I meant to blog about Robert Epstein’s book “The Case Against Adolescence” as soon as I read about it but got lazy. Still, here’s one interview with him.
Again, I agree with him that the ongoing infantilization of teens is quite irrational (all things considered) andIthinkthefactthatitishappeningis another important indication of how far from good modern societies still are.
We have completely isolated young people from adults and created a peer culture. We stick them in school and keep them from working in any meaningful way, and if they do something wrong we put them in a pen with other “children.” In most nonindustrialized societies, young people are integrated into adult society as soon as they are capable, and there is no sign of teen turmoil.
Teens in America are in touch with their peers on average 65 hours a week, compared to about four hours a week in preindustrial cultures. In this country, teens learn virtually everything they know from other teens, who are in turn highly influenced by certain aggressive industries. This makes no sense. Teens should be learning from the people they are about to become.
What can be done?
I believe that young people should have more options—the option to work, marry, own property, sign contracts, start businesses, make decisions about health care and abortions, live on their own—every right, privilege, or responsibility an adult has. I advocate a competency-based system that focuses on the abilities of the individual. For some it will mean more time in school combined with work, for others it will mean that at age 13 or 15 they can set up an Internet business. Others will enter the workforce and become some sort of apprentice. The exploitative factories are long gone; competent young people deserve the chance to compete where it counts, and many will surprise us.
Now, that recommendation is something to think about! Though in addition I also support giving more powerandresponsibility to even younger real children. I think the only major thing that the kids are inherently really lacking is knowledge (not brainpower to think for themselves if given the opportunity) and with the help of the internet even very young children could learn things like never before in human history. Thus I’m inclined to think that keeping kids in chains is monstrous!