Monday, May 14, 2012

Who punched who first?- Bias, Ron Paul's base, uppity youngsters and gerontocracy

 ...authority followeth old men, and favor and popularity youth.
Francis Bacon

In Norman, OK, at a GOP state convention, an elderly Mitt Romney supporter, described as 70 years of age, hit a Ron Paul supporter in the back of the head. This was in the context of a "spirited" convention. Reporters for the Washington Times and the Daily Caller described the confrontations as a brawl. A brawl, or fight, suggests that two individuals are involved, perhaps with one fighting back in self-defense. This was not the case. 

As a local news report, involving cellphone video footage, and linked to on the Daily Caller website, indicates, the Romney supporters, an aged male and older middle-aged female, were the aggressors in two separate incidents. So why wasn't this highlighted? Is it because of societal stereotypes that older people aren't violent? Is this the expected result of the anti-youth bias found in many gerontocratic systems?

Don't be fooled by the emphasis on youth in America's pop-culture. Idealization and worship of youth can easily coexist with gerontocratic socio-economic systems. Indeed, in those systems youth is praised and desired only in aesthetic areas. Young people are literally meant to stand around and look pretty or compete in athletic amusements, not to get involved in serious matters, like politics or economics, best left to their "disinterested" elders. When youngsters are allowed or encouraged to participate it is only in passive or supportive roles. They are expected to parrot the claims of their elders and help maintain the status quo, see Marc Rubio being a nice young man here and here.

One final thought:
Gerontocracy and all its derivatives need to be used a lot more in the public discourse. Gerontocratic and gerontocracies are still identified as spelling errors, despite being used in peer-review journals and in Wikipedia articles. A recent google search for the term "gerontocracy" gave only 27,900 results. This phenomenon is not being explored near enough.

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