Video: Get off of Jonah Goldberg’s lawn, you darned kids

posted at 5:46 pm on May 12, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

I love a curmudgeonly rant, and so this interview of National Review’s Jonah Goldberg is right up my alley. This excerpt of a longer interview with the Daily Caller’s Ginni Thomas focuses on Jonah’s issues with the “youth culture,” the obsession with the worldview of the least experienced of our citizenry. Goldberg notes that “we’re all born idiots,” and that some people are a lot closer to that point in time than most of the rest of us:

“It is a simple fact of science that nothing correlates more with ignorance and stupidity more than youth,” the National Review Online editor said in an interview. “We’re all born idiots, and we only get over that condition as we get less young.”

So why all the focus on the youth vote and “millennials” in politics? Goldberg says young people having so much influence in a society is unhealthy.

“My view is, they’re going to run the country some day, so we should really explain why they’re so frickin’ stupid about so many things,” he said.

Goldberg says in the interview that he would prefer a much higher voting age than 18, and while I agree that these voters tend to be the least sophisticated and informed voters in any election, I still disagree with Goldberg on this point. The law treats 18-year-olds as fully responsible for their actions. The purpose of elections is to form a representative government that binds all citizens and holds them accountable. That includes 18-year-old citizens, which means that they should have the right to participate in the formation of legislatures and executive branches that create and enforce those laws.

That doesn’t mean that politicians should pander to them, or at least at the expense of both older voters and common sense. They may be running the country someday, it is true, but it is equally true that they may be performing brain surgery someday too. That doesn’t mean I want them practicing on my head when they’re 18 and haven’t learned anything about it yet.

In fact, I’d say that a sure sign of political desperation is when a politician has to focus on the least-sophisticated and least-experienced voters to gain any traction. That’s a giveaway that their policies are probably too simplistic and unrealistic to sell elsewhere. One case in point: ObamaCare. Obama got a great deal of support from young voters on this policy — and now they will be forced to needlessly buy comprehensive health insurance at great expense when a simple catastrophic policy would suit their needs much more economically, in order to subsidize the health-care costs of middle-aged and senior voters. Suckers!

Perhaps that experience will have taught the youth culture an important lesson. If so, Jonah will try not to bark at them when their radios are too loud or order them off his darned lawn. Jonah also has a new book out, The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas — be sure to check it out.


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Young people knew the war in Vietnam was a failure long before older, stubborn leaders realized it.

libfreeordie on May 13, 2012 at 7:08 AM

Young people get very little right. I was one of them and I know. I spent two tours in Vietnam. Afterwards, I went to college and rubbed shoulders with those oh-so-wise young protesters. They knew crap about Vietnam. The girls were there because they were dupes, the boys were there for the girls and because they were afraid of the draft. It had nothing to to with wisdom, just selfishness. Ask a Vietnamese boat person who was more moral, the GI or the Viet Cong. American war protestors contributed to the the death of countless young American soldiers. Every protest convinced the North Viets to stay the course and wait us out. At the Ten Year anniversary of the fall of Saigon, the Vietnamese PM, being interviewed by Ted Kopple, turned to the camera and thanked the American public for helping them to win the war. Today, it is public knowledge that the leaders of the anti-war movement were taking their marching orders from Communists in Paris during the “peace” talks.

“A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

“Youth is easily deceived because it is quick to hope.” ~ Aristotle 

SpiderMike on May 13, 2012 at 2:47 PM

And the federal government threatening to withold highway funds if the states don’t raise the drinking age to twentyone has absolutely nothing to do with it.

Right.

I’ll bet you believe that.

Solaratov on May 13, 2012 at 12:26 AM

I didn’t say that. I said that the states alone determine the drinking age, not the federal government.

I’m not surprised you don’t understand.

Dante on May 13, 2012 at 3:05 PM

A job with the federal government, including a waver of college debt and “Free” health care. This is what or brainwashed kids with PHDs are headed towards. It’s the left’s version of madrasahs.

Instead of learning through trial and error, managing family budgets, etc., during their most “teachable” years, they are continuously exposed to leftist ideology. What most of us remember as “hard lessons” will be characterized as a “mugging” by the right.

Why do you think the take over of the student loan system was hidden in the Obamacare laws? I predict more affirmative action on the horizon, for socialists.

KyserS on May 13, 2012 at 3:49 PM

Oh and who delivered the boon doggle of unpaid for pensions and entitlemens to young people? That would be the “greatest generation.”

libfreeordie on May 13, 2012 at 7:22 AM

No, that would be leftist f@#$wits like you; and this is the kind of thing you love, why are you denouncing it here and historically calling for *more* entitlement spending?

Moron.

Midas on May 13, 2012 at 3:50 PM

“irresponsible” spending habits of youth. If young people actually saved as much and spent as little as the conservatives who want to cut pell grants asked them too, the economy would suffer. The proof is in the marketing. The obsessive marketing to the youthful consumer indicates the buying power of youth, and its a bbuying power predicated on poor planning and rash thinking. Capitalism thrives on it and then conservatives, who claim to love capitalism, demonize it. You all are a trip.

libfreeordie on May 13, 2012 at 8:30 AM

you idiot, they buy with their parents’ money not thew own, so in other word they spend some other people’s money, directly or indirectly the taxpayer’s money too, since it’s clear that most of them default on their student loans and will never pay it back…

jimver on May 13, 2012 at 4:11 PM

My freedom came on November 29, 1989, the day we threw the Commies out.

JPeterman on May 12, 2012 at 8:22 PM

by comparison, I can imagine how you felt in Nov 2008 :-(…

jimver on May 13, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Marx and Engels are only some of the thinkers that inform my worldview. Foucault, Fanon, Audre Lord, bell hooks, Zinn, Delany, Chauncey, Butler, Mills, Hegel, Said, Angelou, Morrison, Ellison, Mailer, Robert Park and the Chicago School, Dubois, Washington, Crummell, Ella Baker and so many more are part of my worldview.

libfreeordie on May 13, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Heh. Show me some evidence you cracked more than a Zinn or Angelou book. I suspect you were doing a whole lot of googling.

CW on May 13, 2012 at 5:41 PM

Marx and Engels are only some of the thinkers that inform my worldview. Foucault, Fanon, Audre Lord, bell hooks, Zinn, Delany, Chauncey, Butler, Mills, Hegel, Said, Angelou, Morrison, Ellison, Mailer, Robert Park and the Chicago School, Dubois, Washington, Crummell, Ella Baker and so many more are part of my worldview.

libfreeordie on May 13, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Thanks for admitting with a straight face that the Democrat Public Education System has successfully Brainwashed you. Especially with Zinn.

And Mailer? Oh, please.

NM-

Del Dolemonte on May 13, 2012 at 6:37 PM

Marx and Engels are only some of the thinkers that inform my worldview. Foucault, Fanon, Audre Lord, bell hooks, Zinn, Delany, Chauncey, Butler, Mills, Hegel, Said, Angelou, Morrison, Ellison, Mailer, Robert Park and the Chicago School, Dubois, Washington, Crummell, Ella Baker and so many more are part of my worldview.

libfreeordie on May 13, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Are we supposed to be impressed with your supposed brilliance?

You’re very well read
It’s well known
Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones

You’ve rather neatly described the leftist bubble. Nearly all those you cite are left of center, some of them radically so. I’m not surprised to see that Hume, Mill, Smith, Burke and Hayek are not on your list of mentors, nor for the matter, the Bible.

Anyone who says that Maya Angelou informs and is part of their worldview can’t possibly be a serious thinker. Pretentious? Yes! Serious thinker? Only in the lefty bubble.

rokemronnie on May 13, 2012 at 7:13 PM

“My view is, they’re going to run the country some day, so we should really explain why they’re so frickin’ stupid about so many things,” he said.

Richard Vernon: You think about this: when you get old, these kids – when *I* get old – they’re going to be running the country.

Carl: Yeah.

Richard Vernon: Now this is the thought that wakes me up in the middle of the night. That when I get older, these kids are going to take care of me.

Carl: I wouldn’t count on it.

The Breakfast Club (1985)

rukiddingme on May 13, 2012 at 7:19 PM

Raise the the voting age back to 21, it was a mistake lower it to 18.

SC.Charlie on May 13, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Raise the the voting age back to 21, it was a mistake lower it to 18.

SC.Charlie on May 13, 2012 at 8:41 PM

The states can set the voting age at whatever they wish. So even if the amendment were repealed, I guarantee you some states, if not all, would pass legislation allowing 18-year olds the privilege to vote.

Dante on May 13, 2012 at 10:11 PM

The big thing about voting is not age but Democrat corruption of the voter’s franchise.

Mojave Mark on May 14, 2012 at 8:40 AM

Young people knew the war in Vietnam was a failure long before older, stubborn leaders realized it.

libfreeordie on May 13, 2012 at 7:08 AM

Oh, my God, the ignorance!

The young did not “know” the war in Vietnam was a failure, they CAUSED the failure!

We’ve known this since the 1990s. Generals from Vietnam explained it to us. The North Vietnamese military never won an engagement against the US military, ever. After the Tet offensive in 1998, 95% of the military action was fought within 5 miles of the demilitarized zone; we had successfully pushed the North Vietnamese military out of the country, and were keeping them out. The much-vaunted Viet Cong was pretty much imaginary; nearly every engagement the US fought was against regular North Vietnamese military. (You never heard any of this, because the press was just as wholeheartedly leftist, and just as dishonest, as they are now.)

So how did we “lose?” We didn’t. Marxist activists made a ton of noise on US campuses to undermine the will of the American populace. Then, after Watergate, Democratic politicians, who were dupes of the Marxists, stopped supporting the South Vietnamese. After our troops were gone, the North Vietnamese army was able to invade, and the result was 1.5 million murdered South Vietnamese, thanks to Democratic party imbeciles. Like you.

There’s blood on your hands, only you’re too effing STUPID to grasp that. You still think you were on the right side.

Vietnam is the absolute proof of the correctness of Goldberg’s complaint, and of the self-exalting stupidity that leads liberals to cost people their lives and livelihoods.

philwynk on May 14, 2012 at 9:23 AM

Pretentious? Yes! Serious thinker? Only in the lefty bubble.

rokemronnie on May 13, 2012 at 7:13 PM

+10

philwynk on May 14, 2012 at 9:25 AM

If young people actually saved as much and spent as little as the conservatives… asked them too, the economy would suffer.

libfreeordie on May 13, 2012 at 8:30 AM

This is a rerun of the ridiculous notion from the Keynesians that money saved disappears from the economy. They, and you, apparently think a bank is a black hole, into which dollars disappear and never return. That’s not just wrong, it’s hilariously wrong.

A bank is a business just like a dress shop is a business. If the money gets spent in the dress shop, it’s still in the economy; if the money gets banked, it’s likewise still in the economy. The dress shop spends its profit on new merchandize, or the owner spends it for his food. The bank lends it out as new funds, and it gets paid to contractors and workers.

So, no, libfree, the economy would not be hurt if kids didn’t squander their money. The mindless consumerism of American culture would take a hit, but it would offset by sensible capital expenditures that create new jobs. Plus, even the mindless liberals would notice a reduction in the banality of American culture, as the dollars devoted to nonsense became less powerful.

philwynk on May 14, 2012 at 9:37 AM

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