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Thursday, 2 February 2017

Harry Potter and the way Millennial Leftists Don't Even Speak Western Anymore

I'm working on an article about yesterday's anti-Milo RIOTS at UC Berkeley. That will come out shortly.

But for now, during the midst of the Twitterstorm around these riots, I saw what must be my 50000th incidence of a Leftist millennial using a "harry potter" metaphor to try to explain current politics.

I swear, it's all you ever see from them.

But something happened to me last night, I had a kind of realization. It suddenly hit me WHY that is. 

It's because Harry Potter is literally all they collectively know.

Schools don't teach history anymore.
They no longer teach the canon of Western literature.
They certainly don't teach the Bible.

So Millennials literally have no points of common reference.  It's not that they all just want to look like complete morons by infantilizing their political metaphor to the level of a children's book, it's that they have no other choice.

They're literally bereft of the allegorical language of the West.  I'm sure there's some Harry Potter monster analogy I could use to explain it to them, how it's like monsters have come along and literally stolen their ability to speak, their common language, and their birthright.

They can no longer express or understand the set of references we have from our past, our most prized stories, and our culture's religious quotations.  They can't do Shakespeare, Milton, or even Mark Twain because they've never learned any of these while they were being taught Indonesian multicultural dancing and given participation awards. They don't know what happened at Hastings in 1066, at Runnymede in 1215, or even at Sarajevo in 28th June 1914, because they were being given feminist diversity training instead of learning the history of their civilization.  They certainly don't know what "the least of these" refers to or where it comes from, as a recent event with a White House staffer proved. 

They've lost the entire allegorical language of the West. They might speak English, but they don't speak Western. To them, it's like a foreign, dead, alien language.  A set of stories they do not know. 

And that, more than anything else, has led me to fear for the first time that our civilization is truly doomed.  People who don't have symbols aren't really human. The leftist Millennials, though really almost all millennials (save those very few who got exceptional educations from non-private sources), have no symbolic language worth having, just the tribal grunts of a child's fairy tale. 

They're already barbarians. The West, in that sense, has already fallen.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Poker + H&H's Chestnut


  1. That is a little bleak. I had to learn most of the Classics on my own time or in graduate classes, not so much for my bachelor's degree.

    I agree with you on the myths and understanding of western culture being largely absent from the American millenial experience, but that is true of the Boomers and Xers too, albeit to a lesser extent amongst Boomers.

    It could mean that western civilization is changing irrevocably, and that is good if you are anti-western and bad if you are pro-western, I guess.

    Definitely something to think about.

    1. I think there's a very significant generational gap. Practically all Boomers and Xers I know who went through university are able to understand references to, say, Shakespeare or the Bible, or at least the most simple historical references of western history.
      Most millennials I know who went through university cannot.

    2. Our experiences are different with Xers, for sure. Even college educated Xers around me generally don't get the actual reference (either of your examples) but recognize "Biblical" or "Shakespearean" language at about the same rate as millenials. Boomers are more likely to follow along with me, but even they generally don't know much Shakespeare or the uglier bits of the Bible. I am also in the suburbs of Chicago, and my work is in one of the richest suburbs.

      This cultural amnesia is something that is real, though. I do not know if it is necessarily a bad thing, but it is certainly a world-changing thing.

    3. "I do not know if it is necessarily a bad thing, but it is certainly a world-changing thing"

      I do not mean to sound wry, but if you knew anything about this culture that you yourself are forgetting so nonchalantly, you would know, and know clearly, whether its loss is necessarily a bad thing, because you would know enough about the past to learn its hard-won lessons.

      I would make a reference to the Sack of Rome or the Fall of Constantinople or the Burning of the Great Library of Alexandria, but you might not recognize of what I speak.

    4. I don't think so. Growing up in the 70s and 80s, these were still part of the collective conscience if you will. 1066 was a date we had drilled into us. The culture itself was still tuned to that, although it was in the process of pulling away from its roots. Part of it was that there was still a social norm. Like it or not, these things still made the foundation of our culture, and were still more or less taken as they came. The idea was still that, despite its sins, the West held a unique contribution to human history. By the time my boys came along, however, I was shocked at how little they learned about things that were simply taken as a matter of fact 20 years earlier. Sometimes it's not that we don't teach history or lit, but it's how and what we teach that makes the difference.

  2. I'm a graduate of public high school and public university, and I can assure you that history and English are both still on the curricula. We studied Shakespeare and Twain, but I don't believe we covered Milton. American history got a whole year, while the entirety of the rest of the world was covered in another. My degree is in Computer Science, so my undergraduate education didn't include many novels or history texts. I've never taken a dance class, not have I received any awards merely for participating. As a result, my dance skills are subpar, but I've done pretty well for myself.

    What would you have millennials refer to their supposed enemies as? The villains of the classics have been used as comparisons for so long that any statement of similarity is taken as hyperbole. Would you prefer it that political figures working against their interests be compared to Satan himself? Perhaps Ciacco the Hog is a more enlightened target for allegorical reference? My studies of Russian literature and existential philosophy don't lend themselves to easy villains, sadly, and though Godot is still being waited for, the political stage is hardly the place to do it.

    Have you considered why people might be making these comparisons to more recent fictional characters? Perhaps the modern reader has an easier time empathizing with a character growing up in a first-world nation in the last two hundred years, while there's little connection to illiterate desert-dwellers from two millennia ago. Maybe they find little in common between growing up in cities and painting neighbor's fences in rural America. Is it so wrong that modern media is how these people choose to relate?

    While the Bible is a remarkably well-referenced piece of media, have you considered the demographics of the group you're bemoaning? Religiosity is on a downward trend among younger people in the US. Reading it without any sort of religious conviction paints a morbid picture. The laws of slave ownership among Abrahamic cultures are interesting from an archaeological perspective, but they've never given me moral guidance in my day-to-day. I've certainly never worried myself with ritualistic cleanliness, the slaughter of sacrifices, or the moral rightness of the fiber makeup of my clothing. The entirety of Revelations reads like bad Supernatural fan fiction (and I hope you don't mind the reference to pop culture). There are a plethora of reasons to find the book outright detestable, frankly.

    The youth have been regarded as a scourge on culture since culture was old enough to have kids. Plato complained (using Socrates as his mouthpiece in Republic) about the disrespect shown by the young and their lack of morals. Is this any different?

    1. Your response is pretty typical, actually. You can name various bits of flotsam from the western tradition but your understanding of it is organized through cultural relativism. Nothing from the western tradition resonates with you.

      That's even worse than having never been exposed to it, because cultural relativism innocolulates you from any desire to care. Nothing from the western tradition will ever stir you to passion because it passes through the relativist filter first. You think of yourself as an educated person, but you'll never be motivated to preserve the West, so functionally you're a barbarian.

    2. I think that assessment is a little harsh. Much of the Enlightenment stuff still stirs me! The Declaration of Independence, Common Sense, Voltaire (esp. Essay on the Customs and Spirit of Nations and Candide), Rousseau, Tocqueville and many others but apparently I am a fan of the French Enlightenment thinkers when I write spontaneously...

      I do think there is worth there, but "destruction" and "change" are mutually exclusive terms.

    3. Better to be a functional barbarian than a dysfunctional sophisticate, I always say.

      I also really enjoy how you dismissed my entire argument without answering a single question.

      As far as the "preservation of the West", I didn't realize that was my responsibility. I had Thai curry for dinner last night, so I guess I'm already too far gone to be saved. Weep for us all as I work with people from India, China, Egypt, Lebanon, and Japan to solve problems at my job. Truly this is the death knell of our civilization. I'll be sure to tell my co-workers that they won the culture war.

    4. Your mistaken belief that familiarity with the bible coincides with religiosity says a lot. Many atheists such as myself know the Bible better than many religious persons. It's called education. Get one.

    5. Dave, dude. I wrote an RPG about India. I'm an expert on Chinese occultism.
      Your attempt to present this as some kind of 'racialist' thing is duly noted. I get that to you, believing that Western Civilization is great and worth saving is somehow inherently racist. That's part of the problem.

    6. You've called me out for cultural relativism, which would imply a relative view of some other culture. You've bemoaned my inability to find resonance with Western Culture explicitly. How else should I interpret your views than that Western Culture is the only one worth preserving? And when have I brought up race?

    7. "Perhaps the modern reader has an easier time empathizing with a character growing up in a first-world nation in the last two hundred years, while there's little connection to illiterate desert-dwellers from two millennia ago."

      The voice of roaring ignorance spews forth words without meaning. Note that, despite his half-education, this sophomoric fool dons a motley coat of pomp and authority, and seeks to lecture his betters on the trivial value of the education he himself is seeking so assiduously to spread before us like the tail of a peacock.

      The self-contradiction is noted, sir. Return to the mire.

  3. I should also add, I've never received "feminist diversity training", but I recognize the value of treating those different from me with respect, so I guess you can blame that on modern liberal ideals. I'll just be over here with Superman, recognizing the values of others regardless of how they might differ from me.

    1. Ha ha ha, you don't believe in values, you embrace relativism.

    2. Ha ha ha, you don't believe in fundamental human rights, you embrace absolutism and unfounded beliefs of cultural superiority.

    3. "I should also add, I've never received "feminist diversity training", but I recognize the value of treating those different from me with respect, so I guess you can blame that on modern liberal ideals."

      Here you see the reason behind this self imposed amnesia. It is to feed the vanity of these swollen frogs of self importance. He thinks his generation are the first to write down the concepts of magnanimous kindness, cosmopolitanism,and the brotherhood of man.

      This requires the writings of Aristotle, the Stoics, and the Bronze Age desert dwellers so shaprly chided elsewhere in this thread for being no longer relevant to the modern day, never be acknowledged to exist.

      The mental blankness serves a purpose. It is for self-esteem, or what older, clearer, deeper writers called the sin of pride.

    4. ". I'll just be over here with Superman, recognizing the values of others regardless of how they might differ from me."

      We differ from you, and you do not respect our values. Why do you claim to do something in the very act of showing that you don't?

  4. Dave is more interested in posturing than anything else, well suited for easy times and nothing else. Worthless noise and snark.

    1. Ad hominem attacks aren't exactly adding to the conversation. I've been called a barbarian and had everything I've said dismissed out of hand. Maybe I'm not the one posturing.

    2. "Ad hominem attacks aren't exactly adding to the conversation"

      Says the man who has no arrow other than his dumn Ad hominem argument in his whole empty and rattling quiver.

      Tell us again, praytell, please, sir, how you are the moral and intellectual superior to all of us here, and why the Western Civilization who mothered you is not good enough for you? Please regale us again about the unique achievements of your generation, which simply grow'd like Topsy, ex nihilo?

  5. Y'all dun't speechify western no mores. In Merica this is western, not shakes spear. dunt ya know. "Harry Potter and the way Millennial Leftists Don't Even Speak Western Anymore"

  6. They've cut themselves off from their own history. If civilization was a tree, they're sawing off their own branch, and see it withering because it’s been removed from its source of nourishment and think “good”.

    Look at Bendit's comments. He's doesn't read like he's responding from the sources, but rather with what he's been taught about the sources (slavery, ritual cleansing, weirdness in Revelations from the Bible). It's arrogance and ignorance combined - not just not knowing, but taking pride in the not knowing. "We find it easier to identify with someone in today's world than with 'illiterate desert dwellers'.

    (I mean, wow. Just look at that statement for a moment. First, it's factually ignorant, and must come from someone who doesn't understand the Hebrews / Jews at all. It's also arrogant as hell, comparing iPhone Snapchat culture to one that maintained written records for upwards of five thousand years. And it's aggressively lazy. "We don't need to put forth the effort that would be required to empathize with someone in a different era of history / culture / situation than modern life.” Ignorance, arrogance, aggression.)

    And he thinks he's justified in his hostility because he and a lot of the youth have been taught to hate the culture that gave them birth. They see Western Civilization as a monster unworthy of support or preservation. They imply that wanting to defend or at least maintain Western Civilization MUST NECESSARILY mean that we attack and destroy all other cultures. (Granted, we do borrow a lot, but most of what we’re borrowing are non-rivalrous ideas. We’re gifted borrowers, not marauding hordes.)

    Of course, not all the youth are like that. A lot of them, yes.

  7. “Do not give that which is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, for they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces."

    "Do not answer [nor pretend to agree with the frivolous comments of] a [closed-minded] fool according to his folly, Otherwise you, even you, will be like him."

    "Answer [and correct the erroneous concepts of] a fool according to his folly, Otherwise he will be wise in his own eyes [if he thinks you agree with him]."

    Not much has changed in human nature for over 2,000 years.

  8. When I was a kid, I was given a historical novel which talked about the lives of two young Colonial American kids my age (elementary school), and what they did and learned.

    It was a wakeup call to me as a "smart kid," because it taught me that I was behind in my studies, when compared to either the boy (academic subjects like Latin and navigation math) or the girl (household skills). In adult life, I have tried to pick up some of the slack.

    I am sorry for kids today, who do not have even the kind of enrichment that I got. But as adults, we can amend the holes in our educations, if we want to.