Why the Regimentation of American Life is Making Us All Worse Off
The Quote by Ayn Rand on the Regimentation of American Life:
“He thought of all the living species that train their young in the art of survival, the cats who teach their kittens to hunt, the birds who spend such strident effort on teaching their fledglings to fly – yet man, whose tool of survival is the mind, does not merely fail to teach a child to think, but devotes the child’s education to the purpose of destroying his brain, of convincing him that thought is futile and evil, before he has started to think.
From the first catch-phrases flung at a child to the last, it is like a series of shocks to freeze his motor, to undercut the power of his consciousness. “Don’t ask so many questions, children should be seen and not heard!” – “Who are you to think? It’s so, because I say so!” – “Don’t argue, obey!” – “Don’t try to understand, believe!” – “Don’t struggle, compromise!” – “Your heart is more important than your mind!” – “Who are you to know? Your parents know best!” – “Who are you to know? The bureaucrats know best!” – “Who are you to object? All values are relative!” – “Who are you to want to escape a thug’s bullet? That’s only a personal prejudice!”
Men would shudder, he thought, if they saw a mother bird plucking the feathers from the wings of her young, then pushing him out of the nest to struggle for survival – yet that was what they did to their children.” -Ayn Rand
How American Life Has Changed
You might have been surprised by the inclusion of that Ayn Rand quote. When I first discussed the concept of the regimentation of American life in my article on the danger of bending the knee, it was in the context of both adults and children having completely organized lives in which everything they do and say has been prescribed by some higher authority. Kids play organized sports, adults work boring corporate jobs, and everyone has to follow the guidelines of thought put forth by the leftists in academia.
From our first day at school to our last day of work, we are told not to be entrepreneurs or think for ourselves, but instead to do what others tell us. Rather than playing a pickup game of whiffle ball on the neighborhood corner, we play organized tee ball with coaches and uniforms. Rather than studying what we are interested in while in college, we take classes that will “lead to a good job at an established company.” Instead of starting a company, we work as a nameless drone for a corporate behemoth. Rather than explore the woods, we follow trails through parks and natural forests. We don’t read what we’re interested in, we read what others say we should. And so on and so forth. Every action is the result not of reason, but of someone else saying what to do.
But to merely lament that fact would miss the point. It’s a tragedy that Americans are no longer the resilient, independent, self-confident people that they were during the days of Lewis and Clark. What is worse, however, is why many of our countrymen have devolved from lions to lemmings.
And that is why the above Ayn Rand quote is relevant. It explains the foundations of the regimentation of American life. From their first days in school, kids are taught by their Marxist-leaning teachers not to think, but to obey. They are brainwashed into blindly reporting to and following authority figures rather than doing what they think is best.
“Sharing is caring.” “Don’t stand up to a bully, just report him to your homeroom teacher.” “Why don’t you want to join a team, doesn’t that sound more fun that being left alone after school?” “Don’t talk or squirm during class, sit and listen to this politically correct version of the Thanksgiving story!” Etc.
Past generations weren’t taught in that manner. Yes, discipline was harsh, but the lessons learned were far greater. Kids learned how to stand up for themselves by punching a bully in the nose. They played on their own or with a merry gang of friends. They went shooting, hunting, or fishing in the woods, or, when the wilderness was unavailable, played with other kids in their neighborhood or street corner. When in school, they learned facts, not opinions, because they were being taught what to think rather than how to think.
The result of that was self-confidence, a natural predisposition for innovation, and self-reliance. Just watch movies like “The Sandlot,” “American Graffiti,” or “Dazed and Confused.” Read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, or stories about George Washington as a young man. The children of yesterday weren’t fragile little automatons, as kids now are. They were tough and ingenious. Rowdy and witty. Defiant and full of promise.
Because they had those qualities, they were able to succeed in adult life. They founded businesses of their own rather than working for those that already existed. When the going got tough, as it often did during the 19th and early 20th centuries, American men did what they needed to.
Blackjack Pershing shot POWs with pig blood-coated bullets (or buried them with pigs in mass graves, the details are murky), which was brutal but ended the Filipino Insurrection. The Doughboys marched off to fight the Great War and stopped the Germans cold during the Kaiserschlact as French and British troops retreated around them. Great inventors like Edison, Tesla, John Browning, and Samuel Colt achieved astounding technological advances. Industrialists and tycoons like Vanderbilt, Carnegie, and Rockefeller built fortunes for themselves and made America better off with their innovations and the resulting productivity gains. Desperadoes and cowboys tamed the Wild West without much help from the government. Americans did what they had to and thrived when given the freedom to utilize their natural tenacity and innovative minds.
All of that happened because the regimentation of American life had not yet begun. Americans were free because America was still a free country. They could be individualistic and do whatever they thought best, knowing that while Uncle Sam wouldn’t help them out in any way other than making opportunity open to all, he also wouldn’t hold them back. Because of that mindset, America was on top of the world. Our businesses and economy grew mightily, our military was undefeated and undefeatable, and Americans were generally happy and proud.
Then, around the middle of the 20th Century, when the Baby Boomer generation came of age, things changed. The regimentation of American life began. Schools stopped teaching our young minds how to think and instead taught them what to think. Kids didn’t play and explore on their own, but instead were taught to do what coaches, teachers, and bureaucrats told them to. America stopped being free and became organized.
The result of all that was a collapse in the American spirit. We lost Vietnam because that generation couldn’t make the sacrifices required of it or endure the hardships required of it. Our businesses struggled because innovation slowed down. The generation of scientists and innovators before them went to the moon in a decade; now, we have gradual improvements to the iPhone each year or so. And, worst of all, Americans forgot the American Creed; rather than recognizing that they only had a right to opportunity, they became convinced they had a right to be taken care of by the government. Thanks to that shift in mindset, economy-draining welfare programs were established. Those programs sapped our “spirit of capitalism” and destroyed our predisposition toward innovation and entrepreneurialism. Why build a business if you can instead collect an unemployment check?
All of those bad trends have continued through today. The regimentation of American life has marched onward. America’s children know less than ever, but have been completely brainwashed into believing the same Marxist propaganda as their teachers. They don’t stand up for themselves, pave their own path, or learn how to live the individualistic type of life that our Founders valued so highly.
That complete shift in mindset has resulted in successively less and less able generations. They can’t think for themselves or strike out on their own, handle themselves in a fight or march to the beat of their own drums. Thanks to the regimentation of American life, America’s young adults look to authority figures to solve every problem.
But those authority figures are interested in control, not helping people. They’ve arranged their battalions of snowflakes and use them to act with outrage at the slightest improper remark or refutation of leftist orthodoxy. Dissenters are doxxed, canceled, and silenced when leftist leaders demand it. Conservatives on campuses are attacked. Conservatives in business are fired for expressing their views. BLM has become sacred and saying something as innocuous and true as “all lives matter” or “Jill Biden shouldn’t be called Dr. Biden” will get you wiped off the face of the Internet and your career ended.
As tempting as it is to simply blame the aggressors, the leftist outrage mobs, they’re not really to blame. They’re just sheep that are following orders. The process, the regimentation of American life, is to blame. When all of society is organized, all of society looks for a leader to give them orders. If men can’t think for themselves, they look up to those who tell them what to think. That’s the case in cults, combat, and culture. And now it is the case in America.
If America seems like it’s becoming a totalitarian nation, that’s because it is. Not the type of totalitarianism that we saw with Stalin and Mao, leftists here aren’t that brutal. Yet. No, we have the type of soft totalitarianism that CS Lewis decried as the worst type: the tyranny of the nanny state. We are comfortable, cared for, and under constant supervision. The government helps us live, but, in return, it tells us how to live.
Past generations wouldn’t have accepted that and current ones shouldn’t. America is supposed to be a land of freedom. It should be the country shown in “Easy Rider,” sung about in “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” and written about by Mark Twain. Americans should do what they want and live with the consequences, not do what they’re told in an attempt to avoid consequences.
Fight back. Think for yourself, not in the prescribed manner. Say what’s on your mind, not what others say you should say. Do what you think is best, not what others tell you to. That’s the American way. Or at least it was before the regimentation of American life began. Let’s try to bring it back; it’s the only way out of this nightmarish era of control and regimentation.
By: Gen Z Conservative