No political mass movement led by young people has ever resulted in good. In fact, the most murderous mass movements in history have been led by young people. Nazism became popular among the youth before it became the German national theology; Hitler, of course, cultivated young people by targeting them for service in his SA, or Sturm Abteilung, and later, his Hitler Youth. The movement for Soviet Communism was led by young devotees of Lenin, who swallowed his sadistic ideology wholesale; later, the Soviet system would ask children to spy on their parents in service of the state. Similarly, the Chinese Maoists were largely composed of young people; so were the Vietnamese Viet Cong. It is no coincidence that the current Islamofascist movement is dominated by militant young Muslims. In America, the story is the same. The disastrous 1960s were a result of the Greatest Generation giving full leeway to the baby boomers. Students led the movement for surrender in Vietnam, the anarchist movement, the so-called gay rights movement, and the free love movement. America has been plagued with the results of those movements ever since. Young people have the enthusiasm for politics, but not practical experience or breadth of learning. They spend little or no time studying history. Instead, they are told from birth that they are the future, and that the future is in their hands. They rely on high-flown idealism rather than historical knowledge. Young people largely agree with the following precept: True idealism is nothing but the subordination of the interests and life of the individual to the community The purest idealism is unconsciously equivalent to the deepest knowledge. Such idealism is the most basic building block for dangerous movements. But young people are not trained to see the danger in such idealism. It is only when young people grow up that they see Hitler in those lines rather than Barack Obama. Celebrating the leadership of the youth in 2008 election, then, is a foolish exercise. Young people should be involved in politics -- they should protect their interests. But they, like all other voters, should be expected to get informed, not just motivated; they, like all other voters, should be expected to learn about policy, not merely follow a leader. And the rest of America should be expected to take the voting preferences of those who have never studied history, held a job, paid a bill, or built a family, with a large grain of salt. What inspires 11-year-olds or 21-year-olds -- should not be what inspires 40-year-olds. Ben Shapiro, 24, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School. He is the author of the new book "Project President: Bad Hair and Botox on the Road to the White House," as well as the national bestseller "Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America's Youth." To find out more about Ben Shapiro and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
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