Thursday, March 14, 2013

Learning About Infowars

I've been working with, and training, young people for more than 40 years.

Well, for most of that time.

I let off training some ten or so years ago, when I found that what I was doing was training up young people enough to make them attractive to the corporate businesses that were re-locating into this rural market. Give me twelve to sixteen weeks, and any "box" store in the market will end up offering you an assistancy.

It has been more than ten years that I attempted to hire and train an employee.

Not that I haven't had employees.

My "right hand" for years had been a fella that I've known for around 30 years. About. Had a good base pay, and a fifty percent commission rate. How much more fair can a fella be? He always got more than I from his effort. Period.

They say that "familiarity breeds contempt." When I found that my bud was going to leave, he lied to me. The offer he told me he "had to take" was not the situation I found him in within days. That's all water under the bridge now. Just saying, that for years I relied upon another old geezer for his contribution to the revenue stream, and since his departure, I really hadn't thought of getting big, again.

Until two years ago.

With my oldest son looking at graduation from university and his imminent departure, and my youngest son drifting from the wasteland that has become the university with all of the pretensions and politically correct postures that must be adopted in order to receive the lambskin, I wanted to capture their assistance with a vision of expansion that I hadn't felt I had wanted to attempt for who knows how long?

A man's time on this earthly coil is limited. And while I really believe that I can work well into the next decade of my life--into perhaps, my seventies--it seems to me that one shouldn't plan on doing so. When one grows old, certain things become obvious to everyone except for the singular object of that aging. Declining relevance, for one. The paradigms that one has relied upon for ones life need be recast. Not that the paradigms have lost their relevance; it is the metaphors one chooses to communicate those paradigmatic truths that need to be dusted off. Language changes. New idioms are introduced. The meaning of words, and the values of inference in meaning shifts.

And if you're in an industry that relies upon communication as the product of your business, how best to communicate is an essential tool of your existence. Transitioning between the values, metaphors and word pictures of one generation to the next requires an open-mindedness that most businesses, or managers, don't need to worry about. After twenty or thirty years, you get a watch and a pension. You're done.

Not the independent businessman. When you built it, its yours. Just like a baby, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring, your business is your business. And like a lot of my friends, there is an issue of what to do with a business that you might have thought would attract your children. And now I find that my children don't want to be a part of what I've built. Which is okay.


My sons are traveling their own roads, just as I decided to do, years ago.

All this, being said, brings me to my latest employee.

First, I'm not going to be writing about this employee. Any similarities are simply coincidental. What has happened is, that all of the fears I've been aware of about the state of employment, and the conditions of social stature enjoyed by young men has been fairly well affirmed. And it isn't all good, even when young men find themselves in successful careers, or on track to become successful. There are some significant attitudes and beliefs held by our young men that are frankly frightening to me. I'm not the first to find that looking in the eyes of a young man is like looking into the eyes of Patrick Bateman.

By generation was the product of WWII. "Never Again" meant something to us. Our parents dealt with Hitler, Tojo and Mussolini. Why would we ever want to give rise to such serious menace again?

We dealt with Uncle Joe, but when the Iron Curtain came down, we joined hands with our allies to resist totalitarian regimes in Europe, and as a result of our history of liberty and freedom as Americans. After two world wars, it seemed simple to address the problem of authoritarian regimes; simply replace them with political-economic systems that mimicked the political-economic system that we had adopted, as Americans. The Marxist paradigm required one thing; central control.

The Marxist credo, "From each according to his abilities, to each, according to his needs," was the single most disastrous statement uttered from a religious movement that sought to remove a god from the universe, and replace a god with human intent. What humans intend is more important than what a mythological, unprovably existent God could ever advance. God is dead. Only the intent of men is the useful guidon for human endeavour.

So now, when I look into the eyes of young men, I see Patrick Bateman. They've been taught there is no God. They've been taught that the only society that makes any sense is one where we celebrate diversity, provide social justice, and make sure that corporations and banks are servants of the people, rather than free to wreck havoc over those without means, talent or advantage. And those without means, talent or advantage are, all of us.

Corporations have become the new Jews. Banks have become the new Jews. Headlines talk about things such as "locavores." Headlines talk about "too large to fail," or, as was offered today, "too large to jail." Try to find a reference to "too large to jail" before this week. Headlines are moving the conversation, but there is nothing behind the conversation beyond the headline. Headlines, moving faster than thought, discussion or reason. Moving at the speed of cable news, advancing the notion that you and I are without meants, the talent, or the advantage to put at rest these impending threats.

Headlines driving opinion.

Why not?

When was the last time you had an in-depth conversation about anything? And, more importantly, when was the last time any person under the age of 25 had an  in-depth conversation, at all?

Maybe you've seen it yourself, four kids at a basketball game, watching their phones and texting each other. What a country.

We don't talk to each other. We have no conversation. And I don't know if that's because we don't want to listen, or don't want to talk. Parents aren't talking to their children, brothers and sisters don't talk, teachers don't converse with students. Teachers talk to students. They don't converse with students. There's a huge difference.

Thirty years ago, economists were talking about the leakage due to the underground economy. What occurs when political systems drive economic activity underground. Looking back, maybe we should have been looking at other important social trends, when political systems drive other activities underground.

I had a glimpse of that outcome when I came across the first edition of a magazine called "Infowars."

What I'm trying to understand is why my heart sank as deeply as it did. This "Infowars" isn't bringing increased understanding of the complex issues that face free, independent adults. It is creating new "headlines" of concern, that require reaction, rather than response.

For a generation that has never been taught the art of conversation, it is frightening to me that a generation of young men, accustomed to being ignored by the political systems they've confronted in their schools and in their families, are finally being recognized by publications like this, that are just as devoid of conversation as were the state of their lives before these publications existed. And we're doing nothing about it.

I have a copy of Volume 1, Issue 7 in my hands. It is disturbing.

But as a conservative, as a libertarian, as an anarchist, what have you done to help bring these young men into an examination of truth, belief and conviction that advances the values of freedom, liberty and independence? Too little, I've found. We don't talk about freedom, liberty and independence.

These conversations have been pushed off the screen. We simply don't talk about these things.

So, how are our young men supposed to learn?


MAX Redline said...

Infowars, the Alex Jones product, strikes me much as does Glenn Beck - hysterical megalanoma. Yes, I know that no such word existed until I coined it, but it seems to fit: ego-driven, end-of-the-world commentary produced in the hope that it will metastasize. As you note, headlines of concern requiring reaction rather than response.

In my experience, your Bateman desriptive applies equally well to the so-called women of that age: shallow, self-centered, all about self-esteem. Just as they were taught.

T. D. said...

Every generation learns, or does not learn, the same way: through the hard knocks of experience.

Our children and grandchildren have it worse because we have tried to shield them from hard knocks. Eventually they will encounter hard knocks in a way that causes those willing to develop character to survive and learn to communicate with those who can help them (both living people and dead authors).

I see that in the young people in my extended family. When they get to the point that the feel they can't handle it alone, they start to seek advice, to talk and to listen. But, that takes a good deal of doing for kids brought up in such a wealthy environment as ours who feel (as we all are prone to feel) that the good we have is "normal" rather than something that has to be constantly worked for and nurtured.

My two cents.

You Betcha Ya said...

Your description of young people bears a striking similarity to Clockwork Orange, not just American Psycho. They have tuned out the world around them and retreated into a cyber world of violent games, free porn, and text relationships. It is a world disconnected from reality and without morality. A manifestation of that was the torture and humiliation of Iraqi captives by our young soldiers. It is also drug filled world that their parents generation gifted them. Combine all the elements and you have the makings of a truly psychotic generation. One that could under the right conditions make Hitler's SS look tame.
I'm glad I'm an old man now.