The Peter Pan Generation believes that whatever it wishes to be true is true. Whatever would be the most personally gratifying interpretation of reality is the natural one to, not only believe in, but to insist upon, as if the rest of us had a duty of care towards them akin to that of their biological mother.
This has led to many adopting the attitude that they can believe whatever they like with no obligation to pay any regard to consensual reality. If reality disagrees with me, it is wrong, and therefore has the obligation to change.
We can observe the consequences of this in the form of delayed adulthood, in particular a child-like total failure to accurately appraise the degree of danger in the world and to respond accordingly.
For this reason, some call them the ‘Special Snowflake Generation’. This was to distinguish them from their predecessors in Generation X, for whom Fight Club was a seminal influence on the collective identity, and who were told in which “You are not a special and unique snowflake. You are the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.”
The generation who came after X, who weren’t latchkey kids, who were brought up with technology rather than catching the wave of the disruption it caused, who were bathed in hysteria about Islamists rather than the very real threat of the USSR and who, crucially, didn’t hear the message of Fight Club – they are the snowflakes, so named for their striking fragility.
If there is an overarching narrative in one’s social circles that rich white men are the devil and everyone opposed to The Man is on the same side and knows they’re on the same side and feels solidarity with each other, then one might be horribly surprised to find some of these people on your side want to throw gays off buildings.
Yet this is the natural consequence of the unnatural degree of naivety and unprecedented delayed infancy that is due, in a large part, to the absence of war or belief in the need for war or to prepare, either physically or mentally, for it.
Those of us in Generation X may not have had World War II or Vietnam to contend with, but we did grow up hearing the death throes of the Soviet Union and, with it, an entire paradigm that had until then given the world meaning. We were still brought up under the very real possibility that we might end up going to war one day.
Not so the snowflakes. War – like Hillary Clinton losing the last election – is unthinkable simply because they do not want it. There is no concept of war coming to them. After all, the Muslims blowing up Western targets are opposed to the same Man that is oppressing us!
And because those Muslims are opposed to the same patriarchal capitalist interests as the young and trendy there couldn’t possibly be any problem with letting in a couple of dozen million of them – they’re just like us, right?
As any regular reader of this column knows, all things comes in time, and the yin always turns into yang.
A sense of entitlement, in an indifferent world where you’re going to die, is like the potential kinetic energy created by raising a heavy object against gravity. Sooner or later, it is going to fall back to its natural starting point, and the further away it was before it fell the more noise and violence it will make on the way down.
It’s too early to tell what will slap the Peter Pan Generation awake in the way that 9/11 slapped awake Generation X, that Vietnam slapped awake the Boomers, that World War II slapped awake the Silent Generation, and the Great Depression slapped awake the Greatest Generation.
But what we do know is that nature will out, and that nature loves to punish stupidity with violence.