Monday, April 22, 2019

Nowhere To Go, Nothing To Do: Happy Earth Day


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What’s wrong with kids these days? And by “kids” I mean anyone under 40. They don’t want to get their drivers’ license, don’t want to drive, don’t want to be out on their own. They seem perfectly happy relying on mom, dad, public transportation to get them anywhere they think they want to be.

This isn’t really a new trend, it started with certain Millennials. I first noted it when my friends’ granddaughter – who they raised – was reluctant to take drivers training, reluctant to get her license and then reluctant to drive herself around. In fact I doubt she ever would have if her grandfather hadn’t insisted. Several of her friends actually graduated from high school without ever learning to drive - and this was 20 years ago.

Patient like maybe for another 20 years or so

I was stunned at the time by this lack of interest in driving, but considered it a fluke. Not so, and it only grew worse. PBS reported on the phenomenon in 2017:

The share of high school seniors across the country who have a driver’s license dropped from 85.3 percent in 1996 to a record low 71.5 percent in 2015, according to data from the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future survey. - PBS

They also reported on 16 year old Henry Stock who reported he didn’t see much reason to drive as he could talk to his fellow gamers online and call a rideshare if he needed to go somewhere. So while he had his learner’s permit, he hadn’t yet made much of a dent in the 50 hours of supervised driving he needed to get a full license in Florida.

“It’s more time and effort than I want to put into something that won’t benefit me a lot right now,” Stock said.

Wow. The indoctrination program has finally realized its objective: kids don’t believe independence is worth the hassle. The WSJ reported on it last Friday. Their focus was on the impact the trend will have on Detroit’s auto makers:

The percentage of teens with a driver’s license has tumbled in the last few decades and more young people are delaying purchasing their first car—if buying one at all, say analysts, generational experts and car industry executives. About a quarter of 16-year-olds had a driver’s license in 2017, a sharp decline from nearly half in 1983.

They fail to comment on the fact that 1983 was also a sharp decline from 1963 when nearly everybody got their driver’s license as soon as their state allowed. We had things to do (riding the circuit), places to go (after school jobs), people to see (real friends, in real time) – not to mention dates. There are no circuits anymore, fewer and fewer kids have jobs in high school and even “dating” as once defined is growing obsolete.

PBS tried to blame the “Great Recession” for kids not having after school jobs but that’s malarkey. Parents don’t want their kids further burdened with a job when they have to think about the grades, community service, sports and music lessons required to get into a good college. And to relieve the kids from the added pressure of having to get to their appointed rounds by themselves, they chauffeur them everywhere.

As a result, kids today really don’t want to be free:

Whereas a driver’s license once was a symbol of freedom, teenagers are reaching their driving age at a time when most have access to ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft to shuttle them around town. At the same time, social media and video chat let them hang out with friends without actually leaving the house.  – WSJ

They want to be Europeans, pretending to be free but not, really.

Image result for car trips across americaWait, what? Why’s the steering wheel on the wrong side?

We’ve got a lot more to worry about than the impact on Detroit’s bottom line. We now have two generations totally indoctrinated with the belief that the internal combustion engines are an evil force contributing to global warming by burning dirty carbon fuels. They believe that being dependent on somebody other than themselves is a grand solution, they will willingly cede personal independence to the government “for the greater good.”

How very sad.

Image result for car trips across america

When they could all be off to look for America.

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