“Far Too Easily Pleased”: My Generation and Justice

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” – C.S. Lewis

Justice and restoration for the marginalized people of our culture has (rightly) become a cause many of my fellow young people are championing. But I can’t help but feel frustration sometimes. There’s something that feels terribly “off” about some strains of this impulse, which shows up in the virtue signalling and “social justice warrioring” that comes along with the impulse for justice.

The problem isn’t that people caught in these moods are too zealous for justice. In my opinion, their fault is in part that they aren’t zealous enough.

Too many young people of my generation are satisfied if their political party wins, or if Barack Obama is elected.

Too many young people of my generation are satisfied if Stephen Colbert makes fun of their enemies.

Too many young people of my generation are satisfied if they attend a protest (of something) and raise a chant.

To them I say (as Lewis might say) that their “desires are too weak.” I say the same to the “radicals” who still believe that the age-old path of force and politics is the highest road they can take. There are better, more peaceful, more effective, more grounded ways to justice, and there are far more exciting visions of justice.

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James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, intellectual explorer, and perpetual apprentice. He opted out of college to join the Praxis startup apprenticeship program and currently manages marketing and communications at bitcoin payment technology company BitPay. He writes daily at jameswalpole.com.

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