Been watching the replies to this thread with interest.
As a retired high school teacher (10,11 & 12) I have to say that kids, and therfore the young adults they became, gradually got lazier, more anti-intellectual and more belligerent over my 35 years of teaching.
Yes, crime is down partly due to much more professional police work and better social services to ameloriate poverty. Yes, discrimination of ALL types of minorities is down (except maybe Bushcrafters;). But MORALS?? I kinda think Norman Rockwell would be horrified at the local big city news of today.
Now "Trail Morals" I'd say is generally far above the average of society in general.
Unfortunately Balls and Sunshine likely got screwed by people who are probably not true backpackers but rather "once-in-a-while" hikers who are nearly (well, they DID leave a note) clueless regarding trail etiquette, not to mention common courtesy. We all have seen idiots on the trail. Balls and Sunshine just didn't see these idiots.