What meaningful (good or bad) social, cultural or economic changes were spearheaded by youth

When I was a bit younger some of the older people in my life would have very derogatory attitudes about youth, implying they are all idealistic and have no idea how to actually make anything happen.

Which made me think of the civil rights movement in the south, how a lot of youth had a strong role in that with registering voters and doing non-violence. But a lot of youth also played a part in China’s cultural revolution under Mao. So young people can have a major part in social, political, economic, cultural, etc revolutions for good or bad. I was thinking today about how life seems to pass faster the older you get, supposedly the reason for this is that as time passes fewer things seem new or have emotional intensity to you, so time seems to pass faster. But when you are young everything is new.

So aside from those two instances, what else is there as far as youth reforming a society full of people older than themselves? Children of the corn doesn’'t count.

Some of the American founding fathers were quite young.

perhaps it can be said that the youth raise the general awareness about certain issues but are not yet able to implement any of the changes yet. But then when they get older and no longer count as youth, then they are in a position to effect those changes.

How young is “youth”? Not many cultural or economic changes have been spearheaded by under tens, a few were at least partially spearheaded by teenagers (the rock and roll revolution, for instance). Probably most cultural and economic changes have been spearheaded by twenty or thirty somethings.

I think this is better suited to Great Debates.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

In the 1960’s the youth advocated peace and love. And it was good!

I’d say the sexual revolution was mainly a youth project. Mainly.

Someone has never been to a lemon party.

Resist. Resist. Do not google that. Resist . . . Oh my Og! :eek:

The violent aspect of many revolutions tends to depend heavily on youth. For one example, much of the killing done by the Khmer Rouge was the work of very young soldiers.

Is that what the OP means by “spearheading”, though? It might be, but I took him to be talking about where the main impetus of new ideas, ideologies, and attitudes was coming from, rather than who was doing the grunt work of putting them into effect. In the Khmer Rouge, surely, the ideological direction came from an older leadership (Pol Pot was nearly 40 when he came to power), even if most of his foot soldiers were much younger. Mind you, I know nothing about the internal political dynamics of the Khmer Rouge. It is quite possible that Pol Pot and the rest of the leadership were largely pushed towards their extreme policies by the extremism of their much younger followers, whose support they might have lost if they had tried to be more moderate.

Perhaps the youth (college age, mostly) protests against the Viet Nam War in the United States in the late 1960-early 1970’s years is an example of what the OP has in mind.

But the government did not end the war until it was damn good and ready to do so for its own reasons, and by then the anti-war movement already had peaked and was fading.

Rock and soul music were originally made by young people and marketed to young people. They have become a part of classic culture. I’ve met 20-somethings who know as much or more about 1960’s music than I do!

And I believe rock and soul music had a lot to do with integrating society. Suddenly nobody cared about whether the singer was white or black, but only about the music.

And on a more serious note, the whole environmental movement started with the hippies. Pollution was one of the biggest dangers the world faced. We came damn near to the line that, had it been crossed, we would not have been able to save the environment.

Some societies never cared to begin with.

This organization was started by a young child.

Joan of Arc was executed at age 19.