Strange, I had always taken your highness for a perennial adolescent, who cared only for his pleasures.
Bishop Folliot to Henry II in the screenplay for the film Becket
The modern world seems intent on destroying both childhood and adulthood:
“We are becoming much more aware and appreciating development beyond [the age of 18] and I think it’s a really good initiative,” says Antrobus, who believes we often rush through childhood, wanting our youngsters to achieve key milestones very quickly
Go here to read the rest at BBC News Magazine. The war on childhood has been on course for quite a long time: easy divorce, sex education reaching down to kindergarten, using drugs to control perfectly normal children, and zero tolerance policies for child hood play that boys have engaged in as long as there have been boys. For about the same time period, adolescence has been lengthening, so a brief period of tolerated irresponsibility, circa 14-18, has now been broadened to at least 30. I see it in my legal practice, as paternity cases have tended to replace divorce cases for clients in their twenties who, to my jaundiced eye, have about as much of a chance of being responsible parents as a mouse has of learning algebra.
Where this is all leading is clear enough and was predicted by Aldous Huxley in the most prophetic book of the last century Brave New World. As Mustapha Mond, the world controller of Western Europe, observes in the book:
The world’s stable now. People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can’t get. They’re well off; they’re safe; they’re never ill; they’re not afraid of death; they’re blissfully ignorant of passion and old age; they’re plagued with no mothers or fathers; they’ve got no wives, or children, or lovers to feel strongly about; they’re so conditioned that they practically can’t help behaving as they ought to behave. And if anything should go wrong, there’s soma.
CS Lewis, who died on the same day as Huxley, saw this coming too:
The great (and toothsome) sinners are made out of the very same material as those horrible phenomena the great Saints. The virtual disappearance of such material may mean insipid meals for us. But is it not utter frustration and famine for the Enemy? He did not create the humans — He did not become one of them and die among them by torture — in order to produce candidates for Limbo, “failed” humans. He wanted to make them Saints; gods; things like Himself. Is the dullness of your present fare not a very small price to pay for the delicious knowledge that His whole great experiment is petering out? But not only that. As the great sinners grow fewer, and the majority lose all individuality, the great sinners become far more effective agents for us. Every dictator or even demagogue — almost every film star or [rock star] — can now draw tens of thousands of the human sheep with him. They give themselves (what there is of them) to him; in him, to us. There may come a time when we shall have no need to bother about individual temptation at all, except for the few. Catch the bellwether, and his whole flock comes after him.
Orwell thought that the future would be a human face being perpetually stamped upon. Unless we reverse course soon, I fear that the future of humanity will be whatever those who manage to become adults will decide to impose upon the perennial adolescents who will make up the great mass of mankind. A flight from personal responsibility always ends up in some form of slavery.