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The Ethical Practice of Torch-Passing





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by William S. Becker

In the Olympics of living, there used to be a moment when an older generation “passed the torch” to the next generation in line.

In his inaugural speech a half-century ago, John Kennedy declared, “The Torch has been passed to a new generation."

Washington Post columnist David Broder used the same phrase when Bill Clinton became the first baby-boomer to be elected President of the United States, shaped by influences far different than his predecessors experienced during World War II.

After the disenchanted class pitched their tents in the streets last year, journalist Gregory Stanford wrote: “The nation’s Occupy movement has picked up the torch that Martin Luther King Jr. once carried to light the path to justice.” National Review blogger Mark Steyn used the same phrase last December in an analysis of events in Egypt.

But today, as the leading edge of the baby boom generation reaches the traditional torch-passing age, the tradition is obsolete. The mores, norms, policies and behaviors of past generations have left the torch in far too poor a condition to pass in good conscience. Insofar as we can fix it, we all need to get a grip: Baby Boomers as well as Generations X, Y and Z. Continued...


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