Memorial Day and a Nation of Narcissistic Ninnies

Americans increasingly avoid risk, which means avoiding living a meaningful life.

America, home of the free because of the brave, lacks brave people. Memorial Day approaches and too many Americans cannot fathom believing in anything enough to risk their lives for that belief. Worse, they scorn the people who do believe. Americans, rich and coddled, have turned inward and worry about risking anything because they have too much to lose. So they play it safe and protective — but mostly they play.

Consider the evidence. The Army came out with a new ad that didn’t extol bravery and sacrifice and the ideals of America. Instead, it extolled self-idealization by way of personal journey to self-discovery through joining the Army. Even mentally unstable, sexually ambiguous pudding-heads will find a home there and will have their hands held on their quest for self-actualization. The message is clear: Join the Army — do it for you.

Why must the Army appeal to the ego of a man, a woman, or an “it” to join the military? Well, because the Army is having a tough time recruiting enough suitable candidates. As Dean Wormer says in Animal House, “Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.” It might be better to update it to fat, stoned, and stupid, but the insight remains. The problem? America is now filled with fat, stoned, and stupid young people who have given little thought to life beyond the confines of their internet-dominated and insular experience. From American Military News:

Mission: Readiness, a non-partisan group consisting of nearly 800 retired U.S. admirals and generals, recently sent a letter to acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller, calling on the Department of Defense to address the major issues preventing 71 percent of Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 from being eligible to serve.

“As you know, 71 percent of young Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 are currently ineligible for military service, primarily because they are too poorly educated, too overweight, or have a history of crime or substance
abuse,” Mission: Readiness’ Dec. 17 letter reads. The letter was signed by retired U.S. Air Force Gen. William M. Fraser, III and retired U.S. Coast Guard Adm. James M. Loy.

Then there’s America’s birth rate. It has dropped off dramatically. Why? Some of it is pure deception and delusion. Rebeccah L. Heinrichs has a must-read piece in the American Mind about the change in the American psyche. She writes,

As an increasingly typical 29-year-old woman told the New York Times, she’s putting off children because she’s “getting to live her life.” She’s “feeling a little bit selfish,” and “everybody in my friend group is saying, ‘When is the right time to let go of that selfishness?’ ” On Mother’s Day, the New York Times even chose to glamorize women who reject motherhood altogether, and feminist Jill Filipovic wrote that she would like to read more essays from women who regret having had children. Let there be no mistake about the cultural elite’s denigration of motherhood and children.

Heinrichs continues,

There is a cultural dogma that tells little girls they will achieve their greatest worth through autonomy, power, and how optimally they maneuver to monetize their talents. This dogma nurtures narcissism and rejects self-sacrifice as stupid and weak. The new dogma, which modern feminism has embraced, teaches young people to stamp out vulnerability and dependence, though vulnerability and dependence are immutable characteristics of our creative design and necessary for the sustainment and reproduction of human life.

The Census Bureau tells another part of the story (emphasis added):

A look at this new generation of young adults:

  • 1 in 4 young people aged 25 to 34 living in their parents’ home (about 2.2 million) neither go to school nor work.
  • Most Americans believe educational and economic accomplishments are extremely important milestones of adulthood. In contrast, marriage and parenthood rank low: over half believe that marrying and having children are not an important part of becoming an adult.
  • Young people may delay marriage but most still eventually tie the knot. In the 1970s, 8 in 10 married by the time they turned 30. Today, not until the age of 45 have 8 in 10 people married.