There's a common thread running through Anthony Weiner's latest sexting escapades, Barack Obama's 19th pivot to the economy, and much else that's going wrong in America today. This is the reign of the man-child, the era of perpetual teenage indulgence. Nothing is my fault, man. Nobody understands me. Everyone keeps hassling me about little stuff. Nobody can see the superhero I really am. Consequences are a drag, so quit living in the past.
Anthony Weiner, working under jokey pen names like "Carlos Danger," is the perfect arrested adolescent. He's a married man pushing 50 with a young child, but he carries on with 20-something girls like a drunken frat boy emailing pictures of his junk from a kegger. It's virtually impossible to quote any of the "Carlos Danger" messages without offending the sensibilities of a mature audience. Does it date me to put it that way? Nowadays when you hear mention of "mature audiences," you think cable TV is about to run something with salty language and frontal nudity. But a truly "mature" audience is offended by such crude displays, especially when they emanate from the cell phone of a man running for high office.
Weiner got caught, resigned in disgrace, arranged the kind of soft-focus media treatment that only Democrats can get... and then went right back to hitting on college-age girls. He thinks we shouldn't be angry because he warned us a long time ago that more embarrassments would be uncovered. But of course, he didn't uncover them. He never comes clean, but he expects credit for talking about coming clean. And his wife-mommy Huma Abedin indulges and enables him every step of the way, asking for nothing more than a ride to Gracie Mansion in teenage Tony's hot rod.
The girl on the other end of Weiner's e-junk transmissions actually criticized Weiner for failing to act his age. "The part that’s most annoying is that I was 22 years old and in a bad place, but if anyone asked him he would say the same thing about himself, yet he’s an adult," she told a website called The Dirty. We're not so far removed from the days when more mature behavior would have been expected out of a 22-year-old, too. It's not as if she received one unsolicited dirty message from "Carlos Danger" and deleted it in disgust.
Things look grim for Weiner right now, but there's a chance he can salvage his mayoral bid, in a culture that values passion over reason, hates the notion of personal responsibility, and considers "authenticity" more important than honor. Authenticity doesn't require honesty. Shamelessness will do as a substitute ingredient. The cry of "forward!" can be used to banish both memories of the distant past, and the events of three days ago. Every disobedient child would love to escape punishment for breaking a lamp by telling Mom and Dad they need to stop living in the past.
Just ask Barack Obama, shamelessly declaring a "pivot" to the economy as if he hadn't done it 18 times before. Remember what he said in 2008, 2010, the 2012 election campaign, or last week, and you're "living in the past." If we dwell on his abuses of power, we're letting ourselves get "distracted" by "phony scandals." There aren't supposed to be rules or limits for someone as special as him. Nothing is his fault. Stop asking what he was doing while Americans were getting killed on the night of September 11, 2012, and think about the "sky full of tomorrows!" Yes, he really said that in his speech on Wednesday. It's pure teenager talk, a speech delivered from a notebook covered with unicorn doodles and slogans like "MEAN PEOPLE SUCK."
The Man-Child-in-Chief is the avatar of his times: petulant, impatient, evasive, and brimming with excuses. He didn't really pay attention in school, so he has no idea why nothing is working, but he's positive someone else is to blame, and he deeply resents them for it. He sees a nation of even younger children spread beneath him, which he has been given the thankless task of babysitting. "We haven't just wanted success for ourselves - we've wanted it for our neighbors, too," he cooed to his audience in Illinois. "That's why we don't call it John's dream or Susie's dream or Barack's dream - we call it the American Dream." This is how you address a room full of preschoolers, not the dignified free people of a great republic.
Americans can't claim a shred of dignity while subjecting themselves to government like this. Obama loves to tell his child-citizens bedtime stories about the grand old days of World War II, when America saved the world and built the future... but he also tells us we're not that nation any more. We can't be trusted to make important decisions for ourselves. No one can be expected to suffer the consequences of their actions, which means no one can be allowed to succeed too much. If there isn't a government program to do something, it cannot be done... and if there is a government program for it, consider it handled, no matter how awful the results may be. Individuals engaged in voluntary commerce and cooperation count for nothing; if we want to do anything worthwhile, we have to act in collective unison, which means absolute obedience is required.
It's not just a couple of adolescent politicians living scam-to-scam. Our entire culture has lost its appreciation for manhood, and womanhood. Democrats deflect sex scandals by telling women to be satisfied with less. If your guy wants to trade hot sex texts with a girl young enough to be your daughter, and fantasize about setting up a love nest for her in Chicago, hey, you should just be understanding and play along. If you find the wrinkled hands of Mayor Bob "Filthy" Filner upon your breasts or buttocks, you should be honored that a powerful Democrat found you grope-worthy. These guys can't be misogynists - they support abortion!
Expecting men and women to take responsibility for themselves, manage their own affairs, earn their own keep, and provide a stable family life for their children is so old-fashioned and outmoded. The modern ideal is life as a college student, followed by a few years of thinking about mature issues in your late 40s, and then a long second adolescence in retirement. Everything important should be a guaranteed entitlement. A grown woman who enrolled in college to launch a crusade for demanding that other people pay for her birth control became a heroine of the Democrat Party. When someone made fun of her, it became a national crisis. Meanwhile, demands for the no-questions-asked provision of morning-after birth control to grade-school girls grow louder. It's all very convenient for teenage boys of every calendar age, who love the idea of freewheeling sex without consequence.
But things are getting tougher for actual teenagers. Obama babbled about how his brilliant economic leadership would lead more Americans to "know the pride of that first paycheck" and "the satisfaction of flipping the sign to 'Open' on their own business" over the next decade, but in truth his dead-parrot economy has been particularly brutal on young people looking for entry-level jobs. Obama's allies in the education establishment made public school such a disgrace that expensive college diplomas are now required for every job worth having. ObamaCare has annihilated full-time jobs, and put the people who used to hold them in direct competition with untested young people looking for "that first paycheck." Business expansion has come to a standstill; nobody's flipping signs to "Open." They're canceling expansion plans and battening down the hatches to weather the ObamaCare storm. Young people tell pollsters they would love to be entrepreneurs, but doubt they'll have the chance. Stable family life - an invaluable launch pad for young careers - has become a rare commodity, hoarded by an upper class that never allowed liberal social engineers to fool them into thinking marriage is not valuable.
A nation run by man-children leaves very little room for actual youth to flourish. Whiny, thin-skinned "leaders" who complain about low taxes and high private-sector executive pay, days before jetting off to their latest taxpayer-financed luxury vacation, leave them very little to aspire to.