Dogs Bark, Wolves Howl: The Woke Demand to Be Domesticated
Dogs bark; wolves howl.
The domestication process that turned wolves into family pets has served the dog well. For most, it meant guaranteed food, shelter, and comfort while being able to stay in a familiar social structure (humans as pack leader, etc.).
But there was a trade-off — a big one. That same process trapped domestic dogs in a permanent state of adolescence. Essentially, when one is domesticated, one stops growing up. And that time lock is why Rover barks and does not howl like a wolf — the wolf in the wild is able to grow up and, as with most members of the Canis species, howls — communicates, that is — like an adult.
Young wolves do bark and yip, very much like the dog with a tennis ball in its mouth looking at you right now, pleading with his eyes to go out and play. There remains a bit of a debate over the prime mover in the process — who domesticated whom between dog and humans, if you will — but as wolves and jackals and such still exist in the wild, it is clear that not every canine was on board with becoming the four-legged member of a mostly two-legged group.
But what happens when humans not only become domesticated themselves, but actually demand to be housebroken and insist that remaining an adolescent is not only their right, but their duty to society and the planet?
The adult — biologically speaking — "housewoken" are not shy about this requirement, this quest to make sure that everyone else take care of them, coddle them, never criticize them, always agree with them, never stress them, never ask them anything, always understand that whatever is important to them is the most important thing in the world, and neverever get in their way.
This Yale student — i.e., future leader — demands that a "place of comfort and home" be created for her at the college. When the professor disagrees, she shrieks in terror and proceeds to go on an obscenity-laced rant against those who would dare to contradict her.
And this was about Halloween costumes. Imagine how she — and those like her — will react to the real world!
Wait, we don't have to imagine. We see it around us every day.
Speech codes, safe spaces, credentialism instead of advancing by merit, Twitter mobs, intolerance of debate, honoring napping and coloring, the obliteration of nuance, the inability to concede even the mere possibility of error, the citing of systemic rather individual causes for, well, everything, placing outward identity before inner qualities...the list goes on and on.
Imagine, too, what the previous generations of young people would say about this practice. They would rightly be appalled that the struggle is not for more freedom, but less; not more independence but permanent dependence; the self-creation of boundaries, not the pushing boundaries; the move from "Steal This Book!" to "Ban That Book"; from actual beer bottles to metaphorical formula bottles.
No matter what the woke — of whatever age — say, they are not trying to change the world for the better by highlighting such issues as diversity, climate change, anti-racism, retroactive history, etc. They are doing it for themselves and to themselves in order create a world in which they have no responsibilities yet remain the center of attention. If everything is everyone's fault, then nothing is anyone's fault.
So how did we get to the point that college students — who then graduate and inhabit and mutate the bowels of the bureaucracies of so many of the nation's institutions, schools, government agencies, and corporations — mandate that they themselves be locked into a societal protective custody cell? And why have a generation (or two) claimed permanent infant status — cry, sleep, get fed, get someone else to clean up after them (you know what I mean — not talking about leaving the lid off of the paint bucket), and, most importantly, be the automatic center of attention wherever they go?
Simply put, being an infant, a child, even a teenager is easier than being an adult. The desire is understandable. But the how goes back years, starting with the shift toward centering self-esteem in schools' curricula and philosophy in the 1970s. No one would argue that it is a good idea to purposefully and constantly belittle children, but placing personal feelings ahead of anything else can have — and has had — significant deleterious effects on a person's world and his view of his place in it — i.e., the center.
Then the idea of ensuring being able to feel good all the time spread. Youth sports leagues started, for younger children, to play games like soccer but without any rules, let alone a winner or loser, so no child would feel sad. (By the way, ask any kid what he thinks of scoreless competition, and he will tell you he hates it. He will also admit that he damn well knows who won anyway, because they all keep score in their heads.)
From there the parents got involved, overly involved — setting up play dates, scheduling activities, hiring illegal aliens to mow the lawn, literally putting children on leashes, banning jungle gyms, and in general terrifying them of the big bad world out there. All of it fed in to the cosseting of millions of kids, who got older without growing up. These helicopter parents — most with a blade missing — loved the truly psychotic notion of fourth-grade graduation ceremonies and encouraged their kids to tattle and complain, turning them into the narcissists we see today. (For more specifically on the safety issue, see here. For more on the coddled narcissist, see here.)
The emergence of social media played right into the hands of this trend. Again, as with domestication of the dog, the issue of whether social media were the cause or effect of the change is a matter of debate, though the process may be best described as a "vulturous circle."
Zero effort? Check. No one can contradict you to your face? Check. Say the right thing and get the instant endorphin rush of likes? Check. Being able to jam your thoughts into someone else without having to hear what he thinks? Check. Get the thrill of joining a righteous mob and telling yourself you are making the world a better place? Very, very (blue) check. (For more on how social media mimics a gain-of-function experiment designed to create "micenized humans," see here.)
Twitter and TikTok and Instagram are purposefully designed not to allow for conversation or even contradiction; just block unpleasantness on your own, or let the algorithm do the choosing for you. While some, okay most, okay practically all of the effluvium that floats along on social media is howlingly awful, it is in fact merely barking a few hundred words at a time.
Barking for attention, barking an alert, barking for food , barking to be let in, yelling to shut up other people, crushing dissent, categorizing everything so you do not have to delve deeply into anything...it's all the same. It's just a demand to remain a juvenile.
And those juveniles are now, to a large extent, somehow the leaders of the pack.
Thomas Buckley is the former mayor of Lake Elsinore, Calif. and a former newspaper reporter. He is currently the operator of a small communications and planning consultancy and can be reached directly at email@example.com. You can read more of his work at https://thomas699.substack.com.
Image via Max Pixel.