Dennis Prager

Presumably it means having ideals -- a kinder, more peaceful world, etc. Well, who told you that as people get older they lose these ideals? This is so untrue as to constitute a lie. If anything, we older people yearn for a peaceful world even more than young people do. We are the ones who lost friends or relatives in some war. We are the ones who have lived a lifetime of seeing and reading about human suffering. And, we, not you, have children and grandchildren whom we ache to see alive and healthy.

So, let's put to rest the self-serving myth that young people have greater ideals than old people.

What the term "more idealistic" really means when applied to young people is that young people are more (SET ITAL) naive, (END ITAL) not more idealistic, than older people.

Examples are legion.

Here's one: Young people believe that when the government gives more money and benefits to more people, it helps them. This is naive. As you get older and wiser, you realize that when people are given anything without having to earn it (unless they are physically or mentally incapable of earning anything), they become ungrateful and lazy. They also become less happy. Every study shows that people who earn money are far happier than people who win many millions of dollars in a lottery. Happiness is earned, not given.

Here's another: Young people are far more likely to believe that world peace is achieved when nations lay down their arms and talk through their differences. But this has never been the case. Of course, good nations stay peaceful when they talk to other good nations. Bad nations -- that is, nations ruled by evil men -- are never dissuaded from making war by talk. They are dissuaded only by good nations having more arms than they do. That is why the Marine Corps has done so much more for world peace than the Peace Corps.

If you want to vote Democrat, don't do so because that is the party that cares more for the poor and the hungry. We older conservatives (and young ones, too) care just as much for the poor. But after living a life of seeing the naive only make things worse for the poor, we are no longer seduced by caring rhetoric. We are seduced by policies based on the awesome American value of individual initiative combined with liberty to create and retain wealth. It's now called conservatism.

And, finally, you should know this: the "idealists" that many of you find appealing are the ones leaving you with a national debt that will render it very difficult for you to attain the material quality of life that these people have had.

The next time President Obama goes to a college to get your vote by promising you more and more benefits, ask him where the money will come from. And when he says "higher taxes on the wealthy," know that this is exactly what they tried in Europe, a continent ruined by such "idealism."


Dennis Prager

Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph.
 
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