Nice couple paragraphs and link to a NYT article about kids these days, over at First Things…
My comment, posted there, copied here:
Perhaps the humanitarian who loves humanity but hates people is reflected in the title: community organizer. Because helping real people is hard and often thankless, while organizing a community (whatever that may mean) provides a useful distance from what the actual individual people may want.
Also, I have a good deal of interaction with kids through my kids’ school: these kids, if they ever could be brought to reflect critically on themselves would recognize narcissism as simple reality – what else is there? Stories I could tell…
Finally, I think the genesis of Generation Narcissus is the almost inevitable outcome of the 60s: the hippies of the 60s were the Greed is Good crowd of the 80s, the first generation to consistently treat children as Certificates of Achievement (limit 2 to a customer, please!), to be worked in around career and personal fulfillment, and certainly not a limit on your right to walk out on your spouse, if you feel so inclined. Those kids grew up to raise the current brood – no ties bind you, enduring the weeping of the little children and the elderly as they are handed off to the care professionals so that Mom and this week’s Dad can follow their dreams unencumbered is just a price you (not the actual criers – that’s THEIR issue, not yours) must buck up and pay. it’s just the way it is.
Further thought: the French Revolutionaries behind the Reign of Terror were high-minded humanitarians – and their high-minded humanitarianism lead them to, you know, guillotine a large number of men and women (famously, a convent of cloistered Carmelites) for the crime of getting in the way of the Revolution’s unabashed love of ‘Humanity’.
Not that that could happen here. U-uh, no, never. Other than the sordid history of the past 250 years, during which many tens of millions died because they were getting in the way of their betters’ efforts to create this week’s Earthly Paradise, what would ever make you think something so crazy?