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The Science Behind Snowflakes & The Danger of Over-Socialization

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The millennial generation of Americans is often mocked for perceived emotional weakness and insecurity. What critics of liberal “safe space” culture often do not notice is that in addition to being less emotionally stable, younger Americans are also much more effectively manipulated and psychologically controlled.

“Every kid gets a trophy!” begins the favorite rant of many middle-American conservatives. It is a mantra echoed in Amy Chau’s best-selling book “Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mom.” It was repeated in a FOX news TV segment that alleged that children’s TV star Fred Rogers of “ruined a generation of kids” by telling them “you’re special just the way you are.”

Gripes about “Generation Snowflake” seem to everywhere in the western world these days. The term “snowflake” has been picked up to describe these attributes of the younger generation. Urban Dictionary defines this slang term as “a putdown for someone, usually on the political left, who are easily offended or felt they needed a “safe space” away from the harsh realities of the world, but now has morphed into a general putdown for anyone that complains about any subject.”

There is a strong feeling that the lack of harsh consequences and setbacks has made the next generation of Americans into a whiny group of insecure brats who can’t handle adversity and demand “safe spaces” when faced with too much hardship in the world.

The feeling that American children are not punished harshly enough is echoed around the world. An op-ed in China’s Global Times commented: “In American vernacular, the term “generation snowflake” describes millennials with “glass-like hearts” who feel overwhelmed by academic or professional stresses. I’m curious if this term would have ever been invented had the parents of these “snowflakes” simply put them over their knee every once and while for a good, hard caning.”

But perhaps something else is underlying this perceived character flaw of young Americans, other than merely a society-wide weariness with “tough love” and over-willingness to praise. Perhaps it is simply a more effective means of controlling people.

B.F. Skinner, the Harvard psychologist, became famous for developing the science of behaviorism. He studied how to manipulate and control the behavior of animals and people. One thing his research was........

© New Eastern Outlook