Self-described “theocratic fascist” Matt Walsh dismissed adolescence as a modern invention for which he had “a cure,” according to a deleted post from his blog discovered by Media Matters. Walsh has come under fire for past comments he made advocating for teenage girls to marry and get pregnant.
According to a version of the blog post stored in the internet archive, the Daily Wire personality argued that “virtually every culture has its own child-into-adult initiation, and almost all of them happen significantly before the 18th birthday.”
In the 2013 blog post, Walsh, who has helped lead a right-wing campaign of harassment against children’s hospitals providing lifesaving gender-affirming care to trans youth and who has previously slandered LGBTQ people as “groomers,” wrote:
In modern Western society, we’ve delayed the onset of adulthood, instead inventing a new sort of human: the “teenager.” The teenager exists in this limbo which we’ve created; we call it “adolescence.” Adolescence is a state-of-the-art modern innovation, like crack-cocaine or chemical warfare.
The World Health Organization describes adolescence as a phase of life between childhood and adulthood between ages 10 and 19 when young people “experience rapid physical, cognitive and psychosocial growth” that “affects how they feel, think, make decisions, and interact with the world around them.” Walsh derides that period as as “a product of our expectations,” saying that if we expect 13-year-olds to act like adults, they will be able to do so:
Adolescence isn’t a product of brain chemistry — it’s a product of our expectations. If we expect 23 year olds to act like they’re 13, then we will get just that. For thousands of years, 13 year olds were expected to act like they’re 23, and those expectations were met.
Walsh has faced criticism for previous commentary, reported by Media Matters, in which the far-right pundit suggested that girls as young as 16 should marry and become pregnant, saying, “The problem is not, per se, teenage pregnancy — it’s unwed pregnancy.” Walsh argued that girls who are “still in high school … want, biologically and metaphysically and with everything in their body, they want to settle down, they want to start a family” and said that 16-year-olds are adults:
At about 16, you're an adult who is mature and can make decisions — you are that at 16. I don't care what anybody says. And if you're going to tell me it's different, well, then how come for the first 10,000 years of human civilization, that's the way it was? It's just recently where all of a sudden we're all r------- until we're 25?
In a two-tweet thread, Walsh called the comments “out of context material from a rock morning show I hosted in my early 20s on an obscure station in Delaware,” adding, “I apologize for nothing.”