Fewer Young People, More Geezers Working These Days

Source: StatChat blog

The percentage of young people (ages 16 to 25) participating in Virginia’s workforce has been sliding over the past 15 years, while the percentage of old-timers (65 years or older) in the workforce has been increasing.

The percentage change of geezers in the workforce increased 59% between 2001 and 2016, according to data published by the Demographics Research Group of the University of Virginia on the StatChat blog. By contrast, the percentage of the working 20- to 24-year-olds slid 11%, while the percentage of teenagers (ages 16 to 19) tumbled 24%.

The percentage of young people (ages 16 to 24) enrolled in school has been rising steadily since 1960. The big change in Virginia has been a marked decline in the percentage of students who are working while in school, as seen in the graph below. StatChat sees this as a good thing:

A greater proportion of teens are now choosing not to work in order to dedicate more of their time to school studies and to non-work-related extracurricular activities, perhaps to gain a competitive advantage in admission to postsecondary educational programs.

That’s one explanation. Another is that young people today don’t have the same work ethic as their elders. Members of the most affluent generation in American history would prefer to spend more time finding themselves, “giving back,” or following their bliss than submitting to the grind of a regular job. That’s not true of all young people, some of whom work very hard, but I have a hunch that it’s fair as a generalization.

The Demographics group did not proffer an explanation of why more seniors are working, but I’ve got a hunch. Baby Boomers may have been a hard-working generation, but they weren’t very frugal. The cohort now reaching retirement age did not do a very good job of saving for retirement. Now Boomers are finding they have to work longer to make ends meet. Just a hunch.

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35 responses to “Fewer Young People, More Geezers Working These Days”

  1. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    Uh, more and more youngsters lured into college thinking that is the only path to success, delaying their entry to the workforce, and their grandparents still working to help with the bills or help pay down the debt or to pump it into a 529? Just a random thought. Hard to retire if the kid with the useless degree is still in the basement…. I would agree people in their 60s are working longer to pile up more for retirement, but I also think better health is making that more possible.

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    older folks who did not earn enough social security or spouses who were stay at home and then “ex” can explain some f those grey haired folks in Walmart checkouts and McDonalds .. who do not spend hours on their feet for giggles or grins .. and I hope not to support their lazy offspring or grandkids… geeze… maybe that’s a just reward for bad parenting??

    other seniors just take jobs with pitiful pay – just to stay busy.

    but I’m appalled at the drop in young people and skeptical..most fast food places have a good percentage of young mixed in with the gray hairs.

    Perhaps the college types these days prefer loans and loan-help from dad/mom/grandparents to sweat equity… eh? lord…

    The group we don’t notice as well are the ones that actually did work all their lives – at minimum wage and so their social security is quite minimal.

    How pitiful? Folks who do volunteer taxes.. for seniors who need tax help.. it’s not unusual at all to see folks with 12K annual social security with their Medicare deducted. I don’t know how they survive… but somehow they do I guess with Food Stamps and local food pantries.. and other help.

    And we’re going to see more of it with folks who work in the gig/service economy as workers who get no health insurance nor pension. They’ll get to retirement age and the only reason they’ll have even minimal social security is that the govt forces them to pay FICA tax.

  3. The work ethic I’ve seen isn’t there. That I grant you. I didn’t get loans from parents. Had to pay my way with loans. Nowadays they are too attached to social media and cell phones to really do more than sign a name to a change.org petition.
    Sad. That is what you get with the parenting and schooling they get nowadays.

  4. djrippert Avatar

    I had so many great jobs. Let me see if I can remember them. 1. Mowed lawns at Pentagon, 2. Wiped down cars at a car wash, 3. Pumped gas at same car wash, 4. Pumped gas at Exxon, 5. Pumped gas at Shell, 6. Construction laborer, 6. Carpenter’s assistant, 7. Electrical cable truck worker, 8. Waiter (Mexican Rest), 9. Mowed lawns for gardening crew, 10. Waiter (American food rest) 11. Moving man

    I had to quit late every summer to start playing football.

    9 of those 11 job types still exist today. I would bet that at least 6 of those 9 jobs are held by immigrants who don’t go to school. I’m sure many would work a couple of those jobs on a part time basis adding up to a full time basis.

    Most of those were minimum wage jobs. Why hire kids who can’t work during school hours or quit for football season or have to go back to college at the end of the summer when there’s a ready supply of legal and illegal immigrants who don’t pose any of those school-based scheduling issues?

    I’m not making a value judgement but I question whether today’s youth have the same opportunities for after school and summer work at minimum wage jobs anymore, at least in Fairfax County.

  5. LarrytheG Avatar

    I worked in a flooring store, a stationary store (remember them?), grocery, k-mart, Leggetts, Phillips 66, and attended Community College at night for a number of years before transferring to a 4-year .. then more courses after that ..

    Many of our landscapers down this way are All American boys.. I see lots of high schoolers in the fast food and chain restaurants.. and in Food Lions but not in Walmart or Giants. WaWa and Sheetz hire kids… few immigrants.

    Down our way -immigrants do the roofs… putting cables in the ground , house cleaning… tree work… land clearing..etc..

    I think there are lots of job opportunities for young folks if they want them and it is an important part of their education – to learn what a job really is , how important it is to be on time, to do what you say you will do and in general to understand the relationship between the job and the business or enterprise … i.e. what are the really important things that business needs it’s employees to do – to not be told that – to see and understand it for yourself and conduct yourself as a part of the company not just working for them.

    to not do any of this until after College … so your first job is really your first job… long learning curve… some folks hit the ground running and others hit the ground and I do very much believe in work while in school.. you never stop learning anyhow.

    1. djrippert Avatar

      Having kids in college in rural Pennsylvania and rural South Carolina I’ve noticed the differences in who is working entry level jobs by region. It’s rare to go into a fast food place in inner NoVa where the employees are speaking English to one another, it’s almost always Spanish. In fairness, they also are usually quite able to speak English to the customers. Down in South Carolina the only Spanish word the people working at Waffle House might know is “taco”.

      One of my sons did manage to get a summer job at a bagel shop during the summer of 2016. Everybody he worked with spoke Spanish when speaking to each other. He took Spanish in high school so he knew the basics. By the end of the summer he was conversational. When he and I went to Spain for a vacation this Summer he was bailing me out when I’d get stuck trying to hold a conversation in my Spanglish. So, call it a learning experience.

  6. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    I’ve talked to scores of people who spent high school summers working at the shipyard. Now they come for the first time either after HS graduation or as college co-ops or interns. No more summer jobs at age 16, 17, probably because of safety concerns (a former state senator once told me of a near-fatal accident during his summer there.) My kids had safer HS jobs in the 90s (grocery store clerk, Domino’s clerk, movie theater, waitress), all minimum wage. Could we be looking at the unintended consequences of higher minimum wages and other employment regs?

    On the other end of the timeline, don’t underestimate the impact of the disappearance of the traditional defined benefit pension plan and its replacement with the 401K, which requires discipline and a willingness to accept risk. Over the years many of my co-workers failed to even invest the minimum required to get the company match.

  7. LarrytheG Avatar

    not in favor of youngsters working at high risk jobs… where inexperience can cost them their lives.

    but what I WOULD like to see is the stats for those who are not counted as unemployment because they are not looking for jobs.

    are students considered part of those that could work but are not?

    and how about a map of Virginia showing where there are abled bodied that don’t work and are no longer looking for work. I’d like to see how those geographic areas with high unemployment are actually reflecting to total number of those out of work – and/or no longer looking by age ..

    The thing about “stats” is that when data is distilled down… sometimes important context gets lost and then people substitute their own beliefs for the missing data.

    The aggregate numbers may mislead. is the lower age work data.. true both urban and rural? How about the geezers who work? same in NoVa as SW Va?

    Tax cuts for individuals won’t help the unemployed and under-employed and tax cuts for Corporations that no long have manufacturing in rural areas is not going to convince them to go back a re-open manufacturing if the reasons for the initial plant closing have not changed.

    That date – circa 2000 looks like something major happened that caused a rapid drop in younger age employment.

  8. LarrytheG Avatar

    maybe same data charted a slightly different way but confirms the statchat data


  9. Merry Christmas, all!

    1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

      Merry Christmas and Happy Boxing Day.

      I have to take my hat off to my son and daughter. At 14, he got a job working at Giant as a bagger. He was not allowed to go outside the store with carts for safety reasons. He later worked at two restaurants in Tysons, a Tae Kwon Do school, Best Buy and a specialty garage. He starts working for Toyota this week.

      My daughter babysat, worked at Giant, for Uncle Sam at the same agency as her mother, for a startup company and now works at Credit Suisse in Raleigh-Durham.

      There are jobs for kids and young adults. But they need to put down their cell phones and make applications.

  10. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    Merry Christmas, all, too!

    For the New Year: Pray for all the failures and great struggles that are so essential for our meaningful success and change in all our futures.

    As for the best book to read in 2018 – my vote and hope for everyone to read:

    Sensemaking: the Power of the Humanities in the Age of the Algorithm.

    Yes, we all are human after all!

  11. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    Question #1:

    What 2018 graduates from college are most likely to be successful by 2028?

    Answer. The most likely choice are those who excelled in the humanities.

    Question #2:

    Who on Bacon’s Rebellion in 2016 made the most sage predictions as to the unfolding of upcoming events in America in 2017?

    Answer: Andrew Roesell. See his Feb. 2016 comments to Bye, Bye, Byrdie post at https://www.baconsrebellion.com/bye-bye-byrdie/

  12. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    Thanks, Reed, but I am but a dwarf standing on the shoulders of giants, and by a mother who raised me “not to be a member of the herd” of cattle that she remembered from an old cowboy movie, where the startled bovines head over a cliff, one after another after another, to destruction.



    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd


      One of those of giants on whose shoulders you stand is Martin Luther King, apparently. Your commentary to Bye, Bye, Byrdie, refers to and reflects deeply his teachings found at

      A few snippets of Dr. Kings words found there are:

      From the very beginning there was a philosophy undergirding the Montgomery boycott, the philosophy of nonviolent resistance … nonviolent resistance is not a method of cowardice. It does resist… (but) is nonaggressive physically (and) is strongly aggressive spiritually … the nonviolent resister does not seek to humiliate or defeat the opponent but to win his friendship and understanding … the aftermath of violence is bitterness. The aftermath of nonviolence is reconciliation and the creation of a beloved community… so … the nonviolent resister seeks to attack the evil system rather than individuals who happen to be caught up in the system.

      … The struggle is rather between justice and injustice, … so (the struggle) not only avoids external violence or external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. And so at the center of our movement stood the philosophy of love.

      … God grant that as men and women all over the world struggle against evil systems they will struggle with love in their hearts, with understanding good will … But there are some things within our social order to which I am proud to be maladjusted and to which I call upon you to be maladjusted. I never intend to adjust myself to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to adjust myself to mob rule. I never intend to adjust myself to the tragic effects of the methods of physical violence and to tragic militarism. I call upon you to be maladjusted to such things …

      The wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King is sorely needed today. Andrew, thank you also for reminding us of that truth back in February of 2016, too.

  13. We’ve learned a lot this year. One thing learned is that thoughtful people are concerned about causation, whereas reactionaries at both ends of the spectrum care only about results. History has no significance, even relevance, for people who don’t care why we are the way we are, but simply wish (demand) that we be different. We see this in the occasional deliberate choice to erase history — remove the statues, rename the schools — rather than learn from it. We see it in government measures of hiring discrimination — or college admission — that simply disregard the nature of the talent search or the profile of the applicant pools. We see this in the denigration of main stream media for persisting in their concern for factual accuracy, because who cares about accurately representing the past if your sole intent is to eradicate it (and you don’t see any predictive connection between past and future)? Yes, those who ignore history may be doomed to repeat it.

    But another thing learned is that there is ugliness in our history. There are statues that were erected not in heartbroken memory of the generation of young men who died in vain, but in the renewed militance of Jim Crow. There are schools that were named to intimidate, not for leaders we wish our students to emulate, but to remind them to stay in their place. There were good people who were incidentally products of their times; but also there were people whose primary focus was to preserve what even they knew was evil. We’ve learned there is inertia to preserve history today merely to avoid reexamining the past. And there are people who say hateful things to incite a reaction, and even if their right to say those things is important, they have no right to incite others without a consequence for themselves.

    God grant us the wisdom to admit the difference, and to deal with the latter as they deserve.

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      Acbar says:

      “We’ve learned a lot this year. One thing learned is that thoughtful people are concerned about causation, whereas reactionaries at both ends of the spectrum care only about results. History has no significance, even relevance, for people who don’t care why we are the way we are, but simply wish (demand) that we be different. We see this in the occasional deliberate choice to erase history … Yes, those who ignore history may be doomed to repeat it … But another thing learned is that there is ugliness in our history … God grant us the wisdom to admit the difference, and to deal with the latter as they deserve.”

      I’ve come to believe that learning important aspects of history in a true and meaningful way, and applying that learning to our world today, is far more difficult, complex, and demanding than I had ever imagined. The task demands all of our powers and their immense efforts. For anyone doing such task well, and thus having an impact that might change reality, will encounter fierce resistance from the present.

      This is why so many great books of history (or art or science) are written in varying degrees of code on so many levels, if only to keep the writers neck, or his work, off the chopping block.

      This is also why so much great history (like art and science) has been intentionally destroyed. Or buried, even if its creator lives to die of natural causes. It is the reason so many are in exile.

      The truth is that the present hates to hear the truth about today, and it hates to hear the truths of history that brought us to where we are today. Truth is the perennial orphan, particularity truth having relevance to today’s world.


      Much of the truth is very ugly. Most of the truth is novel, quite strange, mostly unknown. Most truth is very uncomfortable, even under the best of circumstances, and it is very significantly different, far different, often quite the opposite, from what the reader may have thought or believed to be the truth before uncovering the truth. Particularly so as the truth is only as good and deep as the searcher powers to uncover, judge, and appreciate it, a journey during which he or she must overcome many obstacles. Even then, the truth will die unless the searcher finds a way to keep that true alive.

      Take for example the work that Andrew mentions in Bye, Bye, Birdie – Plato’s Book VIII of the Republic. See: Book VIII of _The Republic_ http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/republic.9.viii.html

      This book cost Socrates his life.

      How many died in Rome citing that book as the authority for what was in fact going on in Rome for 500 years after the fall of the Roman Republic? Ask Cicero how many before they chopped off his hands. No, the better question is who cited Book VIII and lived to see the sun rise again.

      The truth that Socrates (through Plato) taught mankind about itself brings to us just as much bitterness today. And it is just as misunderstood today as it was in ancient Rome. Thomas Jefferson despised the book. John Adams “built his Church up its rock.” Disputations over its meanings and conclusions fueled perhaps the most vicious and vitriolic presidential campaign in American history. That between Jefferson and Adams in 1800. During those bitter times, it unfairly damaged and destroyed reputations of fine men up until this very day, and indeed threatened our Federal form of government in its infancy.

      This morning, thanks to Andrew, I read Book VIII front to back for the first time in a decade. I saw it in a wholly different light, given what I have learned in the last decade.


      Because like Andrew says, the Book helps to explain much of the ugliness of history and how it is borne along through time on the wings of the dark aspects of human nature, and the systems that men and women build and operate to promote and protect those dark instincts of their human nature.

      There is a great paradox here, one that is the great gift of history. The more the searcher for the truth of history uncovers the more he must confront the ugliness of history. But here to is where the great gift arises. For the more ugliness he or she can confront and work through and appreciate, the more he or she comes to appreciate the good and noble acts of men and women who endure that ugliness with their goodness intact and so often overcome it in ways large and small, and even reverse that dark side of history and human nature.

      And then also comes the second great gift, that is one that Martin Luther King shines his light on – how also the searcher for the truth so often comes to see that the real evil is often built into not only “the systems within human nature, but also the systems that human nature builds and operates to generate so much evil in the world we all must live in and deal with.

      Some people far more than others must deal directly with and confront this dark reality. This is why the good warrior, the good teacher, and the good scholar are so precious to us all. Our Civilization depends on these good people to an inordinate degree, and we, the rest of us, reap the great benefits the bestow on us.

      1. Andrew Roesell Avatar
        Andrew Roesell

        Dear Reed,

        Thanks for the citation of Adams & Jefferson. The latter I vaguely remembered did not like Plato, but the former I did not know admired him and _The Republic_. Thanks for sharing.



        1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
          Reed Fawell 3rd

          A more apt description of Jefferson’s view of Plato’s Republic was that it amounted to indecipherable nonsense for the reason that it was the polar opposite of Jefferson’s official version of his views on politics, while in fact Plato’s Republic described quite aptly Jefferson’s oligarchic (aristocratic) lifestyle, including his treatment of slaves.

          As for Adams, his core political beliefs – his fear that the excesses of the oligarchic (aristocratic) class and also of democratic rule could be tempered only by a powerful and long tenured executive grows directly out of Plato’s Republic whether directly or indirectly received. Yet, Adams was ambiguous at best on these obvious origins of his most deeply held political beliefs. This likely grew out of his plain puritan New England lifestyle and upbringing, all in stark contrast to the imperial lifestyle of Jefferson in his actions as distinct from his words.

          Adams, however, late in life in a letter to Jefferson chided Plato in an obsequious effort to curry Jefferson’ favor. The most honest and direct, industrious and fearless and competent of men, Adams nevertheless could on occasion be socially insecure around Jefferson and his ilk. Another human, like us all, including Jefferson.

    2. TooManyTaxes Avatar

      “We see this in the denigration of main stream media for persisting in their concern for factual accuracy.”

      Sorry, Acbar, I don’t buy this. Accuracy is desired only when it fits the Media Outlet’s script. You can count on one hand the number of reporters whose writing or oral discussion does not quickly lead the reader/listener/viewer to know the reporter’s slant to the story. Tony Olivo from the Post is one of the few reporters where I don’t know what he feels about the story.

      I’m no journalist, but way back in high school English when we had a unit on journalism, we were taught a good reporter answers the questions: Who? What? Where? When? and Why? And doesn’t put her/his personal views into the story. I doubt this is taught anymore. Or, if it is, it’s quickly forgotten.

      Life is complex, such that there rarely is an event with only one perspective. Even reporting on a car crash should provide at least the two drivers’ perspectives. Forgoing a discussion of national politics, just look at the media and Fairfax County government. The media accounts for an ever growing need for more programs and more spending on the ones we have. How often, if ever, do you see something that questions the effectiveness or efficiency of a program. Or even fairness in taxation. Compare, for example, the various BPOL tax rates in Fairfax County. Why do real estate developers pay only $0.05 per hundred? Many businesses pay in the $0.30 per hundred range. Compare the $0.16 per hundred rate developers pay in Arlington County.

      Clearly, the BPOL tax is ripe with questions and would make a great story – the kind that might get more people reading newspapers either on paper or online.

      Why does Fairfax County generally not enforce the occupancy laws? If they were enforced, the County would receive higher real estate taxes with more people living in authorized units that pay real estate taxes. I’m just scratching the surface.

      No, most of the MSM have an agenda and ignore evidence that is not consistent with it.

      1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
        Reed Fawell 3rd

        I agree with you, TMT. It is nearly impossible today to find honest news in the MSM. Like you, typically, I can find the slant within the first line or two of any story. I gave up the NY Times in the 1990s, the Washington Times around 2010, the Washington Post in 2011, and will not be renewing the WSJ this year. It’s painful. But dishonest news is worse than no news at all.

        There are many reasons for this decline. Most recent is the growing power of the reporters sources who share the reporters bias. Speak truth to the power of sources who share your bias and you are out of business, or out of a job, or cut out of the fed easy story. Truth hurts. Truth is hard. Truth puts you out of business with those who feed you. It is a tragedy.

        1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
          Reed Fawell 3rd

          But truth, being as rare as it is, is also precious. It reflects accurately, as best people can, the worse in us, and, in so doing, it reflects the best in us. So it refuses to look away, however hard its truth may be.

          So if we refuse look away from the truth once found, it honors us with great gifts. Hence, we should treasure truth and pursue the truth as best we can, always. Only then can we rise above ourselves into a better place.

          We have truth before us now in 2017. We should be thankful for it. Learn from it. And act on it as best we know how. Here I speak of the Hunton and Williams Law Firm report on the events in the spring and summer in the public parks in Charlotteville Va. in 2017. This is one of the most important documents we will ever read.

          Read carefully this Final Report Independent Review of the 2017 Protest Events in Charlottesville, Virginia. It is now at:


          Download this report. It is the truth. Others will try to bury it.

          1. Andrew Roesell Avatar
            Andrew Roesell

            Dear Reed,

            Sadly, many of us are only selectively interested in the truth, when it confirms our own “agenda.” When it does not, then it and its bearer usually are “conveniently” ignored, or stoned, or shot, or exiled, or most tellingly, crucified. That is often the way in this world. But God sees all things, remembers all things, and will judge all things.



          2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
            Reed Fawell 3rd

            Andrew –

            You say – “Sadly, many of us are only selectively interested in the truth, when it confirms our own “agenda.” When it does not, then it and its bearer usually are “conveniently” ignored, or stoned, or shot, or exiled, or most tellingly, crucified.”

            Yes, or your image is hidden under a shroud in a public square as in the case of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, or your stone memorial is removed into hiding from an Episcopal Church in Alexandria, Virginia in the case of George Washington.

      2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
        Reed Fawell 3rd

        The Washington Post’s “Post Opinions Twitter Account” tweeted out to all its subscribers on Christmas Morning that in its official opinion the Historical Jesus did not exist (and never had) “because the evidence just doesn’t add up.”

        According to The Stream, this latest Washington Post reporting “contained no “breaking” news of some scholar unearthing new historical evidence” but simply regurgitated a earlier debunked three-year old piece the post published in December, 2014 that falsely claimed:

        “There are clearly good reasons to doubt Jesus’ historical existence, given the “lack of early (reliable) sources” about the life of Jesus given that ancient Christians had a conflict of interest, and lacked the necessary professional credentials, when they reported on the life of Jesus.

        Even if this ridiculous claim be true, there exists powerful outside evidence of the historical Jesus, according to an authoritative 20015 article published in the journal Biblical Archaeology Review.

        See: https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/jesus-historical-jesus/did-jesus-exist/

        By the way, Hershel Shanks who founded of the Biblical Archeological Review in 1975 and was its Editor in Chief until his retirement in 2017, was a law partner of mine, and one of my mentors in the law. BAR, based in Washington DC and published bi-monthly, seeks to connect the academic study of archaeology to a broad general audience seeking to understand the world of the Bible (Old and New Testament) and the Near and Middle East.

        1. Wow, that’s extraordinary. One can legitimately debate all day long the true nature of Jesus, but to deny that he was a historical figure is mind-boggling. The fact is, Jesus is one of the better documented historical figures of the ancient world. I can’t believe that the WaPo would perpetuate such ignorance. Maybe the WaPo needs a new tag-line: “Theology dies in darkness.”

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            it’s another one of the left/right deals with the right going ape-crap over WaPo opinion – an opinion piece – asking that question.

            and the fact of the matter actually is there are a lot of “accounts” not of Jesus but other religious figures of that time… some of them conflicting.

            The “Bible” is one of many, many “accounts” by the way.

            at it’s essence – this is yet another tempest in a teapot like the one about Obama not saying “Merry Christmas” and now supposedly we “can”.


            some people WANT to increase the divide… amp it up… not for “good” purposes.. just to keep things stirred up…

            and would you REALLY think a publication entitled Bible History Daily – would actually question stuff in the bible rather than point to it as a historical resource?

            for that matter – what “Bible”? There are scores of different versions.. as well as other historical accounts of that era.

            I’m not questioning the historical accounts.. only saying there are a bunch.. and some of them conflict.. and believers will selectively pick the parts that confirm their own beliefs and then disagree vehemently with others who challenge that “evidence”.

            People SHOULD believe what they want but to insist it’s the truth from on high and those that disagree are blasphemous heathens is an exercise is … well.. something other than legitimate.

          2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
            Reed Fawell 3rd

            Take a sedative. And go back to sleep.

        2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
          Reed Fawell 3rd

          “For the idea that one can learn the meaning of life in the same way that one learns the names of the kings of England or the periodic table or masters the elements of economic theory is not just mistaken. It is absurd … it is comic …

          And so (it is) the source of Woody Allen’s remark that he cheated on his metaphysics exam by looking into the soul of the boy sitting next to him. (And why Woody joked that) he couldn’t understand why some people want to know the secrets of the universe when it’s hard to find one your way around Chinatown.

          (But why Woody’s great wonder and deep humor?)

          (The answer lies in the immense difficulty and eccentricity of the task.)

          We find it difficult to get and keep in focus (the meaning of our life). La Rochefoucauld compared death to the sun. Just as we cannot stare at the sun for more than a moment, he said, we cannot bear to look death in the eye. The question of the meaning of (our) life is like this too … it has a blinding immensity that threatens to blot our all the more familiar landmarks by which we steer our course from day to day …

          (Still, despite the immense difficulty of the task, we cannot in the end look away from death and the sun).

          So history, (despite the ignorance and fear of mankind) does record (and cannot avoid despite its best and fiercest efforts) the careers of a few rare individuals – like Socrates and Jesus – who were able to keep this question before themselves with a steadiness the rest of us can never attain. We are dawn to them for this reason, quite apart from their teaching. We are fascinated by their ability to pursue the question of life’s meaning with such unflagging seriousness, (a task we find so very hard to do, yet cannot ultimately avoid, so frightening)”


          Educations End Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life, by Anthony T. Knonman, Sterling Professor of Law, Yale Law School.

          Since stepping down as Dean of the Law School in 2004, Professor Knonman has been teaching in the Directed Studies Program at Yale and devoting himself to the humanities.

          1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
            Reed Fawell 3rd

            “But one cannot live a meaningful life unless there is something one is prepared to give it up for. People’s lives are therefore meaningful in proportion to their acknowledgement that there is something more important than the lives they are leading: something worth caring about in an ultimate way.

            The question, of course, is what that something is, or ought to be? It is a supremely difficult question. But the difficulty of the question should not be mistaken for its absurdity or irrelevance. It is the question that Socrates (who died for philosophy) and Jesus (who died for humanity) installed at the center of our civilization and that we each face in our individual lives.” See Education’s End: Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life by Anthony Knonman.

            This has given rise to the renewed examination of the polarity, if there be any, between Athens and Jerusalem, reason and Revelation, if the philosopher or prophet alone can sustain us in the west?

            See: https://www.firstthings.com/article/2012/02/between-athens-and-jerusalem

  14. LarrytheG Avatar

    Well I do wonder how Dr. King would feel about the kneeling at football games as well as those statues.

    Pretty sure he’d be supporting of the kneeling… and up for consideration – would we …should we . have left up statues of Hitler or Saddam Hussein and and others to “remind” us of “history”?

    I don’t know the answer conflicted , but folks who were on the brunt end would make it hard for me to condemn them for their feelings… especially if they felt such statues were erected by those wanted blacks “reminded” of a time they wanted to forget.

    It DOES FEEL WRONG to take down statues… to some of us.. for myself – initially… but it was not that long ago when some of us actually attended segregated schools.. and thought it right also and then had to re-think our views when we closed down some schools and integrated others..

    At any rate… ” God, grant me the Serenity, to accept the things I can not change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference” not an easy thing for many including this guy.

    I understand we might see changes in BR this year!

  15. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    Yes, Reed, or removed from public view as you say. Only those monuments and names will remain that “fit” with those who hold power. All others will be joyously cast down or removed.



  16. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    Dear Reed,

    Your recitation of a central reality of life, namely death, brought to my mind this psalm which our Priest read today: “9 For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.
    10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
    11 Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.
    12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” (from Psalm 90)



  17. Win Barber Avatar
    Win Barber

    According to the Fed. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of U.S. 16-to-19 year olds enrolled in summer school, rather than summer employment, has tripled in the past 20 years. More teens are going to summer school.

    The number of Federally-funded summer jobs, has greatly decreased, although the past decade has seen a great rise in unpaid internships (which don’t show up as “paid employment”).

    Teenagers seeking summer Retail jobs also face increasing competition from low-skilled immigrants, which didn’t used to be the case.

    These observations all come from the following article in “Citylab” https://www.citylab.com/life/2017/06/teenagers-have-stopped-getting-summer-jobs-why/530004

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