This passage from the Book of Journeyman, appearing in the Freeman, might have been written in the late 1920s or so. The book itself is not so much about politics but literature, art, and culture.
When by chance some of our youngsters do go through the motions of starting something, they set about it so constitutionally and with so much organization-decorum that they remind me a lot more of Methusaleh than of the flaming youth of the Second Empire. I am thinking of the young men’s anti-Prohibition league that I was reading about a while ago. They ought to be planning to get ten thousand of themselves together, make a lot of hooch, and on a stated day peddle it openly on the streets of New York; another day, Boston; another day, Philadelphia; and so on. I say, this is what they should plan to do, and be so hellbent on carrying it out that moderate old constitutionalists like me would have our hands level full with persuading them to take it easy and see first what could be done by less spectacular means–like mobbing a few dry-drinking Congressmen and boiling them in oil, for instance. Then we old men, though we might shake our heads a little and deplore the growing disregard of law ‘n’ order, would at least be convinced that the country had a future; which we doubt at present, unless the rough-neck girls supply it. All the manifestos of the young men’s anti-Prohibition league that I have seen are so well-aged and decorous that I might have written them myself….
What worries me is not the younger generation’s rebelliousness in petty matters, but
their tameness in great matters.