“Kids these days”: can things really be this bad?

I’m 84 years old.  I have few friends younger than 45.  I have virtually no contact with the current younger generation.  Can things really be as bad as these authors say?

No Families, No Kids, No Future by Rod Dreher for The American Conservative.

The Kids Are Not Alright: A Response to Rod Dreher’s Article Concerning Generation Z Sexuality by a blogger called The Flaming Eyeball.  (Hat tip to “Nikolai Vladivostok“)


17 Responses to ““Kids these days”: can things really be this bad?”

  1. Vincent Says:

    “Kids” have the dilemma of discovering what they are and also finding a social space in which they can fit comfortably. The old guard can write what they like, but I would apply “can it be this bad?” to them. Let them (us!) get on with living our own lives and not pontificate to the next generation. They don’t need it.


  2. Fred (Au Natural) Says:

    I read “The Kids Are Not Alright.” It did not impress me very much. The amount of whining is rather funny. The various problems he outlines are ether things that individuals have control over or are actually not inherently bad.


  3. Fred (Au Natural) Says:

    Just read the second article. It is a fudd-duddy griping about the fact that society evolves to match its changing environment. It ain’t the way it was, so it MUST be bad. I swear I remember my own parents saying exactly the same thing about my generation.

    All those people claiming to be bisexual? Maybe that is the natural state of humanity. How long have people been free to safely admit this? To have admitted this when I was a kid would be a great act of personal shame, left myself a social pariah. and set myself up for violent bullying.

    This statistic is absolutely precious:

    “30 percent of Gen Z women claiming to be sexually uninterested in men”

    Is there any evidence that this hasn’t been true since time immemorial? Has anyone ever asked women this before? Have women ever been free to admit this before? Are we to believe that women always married and bore children because they lusted for the man? That a certain percentage of women didn’t give sex because the guy wanted it – or because it was a duty to a husband – and not because they really desired it?

    It reminds me of Queen Victoria’s advice to women who were repelled by the thought of sex; to “Close your eyes and think of England.”

    Nothing changes. Just the seats get rearranged, along with changing who gets to sit in front and who has to stand at the back of the hall..

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Alex Page Says:

    What on earth is Rod on about? 😆

    “We are going to have to endure a civilizational collapse before we begin the Great Relearning. I am beginning to see now why a sociologist I heard speak a few years ago said that losing awareness of the gender binary is going to mean the end of us. He meant that we will lose cultural memory of the basic fact needed to ensure the future of our civilization.”

    So birthrates are lower? Fine. It’s not a portent of civilizational collapse or human extinction lmao. There are billions of us! He’s talking as though we’re about to forget how children are made. There will still be straight people, he’s panicking at nothing – not to mention, a bi person and straight/bi partner can have a child!

    “A number of readers have pointed out that the “B” in “LGBT” — bisexual — is probably doing a hell of a lot of work in that 30 percent number. This is probably true, but it doesn’t really change much. I’m not sure how many men would want to partner with a woman whose sexual desires are so unstable.”

    What… what? What is he on about? His article is absurd.

    The other article is a little more interesting but still rather catastrophizing. Note the dogwhistles like “soy boys” and bizarre judgements like “the increase in unappealing [female] grooming habits such dying their hair and cutting it short” – unappealing to who, eh? Aren’t people allowed varied aesthetic sensibilities? Did blue hair cause the fall of Rome?

    I’d need to go do research to evaluate the biological claims there regarding testosterone levels, etc, But the social/cultural perspective is too weak to take particularly seriously.

    “Modern American leftism […] is mere entropy, fake ugly men dressed as fake ugly women saying fake ugly words. This is why self-hating and freakish progressives can tirelessly work to take over institutions and cancel people, but they can’t create, preserve, or even measure value, so they just run everything into the ground. Despite routing conservatives over and over, they are terminally unhappy because they can’t produce anything of value, they don’t know how to love, and they can never put enough effort in to please their vengeful and jealous god.”

    Routing conservatives over and over? Trump was in power for four years, Bernie failed, Biden is center-right by normal standards and has said ‘nothing will fundamentally change’ and that he’d veto M4A. As a progressive I have more serious reasons for some unhappiness than a fuddy conservatives’ ‘blue-hair lesbian on TV’ nonsense.

    These writers’ sort of analysis is what happens if someone can only view society through the lens of conservative cultural grievances. No economic or structural perspective whatsoever. They don’t even mention climate change, which is a top-three answer imo for ‘why don’t zoomers want kids as much?’ (two others – money and more free social choice).

    As a UK zoomer, my perspective would be that there are concerning issues in the world but I don’t see eye to eye with these particular writers on the problems or solutions.


  5. Two Articles Worried About Zoomer Birthrates – Bookish Leftish Gibberish Says:

    […] blogger Phil Ebersole linked two articles for discussion which looked at Gen Z in relation to marriage, etc, from an […]


  6. sglover Says:

    Oh, I would definitely seek out a guy who believes in **exorcism**, for God’s sake. He would be my main source for a reasoned assessment of Da Young Folks Dese Days. Did Dreher have any thoughts on the role of demonic possession in these sorry trends? He’s made that diagnosis before.

    Aside from spending a lifetime wearing his *many* neuroses and sexual hysterias on his sleeve, I’m pretty sure Dreher’s spent a fair amount of time puffing up that famous Republican up-and-comer, Josh Hawley. I wonder if he’s owned up to that? But that would require some integrity, and we’re talking about Dreher.

    But Ebersole thinks this is a guy who should, *must*, be consulted. Another one of those sad moments when the insight hits almost like a slap — “Jesus Christ, I’ve actually been paying attention to this guy?!?!?”


  7. Space for Old and Young – a wayfarer’s notes Says:

    […] in becomes a special problem for the elderly. But then, I came across a post by Phil Ebersole: “Kids these days”: can things be this bad?” which links to a post by Rod Dreher, a name I wasn’t familiar with. Its argument is that […]


  8. sglover Says:

    Ah yeah, the fascist coup failed (so far), and Hawley’s a bit of a liability now. I mean, who could ever have foreseen that an Ivy League educated Republican senator talkin’ ’bout the po’ folk and The Forgotten Man was just spewing the purest refined horseshit? Who among us can ever look into the soul of another, and sift the true from the false? Nobody could do that, nobody at all — except for pretty much every literate adult who follows the news with a speck of attention.

    Anyway, big oops there, lashing his vessel to Hawley. Bad for the brand! Now Dreher’s *never* gonna past being the “editor” of Pat Buchanan’s fever dream emporium!!!

    But I’m sure Dreher’s mea culpa is a “spiritual epiphany”. Did he mention whether exorcism was involved in the thought rectification? Was his earlier sucking up due to demonic possession? Possibly the existence of some homosexuals within 50 miles of his residence addled him. In any case, it’s just not his fault, eh? (I didn’t read your link and I’m not gonna; as I say, the man’s delusional and a waste of time for any discerning adult.)


    • philebersole Says:

      I don’t agree with everything Rod Dreher writes, but his blog is almost always interesting. That’s why I give it a high position in my blogroll. He backs up his assertions with fact and argument—unlike you in your comments.


    • philebersole Says:

      Pat Buchanan isn’t Satan, either. I don’t agree with everything he says, either, but he founded The American Conservative to give voice to conservative opposition to the invasion of Iraq.

      He has consistently opposed U.S. military interventions in the Middle East and Africa, which have taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and left millions homeless, most of them black and brown.

      He also has consistently opposed pro-corporate international trade treaties, which are a major cause of the hollowing-out of the U.S. manufacturing economy.

      He is wrong about a lot of things, but I’ll take him over a self-described liberal or progressive who is okay with the forever wars and the corporate financial oligarchy.


  9. sglover Says:

    “He backs up his assertions with fact and argument—unlike you in your comments.”

    Heh. Yeah, sure. “Facts” like “demonic possession” and exorcism. “Facts” like the 10 millionth iteration of, “A reader writes with further sightings of homosexuals oppressing her by existing”. “Facts” like his regular unhinged fever sweats along the lines of “The Libs Want To Put All Christians In The Gulag”. Yeah, “facts”. But sure, I’ll grant that it’s all “interesting”, in some sense. There’s a reason every circus has a freak show, right? You’re simply embarrassing yourself, now.

    Pat Buchanan, bankrolled by a shadowy gang of wealthy reactionaries, set up a rag that nominally is anti-war, but day in day out functions as another distribution point for “scientific” racism and Republican apologetics. I’ve followed it for years (Larison is the only guy there with any intellect and integrity; for the sake of his reputation he should really look elsewhere for an outlet). For the last several months I haven’t bothered with it, for much the same reason that I don’t browse copies of “Hustler” in the local elementary schools — it’s an obscenity, it’s simply too creepy and gross to scan the lies, even with a sceptical eye. **I** was raised better than that. What’s your excuse?

    And hey, if “facts” are your thing — they sure as hell are mine! — why don’t you cite ONE? Just ONE. You know that I’m giving an accurate summary of Dreher’s brain pretzels. Dig a tiny bit and you’ll see that my summary of Buchanan’s porn mag is dead on too. So whyn’t you lay some of those precious “facts” on me, eh?


    • philebersole Says:

      This post consisted of a link to a article by Rod Dreher and an article by another blogger, and an invitation to comment on the two articles.

      You have not made one argument or cited one fact to rebut either article. In fact, by your own admission, you have not read either article.

      You characterize other things Dreher wrote, but without any links to back up to justify what you say.

      I’ve cited one thing in this post you got wrong. In a previous post, I went into a number of things in which you were wrong about Dreher and The American Conservative.


      But I’m not going to be trolled into spending a lot of time running down every assertion you just made, and judging its degree of truth or falsehood. The burden of proof is on you to back up your claims, not on me to judge them.

      Here’s a link to Dreher’s blog. Another can be found on my Blogroll


      Readers who care about this can judge for themselves.


    • philebersole Says:

      I do appreciate your comments on other topics, which often have good insights.


  10. sglover Says:

    You’ve managed a very gracious response to my sarcasm, which I tend to overdo to the point of being obnoxious. I appreciate it, and admire the gesture. I don’t wish to be a troll or troll-ish; I’ve always enjoyed your blog and more than once it’s introduced me to things or thoughts that I wouldn’t have run across otherwise.

    (This may sound like special pleading, but I live in the DC area, within the notorious Beltway, even. Every thinking person has to be shaken by these last weeks, and I’m not threatened more than anybody else is or was — assuming the fascists really do get put down. But the attempted putsch happened in places that are half an hour away by Metro. There are National Guard *squads*, not single troops, all the way out to the GWU hospital/campus, and the bridges are closed. I don’t believe this is unnecessary or disproportionate. Unfortunately. Apparently some nutcases with dodgy credentials and lots of firepower have been stopped by the cordons.
    If the fascist scum had got their way, killed AOC, killed Ilhan Omar, lynched Pence, **and so on** — well, there’d still be scores to settle, “enemies of the people” to hunt down, wouldn’t there? Once lit, the blowtorch demands fuel. I work for a statistical agency in the public sector. We go to a lot of effort to gather good data and to make it and our methods available to everybody, gratis, and a whole lot of people and organizations and industries use it. We’re not involved with public health per se, but this year I’ve seen data from my outfit cited in COVID epidemiology reports more than once. Of course for the last few years those reports have been essentially relics of a day when the US government actually gave a damn about preventing disease outbreaks — and did it.
    And these are all good reasons for the putschists to put me and lots of my coworkers up against the wall — maybe a month or two into the coup? **After** they killed representative democracy in service of their vile Big Man and his Big Lie. So I am **really not** inclined to give any right-wingers the benefit of the doubt. At all.)

    Anyway I’m simply dismayed by the endorsement of Dreher. Thomas Frank has been writing about class and credentialism and snobbery and *real* populism for decades now. Likewise Barbara Ehrenreich, who adds her own lived investigations. David Simon. Joe Bageant. I’m just pulling names from the top of my head, but the point is that *many* very sharp people have been warning about the material **and moral** effects of — neoliberalism? hyper-capitalism? — for a long time now. I think there’s a stark, inescapable distinction between their insights and decency, and Dreher’s weird hysterics and (often bogus) “victims”. (I did toss in links this time; see below.)

    Also, again — Bronze Age superstitions. Look, the first time I went to your site I noticed, Hey, Bertrand Russell links, looks promising! And my instincts were sound! With Dreher we have a guy who will look you in the eye and talk about demons and exorcism in a matter-of-fact way. As will lots of Christians; I can’t tell you how delighted I am, as an armchair historian, to actually be living through one of those times of mass clinical insanity that I’ve read about. Anyway a simple thought experiment: Imagine your car needs work, and you decide to make the rounds of the local mechanics to see what’s necessary, costs, etc. Even if he offers a really good price, the lowest — are you gonna leave your car with the guy who says “Looks to me like some poltergeist interference with the grace belts. But I got a good 3/8″ incantation, torque Beelzebub right on outa there. Ya haven’t been under the spell of any homosexuals, have you”?? I’m guessing you’re going to head on down the road and pay a little more, eh?

    If you’re this far feel free to ignore the rest, but again — you wanted links. I feel like a sewer worker at the end of an especially vile shift, but here are some notable turds from Dreher and Buchanan’s Aryan Smut Hut:

    Here’s one of those “a reader writes” bits from a guy who by his own account is doing extraordinarily well, but whose career still hasn’t burst through the stratosphere **all the way**, because, well:

    “I reported directly to the senior executive who ran the operation. He was exactly the type of person you reference in the article — white, wealthy, and knee deep in the wacko left… He wasn’t shy about criticizing Donald Trump in public. In a private moment, he could be counted on to denigrate Trump and his voters…
    He was also a racist, flat out. He truly believed that white people who didn’t agree with him were evil and needed to be stamped out at our company. He told me this a number of times. ”

    Now, I’ve been to university, been in the navy, worked in industry, worked in government, and I have a really, really hard time believing these “no whites wanted” conversations took place in anything like the way they’re presented. Consequently I don’t place much credence in any of the guy’s descriptions or perceptions of, well, anything. It makes me wonder why anybody would choose to hang an entire article on the hearsay complaints of a guy who seems to be at best an unreliable narrator. Further, for all the angst and grievance, I can’t find a single material consequence from any of the supposed woke horrors. Even Dreher seems to be aware of how weak this reed is: “If he can document these things, it sounds like he has a hell of a lawsuit against this multinational corporation.” Uh, yeah, “if”.

    The whole stupid thing is basically the kvetching of a guy who seems to have not a whole helluva lot to kvetch about, actually. Other than stoking the endless, gnawing white victimhood fetish of Dreher’s audience, what the hell is the point of printing this bogus whine at all?

    The link: https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/how-woke-capitalism-made-a-trump-voter/

    Here’s Dreher on the Hungarian White Savior, Orban: https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/viktor-orban-europe-future/

    He winds up with, “Who is a more trustworthy contemporary steward of European faith and culture: Viktor Orbán, or bishops who preach more immigration and more gay pride parades?”

    Again, as always, the obsession over homosexuals gaining parity with, say, the Rotary Club. So central that it seems to define his very imagination of a Good Society. What the hell is that?!?!? Meanwhile the Orban government seems like a bog-standard right-wing autocracy, friendly to favored businessmen, hostile to labor, hostile to any community beyond the tribe, happy to scapegoat as necessary. Of course the actual material conditions of Hungarian workers don’t interest Dreher at all. He might wonder why Hungarian workers tend to flee the country. Hint: It’s got not a damn thing to do with the Gay Stalinists of Dreher’s fever dreams.

    The last Dreher rubbish I care to look through is “Something Demonic Is In The Air”. The sentences are grammatical, and within any given paragraph they seem to relate to each other, but to me the entire production reads like a transcript of the day room chatter on the locked ward:


    Finally, I won’t even read it or paste the link, but naturally this fruitcake decided to headline a piece about the January 6 putsch, “The Left’s Reichstag Fire”. Vile, contemptible lunacy.

    And as for the American Con more generally, Buchanan’s rag has run several screeds in service of discrediting the election. I reject the suggestion that these are put up in good faith. These are attempts to further the Big Lie that has been stoked by the Trump cult for months now, and led to this disastrous moment. They are the product of quislings. Here’s a PROFOUNDLY specious example:


    It includes this glorious “I don’t know what I’m talking about” remark:
    “Because I lack specialized knowhow, I will not try to assess what European and American experts on American elections and statistics have claimed are utterly implausible electronic vote tabulations in the battleground states.”

    Here’s another: https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/why-we-question-the-election-results/

    And another: https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/last-minute-election-rule-changes-raise-big-questions/

    The “editors” have done their bit to support MAGA Big Lies about the mishandling of the pandemic. Here’s a nice attempt to conflate COVID *and* opiod mortality so we can pin all our troubles on the real source — China, of course. “Sackler” is conspicuously absent from the article, though “OxyContin” and “Purdue” are at least mentioned, once each. Otherwise it seems to be trying to say that it’s all the fault of the wily Chinamen, but it’s so badly argued and edited that it’s difficult to be sure:


    Finally, as a measure of the “editorial standards” of Buchanan’s Blut Und Volk Daily, “Vote For The Good Dad This November”. Guess who the “good dad” is?



    Somehow spending time wading through and writing about the likes of Dreher and Buchanan doesn’t exactly make the case that, “See, **I’m** the sane guy, got it?” Kinda like a multiparagraph oxymoron, almost….

    On a more practical note, I think Biden should announce a federal jobs program to create massive domino cascades: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0jeohWnmAQ&ab_channel=Hevesh5

    Seems like a much more productive use of labor than maybe 40% of “jobs” and “professions”. Anyway who doesn’t like massive domino cascades? Talk about uniting America….


    • philebersole Says:

      I apologize for the personal remark I made at the end of one of your previous comments. What I wrote was unjustified.

      A comment thread is for expression of personal opinion, and it’s not reasonable to expect a link to support every assertion.

      I disagree with Dreher about some things, but I do note that he did not vote for Trump, condemned the “Stop the Steal” movement from the start , endorsed the current impeachment of Trump and has called for strong punishment of the Capitol invaders.

      Overall I find his blog worth looking at. You don’t. Fine. It’s a free country (more or less, and so far).


  11. philebersole Says:

    You went to all that trouble to provide links to The American Conservative, and yet you haven’t changed my mind one whit. I apologize again for wasting your time.


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