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An Apology Letter to Generation Z
America has never been perfect and anyone yearning for the “Good Old Days” has to be very selective about what parts of those times they remember and what parts they don’t. We don’t even have to talk about the biggies like slavery or women being treated like second-class citizens here.
My late father grew up in a level of poverty during the Depression that few Americans today can even comprehend. Even I remember going to a cabin with no electricity at High Rock Lake as a kid and using the bathroom in an outhouse. The world has come a long way since then.
Still, life was also a lot better back then in a variety of ways.
For example, me? I grew up with two parents and two grandparents who doted on me. My teachers? They were professional. The Internet and cell phones? They didn’t exist. I would spend hours walking alone in the woods with no one knowing where I was. I had to ask girls out in person, I went to church on Sundays. I also had real-world (not just online) friends I talked to every week and groups of us went places together. I felt safe walking through my town, I didn’t aspire to be an “influencer” or worry if I’d look cool on Instagram because they didn’t exist. Most of the messages I saw in the entertainment world were relatively healthy:
During those times and since then, a lot of things have happened that have changed the environment in the cultural fishtank we all swim in.
Some of them were for the better, some undeniably made things worse, but a lot of them were mixed blessings. Sometimes progress, or at least what looks like progress, comes with a very heavy price tag that many people have lost sight of over time.
For example, something like women entering the workforce en masse probably seemed like it was an overwhelmingly good thing at first, right? It gave women more money and more importantly, more options. It led to productivity increases and an increase in GDP. Those were and still are good things.
On the other hand, the more women that entered the workforce, the fewer women were stay-at-home moms.
Meanwhile, as women no longer felt like they needed men financially, they became less inclined to marry, more inclined to divorce and they took on more masculine roles at work that generally made women less feminine.
In other words, this is something most people talk about as an unalloyed good, but it’s much more of a mixed bag than most people will admit. Furthermore, whatever you think about it, good or bad, the toothpaste is out of the tube and it’s not going back in.
There are a lot of things like this that have impacted our society in complicated ways. The Internet. Birth control pills. The decline of the Christian church. Third-wave feminism. Abortion. Increasingly out-of-control big government and debt. Senators being elected by popular vote instead of by the states. Our primary source of immigration changing from Europe to the Third World. A much later age of first marriage. Internet dating. Free speech dying on college campuses. Much of science being corrupted by big money. Political extremism. Tube porn. Gay marriage. Gender confusion. Increased geographical sorting by ideology. The decline of patriotism. Manufacturing jobs moving overseas. Cell phones. And social media.
All of these things changed the world, but combined, they also had a heavy cost you can see all around you.
Today, I look at the world that kids in Generation Z (1995-2012) are living in and to me, it’s very apparent that we’ve gone backward in a lot of ways. That’s a big problem because one of the forgotten duties each generation of Americans has is to leave this nation better than we found it so future generations can have not just the same opportunities that we did, but BETTER opportunities.
Americans are supposed to be optimistic about the future. Children are supposed to have the opportunity to live better lives than their parents. When Ronald Reagan left office, it felt like that “City Upon a Hill” he always talked about was still in place:
Today? That “City Upon a Hill” isn’t shining so bright anymore and I feel sorry for Generation Z. How many of them have what people like me had growing up? How many of them even know what they’re missing?
How many of them are growing up in a broken home, where mom and dad don’t live together and neither do grandpa and grandma? Have they ever gone to church at all? Did anyone ever teach them to be independent or were they coddled and always a cell phone call away from an adult who they were encouraged to lean on? How many of them learned at an early age to make mostly online friends, get their sexual needs met by online porn, and spend their time obsessively gaming?
Today? You can’t trust the media. You don’t necessarily have a lot of good role models on TV and in the movies. It’s hard to figure out who you are and how to be your own authentic self because you grew up focused on how to look for other people on social media.
What passes for a moral framework for most of these kids is really no more than a few generalities designed to impress people they like and show disdain for people they don’t. Instead of showing them the way, adults are encouraging them to be OnlyFans models, change their genders, and do whatever feels best.
Generation Z is sensitive and weak because they’ve never been independent enough to grow strong. They’re immoral because they’ve never been taught morality. They’re confused about who they are and who they can be because they’ve grown up “on stage,” desperate to make a good impression on social media.
Against that backdrop, the dating world today is screwed up in a way most of us couldn’t have even imagined twenty years ago and even if you do get married, nobody really knows if it will last anymore.
Our debt? It’s hard to believe our country will ever pay it off and we’re starting to get to the point where it seems possible that in two or three decades, we’ll owe more in debt than there is money on planet earth… if that’s even possible.
Meanwhile, both political parties seem hopelessly incompetent, our media is so corrupted it’s nearly impossible to know the truth about most subjects, everything is now political and the worst role models on planet Earth are bombarding Generation Z with some of the dumbest, most counter-productive advice imaginable.
Even though the generations that came before had it easier, we’re much better prepared than Generation Z to handle this nightmare because at least we have lived through and experienced what living in a normalized, functional, healthy society was like. They haven’t and there are at least potentially much worse horrors to come on the horizon.
An economic collapse fueled by our debt. A revolution, civil war, or national break-up driven by political incompetence. Even the WEF’s nightmare “You will own nothing and be happy” world seems more plausible than ever as the price of housing and cars has exploded.
Could we see a world where few people own a car, and most people simply lease self-driving cars to take them where they want to go from the big car companies?
Could we move away from owning our own home to something more like this nationwide? Again, maybe:
Of course, it’s fair to ask, “Who’s to blame for all of this?” Like much of the rest of this, it’s a complicated question.
It would be great if we could pin this disintegration of our society on the rich, liberals, or even the Illuminati, but life isn’t that simple. There were – and still are – plenty of bad actors who don’t mean well involved in the disintegration of our society, but did they cause it or were they just amoral people who looked at the world as it was and took advantage of it?
There’s a little of column A and a little of column B involved in that answer. However, many of the worst changes in our society were side-effects of what may be great societal and technological leaps forward:
If we did have to blame this whole mess on one particular group of people, do you know who it would be? It would be us. It would be the average Baby Boomer, Millennials, and members of Generation X.
Not because we were bad people. Not because we wanted things to go wrong, but because we were complacent. We had won the World Wars, beat the Soviet Union, had the strongest military, the strongest economy, and the best culture… except we slowly, but surely stopped doing the things that got us to that point.
It happened so gradually that many of us didn’t realize how far it had gone. Day by day, year by year, things got a little worse. People got a little worse. The government got a little worse. We left it to cowardly politicians, we ignored it and some of us kept our heads down because it was easier to let other people fight to do the right thing while we sat on the sidelines, critiquing how well they were fighting the good fight in the arena instead of joining them.
At least some of us tried and are still trying to make the world a better place, but the deeper we go into the well, the harder it is to climb back out into the sunlight.
I’m sorry it came to this, Generation Z. Not only should we never have let America get this bad, but we should have prepared you much better to handle the crushing responsibilities coming your way. Some of us still care enough to do what we can to try to help, but you deserve an apology as well. It should have been different than this.