Book: The Death of the Grown-Up

sept 07 via fortress australia

FP: What is your book’s main argument?

West: The organizing thesis is that the unprecedented transfer of cultural authority from adults to adolescents over the past half century or so has dire implications for the survival of the Western world. In other words, what I call the death of the grown-up is not just about sophomorically bad music or babyishly dopey movies (although it's about that as well). Having redirected our natural development away from adulthood and maturity in order to strike the pop-influenced pose of eternally cool youth--ever-open, non-judgmental, self-absorbed, searching for (or just plain lacking) identity--we have fostered a society marked by these same traits, which are usually associated with adolescence.

This may not have seemed to matter much in a country at peace (when I began work on the concept), but it becomes potentially fatal to a country at war with a foe that is wholly intolerant, rigidly doctrinaire, and globally expansionist.

FP: What is unique and original about your book?

West: The book makes a connection between what seem to be superficial trappings of fashion and custom and what are the most significant challenges a civilization must contend with--war and survival. In linking the death of the grown-up with our failure to assess frankly, prosecute forthrightly and therefore win the (immaturely named) "war on terror," it also argues that we need to grow up and out of our childish fantasies about Islam being a religion of peace and other PC fairytales.