"Between Twenty and Forty," by Alpha Unit

Unfortunately, I pretty much agree with this Alpha Unit post.
This is why elders, usually older men, have always run the show in every known human society. No sane society ever puts the 23 year olds in charge. And when they are in charge, as when the Khmer Rogue was running Cambodia and a bunch of 15 year olds were running around with AK-47’s, well, we all know how that worked out. That’s pretty much what happens when you give the reigns over to a bunch of youngsters. If 23 year old’s ran the show, first of all, they would make just about everything legal.
This would actually probably cause a lot of problems, though it’s sounds good to us libertines. They’d also do a bunch of other crazy things. They would probably have public executions, and these would turn into wild parties where audience members would probably get hurt or killed. They’d probably start a lot of wars. They’d do a bunch of other stupid shit, but you could not criticize them, because people that age, well, they know everything, you know.
I knew a woman a few years back, in my mid-40’s. She was a college girl. Nothing ever came of it, but we were talking for a bit. I asked her if I was too old for her and she said, “That’s ok. All men are boys until age 40 anyway.”
William Faulkner, Mississippian and Nobel Prize laureate, gave an interview in 1956 to the Paris Review in which he spoke of writing, writers, and art – among other things. Faulkner is direct and unsentimental; he sounds world-weary. At one point the interviewer repeats a charge that Faulkner finds it hard to create characters between the ages of twenty and forty who are sympathetic. He responds, in part:

People between twenty and forty are not sympathetic. The child has the capacity to do but it can’t know. It only knows when it is no longer able to do–after forty. Between twenty and forty the will of the child to do gets stronger, more dangerous, but it has not begun to learn to know yet.
Since his capacity to do is forced into channels of evil through environment and pressures, man is strong before he is moral. The world’s anguish is caused by people between twenty and forty.

Yes. The young and vigorous need to be watched. They need to be held in check, and the only ones who can do it those more experienced, those who have trodden the path the young have just discovered. But…being young and vigorous, they are unlikely to listen. Being young and vigorous, they won’t hesitate to tell you that they must correct the wrongs created by others before them. Others who had been just as young and full of zeal.


Faulkner, William. 1956. The Art of Fiction. Interviewed by Jean Stein. Paris Review, Issue 12.
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0 thoughts on “"Between Twenty and Forty," by Alpha Unit”

  1. As a 29y/o I don’t think ‘the reigns’ should be handed over to ANYBODY. Look at all the older than 40 year olds in government have done to our nation. Old men are the problem, not the solution. Most of our large scale problems can be attributed to them, so how does that make them being better apt to govern a logical argument? The only logical argument is that the authority of the State is not reconcilable with the autonomy of the individual. Anarchists tend to be younger people who have not yet ‘sold out’ to authority. Thusly younger people are more logical.
    Of course, if you can make a solid argument for the legitimacy of centralized State rule then you have refuted me. But there is no such argument.

  2. I never heard that Faulkner quote before, but as a 33 year-old I have to agree that it’s pretty much dead-on. Nice one, Alpha.

  3. Dear Robert
    The constitution of every state with a presidential system should have the following article:
    Candidates for the presidency must have completed at least 40 years in the year prior to the election and may not have completed more than 60 years in the same year.
    Such a clause would make more sense than clauses limiting terms of office.
    Cheers. James

    1. Youthful convictions are beautifully formed objects, but more often than not, they serve as weapons.
      Faulkner had it right.

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