The Wasted Generation

The Wasted Generation

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The Wasted Generation by Owen Johnson

Published:

1921

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686

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The Wasted Generation

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An indictment of American morale.

Book Excerpt

he house of cards which has just fallen about him.

What do I really believe? What of my education remains after the test of experience? I was taught certain principles of morality, certain judgments on conduct, given certain standards of right and wrong. Virtue must bring its own reward and the wages of sin is death.

After a few years' contact with the world, I find myself completely mystified. Perhaps I have been too often behind the scenes and must pay the penalty of disillusionment. I was given certain principles of common honesty, and I have seen great criminals exalted because they either stole on a grandiose scale or procured others to steal for them. True, I have heard many unflattering judgments passed on these financiers, privately, but these criticisms seemed to proceed more from an instinctive envy, and I seldom found that they interfered in the least with the successful rogue's power in the community. I was given certain sharp distinctions between good women and bad. In the cosmopoli

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