Whither the youth?

Young people have played a pivotal role in societal change all over the world – from the U.S., to Europe to China. Nothing brings fear and loathing to a politician like watching a demonstration of young people.

After hearing last week about UNB and its new effort to ban smoking everywhere on campus – even in a person’s own car, I began to wonder where are the priorities of today’s youth (and those of the teachers/leaders of post-secondary education but that is the subject of another blog)?

In the past, maybe, the lines were clearer. Our university kids had a clear sense of the injustices they were fighting for and offered an interesting perspective on the world.

But how about today? Draconian measures levelled towards smokers? How about those church ladies trying to push Jesus on society? How dare they? Or how about anti-globalism? How dare they offer Indonesian workers five times more in wages than they would have gotten in a pre-globalized world? Or how about Naomi Klein’s rage against logos, what’s up with that?

It seems to me that New Brunswick student’s have nothing really to fight for anymore.

And to them, I offer New Brunswick. It’s future. It’s potential.

New Brunswick has not had a population growth rate greater than the national average since the 1850s. The main industries driving our economy are the same as 100 years ago. There has been almost no effort to create new industries in New Brunswick since Confederation. We have been content to be hewers and hoers as the old saying goes.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if the students of New Brunswick picketed the legislature asking the government to do something about our population decline?

But that wouldn’t be nearly as important as the rise of the ‘religious right’ and their sinister plan to force us to obey the ten commandments. Or those smokers – a plague on their families for lighting up a cigarette once and a while.