Video: P.J. O'Rourke on Millennials vs. Baby Boomers

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Originally posted on Aug 26, 2014:

"Just this whole process of going through the baby boom's history, I began to realize what a nicer society—kinder, more decent society—that we live in today than the society when I was a kid," says P.J. O'Rourke, best-selling author of Holidays in Hell, Parliament of Whores, and many other titles.

O'Rourke sat down with Reason's Nick Gillespie at Freedom Fest 2014 in Las Vegas to discuss his new book, The Baby Boom: How it Got That Way and It Wasn't My Fault and I'll Never Do it Again. As the father of three kids born between 1997 and 2004, he also lays down some thoughts about millennials, noting that they live in a much nicer, more tolerant world than the one in which he grew up. "I don't think my 10-year old boy has ever been in a fist fight," says O'Rourke, who was born in 1947. "I mean there might be a little scuffling but I don't think he's has ever had that kind of violent confrontation that was simply part of the package when I was a kid."

He also feels that the internet "fragments information" in a way that destroys the sweep of history, at least at first. "You end up with mosaic information," he says. "Now, I think over time the kids put these mosaics together but I don't think the internet itself lends itself to the sweep of history."

The interview also includes a tour of O'Rourke's long and varied career in journalism, from his humble beginnings writing for an underground alt-weekly to his time as editor of National Lampoon and his incredible work as a foreign correspondent for Rolling Stone to his current position as columnist at the Daily Beast. 

A prominent libertarian, O'Rourke also discusses the difficulties in selling a political philosophy devoted to taking power away from politicians.

"If libertarianism were easy to explain and if it weren't so easy to exaggerate the effects of libertarianism—people walking around with 'Legalize Heroin!' buttons and so on—I think it would've been done already," says O'Rourke, the H.L. Mencken fellow at the Cato Institute. "But the problem is, of course, is that libertarianism isn't political. It's anti-political, really. It wants to take things out of the political arena."

Edited by Zach Weissmueller. Interview by Nick Gillespie. Shot by Meredith Bragg, Jim Epstein, and Weissmueller. Music by Antiqcool.

Watch the video above, or click below for downloadable versions. Subscribe to Reason TV's YouTube channel for daily content like this.

                                   Link to full rush transcript of this interview. 

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  1. Fuck millennials.

    1. Seconded.

      Same,for the Baby Boomers. Bunch of leeches that are bankrupting our future generations in a way we’ll never recover from. Also, they’re statist to the core.

      1. Ya collectivist assholes.

        1. Yeah, claiming all people born in the same decades share a common ideology is pretty fucking retarded.

      2. Boomers are the worst.

      3. Boomers and millenials: bookends of entitlement.

      4. I hate to break it to you, but 90% of everyone from every cohort is statist to the core. Do you really think that the intervening generations are any less enthusiastic about the welfare state than those two?

        1. Yeah, there’s a reason libertarians are a tiny minority.

    2. I love how, basically, everyone’s given up on GEN X because they all suck at what they do. (and generations are about as useful as descriptors as astrology signs).

      1. There aren’t enough Gen-Xers to make much of a difference even if we wanted to. In about 10 years the first Gen-X president will be elected, and I suspect no one will really notice he or she was even there after their term ends.

  2. Good morning, folks, guess who you outrank in popularity?

    (from Twitter)

    http://bit.ly/1lq8jmo

    1. The Jewish-controlled media skewed the poll,otherwise we Catholics would have assumed our (rightful) place at the top.

      Seriously,though, I’m shocked Catholics scored that high in the wake of the sex abusemscandals that have plagued The Church in recent years.

      1. The Papists and Hebrews got together and rigged the results. Didn’t you get the memo from Conspiracy Headquarters?

        But look – the atheists are moving up!

        1. Until the Atheists pass the Mormons, I won’t take their religion seriously.

          1. *sloopy throws grenade into crowded room*

          2. Good. No one who treats Atheism as a religion (especially atheists) should be taken seriously.

      2. I want to know why Buddhists are so much lower than Evangelicals. I would have thought after a decade of propagating our ideas through cute yoga girls, we’d have achieved more.

        1. The Middle Way, of course.

        2. How did Hindus beat Mormons?

          I had no idea Mormons were so despised.

          1. I had no idea Mormons were so despised.

            I wonder how much of that is due to the media hatchet job on Romney’s ‘strange religion’ during the last Presidential election?

            1. Well, it is strange. But Mormons are generally friendly and non-threatening.

              1. All religions are strange if you really think about it. Catholics claim they are eating the body and drinking the blood of their savior. Jews claim cutting off a piece of your dick is a covenant with God. Etc. etc.

            2. I think a lot of evangelicals dislike Mormons.

    2. As someone of Jewish descent, I call bullshit on this. Maybe my area is an outlier, but Jews are decidedly unwelcome here. Being that I am a complete asshole I make sure everyone knows I’m Jewish, and I have had more than my fair share of run ins with skinheads, pseudo-nazis, run of the mill bigots, and plain old fucktards.

      Fun story… I was working at a certain big box retailer where I had a customer ask me if I was trying to “jew” him. To which I replied, “I’m sorry, I thought you were Jewish. It’s actually 10% more for Goy like you.” Somehow I managed to not get fired.

      1. Why do Jews have such big noses?

        1. Because enlarged nasal passages are an evolutionary adaptation to dry desert air?

          1. Worst. (Accurate) Punchline. Ever.

      2. Maybe my area is an outlier, but Jews are decidedly unwelcome here.

        Not agreeing with the list, this just isn’t the case like it used to be. There might be some old, lingering resentments in the east, but generally, Jewishness is not a major topic in America, except maybe between Jews.

        1. No shyte.

          My Jewish step-mom was once on her high horse about how Jews were held back in America or something and she pointed out how they stood out in broadcast medi

          1. …media by their accents. I told her (truthfully) that for much of my life I had no idea that was a Jewish accent. To me it was just another East coast accent with no particular meaning

            1. There’s no such thing as a Jewish accent. Did she mean Yiddish?

      3. Im guessing it doesnt weigh the amount of hate from the negative side. Mild discomfort and murderous intent count the same.

    3. There was a version of this that accounted for the fact that people evaluate their own groups more warmly, thus skewing Catholics and Evangelicals higher than they should be. I’m having trouble finding it, though.

    4. Where are mainline christians?

      1. Out drinking and carousing with the hedonists, who were too busy to participate in the poll?

  3. “China and Hong Kong poised for showdown over democracy”

    http://www.dnaindia.com/world/…..cy-2014966

    1. Hong Kong might want to,go back and look at the Tiannanmen Square footage and then do a “where are they now” on the protesters.

      1. do a “where are they now”

        Why isn’t this a feature yet, Google?

        1. Because the European Court wants them to *forget* people’s youthful indiscretions?

        2. Because unmarked graves are hard to find?

  4. “I don’t think my 10-year old boy has ever been in a fist fight,” says O’Rourke, who was born in 1947. “I mean there might be a little scuffling but I don’t think he’s has ever had that kind of violent confrontation that was simply part of the package when I was a kid.”

    I was born in 1950 and no one I knew in school got shot, brought a gun to school, or was killed by someone with a gun. Yeah, we had fist fights, but that’s where it ended. No one ever did a drive-by on anyone afterwards.

    1. I was born in 1970, and I remember kids bringing guns to school. The principal would get pretty pissed, because he knew the kids that did would be skipping our after 5th period to house them on the local wildlife.

      1. I graduated in ’85 and there were a significant amount of guys who showed up at school after hunting in the morning. They kept their guns in their cars and used the gym showers to clean up before class.

    2. Matter of fact, I remember getting into a huge brawl of a fistfight once…probably 12 kids involved…and I know there were several kids there with shotguns and/or rifles in their trucks. The cops dispersed everyone and that was the end of that.

    3. Im pretty sur school shooting rates are lower now than then.

      1. but they have anecdotal evidence based on their own experiences! Are you saying that’s a horrible way to judge things like this?!

        How dare you sir! How. Dare. You.

    4. “I don’t think my 10-year old boy has ever been in a fist fight,”

      Yeah, I’m not so sure that’s a good thing. Bullies and fights teach you a lot about standing up for yourself, conflict resolution and self confidence. Kids are insulated from it now. Be interesting to see how they turn out having never faced conflict.

      1. I’d wager that more kids come away from bullying with either no benefit whatsoever, or with mental/emotional scarring.

        1. And there is that too. Fighting can be very traumatic, even if you come out on top.

          1. You say that like it’s a bad thing.

            1. People can get fucked up over that sort of thing. Maybe it’s a symptom of wimpy modernity. But it happens.
              I think that there are better ways to learn to deal with conflict.

              1. When I was in grade school and High School fist fights were pretty common. I don’t recall anyone being mentally fucked up over getting in a punch-up or two.

                1. Did you ask?

                  It does happen. I have no idea how often. And probably more as the result of persistent bullying than from a punch-up here and there.

                2. If it ends at one fight, then maybe the people involved will be fine. But that almost never happened in my school. Anyone who dared to stand up against a bully was in for a torrent of abuse. That sort of thing wears you down.

                  1. What you are describing sounds like gang violence, to me, not bullying.

                    Different.

          1. -1 Even Numbered Star Trek

      2. Maybe he just gets along with people. I never came close to being in a fight in school. Not because I was sheltered or timid, but because no one ever wanted to fight me.
        I think that there are certainly circumstances where people should stand and fight. But not everyone will find themselves in such a situation, and I wouldn’t think that encouraging kids to look for a fight is a good idea. Not everyone gets bullied.

          1. 36. I had friends who got into fights. But it seemed to me that they were looking for trouble, or at least didn’t know when to stop running their mouths.

            1. Yep. I was the small kid with the big mouth…and was scared to death of fighting.

              Take aways:
              1. The weak get bullied.
              2. The weak with the big mouth get bullied more.
              3. The weak, with the big mouth who are cowardly get bullied even more.
              4. When you stand up to a bully, you earn people’s respect, even if you lose the fight, and the bullying stops.
              5. It feels good to not be afraid anymore.

              1. I can’t disagree with any of that.

              2. 4. When you stand up to a bully, you earn people’s respect, even if you lose the fight, and the bullying stops.

                Maybe with some bullies. But there were plenty of bullies with whom that only earned you further bullying from him and his friends.

                1. But there were plenty of bullies with whom that only earned you further bullying from him and his friends.

                  I’m sure there are exceptions to every rule, but that has not been my experience. Bullies (true bullies) choose victims they think they can belittle without repercussion. Fighting a) hurts and b) gets you in trouble. By and large bullies back down when they see they’ll have to work for their amusement.

                  1. I think that the rest of the herd also holds it against a bully if they keep bullying a person who has stood up to them.

                    Sick as it is, but if you don’t stand up to a bully, the rest of the kids don’t feel much sympathy for you.

                    If you fight back, the kids will pretty much side with you.

              3. Oh, and (realized, but obviously not mastered):

                6. Learn when to shut your fucking pie hole.

        1. This. Now that’s not to say I didn’t get in tussles with my brother or my friends, but the vast majority of kids get thru school without ever being bullied.

          1. I don’t think anyone gets thru school without being bullied or being a bully, because bullying isn’t just physical.

            Physical bullying usually has repercussions, but mental bullying can be a lot worse for people.

            Girls tend to give and get a lot worse than boys ever do. Probably because of the much lower liklihood of getting your ass kicked.

            My theory is this is why women in leadership roles tend to often be “bossy” instead of being actual leaders.

            /#banbossy

            1. What happened to “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?”

              Too many snowflakes these days.

        2. Consider yourself lucky then. Bullies exist and the appropriate way to deal with them is to stand your ground.

          1. Yeah, sure. Though I’m not sure luck is the word.

        3. I hit my growth spurt way before anyone else. I was one of the biggest kids in my class through the 7th grade. By Senior high I was pretty much normal height (probably stronger than most though). I was always sort of proud that no one came looking for me to settle scores after they got bigger than me.

      3. Be interesting to see how they turn out having never faced conflict.

        And let us not underestimate the value of trophies for just showing up.

      4. I was just talking to my wife about this. We were discussing the son of an acquaintance who was going to be home schooled because of troubles with bullies.

        I told her that as a little kid you get in lots of fights, but since you don’t know what you are doing, it doesn’t hurt much. As you get older and stronger the fights get less frequent but much more violent/bloody. I’m not sure a home schooled kid would go through this progression and would be in danger of really getting hurt during his first fight at college.

      5. They train them to call the cops now.

  5. Speaking of boomers I just realized that 40 years ago this week was my first day of high school. In so many ways high school just seems like a little while ago, 40 years seems crazy.

    I got a chance to briefly meet PJ O’Rourke at Freedom Fest. I was thrilled, I own all his books (some multiple copies) and still pull them out to re-read now and then. His dispatches from war-torn hellholes were painstakingly real yet hilarious at the same time — I encourage anyone who hasn’t read them to get Holidays in Hell, All the Trouble in the World, or Give War a Chance at your library (or any of his several other collections). And of course, Parliament of Whores is pure genius.

    Also, if you’ve never seen it, the National Lampoon 1964 High School Yearbook Parody that PJ co-wrote is the single best published parody ever, nothing else comes close. You may really want to look it up if you are an Animal House fan, you’ll see where many of the character names for that movie come from.

    1. I’ve always liked Eat the Rich.

    2. The NatLamp Sunday newspaper parody is just as funny in case you missed it.

      PJ is right. People are nicer because NatLamp from the 70s would be impossible today due to it’s vicious un-PC nature.

      I loved it.

      1. I bet you’re the kind of guy who would fuck a person in the ass and not even have the goddamn common courtesy to give him a reach-around. I’ll be watching you.

      2. Yeah, the newspaper parody was great.

  6. […]is the way everybody was feeling we could be or do anything.

    Certainly has upsides- especially in areas such as class distinction, but it had some major downsides. These babyboomers who are sitting on your municipal and local councils, nation-wide believe they can do anything with a properly crafted law, and I believe it’s the number one problem facing this country.

  7. “are we libertarian on the fundamental government issues”

    No.

    No no no.

    No.

    No.

  8. It’s good to hear the fundamental question, the real fundamental question being approached at 12:30.

    I think the issue that’s being skirted around is the concept of segregation was affirmed by law, ie government.

    I believe that freedom of association can remain intact (an individual’s right to choose who he does business with etc.) and an integrated society will occur. But when government makes it illegal to integrate, that integration comes slowly or not at all.

    Always remember, government follows, it never leads.

  9. nice comment at 18:00. Libertarianism is anti-political. Always explains why libertarianism can’t amass political power.

    1. Yep. What is it — “Take over the world to leave you alone”?

      1. I think it was John here who wrote: “You have to watch out for libertarians. They might take over and leave everybody alone.”

  10. Reduce! Reuse! RECYCLE!

    So glad to see REASON embracing teh environmentalizm.

    Not. Fuck all these repeats with old comments. Is this what I paid for with my subscription??!!! Reruns??!!!

    *shakes fist*

    1. I thought our long national nightmare of weekend retreads would be over on Monday morning. Is it a three day weekend again this week? Will the Sunday trolls stick around for today as well?

    2. Damn…

      Got me. I assumed on a Monday I wouldn’t need to check the dates.

      WRONG!

      1. I thought the same thing – just happened to notice. Tha fuck? STOP IT, REASON!

    3. Maybe they’re all in mourning over Truett Cathy.

  11. “I don’t think my 10-year old boy has ever been in a fist fight,” says O’Rourke, who was born in 1947. “I mean there might be a little scuffling but I don’t think he’s has ever had that kind of violent confrontation that was simply part of the package when I was a kid.”

    I’m not sure intolerance for a certain amount of participatory violence between boys is necessarily a sign that we live in a “nicer, more tolerant world”.

    Have you seen the kind of zero tolerance they subject kids to these days?

    Kids get suspended for bringing toy guns to school. Kids get suspended for bringing cold medicine to school. Kids get suspended for the stories they write. Down blog, there’s a story about a girl being forced to wear a “shirt of shame” for having violated the dress code.

    This is not a nicer, more tolerant world, and even if it were, do we really want kids who are overly reluctant to stand up for themselves or don’t know how?

    Some of my best friends (before I was ten) were kids I got into fights with. You can learn a lot about a kid in a fist fight. You can learn a lot about yourself. Fist fights can be a great way to bond, too, especially if you both get into the same trouble. They used to make you shake afterward, too.

    1. I’ve met many millennials who would have benefited from a face punch.

    2. Well you’re talking about those days back before dirt when a fight was over when someone didn’t want to get back up.

      These days when someone is knocked to the ground the other guy starts kicking him in the head.

      There’s no honor anymore.

      1. And the loser of the fight comes back later with his buddies or with a baseball bat.

      2. It’s the individual nature of the person at any given location on the time continuum that reflects the dearth of honor or otherwise. What does ‘anymore’ have to do with it, bro?

        History has proven the vile nature of humanity is never just a contemporary problem.

        1. It’s the individual nature of the person at any given location on the time continuum that reflects the dearth of honor or otherwise. What does ‘anymore’ have to do with it, bro?

          I disagree. I think societal expectations have a lot to do with it.

          When I was a kid, it was expected that once someone is down and doesn’t get back up, that the fight was over.

          Now it seems that society expects the fight to continue until one of the parties is unconscious or dead.

          Society doesn’t value honor anymore.

          1. Society has rarely ever valued honor and this is proven through the historical common place of extremely harsh punishment over trifles.

          2. Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame!

  12. my classmate’s sister makes $86 every hour on the laptop . She has been fired from work for 10 months but last month her income was $17371 just working on the laptop for a few hours. over here……….

    ==================== http://www.netjob70.com

    1. Has she ever been in a fist fight with a millenial?

      1. She fists them, dear.

    2. Sounds to me like she’s working 50 hours a week. No thanks, buddy.

  13. I guess I understand journos and writers and generally-reflective types going on and on about obvious super-generations like the Boomers and Millenials. It’s probably entertaining for more than a few.

    But, I’m far more interested in how these groups relate to authoritarianism within the so-called free society in which they mature and become active.

    Boomers are largely responsible for the vast breadth and depth of the legality underpinning modern America. Or, are they?

    Millenials are generalized to an extent and their impact within the open society is yet to be fully realized. Or, will it? Ever.

    Beyond the cutesy Boomer/Millenial obsession is there an Authoritarian demographic that is an outlier? Is there a totalitarian cluster with access to power that enjoys the relative obscurity afforded by the media’s obsession with pop culture demos?

    1. I wouldn’t mind the generalizations about the generations if they would get the years right. People associate the boomers with the 60s but that is not really accurate. The real cultural movers from the 1960s were older and from the so called “silent generation” of the thirties and early 40s. The boomers were too young to do much other than follow in the 1960s. The decade that belonged to the boomers was the 70s, not the 60s.

      It is the same with the millenials. The mellenials didn’t elect Obama and frankly haven’t affected shit thus far. That is nothing against them, it is just that no generation affects much of anything before they are 30.

      1. *The boomers were too young to do much other than follow in the 1960s.*

        Bu-bu-but, the boomers saw the moon landing and Vietnam War on TV, maaaaaan. That’s almost like they were there.

        That’s the boomers in a nutshell, right there…they were the first generation raised by television and there were only three channels. They watched the same shows, saw history unfold every night narrated by Walter Kronkite and somehow they think they had a hand in it.

  14. Authoritarian demographic that is an outlier

    Given the way most people act and vote, I’m inclined to believe “authoritarian” is the mainstream, and “live and let live/libertarian/he got his-I got mine” is the outlier.

    I may be mistaken.

    1. If so, then all demographics are the Authoritarian generations and writers and historians in their quest to be loved and awarded are coddling demographics that have essentially raped the conscience of collective liberty.

    2. “Political tags ? such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth ? are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”

      ? Robert A. Heinlein

  15. I’ve always like P.J., but I loved him for calling the Koreans the “Irish of the East” in Holidays from Hell.

    I use that to taunt my Korean wife all the time.

    1. I love P. J. too, but he seems to be losing his edge in his more recent stuff.

  16. A bit off topic but still relavent. I think this woman, I have no idea who she is, really captures the larger social dynamic going on in the country at large and in the media in particular. She is writing about the “gamer gate” story about how gaming journalists have turned out to be self dealing leftist douche bags. But her points apply to a lot more than that.

    That social aspect is where the Bertha better-than-you attitude comes in. Preppies aren’t all like that, but those who are consider themselves a superior breed of nerd. They’re the civilized nerds, and the rest of us are the unfocused, uncouth rabble.

    Throw in politics, particularly the politics of elitist social justice war mongering, and you now have “socially responsible” house nerds looking down on the independent, uncouth, and unfocused or undisciplined field nerd as socially irresponsible and in need of wrangling.

    It’s pretty much the same attitude that SJWs (social justice warriors) in established media have overall toward the general public ? that attitude that leads to “If you don’t accept my worldview it’s because you’re stupid and immoral, not because I might be wrong.” It’s an entitled attitude of intellectual and moral superiority that comes from a very bad place and is threatening to take us all to that place, except that those bottom rungs are never going to make it there because we can’t…

    1. She continues

      Being an SJW is how an intellectual fits in to modern pop culture and maintains his or her spot on the social acceptance ladder. It’s not really about justice or morality. Those concepts are just methods of worldview enforcement. It’s 100% about fitting in for these people.

      http://honeybadgerbrigade.com/…..-war-game/

      1. That’s a damn interesting theory.

        1. It works really well when you think about how the media deals with racism. Why doesn’t the media talk about racism in any other context but white on black racism? Because the point is for the white house nerds of the media to distinguish themselves from the less enlightened white people. Talking about Hispanic or black racism doesn’t do that.

      2. Progressive liberal adults have not matured past that point in high school where they tried desperately to gain the approval of the cool kids.

        1. Surely. But as we know, the open society has more enemies than progressive liberal adults…

        2. Yeah, I think that really is it. Most people’s politics are all about social signalling. It is especially prominent on the progressive left, but republicans/conservatives certainly aren’t immune.

      3. At its core Gamergate SJW’s are the very personality types who legislate and vote on federal mandatory minimums, for example.

        Human nature transcends cute demographic labels. Whether Boomer, Gen-Xer, Millenial or Gamer… the primary result of collective inertia generally leads to scenarios of domination and control. Top-tier power strata’s which are narrow and powerful will almost always seek to impose restriction and parametrization.

        The biological science behind this is very interesting to me.

        1. So much of human interaction in general and by extension politics is about personal and moral branding. It is about people having a way to feel superior to others. That is why Progressivism continues to exist even though experience has completely discredited its ideas. It provides an easy way for people to feel superior to others.

          1. Progressivism, whether left-wing or neocon, is more than just a way to ‘feel’ superior, though, John.

            ‘Becoming’ superior likely trumps ‘feeling’ superior and for that we need systemic tools that can be allocated for as much control as is necessary to relieve the mere feeling and morph it into a discernible state.

            Perhaps, output proves control and superiority. Output in the form of clear obedience, lack of defiance, and outright imprisonment or any other myriad proofs showing that you and I am subjugated or made irrelevant.

    2. That is a good piece that I made some insightful comments on yesterday, so you can all go over there and vote them up.

  17. He also feels that the internet “fragments information” in a way that destroys the sweep of history, at least at first. “You end up with mosaic information,” he says. “Now, I think over time the kids put these mosaics together but I don’t think the internet itself lends itself to the sweep of history.”

    In other words, it’s presenting history more accurately. The traditional way of teaching history as a unified narrative is wildly misleading.

    1. I’m not sure what unified narrative is but grasping historical sweep is definitely a lost cause when discussing, in particular, politics.

      I think a lot of this is due to sheer complexity and this, unfortunately, creates the propensity to over-simplify very important features that have gone into creating the current state of the open society.

      1. I believe in historical sweeping narratives. They are not the entire truth but they are certainly one valid way of understanding part of the truth. The problem is that you can’t see or understand the narrative when you are in it or really until a couple of hundred years afterwards.

        1. Historical sweep is definitely critical. I agree. My point is, even grasping the rudiments of a segment of historical sweep requires far more time than most are willing to invest.

      2. It’s basically two things:

        1. Teaching history in a Event A happened and then because of that Event B happened and then because of that Event C happened. History isn’t a linear string of single events. At any time, lots of things are going on at once, all of which have numerous causes.

        2. Attributing collective agency to large groups of people. Most events arise spontaneously, not because a whole country got together and specifically chose to make them happen.

        1. As Max Eastman talked about in Enjoyment of Laughter, humans tend to learn in a certain way. When you look at (say) an apple, you see its general characteristics: roughly round, a certain color. But as you study it more closely, you notice the color is uneven, the curve of the stem, the bruise on one side, etc. In other words, you learn the general first, and then the particular, and the process of adding more detailed knowledge to what you already know is the pleasure of scholarship.

          So there’s nothing wrong with the “sweep of history,” especially as an introductory concept. After people grasp that, they’ll have more fun learning and fitting in the details and exceptions.

          (In fact, Enjoyment of Laughter is organized the way Eastman thinks textbooks should be written. After the intro that explains this (and IIRC), the first chapter is a page summarizes the entire book in the broadest way. The second chapter is of more normal length, and covers the same ground in more detail. The next three chapters do the same. Then the rest of the book covers everything in the greatest detail. It’s brilliant, and made me a lifelong Eastman fan.)

        2. Events don’t arise spontaneously, and whole countries don’t get together to chose to make them happen. Individuals in small groups conspire and plot, and lead the sheep forward (or more often, backward).

  18. “I don’t think my 10-year old boy has ever been in a fist fight,

    But has he been in a car unattended for 5 minutes?

    Then you’ll see how NOT kinder our society really is.

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