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Damn Kids


Victor Davis Hanson is seriously bumming (via TBogg):

Watching those film clips and pictures of the Taliban kidnapping Afghans who were de-mining the countryside, and Iranian thuggish police in black hoods hanging a sort of slop bucket around the necks of free-speech dissidents, and the various semi-official and popular Iranian, Pakistani, and Middle Eastern new threats to Sir Rushdie — while a silent West worries instead that the meals for Guantanamo inmates cost only 2-3 times more than the soldiers who guard them — and wondering on a Saturday morning how a post-civilized West can marshal the will to win a war of ideas against pre-civilized Islamists.

Now, it’s hard to say what might have gotten poor Vic into such a snit — aside from the fact that illegal immigrants are listening to iPods and wearing Bluetooth headpieces (I’m not kidding here — he’s really upset about this) — but I’m suspecting a little bit of family tension might be partly to blame. Here’s VDH, just the other day:

We oldsters have forgotten just how different are the young. I fished not long ago with my son up in the Sierra. Hadn’t done so in years. He was skilled at it, I not.

In about an hour he pulled in nine rainbows, 12-14 inches, I four. But here was the difference. In the 1960s my father sent us down to the lake or stream for “lunch” or “dinner”—that is, to bring back fish for all to eat. So I kept my four and had them for both lunch and dinner.

My 24-year-old son? Appalled at the idea.

With consummate skill and humanity, he carefully took the hooks out of all nine fish he caught, sometimes from deep down the throat and requiring some surgical skill. And he was worried when one floated on its side for about 5 minutes before swimming off—and was nearly sick that he had killed it. I was wondering whether his humanity was predicated on the notion of not hurting animal kind, or the fact that food was now so cheap and accessible that fishing had become a sport not a mechanism to ensure a meal. In any case, I felt a little greedy or worse, keeping the trout, and he seemed embarrassed, if not angry at my possessiveness. It’s a different world—reminded of that also by his sister (20) when I forgot to recycle a single Pepsi can, and put it with the regular trash. For my daughter that was worse than a mortal sin.

Is it any coincidence that the surge isn’t working?

Oh, sure, he sounds a patient father who indulges the ideological errors of his children. But maybe if Hanson’s kids weren’t such squirmy, weak-kneed hippies, we’d have destroyed the barbarians by now.

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