The Youth Are Precious

The number of children killed by bombs from Israeli planes is far larger than the number of civilians killed by Hamas.  Young Americans protest in universities because they say a “genocide” is being committed by Israel.  If this is correct, their protest is more than noble and ought to be the protest of everybody.  More than 34,500 Palestinian civilians have been killed since October 7.

Younger people have a bold idealism that older people tend to lose with age.  They’re precious in that way.  On the other hand, let’s note that the students who are attending top universities are not the C, D, and F students, but the A+ students.  It is much harder now to gain acceptance into a university than it was forty years ago, for example.  To be accepted today into a University of California campus, a student needs a 4.0 GPA or more.  He needs a 4.5 for UCLA, and it’s also harder to be accepted by UC San Diego and UC Berkley.  In the California State system, a 4.0 gets you into the waiting list at San Louis Obispo.  For acceptance into San Diego State (SDSU) today, the minimum is a 3.7 GPA.  It used to be that a student could get into SDSU with a 2.5 (Cs and Bs).  These university protesters are the crème of the crème, actually.  If they decide to protest as a group and call such a killing of civilians “genocide,” they should not be called “Hitler Youth” or compared with Hitler by older people.

Mark Levine calls them Hitler Youth on television and in his radio show.  He said on the radio that President Trump is the “least self-aggrandizing politician” in America, while praising his condemnation of the protests (I turned off the radio after that).  Other so-called conservative radio shows also use harsh terms for them.  The Republican Speaker of the House described the protesters as “antisemitic” and “un-American.”  President Trump called them “raging lunatics.”

By October 18, the civilian death toll in Gaza was 3,478, by far surpassing already the number of civilian Israeli deaths.  Oregon University and the City University of New York estimated that 62% of all the buildings in the Gaza Strip had been destroyed by January of this year.  Thousands of Gazans lie buried under the rubble.  The fact Hamas lives in underground tunnels makes the bombing of buildings an attack against civilians.  It has been a ridiculous lie that they aimed at terrorists with bombs dropped from planes on buildings.

UNICEF said last month that more than 13,000 children had been killed in Gaza, and this number is more than ten times the number of Israeli civilians killed on October 7.  Israel says that what happened on October 7 was a genocide, so this is a much larger genocide.  According to Israeli estimates, about 1,200 Israelis were killed on October 7, including foreigners (Reuters).  In February, AFP News said that 767 civilians, 20 hostages and 376 members of the security forces died on October 7 – a total of 1,163 victims.  AFP News:

“To calculate the new figure, AFP cross-referenced data published separately by Israel’s social security agency, the army, the police, the Shin Bet security agency and the prime minister’s office.”

The young are protesting against “genocide” and naturally against all those who support what Israel is doing.  Nowhere do the young support the Netanyahu government and those that help it.  After so many Gazan civilians have died, PM Netanyahu still says the Israeli army is “the most moral army in the world.”  That’s no opinion; it’s a lie from the most responsible one.

Last week, President Biden spoke to the nation about the youth’s revolt at American universities.  He did not support the protests as he should have.  More people should protest or at least sympathize with those who do.  He said they have a right to protest, but must keep the law.  I would add the university rules too.  He failed to address them as people in the flower of youth.  He should have recognized the idealism of youth and commended it.  He should have addressed “the youth” directly.  Instead, he described them only as “people” who are destroyers of property (“destroying property is not a peaceful protest”), haters (“hate speech”), anti-Jewish (“antisemitism”), vandals, trespassers, window breakers, intimidators, racists, and “un-American” (“it’s un-American”).

He responded to only one question.  White House transcript:

Q.  Mr. President, have the protests forced you to reconsider any of the policies with regard to the region?


So out of touch and forgetful was the President in this speech, so unappreciative of their idealism, that not even the non-protesters conjured up the image of the young to him:

“I understand people have strong feelings and deep convictions.  In America, we respect the right and protect the right for them to express that.”

“People have the right to get an education, the right to get a degree, the right to walk across the campus safely without fear of being attacked.”

People like high school graduates, you know?  Incidentally, weren’t the university protesters against Vietnam in the 60s right, after all?  The young people then, though criticized and also punished for protesting, turned out to be right in their “radical” protest; the fact they were right should be remembered now.

I like this quote about young and old from the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant:

“Youth is less inclined to be miserly than old age.  Youth has the possibility open to it of acquiring almost anything, but not so old age.”  (In his “Lessons of Ethics” book)

This other quote from him is for all people no matter the age:

“Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the oftener and the more steadily we reflect on them: the starry heavens above and the moral law within.”  (In his “Critique of Practical Reason”)

It is no coincidence that the protesters are very young people.  They will react to injustice more, and react for a moral cause when the rest don’t.  They feel it in their heart more than the rest, and they compromise less.  We should not forget this youthful trait and should consider that, of all people, it is they who are protesting against the deaths of so many civilians; when the majority of the victims are children and women, the word “civilians” doesn’t fit as well.

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