A Skeptic’s Take on Youthful Idealism

September 11. The tsunami in Asia. Now Hurricane Katrina. “With the Internet and 24-hour TV, you just see all these problems,” said one college freshman in the New York Times (subscription required). “They’re everywhere.” According to the Times, a surge of social activism among young people has resulted from the combination of global tragedy, its high visibility, and—if those are insufficient catalysts—the desire to impress college gatekeepers.