[Ads-l] Young people: They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Sat Aug 14 14:17:04 UTC 2021


"How new is all this? It is very hard to compare one age with another. But the Alcibiades or Catiline of antiquity would not have had their followings if the problem of youth having to test itself against an older generation had not existed in those times; nor do Plato's indictments of what he saw as obstreperous youth sound very different from those leveled at our young people today."

Bruno Bettelheim, "The Problem of Generations," Daedalus; J. of the AAAS v. 91 (1962) 79.


From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Friday, August 13, 2021 7:06 AM
Subject: Young people: They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying

A Washington Post reporter contacted me to learn more about the
quotation in the subject line which is often attributed to Plato. The
reporter found my article on the topic here:


When I wrote this QI article the earliest citation I found was dated
April 1968. I decided to reinitiate my exploration and found a
slightly earlier citation via archive.org. The QI article has been
updated, but the changes won't be visible for a day or two.

Theodore M. Hesburgh who was the President of the University of Notre
Dame mentioned the quotation during a commencement speech on June 12,
1967 at Manchester College.

Pamphlet Title: Thoughts IV: Five Addresses Delivered During 1967 by
Theodore M. Hesburgh
Publication year: 1968 (according to archive.org)
Speech Title: Service: The Great Modern Prayer
Note About Speech: Address given at the Commencement Exercises,
Manchester College, North Manchester, Indiana, June 12, 1967
Start Page 29, Quote Page 29
Publisher: University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana
Database: Verified with scans via archive.org


[Begin excerpt]
I would like to begin this morning by quoting to you something that
may sound familiar:

“What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders.
They disobey their parents. They ignore the laws. They riot in the
streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is
to become of them?” Plato (427-347 B.C.)

Those words were written originally in Greek, by Plato, about 400
years before the birth of Christ. Some may say that the message never
changes, that the older generation never understands the younger, and
the younger generation never takes too kindly to the advice of its
[End excerpt]

Feedback welcome,
Garson O'Toole

The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.com/v3/__http://www.americandialect.org__;!!OToaGQ!8sS6ns3v9a6i6CUe3g3MyxdhAjR5dKY9Q9PGMZAtYH7qa_dGeWGfH1GATTtHvGjX$

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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