"I'm not a chicken. I'm just really hesitant." -Frasier Crane
Question #33763 posted on 03/03/2007 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I'm trying to find a complete quote from Plato. It starts: "What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the street inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?"

I think there is more to the quote, can you give me either the full quote or tell me where I can find it?

- Angela

A: Dear Angela,

Although the quotation is relatively well known, it is apparently spurious. From Bartleby.com:
Attributed to SOCRATES by Plato, according to William L. Patty and Louise S. Johnson, Personality and Adjustment, p. 277 (1953).

This passage was very popular in the 1960s and its essence was used by the Mayor of Amsterdam, Gijsbert van Hall, following a street demonstration in 1966, as reported by The New York Times, April 3, 1966, p. 16.

This use prompted Malcolm S. Forbes to write an editorial on youth.—Forbes, April 15, 1966, p. 11. In that same issue, under the heading "Side Lines," pp. 5—6, is a summary of the efforts of researchers and scholars to confirm the wording of Socrates, or Plato, but without success. Evidently, the quotation is spurious.
- Katya