Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gingrich on Ending Adolescence

Writing in Business Week, Newt Gingrich argues for ending adolescence. He sounds as if he has been reading Robert Epstein (whose thoughts and book were discussed here, here, and here). Here's a quote from Gingrich:
Prior to the 19th century, it's fair to say that adolescence did not exist. Instead, there was virtually universal acceptance that puberty marked the transition from childhood to young adulthood. Whether with the Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah ceremony of the Jewish faith or confirmation in the Catholic Church or any hundreds of rites of passage in societies around the planet, it was understood you were either a child or a young adult.
* * *
Adolescence was invented in the 19th century to enable middle-class families to keep their children out of sweatshops. But it has degenerated into a process of enforced boredom and age segregation that has produced one of the most destructive social arrangements in human history: consigning 13-year-old males to learning from 15-year-old males.
It's hard to put into words how strongly I sympathize with this line of thinking.

3 Comments:

Blogger love the girls said...

Interesting,

Given his vicious treatment of his wife, Jackie Battley, and their children, I've long considered Newt Gingrich to be the paradigm of American adolescence.

2:15 AM  
Blogger Michael Drake said...

Like LtG, I also find it difficult not to consider the source, here.

Anyway, I didn't understand the claim that adolescence now consigns "13-year-old males to learning from 15-year-old males." What is he referring to?

8:56 AM  
Blogger Table Tennis Tennis said...

Even if you agree with this line of reasoning--especially if you agree with this line of reasoning--you don't want Newt Gingrich making the case for you.

Many people who would be open to the argument find the man loathsome.

11:36 PM  

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