Happy Martin Luther King Day!

The previous post briefly touched on the topic of national security as it affects the current generations of American youth. It may seem counter-intuitive to talk about terrorism on a day that commemorates a man who dedicated his life to nonviolent social change. It makes more sense when you realize that terrorism has been affecting the United States for a long time before the current conflict with Islamic extremism:

A poster from the 1920s depicting men waving American flags kicking around a liberty bond while being followed by Klansmen. The cartoon was published in the liberal journal /Good Morning/ to commemorate Warren G. Harding's inaugural parade. The purpose of the cartoon was to associate those who chose to profit from patriotism with extremists.

That’s right folks, the United States has been dealing with threats from non-nation-state actors for a lot longer than most people realize. Originally begun as a college fraternity, the Ku Klux Klan was comprised of former soldiers of the Confederate Army who resorted to violence against civilians to disrupt the abolitionist social order which was emerging in the American South during the years following the Civil War. Although solutions may have been developed for dealing with them, they would have been discontinued with federal troops were withdrawn from the South following the election of Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876:

Map depicting the readmission of Southern states into the Union during the Reconstruction period. This should provide readers with a clue as to where the current strategy of 'nation-building' comes from.

Likewise for US strategies developed for combating Viet Cong guerrillas during the 20th century. The reason why the American public appears to suffer from amnesia regarding our history of dealing with this type of threat is because our narrative of history likes to explain it away as part of some broader conflict against a conventional adversary: the Vietnam War was just a proxy war that took place during the Cold War against the Soviet Union; the struggle against the KKK was just unfinished business from the Civil War; our current problems with extremist violence are part of a struggle against “radical Islam”.

And the reason why we keep ignoring this threat is because of its very nature. It’s unpredictable, can strike at any time, and comes with little advance warning. Perhaps the best assurance that can be provided to the American public is to admit that no predefined strategy exists for solving this problem. It’s like having a heart attack– diet and exercise can prevent it from happening, but when it does occur, you can’t plan for it. You just have to deal with it as it happens using whatever resources you’ve got, including human beings:

The #1 killer of women in America.

References

 

So What’s This All About Anyway?

Warning: This post discusses non-PC topics related to human biology. The most controversial sections have been attached as a Word document, which has been scanned and guaranteed free of malicious code by Kaspersky Internet Security.

It’s been 26 posts and about one and a half years since this blog was started. The topics have run the gamut from ancient history to human biology to modern politics, and the purpose of these posts seems more elusive than ever. Some may wonder whether they amount to anything significantly more than the rantings of a madman pseudo-intellectual with rudimentary knowledge of popular evolutionary psychology. So without further ado, let’s take a good, hard look at the problem:

Three decades of relatively broadly-shared prosperity have given way to a global economic crisis, with government programs providing limited relief. Current political trends only seem to be exacerbating the problem, with right-wing governments triggering the UK’s exit from the European Union and the election of Donald Trump in the United States. Caught up in the middle of all this are the Millenials, the generation that was born in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Generation Z, which was born during the years following the start of the Global War on Terror, grew up in an environment where physical security was a concern, which means they have to deal with that in addition to the issues faced by Millenials.

In an economic climate characterized by massive student loan debts in combination with an economic recovery that was primarily limited to low-wage economic sectors such as retail, this group appears to be the most vulnerable to the current wave of conservatism. Combine this with a political climate where Communism is no longer a major player, and you get a generation that is looking for a guiding philosophy to help them navigate the troubled waters of today’s world. Movements like Occupy Wall Street have attempted to fill this void, but the 1960s counterculture movement that inspired it existed within a completely different political climate than the one that exists today.

In order to truly understand the problems faced by the Millenial generation, it is absolutely necessary to understand the problems of the generation that raised them, the Baby Boomers. Born during a population boom following the most destructive war in human history and raised during a period of cultural conformity, young Boomers were some of the first people to begin challenging the status quo and existing social norms.

However, the breakdown of American society following the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 led to a period of extended social and economic instability. Any children that were born after this period found themselves in a disturbing paradox– despite living during times when human civilization had reached heights that had never been seen before, the goals which they were being asked to pursue were well beyond what their abilities would allow.

Solutions to this problem were developed by Generation X, the generation which was born between these two age groups, and those solutions resulted in prosperity for a limited period of time before that wealth evaporated at the end of the previous decade. As a result, new solutions need to be implemented that can take into account a socioeconomic landscape that was inherited from the 20th century while also addressing 21st century issues such as climate change.

In short, this blog is about what it means to be young in today’s America.

References

http://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Millennial-Muddle-How/48772/

PBS documentary about the social changes of the 1960s: http://www.pbs.org/video/2365150223/

precipice.doc