How exactly has American society subdued young Americans?
- Student-Loan Debt. Large debt—and the fear it creates—is a pacifying force. […] Public universities continue to be free in the Arab world and are either free or with very low fees in many countries throughout the world. The millions of young Iranians who risked getting shot to protest their disputed 2009 presidential election, the millions of young Egyptians who risked their lives earlier this year to eliminate Mubarak, and the millions of young Americans who demonstrated against the Vietnam War all had in common the absence of pacifying huge student-loan debt. […]
- Psychopathologizing and Medicating Noncompliance. In 1955, Erich Fromm, the then widely respected anti-authoritarian leftist psychoanalyst, wrote, “Today the function of psychiatry, psychology and psychoanalysis threatens to become the tool in the manipulation of man.” Fromm died in 1980, the same year that an increasingly authoritarian America elected Ronald Reagan president, and an increasingly authoritarian American Psychiatric Association added to their diagnostic bible (then the DSM-III) disruptive mental disorders for children and teenagers such as the increasingly popular “oppositional defiant disorder” (ODD). The official symptoms of ODD include “often actively defies or refuses to comply with adult requests or rules,” “often argues with adults,” and “often deliberately does things to annoy other people.” […]
I’ve thought about this before—why has it become so much more difficult for young Americans to create a movement, much less a widespread revolt? This list is interesting, and very accurate (other than number 5. I think that one’s a little reverse-idealistic. No one can lie; a degree still matters. A lot.) But an interesting point to bring up about the suppression of youth would be youth revolt in America’s history: particularly in Berkeley in the 1960’s. One point of view states that the “youth revolution” of that decade never really went too far because of the financial dependence the students had on the school itself. These students were well-to-do, upper/upper-middle class students, and the irony behind their “against the system” mentality and their dependence upon this system is what essentially fragmented the cause. But when working class people start a movement—as seen in London now—there reasons and mission become controversial and debated. It’s interesting to actually ask: is it possible to rebel in the modern age?