I have heard it said that young people today care only about what they want. In fact I have seen good qualities in this generation. They appear to be interested in big causes, and they appear to be of an intense disposition and are willing to passionately embrace important issues.
I come from the former Soviet Union. In the Soviet Union, people were taught to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. They worked and sacrificed, only to find the fruits of their work wind up in Swiss bank accounts. They sacrificed themselves for absolutely nothing.
When I came to America with these same values, people were calling me an egomaniac and a commie. Then they decided that I was selfish and that they were not. This is beyond ridiculous.
With altruism, we see many people not only not encouraging it but in fact attacking it. A New Age guru once told me that altruism is based on being three years old and having his whole existence depending on other people. A man with lots of psychological knowledge said things to the effect of that if you don't have high self-esteem you have nothing to offer anyone else. So we have situations such as one I've seen a long time ago, in which a naturally altruistic woman said that if she cannot live for herself she can't live. This is completely wrong. There are many things to live for besides yourself; and the people who say that you not only should, but must, live for yourself are wrong in every way that counts.
Now I, being obviously such a commie, am perfectly willing to work for the benefit of things other than myself. But I do not want my work to be wasted. I would not sacrifice myself for the greed of a bureaucrat. If I am to sacrifice myself for someone or something, it better be something good.
When people have attitudes such as ones expressed by the New Age guru, what we see is people being taught to be jerks. A question that one may ask is, Why would one go to war to defend people who have such convictions? According to some in New Age, everyone makes their destiny with their consciousness. So does this mean that the 500,000 heroic Americans who died in the Second World War caused it through negativity in their consciousness? Once again, why would one be willing to go to war to defend people who believe such a thing?
The baby boom generation started out altruistic, then for a long time made an ideology of selfishness. As they become older and more infirm they may recognize that they need others, and that they need to be good to them. It is wrong to claim that altruism is somehow infantile. It is wrong to demand self-esteem. And it is completely wrong to claim that people must live for themselves or else they cannot live.
So of course the young people these days have been fed this foolishness, and any number of them absorbed it. However there are others who have more of a clue. I feel closer to this generation than I do to my own, and I think that they are excellent. And I sincerely hope that their rightful efforts bear good fruit.