Friday, December 17, 2010

Socrates on Youth

The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for
authority, they show disrespect to their elders.... They no longer
rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents,
chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their
legs, and are tyrants over their teachers.

Quoted by Plato
This quote is often used to make the point that their elders are always complaining about the youth of the day: “Those old farts are always complaining.”

Light weight modern commentators should be a little more careful around famous classical philosophers.

What is not generally understood is, that at time that the quote was used by Plato, the Peloponnesian War has just ended, and had seriously weakened the Greek States ability to resist outside aggression.

Five years after the death of Plato, Philip II of Macedon, Alexander the Great’s Father,  begins his conquest of the Greeks, and ends Greek independent rule.  So the moral decay of youth, and society in general was very much a timely complaint.
·         Socrates                                                    469 B.C - 399 B.C.
·         Plato                                                         428 B.C . - 347 B.C.
·         Peloponnesian War                               431 B.C. – 404 B.C.
·         Philip’s Conquest of Greece                 342 B.C – 352 B. C.


Waldow said...

I blame the babyboomers for everything myself. Yr comment on Orlov's page about the a middling power attacking an aircraft carrier is pretty clever.

russell1200 said...

Thank you for compliment. It does not help that the Navy seems to like putting them in restricted waters where they are particularly vulnerable. There is the implication of nuclear retaliation: particularly as the carriers have nukes on board.

Per the Boomers, actually there is a fair amount of research that indicates that generational cohorts and their relative population size do have an impact on the economy. It is a bit of a sub-cycle within other longer term population trends. I have it in book form, so one day I will post more specifically on it.

I am now lumped into the boomer generation: although clearly people who were born in the 1960s and came of age in the 1980s don't really belong. They just did not give every "generation" a label, and we were too boring to give one of our own.