DRIVERS in France aged 20 and under have been cut down to a 55 m.p.h. speed limit on the roads. Who but a French Government would dare? In this country, suburbans in their living rooms patiently halt conversations and cram their ears when the local ton-up boys roar by.
Progressive-minded leaders in politics and religion go through mental somersaults to bring their thinking into line with the interests of youth. Youth today is the measure of all things. It dictates the fashions in everyday dress and the values honoured by the State. The women have their little-girl skirts. The Beatles have their M.B.E.
We have at last, in the second half of this century, realised the importance of treating young people like people. But we have not yet learned to credit them with intelligence.
Teenagers, on the whole, are not developed enough socially to have their common aspirations seized on as the answer to the modern world's problems — and they know it. They know that most of the presentday idolising of youth is a gimmick, designed to win their allegiance or their money.
We may never need to go to the length of putting a speed limit on teenage drivers in this country. But as things are going, the younger and older generations will grow further and further away from sympathy with each other.
For to a great extent the authorities are pretending to abdicate their control, handing it over to youth. Young people don't really want to be in control. And in any case, they know that this abdication of authority is only an act.