Youth and Authority 2

The trouble is that we can’t have it both ways. We can’t have the joys of freedom and creativity of individual enterprise without the loss of the old certainties and securities that came from the generally accepted authority. It often seems to me that much of the discussion about offending amongst the young sustais a fantasy that it is possible to have it both ways.

On the one hand, we have the advocatnes of the enterprise culture- the society that rewards success – and which believes the success of individuals can lead the rest of the country to prosperity. In such a society the development of that sense of one’s own individual identity and ability to be creative, is crucial for a feeling of well-being; but of course many have life circumstances which make the achievement of that ideal very difficult, if not impossible, and it seems all too easy for them to get involved in a cycle of despair, seeing themselves as victims of an uncaring society and acting out their rage and destructiveness in offending or delinquency. But the advocates of the enterprise culture want also a reassertion of the old authority in matters of law and order, with a temptation to look back nostalgically to days when it feels the assault on authority was less severe, and people were more accepting of their lot in life.

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