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Importance of Heroes

Americans are living in a post-heroic age, where young adults are much less likely than their parents to have national role models.

A survey by Scripps Howard News Service and Ohio University shows that 60 percent of adults have no heroes. Of those who do have heroes, most said their heroes are either dead or are historical figures.

Defining “hero” as anyone with admirable courage (other than family or biblical figures), the study revealed that the last 30 or 40 years has been a time of extreme cynicism toward heroes, in which a media-wise culture has witnessed the debunking and demythologizing of one so-called hero after another.

It’s not a healthy trend, according to former U.S. Education Secretary William Bennett, author of the best-seller The Book of Virtues: “It is particularly important for young people to have heroes. This is a way to teach them by moral example, so that we can point to someone as an ideal.” Maybe they should include biblical figures in their next survey.

New Man, November/December, 1994, p. 15