David Brook's column of May 27, 2016 (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/27/opinion/inside-student-radicalism.html?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fdavid-brooks&action=click&contentCollection=opinion®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection&_r=1) raises the question of what young people can realistically believe in in today's world.
Millions of youths, especially college-aged people, are entering into an increasingly negative adult society and facing (for many) dismal futures in which both the economic and political spheres are growing more unwelcome and unattractive. A chance to be part of an enlightened and constructive generation (or two) could be very appealing. Participating in a broad-based positive social program may be one of the better options they have. The potential benefits obtained from the program--economic and political advancements, and Balance, Meaning, And Respect–will fall primarily to them and their descendants. And, the subjective benefits of engaging in a grand collective adventure may be almost as rewarding. For all of those who find Teach for America, the Peace Corps, Volunteers In Service to America, the One World Youth Project, etc., stimulating this movement should be even more so, as well as being bigger, more ambitious, and more rewarding.
Historically, it has often been youths who have instigated social change and reform efforts as they have a good amount of leverage with their ideas, energy, availability, and enthusiasm. Think of the 1960’s-70’s counterculture, the Vietnam war opposition, the U.S. civil rights movement, and the Arab Spring events, as examples. If this program turns out to be a success these young people could be the next “Greatest Generation.”