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April 07, 2003

Kids These Days II

Last week The Volokh Conspiracy noted that today's students might be more likely to oppose war because they're being taught to avoid violence in general. Unlike my post the other day, this Washington Post story argues that a lot of young people today are critical of the Bush Administration's policies because the administration seems to be acting like little more than a schoolyard bully writ large. This certainly makes sense, and it's something I've been thinking about since all this talk of war began. (What was it, just nine months ago?) Why do we teach our children one thing about how to deal with problems (talk them out, be reasonable, respect differences and seek compromise, avoid violence, etc), yet stand by complacently while our government engages in all the behaviors we counsel our children against? Is interpersonal conflict resolution so different from international conflict resolution? Apparently so:

Zach Clayton, student chairman of the National Association of Student Councils, wonders whether the interpersonal skills taught in school should even be applied to international relations. "We're quick in third grade to teach nonviolent resolution strategies," he says, "but by our junior or senior years in college we know that countries can't always play paper-rock-scissors."

Isn't that great? By the time we're "adults," we've learned to accept that violence is actually a good—or at least necessary—thing. Silly rabbits, non-violent conflict resolution is just for kids!

Posted April 7, 2003 07:31 AM | general politics

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