Recently I sat with a group of four young people ranging from 18 to 20 somethings, who were all varied degrees of liberal and have a reasonably nice middle-class life. As we chatted about different subjects, at one point I asked them: Is there a topic or issue in society that you are very concerned about?

Except for the 18 year old, the others were all thrown off with the question – it’s like they have never been asked to be concerned about anything. Concerned about something? Is there anything we should be concerned about? Like in the world, are there things to be concerned about besides ourselves?

They were at a loss, thinking about the question, not knowing what to say, maybe realizing at that moment that maybe they should be concerned about something, but what? One young woman looked slightly embarrassed. One young man made a little joke about being concerned about something totally superficial. He certainly wasn’t bothered about not being concerned about anything serious.

They searched for a few moments for something and came up with nothing. The 18 year old, who unlike the others, has not yet gone to college, but who was very interested in many issues, said what her concern was. She was the only one.