During my lifetime, many Americans have become crippled as a result of infantilization. Infantilization came from families, schools, communities, all the way up to national government. "Infantilization" refers to the process which abrogates self-responsibility. Several other not-being-responsible-for-self processes stepped into take the place of self-responsibility.
At the time, I noticed how adolescents were replacing adults as the center of attention in family and social concerns. More and more, the world revolved about teenagers, even on television. It seemed to start in the 50s and blossom in the 60s. It matured, so to speak, through the 70s and 80s. In the 90s, as best as I can tell, excessive attention to adolescents gave way to overconcern with much younger children.
Of course, there is a proper level of concern for young children as well as adolescents, but "proper" is the operative term. Properly, that concern should be a means for developing a normal, i.e., competent, adult human. Infantilization reverses context. Children become the end, and adults become only the means to the immediate ends or demands of the children.
The Greatest Generation raised the "baby boomers" this way, and the "baby boomers" became the "Worst Generation," (hat tip to Ann Coulter for the term). Drug use, crime, and all manner of anti- and a-social behaviors followed. Parents created little, narcissistic monsters. Parents reversed course and became the servants of adolescents who grew up to be narcissistic adults. Nowadays, narcissistic adults infantilize their children as soon as they are hatched.
I will hardly forget an incident in an all-night diner in San Antonio a while back. A brat of 2 or 3 ran uncontrolled in body and mouth, while mother looked on with pride. He took the ceramic sugar bowl and shattered it on the floor. His mother's sole response was that she was not going to interfere with his proper development [sic].
Infantilization has severely undercut the need for self-responsibility. Parents bent themselves into human pretzels to take responsibility for their kids' happiness. Given the failure of primary, secondary, and higher education to teach principles and means to attain adult competency during growing up, parents succumbed to the same "now" mentality of their children.
The children became more and more over-indulged, as if indulgences could give them the knowledge, experiences, and principles needed to become competent adults. The anti-effort, anti-intellectual, and woefully ignorant kids of today are the logical consquences of three generations of denying self-responsibility.
Dominating our culture of today are adults and pre-adults who sincerely believe that any lack of gratification must be atoned for by others. Any risks must be avoided. Outcomes must be guaranteed. Tell them to step up to the plate of life and take responsibility for anything--other than enjoying the NOW--and you get some version of "No way."
No bad outcomes can be accepted. Lawsuits run amok. Blame applies to every one and every thing except the blamer. Congress passes "entitlements," i.e., indulgences, so that no one need ever be in need. Government has replaced self-responsibility with itself. Millions now whine when having to do anything for themselves.
We have reached what I truly hope is the bottom of this decline.
That bottom is ugly. Millions feel they have a fundamental right not to be offended. To these millions, the dominant "white" population must shoulder the responsibility for preventing anyone from being "offended." If someone is offended, that same dominant sub-population must make reparations.
Everything to these millions is "feelings." Two generations going on three worship emotions. To them, what they feel is all-important, and nothing else is.
Criminals are excused because of "bad childhoods," while those who have had the worst childhood only to emerge as giants, like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, are disregarded. No one can help it. Everyone is, just as Marx said, a product of environmental factors, not beings of self-made soul.
Such a large number of Americans now uncannily resemble the Brave New World (Aldous Huxley).
Competent adulthood is the norm, as determined by the facts of human nature and not soul-rotted modern philosophers and educators. Narcissistic parasitism is not. Self-responsibility is the norm, as required for proper human development. Mother Nature sets the terms. Adults are to be the independent standard, says Mother Nature--any form of pre-adulthood is by the facts of reality developmentally dependent and subservient to competent adults.
Cause follows effect. Reality sets the terms. Since the end of World War II, many Americans have tried to reverse cause and effect., but trying this can produce only the mess we have. In fact, competent adults properly will raise competent adults from inherently incompetent children. Children must develop self-responsibility in all of its manifestations. Parents should not reduce themselves to becoming the hedonic pacifiers of their brood.
Happily, not all in America are narcissistic, over-indulged, spineless and shiftless human jellyfish. Many kids survive their cause and effect inverted parents and society. Alas, however, they seldom survive without some soul damage. "Public 'education'" makes certain of that. Nevertheless, there are many Americans who do not avoid self-responsibility. They really survive on the uniquely American sense-of-life. They hold the culture together against the infantilized hordes until better generations can take over.
If we are to survive and to thrive, we must jettison the assaults on self-responsibility. We must each our young the proper means to the proper ends. No one could say this is an easy job. Not doing the job is fatal, however, for the kid, and for all of us.
America is just too valuable to be permitted to be buried in diapers.