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Douthat is so wrong. Millennials are NOT individualistic. The age of individualism was from late 60s to early 70s when so many young people--and older people--were forced to ask big questions about social changes, rights and wrongs, and meaning of life. This was before political correctness set in, when the boomer young were divided and fragmented along many lines and expressions.

Today's young may seem to care about freedom, but they are mostly 'free' in the same way. The fact that so many of them are for 'gay marriage' means they were brainwashed enmasse by PC education and mass culture of decadent hedonism. Being braindead fans of Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus is to be minions, not individuals. And notice that everyone is into selfies cuz it's the cool thing to do. It's instant conformism spread via twitter and facebook. At least in the 60s, young people tried new drugs to find themselves. Now, young people just wanna smoke weed to tune out and think/feel alike with everyone else. They are adrift in the same cloud.
They don't rebel against their professors but spout the same PC nonsense fed into their heads.

Millennials are globo-conformists. The rich ones are neo-aristocratic admirers of fancy 'gay' style. The less fortunate ones are minions glued to celebrity news on the internet and twittering about the same thing; they imitate he rich-hedonist 'gay' style. Not a single one has the guts or fortitude to have a real individual thought or emotion. It's minionism.

4 2017-06-27 15:51:28 - Sandy Bates

Seeing even the much vaunted Pesh Merga flee the field of battle, one wonders if the armies of our presumed partners--Turkey, Iraq (still deeply inept and infiltrated despite change at the top) and Jordan will have what be it takes to be "victorious" on the ground, even with air support. I doubt it.

ISIL are fiercely devoted fanatics with wide experience in real fighting. Their esprit de corps is over the top, in stark contrast, I suspect, to all of these opponents. They can slip away into sunni areas if need be and be tough to flush out.

But even if our allies do sweep the field, then what?

Much of ISIL's success comes from providing basic government services free of corruption. We--or our proxies-- will have a tough time duplicating that while simultaneously dealing with a guerilla war, bombings and sabotage as ISIL goes underground.

They are far smarter in many ways than Al Qaeda in Iraq ever was. The latter--mostly foreigners-- wore out their welcome by arrogant annexing or property, too many public executions, messing with old smuggling routes, and a little reported fact (somewhere in the middle of this paper once): they tried to ban cigarettes! This perhaps the broke camel's back (the monkey on it must have helped).

Don't expect the same from ISIL.

Meanwhile our ally Saudi Arabia cut off about 80 heads this year, almost all foreign nationals or religious minorities, many for thought crimes. Zero outrage.

ISIL must be contained. But this plan is weak.

35 2016-12-25 07:15:14 - SDD

All these posts sound so reasonable. A lot of reasonableness got us into this mess in the first place. Wasn't it reasonable to bring democracy to Iraq, since everyone wants democracy? It’s all a bunch of just so stories. If it's plausible, it must be true. God I hope it's true! Arming the nice Jihadists in Syria to fight ISIS and Bashar at the same time sounds so reasonable, until you take even an opaque look and realize fighting ISIS means removing the last real obstacle to Bashar al-Assad and Iran that we haven't already removed. Luckily, the Free Syrian Army (FSA; i.e., the nice Jihadis), Syrian National Coalition, Syrian National Council and others of the "moderate opposition" are so fractured they aren't any threat to ISIS or Bashar. The arms we send to them (whoever them is, depending on the day of the week and who's up and who's down and who is talking to whom, or not) will end up with the al Nusra Front, which has ties (?) to some of the Syrian opposition groups as well as an on again off again relationship with ISIS. Even if they don’t have ties to the FSA, al Nusra can fight and will take those arms away for their own use, or perhaps give some to ISIS, depending if the two groups are talking or not.

Here’s another just so story. What if we establish a clandestine link to ISIS and tell them we won't bomb them if they leave the poor Kurds alone, then have them provide the check on the Iranian hegemon that we removed when we overthrew Saddam. Just a thought.

0 2015-12-18 09:59:33 - Maurie Beck

At a time when we are seeing the disintegration of America - real and imagined - it is comforting I am sure to find the paper tigers who stalk the world - financial meltdown, racial wars, terrorism, plague, all of the end-of-days boogeymen.

And it is difficult to see who the bad guys are, mostly because they are wearing suits and work in office buildings, busy defrauding us and debilitating the economy in service to their own greed.

And we are mostly unprotected by our government which simply cannot deliver the needed services to areas and populations struck by cataclysmic events - Sandy, Katrina, 9/11.

And Americans have understood - imperfectly perhaps - the ramifications of the reality of disasters and the unrealized expectations for government service; hence the rise of prepper culture with its attendant passion for gun ownership, protecting our own rather than reaching out to neighbors to work together to survive.

Sadly, the latter was how we made America great: we cooperated in the face of disaster, even when the social contract was stretched to its limits.

The preppers are, as many have pointed out, delusional paranoiacs who fear others and aggrandize their own abilities. Killing an animal to skin for food is difficult and unpleasant. Killing another human to protect oneself is nearly impossible - even cops and soldiers flinch.

My guess is the vendors of this stuff will not just survive - they'll prosper.

1 2015-08-28 10:34:03 - DDH

"If you have a primitive zero-sum mentality then you assume growing affluence for the rich must somehow be causing the immobility of the poor, but, in reality, the two sets of problems are different, and it does no good to lump them together"

THIS is nothing more than what anthropologist George Foster called "The Principle of Limited Good" from his study of traditional societies in the 1960s. That is the notion that there is a limited amount of "good" to go around. If one person profits, another loses.

Foster observed that there was less interest in opportunity because of a perception that society is a competitive game that causes a high level of social distrust. I wonder if this translates into failure of civil institutions through constant shifting patterns of alignment and undermines creation of new opportunities.

All the practices cited by Mr. Brooks- perverse compensation schemes, assortative mating practices, and the superstar effect- for the upper class of workers follows the same logic as the seemingly quaint practices of the growing underclass. The upper look to protect their "share" vs. the lower that does not see there is a "share" to strive for. Is the underlying commonality here that there hasn't been the kind of investment to produce a real increase of the "good" accessible to the many? Are "bad schools, no jobs, broken families, neighborhoods lacking mediating institutions, (etc.)" all results of disinvestment undermining society?

0 2015-07-12 17:58:54 - MoralMage

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