Victor Davis Hanson, in his article A Return to Childhood: The new immaturity, asks, (my bold print)
I would never have imagined that journalists, academics, actors, artists, and the intelligentsia in general would have so opposed the end of dictatorship and promotion of democracy abroad. And who would have thought that Vietnam would become the source for Democratic nostalgia, rather than the usual recrimination? Did anyone think the appointment of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, promises of $15 billion in grants to combat AIDS in Africa, and lectures to the politically powerful Arab world to cease the genocide of black Sudanese would earn George Bush slurs evoking the Taliban, the old Confederacy, and fascism? Have we become children who live in a world of bedtime stories, afraid to face the cruel truth around us?
The pop-psychology classic I’m Ok-You’re Ok brought into fashion Transactional Analysis (TA). As the book description states, the premise is
“Happy childhood” notwithstanding, most of us are living out the NOT OK feelings of a defenseless CHILD wholly dependent on OK others for stroking and care. By the third year of life, says Dr. Harris, most of us have made the unconscious decision I’M NOT OK-YOU’RE OK. This negative Life Position, shared by successful and unsuccessful people alike, contaminates our rational ADULT potential — leaving us vulnerable to the inappropriate, emotional reactions of our CHILD and the uncritically learned behavior programmed into our PARENT.
In personal Transactions, NOT OK people resort to harmful withdrawal, rituals, activities, pastimes, and games for getting needed strokes while avoiding painful intimacy with people they see as OK
(Note: the annoying caps are from the Amazon description)
I read the book years ago and thought the premise was faulty. Anyone, OK or not, reading the book is comfortably going to assume they are the ADULT and everybody else is the CHILD (this time the annoying caps are mine), and things won’t get anywhere.
Reading the Hanson article from the TA point of view, the Old Europeans would assume they are the adult: their infrastructure and history goes back thousands of years, they believe themselves to be sophisticated, and if it weren’t for the childish Americans (who think everything can be solved by force) there wouldn’t be any trouble — the Old Europeans believe all problems can be solved by negotiation and compromise. The Islamic fascists, at the same time, also have centuries-old history, infrastructure, and religion, too, and would see concepts such as religious tolerance, gender equality, and free speech as childish. The Democrats have embraced a candidate who in turn has bought into the European mindset, and many voters are agreeable to the concept. It is a comfortable concept to embrace. As Hanson says,
In a word, we have devolved into an infantile society in which our technological successes have wrongly suggested that we can alter the nature of man to our whims and pleasures, just like a child who expects instant gratification from his parents. In a culture where affluence and leisure are seen as birthrights, war, sacrifice, or even the mental fatigue about worrying over such things wear on us. So we construct, in a deductive and anti-empirical way, a play universe that better suits us.
Sadly, there is one matter that makes all TA irrelevant: we are at war, and our enemy, Islamic Facism, has been at war with us for decades now. It doesn’t matter who is the child. This is war, and we must win.