On the way to the airport the other day, my Uber driver, an elderly Russian chap, turned on a Top 40 radio station. Not being one to complain, I actually sat and listened to the lyrics. The song blasting through the speakers of the late-model Honda Civic was titled "Habits." The singer, a young, presumably wealthy Swede named Tove Lo (actual name: Tove Nilsson), warbles about her need to visit sex clubs, do drugs, "binge on all my Twinkies, throw up in the tub." She laments that she "drank up all my money."
Why? Well, she explains, "You're gone and I gotta stay high all the time."
The next song featured a rapper named Lil Jon screaming loudly at the listener that it is "Fire up that loud, another round of shots. ... TURN DOWN FOR WHAT!" Translation: We're drunk and crazed, and we won't stop being drunk and crazed. The music video, as described by creator Daniel Kwan explores, "this other universe where dudes are so pumped up on their own d***s -- and they're so into their testosterone -- that the way that the show that is by breaking s*** with their d***s." The video, which shows a young man crashing through ceilings and into furniture as his erect penis swivels wildly in his pants, currently has nearly 130 million views on YouTube.
No wonder Tove Lo needs to stay high all the time.
The end of Western civilization, it turns out, comes with both a bang and a whimper. The bang: endless sex, animalistic, primal, without strings. As Adam Levine whines, "Baby, I'm preying on you tonight, hunt you down, eat you alive, just like animals, animals, like animals." In 1971, according to the National Survey of Young Women, 30.4 percent of young women aged 15-19 living in metropolitan areas reported having premarital sex. By 1979, that number was 49.8 percent. Today, 62 percent of young women overall have had premarital sex according to the Centers for Disease Control. In 1950, men's median age of first marriage stood at 22.8; today, it stands at 28.2. More people having sex younger, and without commitment is not a recipe for societal happiness.
Thus the whimper. In a culture in which emotional connections are degraded to the level of bovine rutting, is it any wonder that 9.2 percent of Americans -- some 23.9 million people -- have used an illicit drug in the past month, and that nearly a quarter of those aged 18-20 have done so? Or that nearly a third of men over the age of 12 and 16 percent of women have participated in binge drinking in the last month?
From what are these people running? Drugs and alcohol are an escape -- but we are the most prosperous society on the planet. We are wealthier and healthier than any nation in history. So why the angst?
That question sticks in the craw of the materialists of the secular left, who insist that endless supplies of Soma and government-sponsored sex, complete with Malthusian belt -- to borrow terms from Huxley -- should bring happiness. Obviously, it doesn't. America's suicide rate recently hit a 25-year high. Suicide has surged among the middle-aged, those aged 35-64, jumping 30 percent from 1999 to 2010.
Turn down for what? For survival. Or we could just keep going to sex clubs, throwing up in the bathtub and drinking up all our money. After all, isn't that what freedom from consequences -- our God-given pursuit of happiness, according to the left -- is all about?