Ain't Gonna Study Anti-War No More | Adweek Ain't Gonna Study Anti-War No More | Adweek
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Ain't Gonna Study Anti-War No More

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Ask the Students

Shaped by memories of their own student days, baby boomers take it for granted that recreational leftism will always be a favorite pastime of collegians. But times change, believe it or not, and student predilections do, too. This is evident in a national poll of undergraduates by Harvard University's Institute of Politics. When asked to characterize their "feelings about being an American," 43 percent of respondents termed themselves "very patriotic," while 49 percent said they're "somewhat patriotic." As you can see from the chart below, students have a high opinion of the American military as a force for good. Just as interesting (if confounding to aging boomers) is the fact that today's students don't display the generational solidarity that supposedly marked the 1960s. Just one-fourth trust "other students" to do the right thing either all the time (2 percent) or most of the time (24 percent). By contrast, 15 percent trust the president to do the right thing all the time, and 46 percent trust him to do so most of the time. Even when the question is stated in institutional rather than personal terms, a majority trust "the federal government" to do right all the time (10 percent) or most of the time (44 percent). Clearly, reflexive distrust of grownup institutions has lost its old cachet on campus. Some targets are too inviting to pass up, though. A resounding 1 percent of the poll's respondents said they trust the media to do the right thing all the time, with another 10 percent trusting it to do so most of the time.