Author Mark Bauerlein on His New Book, ‘The Dumbest Generation Grows Up: From Stupefied Youth to Dangerous Adults’
Live from Music Row, Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Professor Emeritus at Emory University and author, Mark Bauerlein to the newsmaker line to explain the thesis of his follow up book which examines the Godless digital plague of adult millennials.
Leahy: On the newsmaker line right now is a Professor Emeritus at Emory University, Mark Bauerlein. Good morning, Mark. Thanks for joining us.
Bauerlein: Good morning, sir! I’m glad to be here!
Leahy: So in 2009, that’s 14 years ago, you wrote a book called The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupifies Young Americans and Jeopardizes our Future. Now, 14 years later, you have a new book out. The Dumbest Generation Grows Up: From Stupefied Youth to Dangerous Adults. What sir, is your main thesis?
Bauerlein: (Chuckles) You remember back, you know, 15 years ago the millennials, they were the greatest generation in human history. They were on the cusp of the digital revolution. They were the early adopters. They were the digital natives, and they were running circles around boomers with these little devices in their hands. And Facebook had just come out.
Twitter started in 2008, texting and all the rest. And of course, all the gaming, they were the ones most adept at it. And there was all this cheerleading for the millennials going on at that time and everyone thought, Facebook and, and, and the rest were absolutely miraculous.
And so I just came out and said, no, no, no. This is awful. It is awful for a 15-year-old to walk around with 250 pictures of himself in his pocket at all times. (Leahy laughs) I gave a talk at BMI and 1,200 cadets were out there I told my wife last night, please put this on my tombstone. He never took a selfie.
And of course, the kids, are all doing selfies. Anyway, my prediction then was, look, they’re sinking into these little screens. They’re having peer pressure, peer-to-peer contests, twenty-four-seven. They sleep with a phone right next to the pillow. They’re on the games and, and, and playing and texting, and all passing pictures all night long. This is awful.
They’re not reading books as much as they used to. They’re not reading newspapers, they’re not listening to intelligent radio and watching intelligent TV. And when they grow up, they’re, they’re gonna be unhappy. Rootless, groundless, and who knows? We didn’t give them God. We didn’t give them church.
We didn’t give them a country they could be proud of. We didn’t give them any tradition, any great works of the past, or any great heroes. We gave them nothing. Now, 15 years later, these fabulous millennials are 33 years old. They’re unhappy, not to mention rates of narcissism, depression, anxiety, and suicides are up.
They are not getting married and having kids, which is a sign of their pessimism about the future, not nearly the rate that boomers did. And lives are empty. They don’t have any big picture. They have no transcendent orientation. And this is why so many of them turn to these false gods of racial justice.
Social justice or the fears of climate change, catastrophe, and the end of the world. And it’s because they’ve got no religion, they have no faith. They don’t have any patriotism, and here we are.
Leahy: Professor, if I can ask. This is interesting because you are at Emory, which is sort of a liberal operation. As they all are. And you’re a professor of English, of all things. Crom Carmichael has a question for you. He’s the original all-star panelist on the program. Crom, go ahead.
Carmichael: Do you think part of the reason for this is the K through 12 and then the woke college system that is more or less, not trying to educate as much as it’s trying to indoctrinate? Is it also a combination of that and narcissism, or are they related?
Bauerlein: Oh, uh, totally, totally a combination. It’s all related. The K-12 schooling has managed to let get prayer out of the classroom. Let’s not read the King James Bible which is the most important book in all of American history. It’s all over Abraham Lincoln’s speeches. The indoctrination into the woke really begins with the removal of the positive beliefs about God, family, and tradition.
What we do is we kill all that and we open them up to pour in identity politics, which is a moralistic outlook. This is not like your easy relativism, Hey, you know, whatever you do your own thing, whatever floats your boat. No, no, no, no. The woke stuff is aggressive. It is a joyless, humorless, punitive enterprise, and it thrives on people who have no other faith.
Leahy: Crom has another question for you.
Carmichael: He’s right on target here. Yep. And cause, you know, a great question is to ask when humans, when babies are born, are they inherently good or are they inherently bad? And according to religion, we all sin. But what the professor’s also saying is that we can become what we are taught.
Leahy: Exactly. Now, that doesn’t mean we’re not sinning, but it means we can have a moral set of values that is a positive one or we can be taught the opposite.
Leahy: Exactly. Which, which is what they’re being taught now.
Carmichael: They are being programmed.
Leahy: What is your solution to this problem?
Bauerlein: Take your kids out of the public schools and get them into K-12 schools that are strong on faith, on a core tradition, on the value of family, and on the great legacy of Western civilization. We want the kids to have all those fundamental, solid forms of devotion in life.
So they feel good about life. We need, yes, we all have original sin. It’s all inside us and we need God. We need the Lord to carry us forward. And they were denied that. And what a horrible thing to deny 17-year-olds.
Leahy: Mark, do you have children in this age group by any chance?
Bauerlein: I’ve got a 17-year-old and I homeschool him.
Leahy: Got it, got it. And I note that you’re Professor Emeritus at Emory. Are they very happy with your point of view here?
Bauerlein: You know, it’s interesting. I was a liberal in the 90s and I had tensions with colleagues because I still believed in great books and Western civilization. When I became an outright outspoken conservative, everyone just kind of left me alone. You know life was pretty good.
And I think it’s because the left doesn’t waste time going after people it can’t intimidate. The bullying doesn’t work with someone who just says, sorry, this is who I am and I’m voting this way. You know. I’m totally outnumbered. But the left really likes to target the mushy.
Leahy: And intimidate.
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
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Photo “Mark Bauerlein” by OU College of Professional and Continuing Studies. Photo “The Dumbest Generation Grows Up: From Stupefied Youth to Dangerous Adults” by Amazon. Background Photo “People Crossing a Crosswalk” by Jacek Dylag.