I heard the students being promoted by the media about the shootings and gun control for the first time today. A couple of thoughts…
1. It is hard to listen to young people speak to crowds like this. When I was in high school and college I was a musician and had to always perform at all of the ceremonies. I learned to hate high school and college speeches. At this age, when people are given a platform to speak you mostly hear broad platitudes, contrived passion, virtue signaling, and confused underlying philosophical premises.
We develop philosophical subtlety and nuance through rigorous debate, discussion, thought, study and experience. This doesn’t guarantee philosophical accuracy, but it gives us vastly broader means of understanding our ideas and a larger palette of expression. We also individuate as we become free of coercive schooling and parenting. We are free to develop our thoughts and individuate our thinking.
Some people never really intellectually individuate or develop their thinking. These people tend to give he same sort of lame high school like speeches.
2. These kids opinions are being marketed as if they are knowledgeable and representative of reality. They aren’t. They represent themselves. However, the reason we are hearing them is because their opinions are opinions that people in the media desire for you to hear. The narrative wasn’t created due to the shooting (like is being inferred). The students were chosen for the narrative.
The way media works is that they have a narrative/ideology and find the circumstances, people and moments to fit that narrative. This isn’t a criticism of modern media. This is the nature of all media and all information, at all times. Reality can’t decide what is important and reality can’t create narratives. Human values decide what is important and human values create narratives. All media and all information is purely philosophical/ideological.
When you see something on TV, you see it because someone wants you to see it. The reason these people were put on TV is because they represented the people who wanted to put them on TV. They reason they have remained on TV is because they are doing a good job towards those ends.
3. Anyone bashing or praising these kids or this generation in general over this are misplacing their focus. These kids don’t represent this generation. These kids represent themselves and the people who are promoting them.
4. Giving young people podiums is generally a dick move. It is akin to having first year chemistry students speak as the keynote speaker at a national chemistry convention. These people should be refining their thoughts, establishing their lives and developing as an individual. Young people are generally unequipped to handle the criticism, attention, spotlight and fame.
It is when our lives are established (career, family, friends, etc) and our ideas are develops that people know what risks they are taking in order to (sometimes) capably handle a spotlight like this. Of course, I would never stop a young person from creating their own spotlight.
5. Teenagers don’t largely have valuable opinions, but they have valuable minds. It is by taking young people seriously, discussing their thoughts, respecting their ideas, and treating them with honor that they are capable of philosophical refinement and nuanced thought. This is productive when speaking individually, it is destructive when people use young people as a means to push their ideology.