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Attacks on Judeo-Christian and American values have left today's young people unhappy

Dennis Prager on

Here are some unhappy statistics:

-- In America between 1946 and 2006, the suicide rate quadrupled for males ages 15 to 24 and doubled for females the same age.

-- In 1950, the suicide rate per 100,000 Americans was 11.4. In 2017, it was 14.

-- According to Grant Duwe, director of research and evaluation at the Minnesota Department of Corrections, in the 1980s, there were 32 mass public shootings (which he defines as incidents in which four or more people are killed publicly with guns within 24 hours). In the 1990s, there were 42. In the first decade of this century, there were 28. In all the 1950s, when there were fewer controls on guns, there was one. Fifty years before that, in the 1900s, there were none.

-- Reuters Health reported in 2019, "Suicidal thinking, severe depression and rates of self-injury among U.S. college students more than doubled over less than a decade, a nationwide study suggests." The study co-author Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, said, "It suggests that something is seriously wrong in the lives of young people."

This data is not only applicable to Americans. As social commentator Kay Hymowitz wrote in City Journal in 2019: "Loneliness, public-health experts tell us, is killing as many people as obesity and smoking. ... Germans are lonely, the bon vivant French are lonely, and even the Scandinavians -- the happiest people in the world, according to the UN's World Happiness Report -- are lonely, too. British prime minister Theresa May recently appointed a 'Minister of Loneliness.' ... consider Japan, a country now in the throes of an epidemic of kodokushi, roughly translated as 'lonely deaths.' Local Japanese papers regularly publish stories about kinless elderly whose deaths go unnoticed until the telltale smell of maggot-eaten flesh alerts neighbors."

 

Though people have more money, better health care, better health, better housing and more education, and live longer than at any time in history, they -- especially young people -- are unhappier than at any time since data collection began.

Why has this happened?

There are any number of reasons. Increased use of illicit drugs and prescription drug abuse, and less human interaction because of constant cellphone use are two widely offered, valid explanations. Less valid explanations include competition, grades anxiety, capitalism and income inequality. And then there are young people's fears that because of global warming, they have a bleak, and perhaps no, future.

But the biggest reason may be the almost-complete loss of values and meaning over the last half-century.

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Copyright 2020 Creators Syndicate Inc.
 

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