I think I've figured it out, at least a big chunk of it.
It's not just me that's noticed. It's not just me that's concerned.
And it's not just ethics, although indirectly I suppose your ethics have an effect on your total behavior. There is something different about most kids today and I've been trying to figure out what it is. I've come up with an answer, not necessarily the only one, but it's gotta be a factor...
Their "Kitchen table learnin' " was MUCH different from mine.
My Dad was one of seven kids in his family. Four boys and three girls, the boys ALL served in the military. Dad's older brother was on the West Virginia in Pearl Harbor on 7 Dec 41 as she sank there. My Dad was assigned to an ARMY infantry division in the Pacific theater, and the Purple Heart over his left breast pocket earned him an early return from overseas in 1945. His two younger brothers served honorably after the war ended. Two of Dad's sisters married men who served during WWII...
One of them was injured when his glider crashed during the Normandy invasion. A big man, he lost nearly half his weight while he spent the rest of the war in a German P.O.W. camp.
Extraordinary, selfless men (and women)...
These heroes were the "normal" folks I grew up with. They taught the living history lessons I learned around the kitchen table at family gatherings. They taught me there are barbaric, evil people in the world.
So when my draft notice came in 1966 there was no question about what I would do.
No, I wouldn't blow my "great toe" off my left foot. I wouldn't flee to Canada. I wouldn't marry the first girl that would have me and start a family just to avoid conscription.
I looked at the men around my kitchen table and knew what I had to do. I was frightened, but I couldn't disgrace these men in any way...
I would serve. I would do my level best. I would try to make them proud of me.
As you know, my training led to a year in Viet Nam flying helicopter gunships. I came home to a different nation than my Dad and his siblings came home to. Me and my generation were shunned in some cases. We weren't welcomed as heroes.
My peers? Many of them found a way to avoid serving.
To them, Viet Nam was a disaster. Many actually felt those that avoided the Viet Nam war were the true heroes. Those that risked their lives fighting the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong were chumps... "Baby killers", or worse.
Sometimes that attitude seemed to be the majority view expressed by my generation.
So then my generation had kids. And around their kitchen table, those children got a much different education about the world and the people in it...
-War was evil and to be avoided at almost all costs.
-The "military-industrial complex" was evil.
-We learned from "M.A.S.H." that military leaders were all buffoons, (except those that thought war was always evil like "Trapper" and "Hawkeye".)
(Granted, there ARE a few that are willing to suffer in uncomfortable situations to help others... Peace Corps, Mission work, etc..
And the fact that our military is an all-volunteer force shows that not all kids were raised in "Bizzarro world". God Bless those exceptional few!)
But most now seem to think all we have to do to get along with others in the world is extend a helping hand, build a campfire and ask them to join us in singing "Kumbaya"...
If there is evil in the world, it's because the U.S. is an aggressor nation.
Now we're seeing the result of the kitchen table education these kids got...
"I don't want to have to worry about getting a good job."
"I want good pay without having to work for it."
"I don't want to have to worry about my security."
"I don't want to have to worry about my health care."
"I want Big Government to take care of me from cradle to grave."
"What's so bad about Socialism?"
Well folks, we'll soon find out how successful this generation's kitchen table schooling has been.
But from what I read in comments here and what I overhear in real life, so far I don't like it much.