Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Rebellion for Rebellion's Sake

I think I'm getting old. 

The reason for that conclusion is that I've suddenly begun to roll my eyes at the efforts of my generation to 'stick it to The Man'. With every long winded rant I see on social media, I wonder more and more how many people have a true understanding of the economics on which they're commenting. For example, protestations at tax increases are often based around the effect on the individual, and have little consideration of the overall good that such raises can have on the country as a whole.

However, government and the economy aside, I have also seen a number of posts that seem to be inciting rebellion without any real cause. 

The above picture is a particular example of one such post. When I saw it, it made me want to slap my entire generation upside the head.

The generation of which this particular meme speaks is my own; I was born in 1985. However, instead of 'giving 'em hell', I would like to pick apart a couple of the points raised.

Our generation is far from repressed. In fact, we have a level of knowledge available to us that was unknown to those that came before. That is thanks to one incredibly important development of recent years: the internet. Far from trying to repress us, our government allows us full access to anything we could possibly want to know; the only restrictions being on things that are illegal. We also have these little things called blogs, where we are allowed a free stage on which to voice our opinions and thoughts. In fact, if you really had no free speech at all, I wouldn't need to write this piece.

The Government has also recently made a point of raising interest amongst younger voters; filling our heads with as much information about their policies as they can. We are then free to make up our own minds with regards to who we vote for. We do not live in a dictatorship. If we did, you'd know about it.

Education has not been cut off. We are part of a generation in which university degrees have shifted from something held only by the elite, to something available to all social groups. Nearly every person that I know around my age has some form of higher education. I, myself, am currently studying for an English degree through the highly accessible Open University. Thanks to education reforms, higher education is actively encouraged. 

Music hasn't gone anywhere. For every generation there is an abundance of different genres to choose from. If your choice is obscure prog-rock, but the charts are full of ex-Disney stars, that is not through the control of 'The Man'. It is because your choices aren't for everyone, and pop sells. Your choices are still available to you. There is a plethora of radio and music TV channels to choose from; not to mention YouTube and iTunes. Nothing is beyond your reach.

Likewise with television. If you don't like the reality show that you're watching, then switch channels. There are hundreds to choose from. In fact, switch over to National Geographic and remind yourself that education is still something that you can get your hands on.

I'm not sure what the 'brain candy' bit of this text refers to, but I'm assuming that it means drugs; I doubt that Starburst are the problem here. The Government are not feeding you drugs; you're feeding them to yourself. In fact, I'm almost certain that the Government would rather that the resources spent on tackling drug related crime were freed up for other problems.

So to sum up, stop blaming 'The Man' if your life is shit. If you don't know all that you want to know, then learn more. If your education level isn't where you'd like it to be, then go back to school. If you don't like the music that you're listening to, then find something else; likewise with television. In fact, turn your television off if you don't like it; Government officials aren't going to burst into your flat and demand that you switch Made in Chelsea back on. If you don't like what drugs are doing to your brain, then stop taking them. It really is quite simple.

We're only as strong as our weakest link. That's true. But I believe that the weakest links are those sat around, burning incense sticks and waiting for someone to come along and wave a magic wand while the rest of us go out and better ourselves. No one is responsible for how far you can go, but you. Stop fucking complaining and get out there and be the best that you can be.