Kids Today: Quote from Socrates?

I remember a quote I received 16 years ago via e-mail — back in the days when you couldn’t verify things through Snopes, Google or Hoaxbusters. To put this time in perspective, a girlfriend challenged me to find the original name for Winnie the Pooh and it took a phone call to Disney’s librarian to get the answer (Edward the Bear).

Here’s the quote (which took me 45 minutes to find via Google because I couldn’t remember that it’s attributed to Socrates):

The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.

It’s widely reported that this quote below was spoken by Socrates (and written by Plato), and this was further legitimized by this source: Attributed to SOCRATES by Plato, according to William L. Patty and Louise S. Johnson, Personality and Adjustment, p. 277 (1953).

But the folks on Google Answers doubt it’s authenticity, and point to this information as sourced on

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.

So what’s this got to do with online video, Nalts? It’s the context of today’s “Kids Today Suck” video, where I react to a series of playfully insulting birthday wishes from online-video creators. (Parenthetically, I’m still wiping the makeup and latex off my face, hoping to spare my kids the trauma of waking to a dad that’s even older looking than usual).

My video reflects what I believe is an important insight, and there are other historical quotes on Google Answers that back it up that make it less important as to whether Socrates said it or not. When we perceive children as disrespectful and lacking exercise we are observing a timeless truth. So put ’em in perspective before you beat yourself up or, worse yet, them.

There are at least two 2-word statements that make me gag — especially when they come out of my own mouth. “You need” and “these days.” When I catch myself thinking or saying them, it usually prompts some reflection.

Thanks to all of you for your birthday wishes! You blogged about it, created a new YouTube channel with several dozen thoughtful and humorous wishes, and created the funniest birthday “collab” I’ve seen. You even pushed my recent “Soap Candy Prank” video to the number one comedy of the day on YouTube, with more than 300 comments and high ratings. Life’s a roller coaster but I tend to believe it gets more enjoyable with time — like a fine wine. Unless of course the cork rots. 🙂

Author: Nalts

Hi. I'm Nalts.

19 thoughts on “Kids Today: Quote from Socrates?”

  1. Jischinger – you are not subscribed to my channel? You would have known my gender if you were. Oh, I am heartbroken. I think I’ll stab myself in the heart to end my pain.

    Ugghgghh. Did it. Oh no, now there is blood spurting all over the computer screen. I’ve ruined my computer! Now there’s blood all over the –


  2. Don’t do it sukatra!! Nothing is worth killing yourself over!

    Unless, of course, you were excluded from the Nalts birthday colab video as I was. I have a “FanClubofNalts” page on YouTube and a “FanClubofNalts” group on Facebook, but did I get invited to particiate in the colab? Nooo. Why?

  3. I thought Plato & Socrates were a comedy team .. like “Rowan & Martin” ??
    “In the United States today, there is a pervasive tendency to treat children as adults, and adults as children. The options of children are thus steadily expanded, while those of adults are progressively constricted. The result is unruly children and childish adults.” ~Thomas Szasz

  4. MDJ:
    What the hell is the Inner Circle K of Zod? I mean, I am familiar with Zod, the villain in the Superman comic books, and Circle K is a convenience store chain; does this mean Zod and his minions meet in the back of the Circle K?

  5. sukatra – I am subscribed I just never watch. Actually, I’m kidding, of course I watch, just like Kevin does. Actually, I’m kidding, I do watch, but I spend so much time reloading Kevin’s You Tube Channel holding my breath while waiting for a new funny video from him I don’t get to see all your videos your videos You Tube. Actually, I’m kidding, who is Nalts? Actually, I thought you were that little person in the videos. You can come back alive now.

    Marilyn, don’t feel bad I was excluded too, even though I’ve been around here LONGER than all of YOU! but, that’s OK, fame is fleeting and then I’ll have my revenge!


  6. I certainly admit a distaste for transcendentalists, whom we in the Inner Circle K of Zod call “Frogpondians.” I’ve ridiculed their videos in particular by calling them “metaphor-run,” lapsing into “obscurity for obscurity’s sake” or “mysticism for mysticism’s sake.” I don’t dislike ALL Transcendentalists, only the pretenders and sophists among them. But vloggers. My God. What a pickle barrel of pork-leavings. I’ll take transcendentalists over vloggers any day.

  7. Allow me.

    MDJ I think you meant to say ‘metaphor-runners’. But I disagree with you on your point about following certain object crusaders for the sake of their goals. Pretenders arn’t sophists. As sophists are self destructive. Pretenders are only pretenders, Nothing more. Agreed on vlogers though.


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