice" is all that counts.
Most conservatives reviled the Occupy Wall Street movement as a collection of spoiled irrational youth. I felt differently, just the mere will to get off their couches, go camp in the middle of the city, and complain showed more guts than 99% of their peers. They might not have known what they were protesting exactly, but at least they were attempting to do something... anything.
The greatest challenge facing reform in America today is the lack of energy among the country's population. Today, Americans are afraid to take any risk, afraid to say anything that might get them in trouble with the word police. Their afraid to advocate for something that might possibly be offensive. Modern Americans are afraid to live.
1980s youth at least created their own fashion style; today, hipsters basically recycle old stuff in rapid succession and wear it ironically.
Art is dead. There are now several blank canvases on display at the New York Met entitled "Untitled." It might be a fitting title for the most boring generation.