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Yesterday's New York Times editorially mourns, not the revolt of youth, but the provincialism of the revolt. It approves the desire for institutional reforms manifested among college students, but accounts college chapels and inter-collegiate athletics subjects of lesser weight. On these, the thesis runs, the revolt wastes its strength before touching the momentous concerns of the hour. While stupidity in political management and inefficiency in governmental administration remain flagrant, the Times would advise students to fix their attention on the sore spots of the nation.
In one sense, however, this editorial attitude of the Times is as provincial as the intra-collegiate mentality of college students. As a newspaper, it is the Time's business to follow and to influence politics and political progress. National affairs are integral in the world of the metropolitan press. Even so college is very properly the college student's primary concern. An neither the collegiate nor the political field is co-extant with cosmos.
Yet there is another appeal which the Times might have made, had it chanced to widen its phraseology. If mere politics be a phase of life little less limited than academic concerns nevertheless the sum of matters beyond the academic horizon is worthy more diligent student foresight. The pitch and toss of business, the processes of manufacture, professional contingencies, all are ultimates for students now in comparative remoteness from them; and the thought of the individual student could hardly be better employed than in choosing or pondering the chosen ultimate.
Still these and their political overflow have a rather small place in the undergraduate's platform of action. They are of the world beyond. And, while it would be disastrous to neglect the approach of that world, it would be fatuous to desert more impinging problems for it. If youth revolt and student reform are desirable, they are desirable where student comprehension is sufficient to insure both the sanity of new propositions and the discovery of effective reforming methods. It is the latter, attained through the former that will make college graduates fruitful innovators after college years.
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