“Teen Culture” is the New Imperialism, and it is Destroying the World

By Joe Jarvis Via The Daily Bell

You know how missionaries used to run around the globe forcing everyone to be a Christian? And in the process, they destroyed native cultures and traditions?

Well, the same thing is happening today with Western “teen culture.” It is being exported around the world with disastrous effects.

Manufacturing Adolescence

Preindustrial societies mostly exhibit a continuum from childhood to adulthood. There is generally no random cut off age where suddenly teens are given rights and expected to become adults. Children seamlessly and gradually integrate into adulthood, with puberty rites being the only major benchmark.

These societies were “free-range parenting” before it was cool. Even toddlers have a large degree of autonomy. The child is allowed to explore, and the mother provides the nurturing, feeding, and love at the child’s initiation. Young children participate in the work of their parents and elders and interact and learn from people of all ages.

Children are raised from infancy alongside adults, instead of being segregated into peer groups of the same age. They slowly learn from adults and take on more responsibilities by emulating what they see.

What do kids see in the USA? A bunch of other kids with whom they have been grouped by government and industry working in tandem. Instead of emulating adults, they act like their peers. They want to dress the same, impress others with their technology, and keep up with the same tv shows.

This creates an artificial sub-culture based on age. And it creates a new market.

As of 2011, teens spend over $200 billion per year. Disney and all its many subsidiaries bring in about $45 billion a year. It is not surprising that these industries now spend several billion dollars each year advertising to teenagers. And the most effective form of advertising is to create a sub-culture through which to sell products.

You can trace the roots of this phenomenon way back to the industrial revolution when social structures got a big shakeup. Kids worked less alongside adults in family work and apprenticeships. Instead, they were shipped off to compulsory public schools. They were grouped by age and sex, and “educated” to be factory workers.

By contrasting Western adolescence with people of the same age in societies that are just recently modernizing, we see that “teen turmoil” is not a natural phenomenon or an issue of hormones. It has been created by Western culture and is now infecting industrializing societies.

Imperializing Teen Culture

According to Robert Epstein in his book Teen 2.0: Saving Our Children and Families from the Torment of Adolescence, exporting this Western teen culture is undermining the social structures of developing nations.

A similar story has played out for Kenyans, Moroccans, Australian aborigines, Canadian Inuits, and many other preindustrial societies recently integrated into Western culture. Their ways of life led to few social problems like unwed pregnancy, the breakdown of the family, drug use, depression, violence, and general teenage angst and rebellious destructive behavior. But that changed upon the introduction of Western television, schooling, and teen culture.

What is it that preindustrial teens are seeing on those television programs? Answer: teens being treated like, and behaving like, irresponsible children.

When teens in preindustrial society are forced to attend Western-style schools, how are they affected?  Answer: they’re cut off from adults and from the centrality of adult culture; they’re prevented from working, or at least making work the center of their lives; they become controlled by adults instead of part of adult life; teens, rather than adults, become their role models.

When Western mechanisms delay marriage, what is the outcome? Answer: because marriage is the hallmark of adulthood in virtually all cultures, the delay of marriage also means the delay of adulthood. It’s no coincidence that Tom Smith’s recent survey… showed that Americans now think adulthood begins at age twenty-six; the median age for first marriages in the United States is now 26.8.

Pros and Cons of Western Culture

This is not a pro-tribalism post. I am absolutely not saying that society was better off in a pre-industrial age. This is not a black or white issue. It is not like we have to choose between being ignorantly blissful hunter-gatherers or isolated bitter consumer-robots.

Many cultures have benefited from industrialization in that the standard of living has increased. But industrialization does not have to be imported 20th-century style. Modernization can be introduced without causing the collapse of the old ways of life, which kept social problems to a minimum.

We have the ability to see both extremes, isolate the biggest detrimental factors, and mitigate them.

While the issues are all integrated, the main three problems are:

  1. Mandatory Western Styled Public Schooling
  2. The Industry of “Teen Culture”
  3. The Breakdown of the Family

Public schooling is the most glaring catalyst to the perils of Western teenage culture. It is where the groupings by age begin, and the arena in which teens compare themselves, compete and copy each other. They are also a major contributing factor to the oppression many teens feel.

Exporting Hollywood around the globe is another major problem. Teens are indoctrinated with the creepy Hollywood executives’ ideas of what it means to be a teen. They are sold sex, drugs, and irresponsibility as fun, on the silver screen. And of course, there are plenty of real-world products that they can buy to fast-track their emulation of the TV stars.

And finally, like it or not, families are a historically effective regulator of social behaviors.

When it comes to teens around the world, just what kinds of practices and problems are we exporting? The answer, it seems, is crime, ennui, anger, premarital sex, pregnancy, abortion, drug and alcohol abuse, and family conflict. Consider just one of our more subtle exports: according to a recent book on teens by psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Barbara Schneider, American teens are almost completely isolated from adults. Teens typically spend more than thirty-five hours per week surrounded by their peers in school and an additionalthirty-five hours per week with peers outside of school. That’s two-thirds of their waking hours. This is, according to the researchers, twelve more hours per week than teens in other industrialized nations such as Italy and South Korea spend together, and it is probably sixty hours a week more than teens spend together in many preindustrial societies.

Many American teens–perhaps half or more–also grow up with little access to their father, and “for those lucky enough to have a father, the average teenager now spends less than half an hour a week alone with his or her father.” Half of this time is spent watching television, “a situation that does not readily lend itself to quality parent-child interactions.” Father-teen interactions in the United States are certainly “not enough to transmit the knowledge, values, attitudes, and skills that adult males should pass on to their children.” The child-adult continuum about which Jean Liedloff wrote is almost completely absent in the united states, and we’re sending our broken model of family life to each and every village on earth.

Through our films, television programs, laws, religious beliefs, and schooling and marriage practices, we’re exporting a wide range of mechanisms that extend childhood well past puberty and that isolate teens from adults. We’re creating prolonged, turbulent, Western-style adolescence, with all its inherent problems. We’re creating generation gaps and family conflicts where none existed before. And because we ourselves have no idea how to deal with those problems, we’re offering no solutions to the cultures we’re corrupting.

Sure, pre-industrial cultures have their weak points, but so does the new way of life. You can’t objectively say one is better without specifically defining what makes it better.

Is increased teen depression and suicide worth having access to cell phones and internet? Is increased violence and alcohol abuse worth an overall extended lifespan because of modern medicine?

Luckily, we don’t have to choose.

You can modernize without Westernizing. The three main contributors to the torment of adolescence, and all the social problems which accompany them, are not necessary factors of modernization.

I mentioned “free range parenting” earlier. It is catching on in America. In a global world with more information at our fingertips than ever before, we can cherry pick the best parts of each culture, and apply those lessons to the modern world.

We don’t have to live in a tribal-commune with no access to modern technology in order to give young children autonomy to roam and explore the world.

We don’t have to hunt in loin clothes in order to impart fatherly wisdom to our sons and daughters.

But we may have to reorganize our lives and get our priorities straight.

Taking Action

If you’ve read my articles before, you know that I am not a big fan of “top-down” solutions. That is, the best way to deal with something is on a grassroots, individual level. Trying to change a whole society is difficult and not at all guaranteed to succeed. If it does, you have to guard the progress against undoing.

Better to make the changes at the individual level, where you don’t have to ask permission or get a majority to agree.

Clearly, some broad reforms would help the situation. It is not about the government “doing something” about the problem, it is about the government undoing some of the harm they have caused.

For instance, abolishing public schools, or at very least compulsory schooling would be a good start. Since that probably won’t happen anytime soon, parents can homeschool, send their kids to alternative schools, or team up with friends and neighbors to form a co-op arrangement for education.

Removing age-based restrictions on rights, or at least moving to a competency-based model of gaining rights and privileges would also help. Again, petitioning the governing is mostly a waste of time. Better to work with the freedoms you can give your kids. So they still can’t drive until 16, but at least they can cut their hair how they want, and maybe even have a glass of wine with dinner.

But as with most problems, the largest barriers to improvement are in our heads.

Why not give your kids freedom from an early age? Why not let them participate in household work from an early age? Hell, why not let them participate in your career if they are into it?

The cool thing is that the modern economy seems to be reorganizing to accommodate this way of life, without sacrificing modern comforts and efficiencies.

It is easier than ever to work from home. Imagine a setting where mom and dad do their work while the kids independently learn, or work on easier tasks. Older kids–neighbors or family members or even a tutor–teach the younger kids. Certain work tasks and household chores can be done together as a family, as many hands make light work.

The whole point of this method of parenting is that you offer a continuum from childhood to adulthood.

And without even noticing it, life lessons, love, and kinship will be passed on. You don’t have to sit a kid down at a desk to teach them how to become an adult. If you interact with them daily, they will learn from you. You just have to allow them to participate and encourage them to pursue whatever they get excited about.

If you can’t teach it to them, the internet can.

For some parents, this might sound like a disaster attempting to work from home while teaching kids. But it is the transition that is difficult. Once children understand the new structure of freedom, they will occupy themselves. They will learn more and be more independent. And when they do come to you with a question or problem, it will be a rewarding experience for everyone to work through it.

Of course for kids and teens unaccustomed to freedom, an immediate withdrawal of authority could have disastrous consequences. Think about the 18-year-olds with strict parents who go off to college and go crazy with parties and alcohol. But you can gradually give your child more freedom whatever their age. Just be honest and upfront about what you are doing and why.

The issue of extended childhood, manufactured adolescence, and the harms of teen culture are missing from most public debates.

School shootings, teen suicide, and low-achieving youth are products of the artificial extension of childhood, the oppression that teens face. But with this issue, is it easy for individuals to take control of the situation, and refuse to be part of the problem. You can solve these problems for your family in one generation.

You don’t have to play by the rules of the corrupt politicians, manipulative media, and brainwashed peers.

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August rjdsaldanha Sun, 06/03/2018 - 11:58 Permalink

Current American pop culture is acid, dissolving many traditional human relationships, particularly among the young.

Some non-American cultures are more resistant than others, and some of the non-American youth are just aping what they see in film and TV, rather than actually becoming what they pretend to be.

But I do get sad when I see young Samoan or Maori men pretending to be inner-city gangsters.  When the Brits ran the show, foreigners at least pretended to be "gentlemen", sort of.


In reply to by rjdsaldanha

MonsterSchmuck Heros Tue, 06/05/2018 - 08:58 Permalink

Sad but true. The old US ruling class was invaded by a certain group who changed their names and shaved their noses to infiltrate New England prep schools, enter the ivy’s and marry into any wealthy and influential WASP family usually though the daughters. Chelsea, Ivanna, etc. This had the effect of hybridization of the elite and mixing in of the lower aspects of that other culture. As I watched this in NYC growing up, I had to hand it to them. They had a plan while most other immigrants fucked around or thought small. The ones we’re talking about wanted to own and run the place. 

BTW- This all happened in the UK too a century earlier. Might have been orchestrated here by them. They are smart mothers-f’ers never to be underestimated.

In reply to by Heros

MonsterSchmuck Ahmeexnal Tue, 06/05/2018 - 09:08 Permalink


Marxism works on the small minds. The big runners know they’re safely at the top and won’t be suffering rationing with the common comrades. We’re dealing with people who think they’re better than you and so “what's good for me and not for thee” fits into their ethos. No shame in lying to others if  “they” aren’t your equal and they’re less, treat them like children or animals. NYC reeks of this. DC too. 

In reply to by Ahmeexnal

Dr. Black Sun, 06/03/2018 - 12:54 Permalink

"You know how missionaries used to run around the globe forcing everyone to be a Christian? And in the process, they destroyed native cultures and traditions? "

Hey Joe, let us know how you really feel about Christianity!

Seriously, though, I think you're confusing the term "missionary" with state-sponsored colonialists such as the "Spanish Conquistadors".  The colonialists were sent to conquer foreign lands for Queen and Country.  The state religion, Catholicism, was forced upon the natives as part of the colonization process.  Agree, this was an evil thing to do.        

Completely different from traditional missionaries sent out by the various churches.  "Armed" only with the bible, these people were in no position to force anyone to do anything, and often died when the local communities didn't like what they heard.  A few people, however, did like what they heard, and became Christians of their own free will.   

So why be a missionary?  Of course, they would always say to "spread God's word", but I think it was the chance to meet beautiful native women!





fishpoem Dr. Black Sun, 06/03/2018 - 15:27 Permalink

Central governments and their armies always stood behind missionaries and always ready to shoot, hang, or torture reluctant "savages." The missionaries' role was to soften any opposition to resource extraction by convincing the locals that "our fiction is better than your fiction." I've been around "christianized" Natives plenty and seen the tragic consequences of missionary intervention. The only thing you did get right was the real motive: fucking the best-looking Native chicks.

In reply to by Dr. Black

techpriest Dr. Black Sun, 06/03/2018 - 19:07 Permalink

So why be a missionary? Of course, they would always say to "spread God's word", but I think it was the chance to meet beautiful native women!

Hard to say, doesn't explain all of the female ones.

Maybe some people actually do believe in God strongly enough to willingly give up their life at home to take chances overseas?

Also, I always like Nickie Gumble's testimony. Namely, that of African missionaries preaching to what is now backwater, second-world England. IMO, from my own experiences with foreign churches I would expect Central Asian missionaries coming sooner or later to proclaim the opportunity for third-world America to repent and find forgiveness after decades of us bombing them.

In reply to by Dr. Black

Peterman333 Dr. Black Mon, 06/04/2018 - 09:52 Permalink

" Completely different from traditional missionaries sent out by the various churches.  "Armed" only with the bible, these people were in no position to force anyone to do anything, and often died when the local communities didn't like what they heard.  A few people, however, did like what they heard, and became Christians of their own free will.  "

LOL, complete protestant fairy tale.

In reply to by Dr. Black

Lea Sun, 06/03/2018 - 13:10 Permalink

The problem is twofold: 1) the author is bemoaning the teen culture, which is nothing more than giving too much freedom to kids instead of giving them FIRST a sense of responsibility towards others (all "rights", no duties to anyone), but he does it in order to reclaim "specific freedoms". 2) he doesn't even see how illogical his position is.

What it seems to amount to is denying the freedoms of the kids in favour of his own freedom. Which is self-defeating, because the kids can and will say the opposite.

This is, once again, a battle of wills, your run-of-the-mill US "show who's boss" approach disguised as moral values. It can't work.

You don't fight fire with fire. And you cannot hope to repair your social fabric by constantly pitting people and groups against each other.



Amy G. Dala Lea Sun, 06/03/2018 - 13:47 Permalink

I think what the Book says is:  woe unto the land where the child is king.

Anybody with a knowledge of the history of weaponizing children for political purposes should be terrified at the prospect of children screaming into megaphones (literally and figuratively, with CNN/MSNBS/NYT et al) about repealing the 2nd amendment, while parents stand by proudly.

Read about the Cultural Revolution, or Stalin's Young Pioneers, or Nazi Youth.  The little fuckers can turn bloodthirsty in a hurry.

In reply to by Lea

DjangoCat fleur de lis Mon, 06/04/2018 - 20:17 Permalink

Swiss all go in the army and carry their weapons home after their service.  They maintain their skills with regular backup sessions.

The Swiss organisation preserves sovereignty at the canton level.

Swiss central bank, privately owned, prints up francs and sells them for USD in order to keep in price of SF in line with policy.

They then buy US stocks, Googles and Facebooks and Amazons.. $19B in Q1 2018.  All from imaginary money printed out of thin air.

Somebody has this thing figured out.

In reply to by fleur de lis

NickelthroweR Sun, 06/03/2018 - 13:32 Permalink


I consider myself rather lucky.  In the past, a man of my years would be constantly looking over his shoulder at the younger/faster/smarter kid climbing up the ladder to push him out of the way.  This isn't true anymore.  I have zero to fear from the young people as they can barely read or write, can't do math and only interrupt their laziness just long enough to virtue signal.  They present ZERO challenge to me and my position.

They have fallen for the fake culture and promises of egalitarian communism and, trust me, they are gonna get egalitarian communism good and hard.

Hmmm... NickelthroweR Mon, 06/04/2018 - 05:10 Permalink


"I have zero to fear from the young people as they can barely read or write, can't do math and only interrupt their laziness just long enough to virtue signal. "


Thanks so much for that knickle.  Punky & I agree with you wholeheartedly. 

Young people need to know how to garden, change tires, change oil, basics about a car, mow lawns, fix things that break, make repairs, build things, garden, cook, wash personal things, work in the yard, build things of interest or that's needed, create, make things, etc.  ...But it takes an open mind, honesty, desire, dedication & hard work to help the strength of any integrity come to fruition & grow.... & if they're lacking those simple advantages, those gifts, those fruits, life becomes a whole lot harder for them & they'll end up having a whole lot less help when they need it the most.  People who would have ordinarily been available to help them when they were moving toward something would suddenly not be available when they're lazy or sabotaging themselves.  It's so important that they learn the benefits of utilizing common sense, logic, intuition & critical thinking in order to cope with things rationally & in a more balanced way.  People & events will come their way that they should be prepared to confront.  I think they should be able to perform basic math skills, be literate verbally & in spelling, writing, be able to read beyond cartoons or coloring books, be awake, etc.  I am not familiar with today's young people on a personal 'one on one level' because things related to them have changed so rapidly...  From what Ive seen, many of them, early teens to 40's, seem lost, mindless, angry, lacking, confused & immature. A lot have been manipulated to the core by this messed up society to not care about things of importance & they're so young / younger now.  Many of them don't think about things like aging, like they perhaps should...  What will happen to them in their lives when they become older if they still don't have it together & are dimwitted with no $$$ or direction?  They will have lost that "charm" & that "look" that provided privileges & advantages ...& then to be left alone too?  How horrible.  Before they know it they'll start to become more & more invisible to people out & about who when they were younger, couldn't avoid looking at them.  When I was young, I felt like I was going to live forever & I didn't even consider not abusing myself.  I just did whatever the heck I wanted...acted like I was made of steel.  Well...we all find out the hard way & experience the truth in time that's for sure.  I think foresight is to be taken seriously.  It's nothing to play with or ignore.  I feel that cognitive dissonance has helped to maintain a lot of 'sudden' confusion about their sexuality & gender too.  I say, "the toilet knows, ask it!"  Ive noticed too that so many seem to suffer from a ridiculous sense of entitlement one that I simply don't understand, especially since most of them seem to be flat broke.  They seem to be really scared about their future within this country too.  I totally understand it & I don't blame them.  They're beaten down.  Where's their self-respect, which is vital & how is their positive sense of self being nurtured?  Does it even exist?  I'd like so much to see them focusing on determining who they are, what they want, how they want to get / do it & how they going to get there.  Ive seen so many who are just frighteningly rude, disrespectful, evil, heartless & callous to others, especially the older people who could actually do something to help them.  The results are quite sad & terribly unfair to them but I feel like on a hefty level, they're asking for it.   So many of them come across as possessed to me.  It's insane.  Many of them act so debaucherous, whorish, soulless, juvenile & dimwitted until they scare the beegeebers out of me  & I don't like feeling this way.  I feel deeply for the youth, heck I was a youngster once but I wasn't programed to the extent  they seem to be now.  I feel like we've let em' down knickle.  I really do.  ...and now that they're seeming feral, wild & rabid like dogs, instead of truly being available to help them get a handle on life & on being more rational so that they can effectively cope with things, heck, they've got folks running for their lives! ...and I'm sorry that it's this way...but this is my opinion.....and it doesn't make me feel warm and fuzzy.

Being a young person at this time on this planet would be very difficult for me.  It's as if many of the youth today have literally come from another planet...another world.  It's difficult to deal rationally with that kind of delusion too & I'm witnessing it in so many places.   58 is a blessing to me.  Never thought I'd make it.  I remember when I was much younger I thought 58, 59, 60 was like a 100!  Thank god/dess I'm still young enough to be able to enjoy whats left of my life with joy while I watch this incredible shit show roll out & old enough to have come from a series of experiences that lets me see up close & personal how much things really have transformed for the absolute worst on this planet & in this country in just the last 10 years!  I mean, I remember all the lies we were told that we fervently believed that have now been proven to be a lies.  Most Boomers had the kind of positive direction of family, joy & incredible freedom that many simply couldn't imagine today & they should be able to.  Parents usually want their kids to do better than them, not worse.   Thank god/dess I'm able to maintain a calm, healthy & realistic perspective about a whole host of things during this insane time ...while a lot of the people around this place are simply going nuts.  Our youth is our gold, y'know?  They really are.  ...beautiful young spirits that seem to have completely "lost their minds" & it saddens me a great deal.  The kind of behavior I'm witnessing prevents me from actually putting myself "out there" to help them in any way too, when perhaps I could.  Like I said, I truly feel for the young people now & I feel that all of us older folks have let them down in a major, major way.  They're having a tough time & again, I feel extreme sadness for them.  They're worth so much more than this.  So much... 

Thanks for the post knickle.  It was great!  Gave me & Punky a chance to "let it all out"!  Have a great day! {smile}  Pam&Punky

In reply to by NickelthroweR

Ex-Oligarch Hmmm... Mon, 06/04/2018 - 09:05 Permalink


During the 1970s, the public education system began to emphasize self-respect while detaching it from achievement. 

At the same time, the destruction of the family unit fostered by LBJ's Great Society programs really kicked in, and popular culture's celebration of the sexual revolution and non-traditional, fleeting relationships ramped up.

Antisocial conduct among teens, once viewed as a sign of pathology or at best misdirection, was praised as heroic independence in the realization of the self.

These factors are described in the article, and you no doubt observed them during your life.

Thus the results you note. 

In reply to by Hmmm...

Hmmm... Ex-Oligarch Mon, 06/04/2018 - 14:09 Permalink

 Punky & I liked what your posted Ex!  {smile}  It sure is nice to meet you.  It's so nice to have knowledge & perspective during all of this confusion, isn't it?  Our government has done so much destruction to the minds of our youth.  I want them to do well Ex &  I hope so much that they do.   Have a wonderful day!  {smile}  Pam&Punky

In reply to by Ex-Oligarch