Report From The Field--Chronological Snobbery
Here’s something I’ve noticed lately as a strong pattern in student thinking: Many students see themselves, the "current generation," as the ones that “get it” and are properly educated. The anointed, though they probably wouldn’t use that language. Like all other observations I make, this is a generalization, and there are, of course, exceptions. But the pattern is prominent. The attitude is “we moderns know better than our benighted ancestors. We ‘get it,’ when it comes to the truth about gender (and other things) and therefore it is on us to ‘educate’ those older folks who ‘don't know.’ Yesterday=superstition, ignorance, conformity. Today=science, tolerance, openness. I see that attitude a lot, and a noticeable number of times it’s been pretty explicitly stated. In the past, everyone was all strict and sticks in the mud. Oppression everywhere. Now, we know freedom and individuality are the thing. A perfect distillation of that attitude can be seen in this video created by AMAZE, an organization the creates digital content aimed at persuading the public to adopt current gender orthodoxies:
Even though Uncle Jay--the older man in the video--is open to listening, the undercurrent is that he is uninformed, uneducated, and living in the past. The younger characters, by contrast, are in the know about gender and kind-heartedly “educate” their older relative on what we all today “know.”
It’s a perfect picture of how they see older folks, and how they see themselves. Does this represent the attitude of every young student? No. Most? Maybe, maybe not. All I know is that it’s a pattern I’ve started to notice. It’s popped up again and again in discussions. Maybe my class and school is an outlier, but I doubt it.
This is what C.S Lewis called “chronological snobbery.” Whatever is in the past is benighted. Whatever is modern and avant garde is equated with goodness and knowledge.
Sometimes our forebears got things wrong. They don’t bat a thousand, not by a long stretch. Sometimes updating is called for. Sometimes the old fogeys can learn from the whipper snappers. All this goes for me too. But the attitude I’m seeing is a horse of a different color. It strikes me as myopia masquerading as knowledge. Pretending to know things they don’t really know, things they’ve just been “told” over and over again on Tik Tok.
It's unfortunate, but you can't get too upset and blame them I guess: like I've said earlier, this is the air they breathe. It's how they've been educated. This view of the world is shoved down their throats at every turn, so you can't be surprised that many of them have swallowed it.
Still though, c'mon let's call a spade a spade: they don't know jack about this stuff. Even though they marinate in this way of thinking by people who should know better, there's still a certain amount of arrogance in a 17 year old kid thinking it's his job to "educate" the blind older people out of their prejudices. Yes, expected, given their environment, but it's ok to point that arrogance out.