The Public Interest

Radical chic

Jonah Goldberg

Summer 1995

IN America,” remarked Oscar Wilde, “the young are always .ready to give those who are older than themselves the full benefit of their inexperience.” As one might expect, this tendency manifests itself most often on America’s college campuses, and not always for the worse. For example, a King’s College (later Columbia University) student activist named Alexander Hamilton helped incite the mob that hounded the school’s president onto a British warship heading back to England.  Of course, some frown at the immature excesses of America’s youth. In 1822, after enduring numerous protests, riots, and demonstrations, President Cooper of the College of South Carolina complained, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, “Republicanism is good, but the rights of boys and girls are the offspring of Democracy gone mad.”

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