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Hard to believe this is from nearly 6 years ago, but psychologist Jonathan Haidt was one of several panelist who discussed free speech and the exchange of ideas on campuses.

The essence of his conclusion amounts to how, “People born after 1980 are much more likely to be in a state of moral dependency. If somebody has done something to me, I won’t deal with it myself.  I will get an adult authority, a bureaucratic authority, a diversity a department, something to punish the person who did this to me.”

Contrast that to my generation, the X’s, the latch key kids. Man, we don’t ever involve the authorities in anything, ever! Bit of a joke, but there’s a line from the old series “Breaking Bad” that really sums it up, “we don’t never call the cops in my neighborhood.”

We were either completely abandoned by our examples of authority or else persecuted by them. Either way, we got the message loud and clear, these people do not have your well being at heart. Never trust them.

There is not one speck of moral dependency lurking anywhere in my dark little heart, except perhaps towards Jesus. People, institutions, authorities, not so much.

All in good humor, but I look at my children and my grandchildren sometimes and wonder what in the world happened here?! How on God’s green earth did you manage to come out of this house fully expecting all authority to center and revolve around your needs and well being???

It “feels” like an epic parenting failure, but when you take it apart, it’s actually what you want to see happen, it’s an ideal situation. You want to produce kids who feel as if authority centers around their needs and well being and to be outraged when it doesn’t.

We should all be outraged when it doesn’t…

Jonathan Haidt has also presented some interesting ideas around morality, primarily that we are born with some, that we are not “blank slates” or worse yet a popular notion in Christian circles, we’re born bad. I’ve always liked that notion, it resonates as more truthful to me, and it demonstrates evidence of us having been born with some God given morality. It may be a rough draft, unrefined, but I just recoil when I hear this somewhat standard response from many religious people that we are just born rotten and must be taught to be good.

So…I present the notion once again that the kids are okay. That what they are rebelling against is the brokenness of the world, the dysfunction of human structures and institutions. I suggest that moral dependency, rather than being a sign of weakness, ought to be our natural state of being. The fact that the world is often dysfunctional and messed up, does not indicate that the nature of the problem is our moral dependency on one another.