Monday, January 19, 2009

Cultural Oxymoron

{The teacher} then turned to {Johnny Rico}. "I told you that 'juvenile delinquent' is a contradiction in terms. 'Delinquent' means 'failing in duty.' But duty is an adult virtue - indeed, a juvenile becomes an adult when, and only when, he acquires a knowledge of duty and embraces it as dearer than the self-love he was born with. There never was, there cannot be, a 'juvenile delinquent.' But for every juvenile criminal, there are always one or more adult delinquents - people of mature years who either do not know their duty, or who, knowing it, fail."

"And that was the soft spot which destroyed what was in many ways an admirable culture. The junior hoodlums who roamed their streets were symptoms of a greater sickness; their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of 'rights' . . . and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure."
-- Robert A. Heinlein, "Starship Troopers"

Today we are going to talk about the phrase discussed above. Juvenile Delinquent. I think the quote above breaks this down pretty well.

Juvenile: reflecting physiological or intellectual immaturity.
Delinquent: offending by neglect or violation of duty or of law.
(thanks, Merriam-Webster)

I'm not going to go on and on. I think the quote speaks will in and of itself, I just want everyone to think. Think about people you know, people on TV or on the radio or that you read about. Think about yourself, your friends and your family. How many of them recognize the duties and responsibilities of being an American and embrace them? How many are truly still a juvenile, regardless of age? How many have accepted their duty and are delinquent? Now think about how many are Diligent Adults?

Just think about it.

1 comment:

HermitJim said...

Very good points, my friend. I have to admit that I had never thought of it in this way. Does make you stop and think, doesn't it?

Thanks for the post!