The New Sorrows of Young Snowflakes

Many thanks to JLH for translating this essay from Henryk Broder’s website Die Achse des Guten:

An eighteen-year-old German Gymnasium graduate gives us her view of the German snowflake generation

The New Sorrows of Young Snowflakes[1]

by Elisa David

When I was studying in gymnasium, I got into a “strings” class. That means my class had an extra two hours when we learned to play a string instrument. Today I know I will definitely not be another Anne-Sophie Mutter.[2]. Those years were not useless, however, for I learned something quite different. Since the idea of extra strings practice did not appeal to many boys, we had a rather unusual gender division, with three boys and twenty girls. So for five years in my class, a collective of puberty-driven teenage girls set the tone — for my own self at the time, it was an absolute horror. But now I know what the consequences can be when women gain the upper hand.

I am no longer amazed at any political movement. My time in school has, to a certain extent, prepared me perfectly for Fridays for Future, #MeToo, and all these trends which my generation has absorbed, because they are tailor-made for them. Generation Snowflake is sensitive, does not wish to be confronted by unfamiliar opinions, is united in “otherness”. Because that is the point — being “other” but “belonging” to it; a certain uncertainty, coupled with the habit of considering oneself important; the need to be seen and simultaneously to conform. My observation is that these completely new views, this strange, contradictory behavior — which major portions of society and above all my generation display — depend on it.

One result seems to be the inflationary increase of psychic illnesses. Not being quite right in the head seems to be the first and decisive step to welcoming otherness. In my class, it was a proven method in the constant battle for sympathy. Passing through distinct stages of puberty is normal, but many took this to a higher level. I still remember how we discussed eating disorders like anorexia in biology class, and shortly thereafter, half the class was anorexic. The imaginary ill predictably announced their new suffering loudly to the world.

The Cutting Trend

Our teacher showed us pictures of an anorexic patient and explained that it is definitely unhealthy for the rib cage and the spine to show so clearly, and that help is needed urgently. Before the very next sports hour, a bunch of girls were standing in front of the mirror, lamenting loudly that their bones were not showing, so they must be overweight and would eat nothing for the entire rest of the day.

Our teacher explained the food pyramid and why a balanced diet is important for the body. My fellow female students were already planning what foods they would avoid to reach the desired weight loss through deficient nutrition. At some point, the attention they received for these actions was no longer enough. When, every hour on the hour, somebody runs out to throw up, it is no longer anything special.

Then, as if by divine will, there came a conference day on the explanation and recognition of depression. There is no denying how important it is to recognize depression. But a side effect of presentations which explain in detail what the symptoms of these illnesses are is that these symptoms are served to young attention-needy girls on a silver platter. All they have to do is write it down and act it out. And in fact, even writing it down isn’t necessary, since glossy brochures are passed out at the end.

If you think a mob of supposedly anorexic girls is bad, just wait until you see what artificially depressed girls can do. It started when half of them had bandages on their arms and because of that, wore short sleeves in winter, so everyone would ask what had happened. “I cut myself” was the answer, and that was the beginning of the cutting trend. Later, the bandages came off and countess scars appeared. Still in short or rolled-up sleeves, they bore the scars proudly, until they noticed someone looking at them, then they theatrically hid them behind their backs. I felt like I was in a madhouse, and there was no other time that deadened me to this junk pile of feelings like this one did.

Otherness Through Sympathy

Biology wasn’t the only dangerous class for us. One of the most important studies was geography. Before that, we led a dull existence, and ate what tasted good. Then, in geography, we saw a film about the meat industry and my little snowflakes realized that even the gelatin in gummy bears did not grow on trees, but came from sweet little piggies. At a stroke, all of them were vegetarians. And it is not enough to just be a vegetarian, you have to live it. To the shock of how cute cutlets were when alive came a second, more important one — that almost no one was a vegetarian at the time.

The situation was brilliant for my classmates. They were special again with their new insight and could set themselves off from the masses, see themselves as better, more enlightened. What I find comforting is that, of those where prepared to go under the axe with every dead piglet, hardly any of them today will give up her schnitzel. Not eating meat has become quite normal, and nobody wants to be that conformist. The little bit of attention is not enough reward for the sacrifice. So, either go right to being vegan, or forget food altogether, and declare yourself a non-binary, pansexual, rainbow person. Since there are now over sixty genders, there is not much competition.

So what can be learned from my classmates? First and foremost, that they would do anything for attention, whatever the price. Approximately following Madonna’s byword: “Even bad publicity is publicity”, they take what they can get. They get this attention through otherness. Apparently, my classmates wanted sympathy above all. At any rate, group pressure must be factored in. We are, after all, herd animals. Aside from that, the tone of the Snowflake Generation is set by girls, and it isn’t just going to the powder room that they don’t like to do alone — they don’t become anorexic, depressed or bisexual alone. They always like to have like-minded people around them. Just so long as they are not those who are considered normal and boring.

The question remains: why is something like this happening now? In the 21st century, we are living in a time when technical, medical and scientific advances — at least in the West — have secured prosperity. We have never had it so good. I am not one of twenty children, of whom only three have survived. I have had my shots and have grown to the age of eighteen without fear or problems. My grandmother is not worshipped as the oldest in the tribe, although she can no longer light candles on her birthday cake. It would look like the Atlanta fire. That is, many people nowadays grow “old” (quotation marks because of her vanity). I did not write this article on a typewriter and so did not have to start fresh after every mistake.

The ability to read is not a privilege, but normal. Almost all of us carry small devices that give us access to boundless knowledge. But not all of us use this knowledge. Our quality of life has never been so good, yet some cultivate starvation and conjure up psychic disturbances that we would not wish on our worst enemy. And how contemptuous this behavior is of those who actually suffer from these illnesses, the seekers of attention do not care.

But where does this sudden self-destructive urge come from? Why is it striking the very generation that has everything? I think the lack of responsibility and challenge has made us incapable of living. We no longer have to worry about ourselves, there are no expectations of us, and if we have no real problems or don’t even care to see them, then we make some up for ourselves.


1.   Title taken from Die neuen Leiden des jungen Werthers by Ulrich Plenzdorf, adapting Goethe’s Die Leiden des jungen Werthers to an East German milieu through a young man’s attempt to evade the strictures of life in the DDR.
2.   Well-known German concert violinist.

29 thoughts on “The New Sorrows of Young Snowflakes

  1. “My grandmother is not worshipped as the oldest in the tribe, although she can no longer light candles on her birthday cake. It would look like the Atlanta fire.”

    When I read this, I thought, “the Atlanta fire”? What Atlanta fire? I’ve heard of the
    of 1871, but when did Atlanta ever burn down? And then I realized that in Germany any big city-burning in America must be famous because of media, specifically, an old movie:

    This “Sherman’s March to the Sea” song inspired a Japanese version in the early 20th century (with lyrics shown so you can sing along, karaoke-style):

  2. So sad , this generation of snowflakes will finished this beautiful country big time , the old generation who rebuild this country and make a prospective is almost gone , so , good luck Germans, .. awful…

  3. “But where does this sudden self-destructive urge come from? Why is it striking the very generation that has everything?”

    There may be several reasons for that.

    The more obvious one would be that comfort – even luxury – and security in which we live and which we take for granted has, on the one hand, made us too weak and, on the other hand, allowed us to disregard reality and to withdraw into a world of fantasy, imaginary problems and unnatural habits. In the past, life was a struggle and it kept people alert, serious and sober-minded. Today, life is a playground and people can afford to remain childish until death.

    A more profound answer would be that our civilisation has lost its spiritual bearings. Every civilisation in the world is or was based on a religion which determined the core of its identity and its advantages and its limitations. For example, the difference between Rome and Carthage, India and China, Islamic world and Europe is the result of the underlying religious and philosophical systems.

    When a civilisation loses faith in its foundational religion, it is doomed. The life of people loses all metaphysical meaning and people lose first the will to fight for their civilisation (nation, faith etc.). Then they lose the will to fight even for their family, for their children. Finally, they lose the will to live. We have approached this final stage, of which legalisation of euthanasia is the most striking sign.

    It is a lieu commun to compare our modern civilisation with the late Roman Empire. It is a very similar situations – Romans could no longer take their gods seriously and became victims of spiritual and moral relativism. At the same time, the empire was rich, strong and relatively safe, by the standards of its epoch, people no longer saw any necessity to fight for it. Romans, at least, city dwellers, became weak, egocentric and avid for animal pleasures.

    As a result, the Western Roman Empire was conquered and dismembered by Barbarians, while the Eastern Empire, managed to replace its pagan spiritual foundation with that of Christianity. It lived on for another thousand years and built a new civilisation, which preserved the best achievements of old Rome (law, philosophy, public institutions, architecture, etc) and remained for centuries the most brilliant monarchy in Christendom. After which it also grew old, its faith grew weak, its people poisoned themselves with hedonism and pagan superstitions. And it was conquered by ruthless Barbarians…

    • You may be right, Toto, but without the secularisation of much of Western culture (Christian and Jewish) following the Enlightenment, religious authorities would still be dictating how people should live (and the emancipation of women and slaves may not have happened).

      Are we really incapable of learning sound moral values without religion? I got mine from my parents, not from Sunday School, which helped make me the unbeliever I am today.

      • I tend to agree with your “headline”:

        Are we really incapable of learning sound moral values without religion?

        It looks like we indeed are – incapable. I am unbeliever as well but now see supporting and defending Christianity as the only way we can survive this current mortal threat to Civilization as we know it … i.e. (Judeo-) Christian in its substance. The Greek roots are of course in everything … but perhaps per se not enough to guarantee our survival.

        • Without religion, it is either secular authorities who invent morality, which suits their interests, and impose it on the public, or every individual invites his or her own morality, which suits him or her personal whims and justifies his or her way of life.

          The first type of morality is found in totalitarian secular societies like the USSR, Mao’s China or Pol Pot’s Kampuchea. This sort of morality is very changeable – it changes with what was known in the USSR as “the general line of the Party” and people have to be very flexible not to fall foul of it.

          The second case is theoretically that of the post-Christian “free world”. It may look attractive, as it seems to guarantee everyone’s freedom to decide what is good and what is bad and consider oneself a highly virtuous person – by one’s one standards (a very pleasant warm feeling). The problem is that people living in society just have to have common standards. When everybody’s moral standards become too different no co-operation or even peaceful co-existence is possible.

          The post-Christian West remained strong and successful as long as Christians standards remained the basis of its common morality. However, as Christian faith gradually became fainter, even the basic elements of public morality became controversial and moral controversies became a menace to peaceful relations within society. People with opposing views could not find common ground. Therefore, the ruling elites in alliance with “progressive elements” began to imitate Soviet (or North Korean) authorities and to impose their own set of values (totalitarian secularism, feminism, LGBT rights, anti-white racism, denial of parental authority, restriction of Christians’ freedom of consciousness, etc.) Thus, the liberal individualistic morality is substituted with State-imposed public morality.

          This secular morality is dangerous because, having no firm foundation, it has no limits in its evolution. As the Party line changes, things that were considered virtuous yesterday could be regarded as outrageous tomorrow and vice versa. It can easily justify and even promote abortion and cannibalism and condemn normal fatherly love or marital fidelity. And for some reason it tends to favour such forms of behaviour and policies that lead to societal suicide. Just remember the killing fields of Kampuchea or Mao’s Great Leap Forward. Societies based on such secular morals tend to have short lives (remember the sudden collapse of the USSR and the whole Soviet-sponsored alliance).

          • The loss of Christian morality is inevitable. Christianity emerged and thrived in pre-industrial agricultural societies where 95% of the population were intimately tied to the cycle of the seasons. This unavoidably has an effect on people’s outlook.

            Now, 5% of the population (if that) is involved in agriculture. Everyone else is playing on their smartphones.

            Frazer’s _The Golden Bough_ goes into extensive detail (with libraries’ worth of supporting evidence) on the influence of the agricultural cycle over the myths of peoples from widely divergent societies, and he speculates some on the impact of industrialization. With another century of experimental evidence, his speculations have thus far proved exactly on the mark.

            Christianity as it was cannot be restored, because people don’t believe it – on a gut level, on a reflexive, instinctive level, they just don’t believe it. They don’t take it seriously. They’re not willing to die for it. They certainly aren’t willing to just take it as written without deciding for themselves which bits they’re going to put aside as “clearly outdated”. The concepts and assumptions underlying it were those of agricultural peoples. We are not those peoples. Not better than they, not necessarily worse (although the possibility is there) but definitely not the same. We don’t think like they did. We don’t believe what they did.

            A religion will come, but it will not be Christianity. Time’s arrow goes in one direction; you can’t relive the past.

          • “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss!”

            -The Who, “Won’t get fooled again.”

  4. Elisa David’s description says two things to me:

    1. Absent fathers
    2. Lack of faith

    It is the state of trying to live without God; as Augustine said, our hearts are restless until they rest in You. The girls seek a validation of their existence they cannot find without a relation to God.

    The father’s traditional job, in addition, is to admire (validate) his daughter and teach her what is right and wrong. The mother traditionally is supposed to provide unconditional love, which is important too, but is not sufficient on its own. You may kept afloat, but you don’t know who you are.

    Women do not get “the upper hand” by being isolated from masculinity and divinity: they get desperate for validation from outside and will do literally anything to get it. Elisa David does not mention promiscuity, but that is one more classic reaction to such inner misery. The girls from a young age seek out boys or older men, not because they want sex, but because they want validation. They believe that sex is all they have to offer to get masculine attention. Since they are not clear about their own goals, and are messed up: scarred literally from cutting, from giving their teeth a frequent acid bath through bulimia, etc., etc., they have made it harder for others to validate their identity. It is a self-defying attempt which will only make their self-hate grow exponentially. This is in our age the story of millions of girls.

    Any discussion about who has “the upper hand” is off the mark. There are no winners, only losers in this game. Women and men both need each other at the same fundamental level. None of them are happy without the other, or with the other in subjugation. (The bestial wife-beatings in Islamic societies have a lot to do with the men’s frustration that they, as per their model of family life, can never obtain the love or real respect of their wives, only fear.)

    We desperately need each other’s love, support and validation, but to learn how to create such a relation as adults it is important that we have experienced it at home as children: that we have had a father and a mother who were both present and showed each other (as well as us) attention and charity; and who taught us integrity.

    What Elisa David describes is not the behavior of healthy teenage girls, but broken ones. It is by no means something that comes from “hormones” alone.

    Broken families create broken children. If these youngsters have indeed become snowflakes who melt at any challenge, it is because they had no warmth at home. Much charity and much honesty is needed to heal such fragile souls.

    Only the truth about their condition can set them free.

  5. I visited a classmate doing a postdoc at Uppsala University in the early ’90s, who recommended I study Sweden should I want to see the results of letting women run everything. He could not decide what, if any, position Swedish males held in their society.

    I have noticed that people living in more egalitarian and homogeneous societies seem to have a greater need to feel and appear different. Those same people, in societies that have also become much less religious, are often driven to find secular substitutes.

  6. ” I think the lack of responsibility and challenge has made us incapable of living.”

    Absolutely. Responsibility and struggle are the things everyone flees from and yet they are the thing that makes us rise and excel. Even more terrifying to the snowflakes is the notion that you can do everything right and still not succeed.

    I would like to personally thank Eve for getting us kicked out of the Garden of Eden. Best thing that ever happened.

  7. My grand daughter refused to consider a very upscale Canadian University because the student body was largely made up of LUG’s I asked what LUG’s were, and she told me, Lesbians Until Graduation… Apparently you get lots of attention and sympathy, support etc of you are a lez..

    • And, I gather, after graduation, the LUG is eager to get her [heterosexually] Mrs. degree?

      • plus a dental surgeon or lawyer, which allows her to entirely devote to household- and upraising tasks.

  8. It is so unfortunate that I cannot convey to you some Russian-language texts.
    This is a very interesting magazine of semi-Russian, semi-Baltic. And he has a very peculiar view of what is happening in Europe. Something more free.

    … Unlike the healthy, strong, athletic Nazi pioneers from the Hitler Youth (see picture) who are ready for a real war for the idea of ​​the superiority of their race and personally beloved Führer, the current German schoolchildren are mostly weaklings and slobbers who have been imprisoned since childhood. with their smartphones, bespectacled eyesight, unrequited and cowardly pears for beating by “asylum seekers” who arrived in a social paradise from Arab countries, African countries, Afghanistan and especially Chechnya. Their stupid songs and phrases, instead of schoolwork about a categorical unwillingness to tolerate the outrageous presence of carbon dioxide in nature, seem to be the height of their civic courage and the collective mind of protozoa.

    • “А эта беснующаяся масса глупой и неoбразованной школоты, бастующей “против углекислоты” — это воплощение безличной сила агрессивного слабоумия, массового оглупления, возвращения к варварству, чуть менее, чем полностью охватившая Германию и Австрию. Эта безличная сила идиотизма и утраты разумного контроля всегда предшествует приходу другой тёмной, безличной силы — массового душегубства.”

      Yup – this one really deserves translation. But by a native Russian speaker like you.

      [Please include English translations for foreign-language comments. Machine translation:

      “And this raging mass of stupid and uneducated shkolota striking“ against carbon dioxide ”is the embodiment of the impersonal force of aggressive dementia, mass stupidity, a return to barbarism, a little less than completely enveloped Germany and Austria. This impersonal force of idiocy and loss of rational control always precedes the arrival of another dark, impersonal force – mass murder. ”


  9. Don’t be sad girls. The fierce warrior princess Greta will save you after she lowers the ocean levels. Forward!

  10. If one word would describe the condition, it would be “abundance,” and it’s obviously a wonderful thing—up to a point; but we have most likely reached that point, sadly. Today, even the sorry, nutty, inept and incompetent can live better than 99.99 percent of all those who came before us. For all of my seven decades we have danced; and now the fiddler is standing there with a “due bill” in one hand and a long knife in the other.
    Civilization is about to revert back to its natural default setting; one in which a woman NEEDS a man and a man NEEDS a woman, only strong families have even a chance of surviving, and the incompetent will fall by the wayside.

  11. The program “Fresh Air” on National Public Radio several years ago had a delightful segment on a young woman who married a rancher.

    She was probably a sensible woman before but the responsibilities of caring for the animals in all kinds of weather and doing the heavy physical labor required of life on the ranch were a special kind of education for her. She came to relish her new life and appreciated the discipline and pleasures of country life.

    I think it fair to say that her new life transformed her and she seemed balanced, happy, intelligent and appreciative.

  12. Perhaps the most discouraging fact about the plight of our young, both teen boys and girls, is that it gets so little attention. More air time on our media is probably devoted to the ‘evil’ of plastic straws than the miseries of our youth.

    And in that may lie one answer. An entertainment industry that’s responsible for many of those ills doesn’t want to draw attention to itself.

  13. Alarming-is perhaps all I can say as one now closer to eighty and feels priviledged to have lived through these past years, where as a young boy and into manhood I lived in the west end of London, which I knew so well and where I could walk in safety anywhere, enjoy all that the then London had to offer-later moving to the country areas with my wife and children to be able to roam freely across the beautiful land of my country England, to know my neigbours, enjoyed entertaining them and their children, to allow my children to run around without my wife and I fearing for their safety, to travel as my work dictated all over the country inc UK, on roads that up until the 1980’s were mostly uncluttered, immigration was a word we were unused to, now it sends feelings of terror throughout, as millions of those out of Africa and the Middle East cram onto the North African coastline endeavouring to cross the Med Sea to Europe that is now bursting at the seams, a population soaring, the indig people suffering the propaganda of Multiculturalism-no longer will they the indig be the majority. One can to a degree perhaps understand the mind-set of these young women that Elisa David speaks of-their lives have been stolen by the ruling Elitists who now control the World- a World Order is not that far away-God help us all.

    • You are lucky to be closer to eighty. You will not have to witness the collapse of your country and your civilisation. Pray for little children who will have to go through it all.

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