Permanent Damage? - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2219609

Permanent Damage?

Today’s headlines covering the anti-Israel, pro-Hamas demonstrations across the country in cities and on many a campus are eerily reminiscent of my youth in the late 1960s. Anti-Vietnam sentiment divided us who were being conscripted to prosecute a war we didn’t fully understand, and a generation of parents who trusted the government that brought them through World War II.

As it turned out, both parties were naive, but the passion by us to not sacrifice ourselves in a dubious conflict that did not threaten our national security was justifiable.

When I compare the motivation driving those demonstrations with this generation’s ideology, I find them very different. Today’s participants in civil disobedience have nothing personally at risk or at stake. They face no draft or forced participation in our military. They are the beneficiaries of an economic system that affords them an education, good to great health care, endless video games to seduce them, cellphones and computers that supply access to a connected world. These benefits and many others are largely, if not entirely, the result of simply being born an American.

This, however, is not the basis of their malcontent. My observation is that it is because these young people have not yet had the experience of the struggle to build a meaningful life that they complain so earnestly about the fairness of life on a global level. The moral clarity they claim to own is largely based on second- or third-hand information spoon-fed to them by grownup malcontents posing as intellectuals with the title of professor, instructor or teacher. Unfortunately, there is more than one generation of these converts to contend with.

Their obsessions with race and climate have led down many rabbit holes. Race has morphed into a global condemnation of all of human history.

The latest version is the concept of the “oppressed vs. the oppressor.” This simplistic perspective is designed for the simple-minded. It gives all the malcontents a team to root and play for; mind you, they usually (not always) consider themselves the oppressed before they have even gotten on the field of life to play the game. Other team members own the guilt of being born into wealth or a lack of appreciation for it.

One can’t ignore the Marxism at the core of all this. The war to undermine the institutions of capitalism and our freedom is being fought inexpensively using the cheap and malleable passion of our younger generations. Hopefully, with maturity, this generation will temper its enthusiasm for self-loathing with wisdom. But will the damage they do be permanent?

Ed Surgan