Friday, February 08, 2008

Immature Civilization

Check out this article in The City Journal by Kay Hymowitz, called "Child-Man in the Promised Land. It focused on the delayed adulthood of people today. A teaser for it:

Not so long ago, the average mid-twentysomething had achieved most of adulthood’s milestones—high school degree, financial independence, marriage, and children. These days, he lingers—happily—in a new hybrid state of semi-hormonal adolescence and responsible self-reliance. Decades in unfolding, this limbo may not seem like news to many, but in fact it is to the early twenty-first century what adolescence was to the early twentieth: a momentous sociological development of profound economic and cultural import. Some call this new period “emerging adulthood,” others “extended adolescence”; David Brooks recently took a stab with the “Odyssey Years,” a “decade of wandering.”

But while we grapple with the name, it’s time to state what is now obvious to legions of frustrated young women: the limbo doesn’t bring out the best in young men. With women, you could argue that adulthood is in fact emergent. Single women in their twenties and early thirties are joining an international New Girl Order, hyperachieving in both school and an increasingly female-friendly workplace, while packing leisure hours with shopping, traveling, and dining with friends [see “The New Girl Order,” Autumn 2007]. Single Young Males, or SYMs, by contrast, often seem to hang out in a playground of drinking, hooking up, playing Halo 3, and, in many cases, underachieving. With them, adulthood looks as though it’s receding.

It is a rather profound effect. Read Hymowitz's related article The New Girl Order. Diana West makes mention of it in her book "the Death of the Grown-Up". Mark Steyn makes comment about this in many of his writings. One of his prescriptions is to return to the idea of a thorough K-12 education, not the fixation on University; his point is with the decline in standards and achievement has made K-16 (public school and university) is now marginally poorer than K-12 of forty years ago.

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