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It seldom happens that Harvard's serious and humorous magazines achieve their several ends. For instance, its humorous publication has this month posed the most serious problem to come from an undergraduate pen in some time. Perhaps contemplating the idealism that permeates the Christmas season, the author has hatched some pertinent observations on youth and the inevitable deterioration of its altruism. To these speculations it may be possible to append some tentative conclusions.
The author recognizes that young always have ideals, and he may agree that without such visions there can be no progress. In this post-war era youth has become aware of the cosmic problems of life, and his attitude towards the world is no longer that of a heedless child. For every fundamental obstacle to ultimate happiness he has formed many solutions, most of which are probably wrong, but some of which must contain the germ of truth. Unfortunately, because of the complex social system, in which his elders refuse to yield the sceptre, dreading a change in the status quo, he is compelled to remain in idle unrest, able to do nothing. To add to his plight, he perceives with wonder that the old have lost hope and are resigned to to let the world follow its own highway to destruction.
In the home youth is led, through the ideas of his parents, to regard society as static and immovable. College exposes him to more liberal thought; but at the same time his teachers, failing to realize that in him is the power to interpret for society by sheer inspiration the sum of knowledge, speak uncompromising dogma. By indifferently tolerating the student's enthusiasm, they tend to make him doubt his own ideals. But still persisting, youth enters the world, the exhortations of commencement orators in his cars, only to find all doors closed. Deprived of his rightful command when in the prime of life, like the Duke of Windsor, he becomes discouraged and finally abandons hope.
Thus the young become old. They fail to achieve a balance between the good and bad, adopt an attitude through no fault of their own that is not only unnecessary, but destructive of life itself. Youth, if he reckons in the evil formulating his ideals, will be able to meet and conquer the disappointment of life, and preserve his idealism to the end. Santa Claus need never die.
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