A Pacified Generation: Conspiracy or Culture?

Pink Floyd's "The Wall"

I read an article recently on today’s youth, who often show apathy and a lack of resistance to a supposedly intrusive and oppressive government. The overall tone was one of conspiracy, with each reason focused on a malevolence underlying a variety of disparate factors. The suggestion was that the government and its agents in medicine, education, entertainment, etc. are all out to pacify the next generation and make them more pliant for control. I have to say… it was the biggest piece of tinfoil hat wearing bullshit I’ve read since the birther conspiracy.

I wholeheartedly agree that there are people today who don’t care, but it’s not because of some sort of Illuminati grooming them. It’s a cultural evolution that has led us into a society of lazy, apathetic, egocentric assholes that care more about Honey Boo Boo, McDonald’s, and what new minority child Brangelina has adopted than any blatant corruption and injustice in our government. I don’t think Congress and its corporate puppet masters created the stupidity, they just capitalized on it. So, let’s go down these factors…

1) Money

The claim is that the high debt, low wages, and increasing school costs are all tools of the evil government to keep young adults out of the voting booth. That makes no sense, because the only way that limits them from voting is if they are too busy working or to research the candidates. Even the busiest, poorest college student still finds ways to vote and they’re often more educated and informed than most of the adult workforce.

As for the debt itself, this is no conspiracy it’s just plain greed. Any increased costs exist because people were too apathetic and self-centered to pay attention as the costs were slowly jacked over decades by corporations and institutes.

2) Psychopathology

Apparently, the American Psychiatric Association (APA), in cahoots with our government overlords, manufactured fake disorders all to diagnose children and young adults as insane. Symptoms including rebellious natures, questioning authority, and aggressively resisting oppression are diagnosable as mental illnesses, allowing doctors to prescribe pacifying medications. Of course, this theory forgets some important information, like that the APA is a private organization consisting of thousands of psychiatrists, not a singular council that determines the fate of psychiatry and psychology; claiming they’re controlling anything is like blaming all the scientists in support of climate change as being part of a “liberal conspiracy.” In addition, the APA has conflicted in the past with the ~actual~ government-funded mental health department, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Certainly the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has made some poor conclusions over the past 60 years, but that’s why it has been revised numerous times. At one point they diagnosed homosexuality as a disorder, until new science (and more logical heads) discovered that sexual orientation was likely innate and perfectly natural. Also, the DSM is not the final decision in what constitutes a given mental disorder; this manual has grown out of favor in the global community, who have begun to turn to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD).

Instead of blaming the APA for diagnosing a questionable disorder in their DSM, why not look at parents who are so lazy they’d rather give their kids medication than have to spend time with them? No, the diagnosis of today’s youth as suffering mental disorders and the rampant use of drugs falls squarely on the shoulders of those who should be caring for them. Instead, they have children and then get upset when they can’t handle the responsibility, pressuring the medical community to find a cheap “fix” to their ills.

3) Education

Oh, the bevy of accusations on the public school system is numerous. “Zero tolerance” policies teach children to never step out of line, “teaching to the test” does nothing but encourage blind following of facts, and the subject matter in schools is biased and fills their heads with obedience to Big Brother. What these people fail to mention as they rave about education is that their theories aren’t based on children not learning truth, but rants about how children aren’t learning ~their~ truth. They can’t handle that their kids come home talking about the age of the Earth, the evolution of life, or how babies are made, so they cry out that it’s blasphemy poisoning their children’s minds.

Then their theory explodes from there, claiming that bans on aspirins or gun-shaped Pop Tarts are evidence of their delusions. They fail to notice other factors that may play a role, like overcrowding and underfunding. After all, if schools have a larger portion of students than 50 years ago, wouldn’t it make sense they’ll have more troubled youths to deal with? And with less staff because of budget cuts, what’s easier: find a way to focus on these kids while balancing everything else; or simply ban a behavior with zero tolerance and be done with it? It’s a band-aid solution to an issue of poor domestic priorities, not a government conspiracy.

Then they talk about concepts like “teaching to the test”, “No Child Left Behind”, Common Core, etc. as more evidence of government intrusion. These things are (mostly) crap, that’s for sure, but a conspiracy? I think not. Instead, we just need to look at where these ideas came from: mid-20th century child psychology. These programs are based on poor educational designs from flawed century developmental theories that we continue to use because we’re cheap. There is one conspiracy out there: the manipulation of classes to net a better grade average. By using these programs, you can ignore those pesky kids with poor grades and display an overall positive average that gains more money for your school district. Stupid, selfish, and short-sighted, but far from the cries of Orwellian educational camps.

4) Government Surveillance

The NSA is everywhere! It’s in spy planes, black helicopters, mysterious vans… and now it’s in your computer and on your phone. They’re listening and if you say anything they’ll show up in the middle of the night and haul you away! Really? You think the NSA gives a damn if you talk about how you wish Congress would be removed from office, how the government is in the pockets of the corporations, or how the President should die? If that was the case, you’d have the entire Tea Party locked up by now. Not to mention, government surveillance has been going on since the McCarthy era, from the Red Scare through Watergate. You’re just getting scared now?

No, the government doesn’t give a damn, especially when you’re probably just surfing cat pictures and watching porn. There is no fear of government retribution in today’s youth, and in fact the blatant uproar shows that we’re becoming more aware and sensitive to the issue. I’m sure there are people or groups in the government that would like mindless compliance, but it won’t happen because there are always chaos factors.

5) Media

Ah, the dreaded television, the idiot box, the boob tube, that bane of our existence that has driven us into mindless slaves. There is no doubt it pacifies, but was this on purpose or was it a byproduct of technology? Blaming television for the laziness of America is like blaming Beavis & Butthead for stupid kids burning down trailers. The inherent nature was already there, but somebody found a way to capitalize on it.

If someone is so mollified they’d rather watch Amish Mafia or Dancing With the Stars than campaign or vote, that’s an issue with the person… not the show. We choose to spend hours in front of the television, watching mindless drivel that contributes little to our education, creativity, or culture. Not to mention, the same people blaming television are the ones putting their children in front of the TV so they don’t have to deal with them. Kinda like those aforementioned drugs…

6) Fundamentalism

Ah, finally a statement with some veracity. Those fundamentalist… consumerists? Yes, that’s right. Part of the grand conspiracy to oppress our children is the rampant consumerism that keeps them distracted from the man behind the curtain. They’re too focused on buying a new iPad or the latest Reebok’s to care about what’s really going on. Except, capitalism and consumerism don’t exist to encourage shopping, they occur because of people shopping. If people didn’t prioritize cars, televisions, and cellphones over personal responsibilities and their own neighbors maybe the corporations wouldn’t have such a hold on them. A fat man at a buffet won’t get sick if he doesn’t overeat; if he does, you can’t blame the restaurant for his illness.

No, the conspiracy theorists ignore the true fundamentalism behind a lot of the brainwashing: religions. Fundamentalists teach people to take archaic words at literal value, to blindly follow those before them, and to never think for themselves. To do otherwise will bring the wrath of higher powers who will take them away to an eternity of torture. Of course, this is just one more piece of stupidity that those in charge can capitalize on, manipulating constituents by pointing them at their oppositions and claiming “blasphemy!”

In the end, it’s not about the government pacifying the youth so they are easier to control. We’ve done that ourselves, by prioritizing objects over people, focusing on Hollywood over education and free thought, and shoving pills and television down the gullets of our own kids all so we don’t have to deal with them. The real oppressors of our society and the coming generations are ourselves.

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