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We're smarter but not so clever

I CAN'T really let Robert McNeil away with his sweeping generalisation that "back then [World War 1] nearly everyone was thick"(Life, April 7).

There is a tendency nowadays to think of ourselves as superior to those of past generations. We may have technology and greater access to education on our side, but little else, I fear.

Your columnist tells his readers: "I think a lot about World War 1." So do I and quite often I think about my three great uncles who laid down their lives for King and country. Reading their letters from the front, I don't see any evidence that these well-educated young men "secretly thought it a lark", in common with "most lads heading off to fight".

Most of us now know a lot more about far more stuff than our ancestors could even have dreamed of. But the real pity is that we have no more common sense (and sometimes I suspect less) than those who lived in a more innocent and often more gentle age.

OSCAR ROSS

Belfast

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