Our Low Level of Goodness November 1, 1959

Margaret Mead, November 1. 1959

“A beatnik is a person who can’t tolerate the meaninglessness of the low level of goodness, and just because it is both low level and good casts his artistic rebellions in bizarre and often misunderstood forms.

“American society has sunk to a low-level goodness that forms a basis for juvenile delinquency, creates beat generation addiction, and stunts incentive among young people in business and professional pursuits.

“The ethic of low-level goodness only requires that everyone be as good as they are; so instead of reorganizing our cities, we scold a few parents or threaten to pass laws making parents, already completely robbed of any relationship to their children, responsible for the property their children destroy.

“Or, we even take out insurance policies against any damage our children may do – so everybody is protected from unpleasantness.”

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