Conquering the Little Barbarians.

Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late.

Thomas Sowell.

This is an interesting way to think about how civilization works, but I think there is a strong kernel of truth here. Each year, millions of children are born.

In twenty or thirty years, when you’re walking down the road and get stopped at gunpoint by someone, it is likely to be one of the kids born around this time.

So, each child is an opportunity to move society away from barbaric attitudes and towards civilization. Each child is also a potential threat. How many potential Hitlers and Stalins and Maos are born every day? Probably thousands, and it just takes the right (or wrong) set of circumstances for one of them to become a future head of state.

I always wonder what would have happened in the twentieth century if Hitler had been accepted into the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna?

I found a rather hilarious fictional letter to the Admissions Committee

Dear Art School Admissions Committee

I am writing to you from a future that has witnessed the most destructive war in the history of humanity – World War Two (1939-1945). The chief driver in the European Front of this war was an individual who is currently applying to your art school. His name is Adolph Hitler. While I understand that his work may not be up to the high levels that you demand the consequence of you rejecting him will likely set in motion a series of events which will culminate in the death of tens of million people worldwide and an untold magnitude of destruction.

Hitler is a great orator but he is a tormented soul (which will be further embittered by a rejection from your school). He will take his gift of speaking to the beer halls and streets fermenting a hatred that will transform into a powerful movement known as the National Socialist Workers Party (Nazi). In a deteriorating economy the Nazis will gain enough of the popular vote to take power in Germany and then using the mechanism of government will transform the country into a Totalitarian State that will crush dissent, imprison critics, ban unions and implement a policy of racial genocide based on pseudo-scientific and race directed reasoning.

His desire to obtain Lebensraum will force Germany into an unnecessary war that will devastate your country and indirectly lead o the strengthening of another totalitarian system in Europe (Marxist-Leninism) that will further crush individual freedom for years to come.

You have within you the power to stop this train wreck of events by admitting Herr Hitler to your school, allow him to focus his energy on his art, sooth his soul (or at the very least try) and perhaps save Europe and the rest of the world a bloodshed of unparalled intensity.

Please consider his application very carefully in this regard. As proof of my future presence I include an old Iphone, a piece of technology that people in the year 2016 use to communicate with.

Thank You

Yours faithfully

Gavin Kanowitz (one of the lucky ones)

And so, this only drives home the importance of education, and ensuring that as many young people have access to education of various levels. I don’t think there is anyone who is stupid enough not to gain something from being educated.

One problem I do see is that each generation of little potential barbarians takes a while to grow up, and so sometimes civilization can make mistakes that are only apparent decades later.

This can be a problem, and it has happened before. We’ve seen increases in crime and murder rates in the 1970s, which was a complete reversal of earlier in the twentieth century. More recently, we’ve seen a large increase in suicide rates among young people, especially teen girls. Likely, this is linked to the invention of social media. Nobody who was involved in the creation of any of the major social media networks likely wanted higher suicide rates for teenage girls, it was an unfortunate byproduct.

This shows that even with good or neutral intentions, things can get worse.

Related Essays