Group-think and political correctness have caused not only the horrific decline in art, entertainment, and education but also the breakdown of our developed culture in general.
Even civilities in appearance of otherwise sensible but unwitting Americans have regressed into outright primitivism in forms of self-mutilation like piercing and tattoos, turning bodies into billboards for so-called nonconformist “self expression” that is anything but self expression.
It’s time to ponder this devolution. The modern originators of attire and decorations proclaiming anti-establishment ideas and lifestyles in America began with the 1960s “Hippies.”
Young people protesting the Vietnam War dressed in military garb — combative opposition — or adorned themselves with flowers — “flower children” for peace.
These codified signals defined like-minded individuals into recognizable groups making public declarations and demonstrations and, in the process, created an effective method of expressing an “us versus them” mentality.
Since then, advertising one’s counterculture societal positions via clothing, hair styles, body-ornamentation, slang language, music preferences, etc. has become a self-deluding declaration of pseudo-individualistic behavior adopted by those desiring to be perceived as standing apart from American traditions of all kinds.
Sadly, entertainment, sports, and rock-rap musician role models led the way to these fads for the average Joe and Jill to emulate.
Choosing to needle designs of butterflies or skulls into one’s skin is hardly a mark of individuality. True individuality is created from within by assessing the various possibilities for unique self-expression and selecting those consistent with one’s rationally chosen values and overall philosophy of life, not by following mass-media, often-freakish trends.
So, ironically, those wishing to announce themselves as anti-establishment individuals only reveal their non-individual conformance to group branding practices.
There are more signs of primitivism cum immaturity. Hollywood offers films full of sound and fury but signifying nothing more than adolescent sensationalism, sex, violence, nonsensical comedy, and distraction — today’s versions of Imperial Rome’s “bread and circuses.”
Worse, movies are more obvious in delivering collectivist, anti-American messages without subtle plots or glamour; “Avatar,” romanticizing primitivism and demonizing advanced civilization via mesmerizing technology, comes quickly to mind.
Art galleries and museums displaying piles of rags, glued auto parts, installations of blinking, imageless TV screens; naked males and females standing around, and all such nonsense dislodge viewers from their own aesthetic judgment.
Rap music delivers aggressive street rhyme and a mind-narcotizing beat similar to the repetitive rhyme and rhythm used in authentically primitive tribes to instill memory by numbing listeners into subliminally absorbing embedded messages.
Cellphone chatter, texting, and social media distractions prevent normal development of social skills as well as enjoyment of solitary contemplation and pastimes.
Paradoxically, for those buying into group fad-frenzies, there still lay within most if not all of them a hunger for a true individual self. This need for “I,” “me,” and “mine” is hardwired into human DNA for survival and appears naturally in early childhood, e.g., toddlers around the age of two become obsessed with the concept of “mine” regarding possessions.
But if a mature, cultivated self — an “I” — is not self-created by rational value selection, then an arrested, juvenescent self takes the form of psychological subjectivism focused on "me."
Disrespect for other people and property, disregard for appropriate time and place, dismissal of appreciation for elevated art forms or for one’s own body (including gross obesity) have now become normal.
Even in simple manners consideration for others is replaced by subjective behavior.
Cellphone conversation violates the sound space of strangers; texting people bump into other pedestrians; dirty-sneaker-clad feet mar beautiful furniture — even the current president routinely props his feet up on the Oval Office desk.
Food is shoveled into open-chewing mouths by diners lacking proper knife and fork usage; hooting is heard at the opera instead of applause; the exquisite, complex English language is peppered with “like” every third word; “cool” as a positive evaluation of everything reflects paucity of vocabulary; and if the taste of chocolate is “awesome,” what word describes the aurora borealis?
Sensationalism, emotionalism, abdication of reasoned judgment, instant gratification, boorish behavior, and nonstop distraction keep an undiscerning population in a whirlwind of undeveloped, self-absorbed, childish behavior that any civilized, mature adult would eschew.
Furthermore, the Census Bureau estimates 49 percent of the population takes government welfare or assistance, keeping millions in perennial childhood dependency, and conservative figures claim 17-21 percent more people work in government jobs at some level with benefits and pensions.
That’s 66-70 percent of Americans relying on tax dollars!
Is it any wonder that our nanny government becomes more authoritarian every day?
We who have achieved self-created individuality and maturity must reject political correctness by denouncing primitive, group-think behavior, restore and teach rationality especially to young people (including our own children), and make sure we haven’t fallen into any of the traps ourselves. “Like,” aren’t these “cool” ideas? Be aware and beware.
Alexandra York is an author and founding president of the American Renaissance for the Twenty-first Century (ART) a New-York-City-based nonprofit educational arts and culture foundation. She has written for many publications, including "Reader’s Digest" and The New York Times. Her latest book is "The Innocent." For more on Alexandra York, Go Here Now.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.