Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Why the Failure to Launch?

Speaking of manliness--or perhaps it absence--Leonard Sax (who has a book coming out soon on the subject) writes in the Washington Post about what appears to be a growing phenomenon: the unmotivated 20-something male living at home with his parents. While there has been no change in the number of young women doing this, the increase among males ages 22-34 has been more than 100% in the past 20 years! I find that statistic staggering. Really?! The Sax article is a teaser, though, in that it does not really offer an explanation or cure for the problem so much as a simple diagnosis. Perhaps the book will offer more. In the meantime, he offers a link to the website of something called The Boys Project that is attempting to come to a better understanding of this phenomenon and the declining numbers of young men at college and university.

Discussions - 9 Comments

Always appreciate your posts, Julie. You touch on social issues that others miss!


Popular culture no longer celebrates true manliness and good male role models to the extent that it did. It celebrates bad-boyness and a kind of innocuous pseudo-masculinity that centers around sports fandom.

Assertive men, or more precisely, assertive men who happen to be white, are constantly slapped down, made fun of, and portrayed negatively on television shows and in commercials. It’s easy for academics to dismiss such factors, but they form the average Joe’s mental world.

I recently heard of an interesting title for this generation (20 somethings+) -The "Boomerang" Generation, you throw them away and they keep coming back.

I recently heard of an interesting title for this generation (20 somethings+) -The "Boomerang" Generation, you throw them away and they keep coming back

...well, the ones who didn’t get aborted.

I am a 20 something male. I am living in Kuwait, and despite that I am probably 100% happier than I would be if I was stuck at home. But the thing is...life is too good...it is too easy. Video Games are "badass" and if parents don’t require us to go out and get a real job...then why would we? Do we really need that much money? (not that money isn’t good...but it requires work, and if we are comfortable already(and parents allow it) we would like to keep things the way they were back in the day..when we were growing up and video games were fun albeit simpler like Mario Bros, but of course now we have Halo 2(3 is comming soon on the XBOX360). I don’t know why "women" are motivated...but it must be some unsatisfied desire. Or perhaps...and I think it is true..despite the nature argument of conservatives...that women have a pent up drive that is still working its way through them...(what I mean by this is that women have yet to come anywhere near the recognition status of men in terms of historical achievement..and throwing great women role models out there..fuels a fire while leaving a lot of gaps...) Most of the guys I know that are my age have desires that are unrealistic...Some people are chasing, some have folded and cashed out, while others have found a way to play the game so as to delay the River, if temporarily. Hey, I had ambitions...but if I can’t be great why can’t I be laid back?

Who is to blame?

The ennablers, namely parents and the welfare state (Is anyone really going to starve in america if they quit working?) Is anyone really going to be refused medical care because they work 14 hours a week part time at Staples?

But essentially there is a sort of cushion...that means that even for significantly more work...there is a marginal material payout in terms of quality of life. Plus we are on strike because we aren’t paying for your social security...(we will...which is why you are worried about us...but we will find a way to get ours...thus perpetuating something that cannot continue indefinately (unlike this post) much like social security and strangely enough much like the 20 somethings whose part time ambition is delaying the river as long as possible...or until he has beat Halo 3.

In an unrelated side note...I just read the article (which did not motivate or affect the above post)...In any case it is rather hilarious that the author finds no humor in Atlas Shrugged...

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Mr. Lewis nailed it:

Who is to blame?The ennablers, namely parents and the welfare state

Humans are the sort (by nature, I believe) of beings that will always gravitate towards leisure activities prior to work. In some instances, "leisure activities" might be profitable -- say, the modern professional athlete playing the game he loves, or the a politico involved in a cause he or she is passionate about -- basically, those folks who do what they "love" for a living.

For a large majority of folks - work is just that - work. Something they don’t like, and would rather not do. Certainly not something they love. So, if they don’t have to work, and can still maintain some acceptible standard of living - why would they?

Safety nets, when available for the long term, serve nothing more than to demotiviate

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