Since the first time I encountered undergraduate political activists, I do not see them in a positive light. I am used to reading about or reading the books of people such as James Madison, Cicero, Montesquieu, Dahl, Friedman, Burke, Croce, and so on. This means I’m used to serious intellectuals having serious conversations, producing very positive effects on the intellectual atmosphere of a country when their debates and political theories trickle down.
Thus, you can see how it would be weird to watch undergraduate ignoramuses rambling on about how society should be organized, when they have not even read The Federalist Papers, The Spirit of the Laws, Rationalism in Politics, On Democracy, or anything one might expect of a serious political thinker. I suspect these undergrads’ field of study consists in Marxist theorists, and I further suspect that they are not very serious in their studies.
So I got myself thinking: what is the real use of youth in politics anyway, when they can’t even form coherent and well-informed theories? What is so special about youth? I get it that they have a fresh and progressive view – not only science progresses from gravestone to gravestone -, and that this has a positive effect on politics. But youth is closely tied with severe lack of wisdom and intellectual refinement.
Wouldn’t it be better if people were less strident in their “youth activism” and recognized the depth of their ignorance? People in their late 20s and early 30s could provide the feed of fresh, progressive arguments that is required for any intellectual atmosphere to thrive in a healthy manner.
I do not know. I ask the young reader not to take this as a personal offense, but rather in the spirit of inquiry in which it is written.