Paine essentially makes an argument for new ideas replacing old ones, by inference that just because an idea has endured does not make it inherently more viable than the new. I started to develop this in relation to social attitudes to teenagers and innovation.
I think that most societies find their teenagers very difficult to accept, there’s a often a knee-jerk reaction – “teenagers are a problem”. It then becomes difficult for us to listen to, and accept the ideas, of teenagers.
The vast majority of the teenagers that I taught for 20 years had absolutely nothing in common with the media stereotype of the alienated, superficial, narcissistic and nihilistic youth. Most of the teenagers that I taught were incredibly thoughtful, insightful, committed to their society and its positive development.
Teenagers are building their ideas on those left by previous generations, their ideas are the evolution of previous forms. Teenagers have the most personal interest in getting the future right.
So, here’s my question: does society need to start to listen to teenagers more seriously ? Should teenagers be given more power ? Can teenagers offer us solutions to problems that previous generations failed to solve ?
“The vanity and presumption of governing beyond the grave, is the most ridiculous and insolent of all tyrannies. Man has no property in any man; neither has any generation a property in the generations which are to follow.”
The Rights of Man, Thomas Paine