So, I sat down to write a post focused about a recent Macleans cover story on non-rebellious teens, but before I dive into that, I’d like to point out that it seems Macleans can’t make up their mind on the subject. Googling “macleans teens” brought up this article, a dilute version of the larger article in question that focuses on Christianity vs. Atheism + Islam trends, this post, announcing the larger article in question, and a very different article suggesting that teen pregnancy is now cool. On one hand, there’s something to be said about reporting from different sides of the fence to reduce bias, but on the other hand, there seems to be a lack of coherence.

In any case, the print article I originally alluded to says some things about teens today that apparently many experts find surprising. The gist of the article is that teens today are drinking less, smoking less, having less sex, valuing their families more, and, as an aside, there are fewer Christians, more Athiests, more Muslims, and more (as the statistical world insists on calling it) “other religion”-ists.

Reginald Bibby, the leadership of the survey squad that has been questioning teens for over two decades now, makes an important point that youth today, while experiencing greater freedom than preceding generation, have been through many of the hardships that come from abuse of that freedom such as fragmented family life, divorce, etc. Bibby suggests that the bad habits of their parents has increased teens’ resolve to correct the collective mistakes of a society that was, in its previous generation, tinkering with new freedoms for the first time.

I think that Bibby’s point sheds light on a greater ideological error in prevalent thought. Freedom does not inherently corrupt, and furthermore, it is a part of humanity’s coming of age to collectively come to appreciate that liberty and happiness emerges from the mature and responsible exercising of freedom, not the flagrant abuse of it.

It’s refreshing to see that systematic studies are exposing youths’ capacity to accelerate the process of a morally advancing civilization.