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Opening Arguments

Those darn kids

USA Today spends a lot of money and devotes a lot of space to a survey of those darn kids today, and reports this shocking discovery:

The views of young people today on politics, social attitudes and even life goals are far different from those of their baby boomer parents, suggests a new national survey of 18- to 25-year-olds.

Kids have different attitudes and goals from their parents? Who knew? Bet this is the first generation in which that ever happened. There are some howlers in the story resulting from a lack of understanding about the opinions expressed, for example, that the younger generation is "more tolerant" than older generations. That's just another way of saying that kids feel more than they think and haven't really made critical judgments about much of anything. We should also be careful about actually believing the kids actually believe some of the stuff they're saying. For example:

The poll also finds that this generation's top life goals are to be rich (81%) and famous. (51%)

"It's their perception," Keeter says. "It's what they're getting from the culture about themselves."

By contrast, a study of college freshmen in 1967 found that 85.8% thought it was essential to "develop a meaningful philosophy of life" while just 41.9% thought it essential to "be very well off financially."

Maybe we did say we wanted "a meaningful life" back in 1967, but a great many of us then went on and tried for the mroe superficial stuff. We were either kidding ourselves or the pollsters, and there's no reason to think kids today are any better at knowing themselves than we were. This was a very telling line -- "It's what they're getting from the culture about themselves." Kids today -- and many of the rest of us -- are in an endless feedback loop where they just repeat what they are told by the popular culture, including poll stories such as this one.

Posted in: Current Affairs


Bob G.
Wed, 01/10/2007 - 6:50am

Wonder how MUCH of OUR money went into the grant that supported this "poll"?

I guess just being a truthful, honest person with honor, integrity and civility kinda fell by the wayside, eh?

Heck, we ALL "want" to be rich and powerful, but priorities seem to change with time (and money, or the lack thereof).

This is like the old accounting term...you get OUT what you put in...ergo,

JUNK in...JUNK out