Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Where are the adults?

Joseph Epstein has to be one of the great essayists still writing, and this one is proof. He writes on today’s ideal that one should seem as young as possible. He reflects on the causes, and the history, and bemoans its presence and explains what it means. "The tone of national life is lowered, made less rich," for one thing. He considers the phenomenon in journalism, television, political correctness, self-esteem, and the general coarsening of life, and so on. But more deeply felt is the greatest of sins (according to George Santayana), the strangling of human nature, leads to his last paragraph, worth quoting (but do read the whole things as you are completing whether or not 14 year olds should have the right to vote, as some have proposed in California): "This is of course what is being done in cultivating perpetual adolescence, while putting off maturity for as long as possible. Maturity provides a more articulated sense of the ebb and flow, the ups and downs, of life, a more subtly reticulated graph of human possibility. Above all, it values a clear and fit conception of reality. Maturity is ever cognizant that the clock is running, life is finite, and among the greatest mistakes is to believe otherwise. Maturity doesn’t exclude playfulness or high humor. Far from it. The mature understand that the bitterest joke of all is that the quickest way to grow old lies in the hopeless attempt to stay forever young."

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