Those unwilling to wait that long can turn directly to [Charles] Murray, who tends to go blithely about getting things right even as the left excoriates him. Murray understands that the debilitating shifts of poorer people away from marriage and religion are culturally induced and that the prescriptions to reverse them must be cultural as well. Among those fixes, as he said in a recent article in the paper of record (the Wall Street Journal):
The best thing that the new upper class can do… is to drop its condescending “non-judgmentalism.” Married, educated people who work hard and conscientiously raise their kids shouldn’t hesitate to voice their disapproval of those who defy these norms. When it comes to marriage and the work ethic, the new upper class must start preaching what it practices.
This is so clearly true that the only real question is: why don’t they? If marriage and religion give smart people joy and improve their living standards, why don’t they spread the word?
I believe one reason is the Tyranny of Hip: the unwillingness of grownups to be thought of as uncool. We seem to have a horror of shedding the mantles of the heroes of romance in order to take on the roles of the crusty but wise chaperones. Even when Red State’s Erick Erickson and cultural blogger Dr. Melissa Clouthieramong others courageously grasped the nettle recently and took the girls and boys of CPAC to task for dressing like hookers and acting like johns, they were at pains to explain that they were talking about time and place appropriateness not morals — which still didn’t protect them from the usual hail of superior-sounding irony that followed.
No one wants to be the butt of the cool kids’ jokes like that. No critic who values his relevance wants to point out that Bridesmaids soiling themselves while in wedding regalia is not really funny; or that Katy Perry’s hummable hit tunes peddling alcohol abuse and cheap sex to 12-year-olds are reprehensible; or that Sacha Baron Cohen mocking ordinary people for their non-ironic faith, manners or dedication can be at once hilarious and morally wrong — like laughing at a slapstick accident that leaves someone dead. No one wants to turn into the old man waving his cane from the porch rocking chair shouting at the young folks to stop all their goldarned canoodling and quit parading around with their hoo-has and what-nots hanging out, for the love of Mike.
And yet the nation hungers for just such behavior. Witness the recent YouTube video of a father punishing his spoiled daughter for a snarky Facebook post by plugging her laptop with a .45. The thing went viral to the tune of tens of millions of viewers. Why? Because it was wonderful to see someone finally step up and be Daddy.
The government, the media and academia are all in the clutches of perpetual 14 year-olds forever chasing times and trends to maintain the aura of hipness that keeps them sitting at the lunch table with the “cool” kids. The spoiled cool kids who think they’re just entitled to everything. Which is generally what 14 year-olds do think.
A nation of perpetual 14 year olds.