Skip to comments.'Reagan's Children' Reviving His Vision
Posted on 05/25/2006 6:59:46 AM PDT by rob777
"Conservatism youth" was once considered an oxymoron. The British Social Attitudes Survey published in 2004 demonstrated that young Brits born around the time of Margaret Thatcher's conservative term as prime minister are personally conservative. They side with their parents on many issues, causing the Guardian to declare that "the age of teenage rebellion is over" in its Dec. 7, 2004, issue. The British press calls them "Thatcher's Children."
"Thatcher's Children" was coined to describe England's economically conservative young people. The Adam Smith Institute polled British youth that were between the ages of 16 and 21 at the turn of the millennium. According to Grover Norquist in the May 1999 issue of American Spectator, 48 percent of British respondents declared a desire to own a business, while only 1 percent admitted a desire to work in local government or civil service. While only 7 percent of young Britons say that a background of privilege is the measure of success, 72 percent say that individual determination is essential. Clearly, Margaret Thatcher's drive for deregulation, lower taxes and smaller government paid off in the political and economic views of young Brits.
Norquist, of Americans for Tax Reform and the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project, first proposed that Americans refer to the savvy young entrepreneurs who came of age during the Reagan years as "Reagan's Children." In the article for American Spectator magazine, Norquist wrote, "Ronald Reagan has already entered the history books as the man who brought down the Berlin Wall, but he is also the father to the new investor class that is changing American politics. If America's establishment press was as colorful as the British tabloids they would be known as 'Reagan's children.'"
In referring to the "new investor class," Norquist pointed to three trends. First, labor union membership, as a percentage of the total voting population, has been on the decline. Second, the percentage of American workers who are employed by the government is decreasing. Finally, political age demographics are shifting away from the World War II generation toward younger voters. And young people, of Generation X and the Millennials, are technologically savvy, innovative and enterprising. Their economic aspirations make them more fiscally conservative than their parents or grandparents.
The fact is the title of "Reagan's Children" could apply as well to any of three generations. Baby boomers worked to elect Reagan, and most of today's boomer conservative leaders were influenced by Ronald Reagan's words and ideas. The Reagan years were formative for Generation X; Norquist's analysis would qualify them for the label.
Within our generation, a minority is returning to the traditional moral and intellectual foundations of America instead of rebelling against our heritage. These young Christians and conservatives are well situated to take on key positions of influence in every realm of ideas, policy, culture and faith in which there has been a dearth of conservative ideas during the past several decades. More specifically, the majority of cultural institutions of the West have come to be dominated by verifiably liberal ideas. And among what we'll call Reagan's Children are young Americans who are dedicated to replacing liberal establishments with reinvigorated institutions and right ideas.
Reagan's Children are at the leading edge of the generation. The 30 million of us born when Ronald Reagan was president are the first half of the generational cohort broadly considered to be Generation Y, the Millennial Generation or Generation Next. Though present trends suggest our younger siblings will be more morally conservative than we are, the Reagan's Children cohort is the group that is currently emerging, providing the most important evidence of a national conservative shift.
At the present moment, Reagan's Children are voting for the first time, going to college, forming our worldview ideas and choosing our first jobs. We are the young soldiers fighting the war on terrorism, the first cohort to have been born with MTV and the first cohort to have grown up with the Internet.
The signs of a more actively conservative generation are numerous. Homeschooling has long been on the rise. Enrollment at evangelical Christian colleges is outpacing the enrollment at other colleges and universities, and membership is thriving in conservative youth groups like the Boy Scouts of America. While advocates of abortion go on aborting their children, evangelical Christians are having large families. The '60s generation of radical professors is about to retire, and the rebels on campus aren't all liberals anymore. The video game generation is defying the odds by embracing faith, volunteering in communities across the land and winning a war on terrorism.
All of this may come as a fright to those who've worked hard for the past few generations to tear up the foundations of the American order. Sensing their place on the losing end of the generation, young liberals are appropriately gloomy. "It's hard not to feel that we were born at the wrong time," liberal writer Anya Kamenetz writes. "We're Reagan Babies; the pendulum has been swinging in one direction for most of our lives."
More than a pendulum is swinging, though. Providence is on the move.
So take heart and take part, because a generation of young Americans is rising up to take back the city on the hill.
"So take heart and take part, because a generation of young Americans is rising up to take back the city on the hill."
My children are leaning conservative despite their BBC-liberal father.
Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social (and sometimes nostalgic) aspects that directly effects Generation Reagan / Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations (i.e. The Baby Boomers) are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.
Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details and previous articles.
Had not heard this before, hope it's true --- conveniently not reported by the MSM.
Ping for Gen-Reagan!!!
Thanks for the ping. The statistics in the second paragraph are very surprising to me considering they come from a country that amazes me constantly with its leaps and bounds through socialism to full blown communism.
Only skimming it.....
So, is it OK for "GEN X" to be "GEN Reagan"?
They talked about "Thatcher children" as BORN during her reign. I prefer came-of-age, when teens actually know what's going on in the world!
The only word that comes to mind, is "Amen!"
Yeah, Me Too
I agree, How in world can Gen-Y be The Reagan Generation when most of them probably don't even remember him, not to mention the Carter years to compare them to?
Aw, c'mon, you know the drill--you have to know what's going to happen, what always happens to Gen X! Gen X will be derided and Gen Y will be praised; Gen X will be subject to the same sort of basic deprivations from government as the notch babies and marriage penaltied were, while Gen Y will be handed the keys to the kingdom through the governmental reform Gen Xers will enact. But it'll be always be Gen Y activism that will get the credit, probably even through the history books, because the Boomer press (and the self-loathing Gen X press) prefers to give their hardworking grandkids and second-family-kids far more credit than any of those slacker Gen X types. Because we're more pragmatic and honest about their generational shortcomings as well as our own. We have every right and reason to be proud of the differences, having become we are successful administrators, businessmen, and parents as a result of our struggles to escape Boomers' imposed idealist idiocies.
So you can expect Gen Y to get all the good p.r., including the 'Reagan Generation' label. That's okay. As long as we set things right, and things are better for our kids, I'll be fine with it. America will have been returned to where it should be well before the time we're all dead and buried, even if we have to go back to Meatless Mondays, fourteen-hour workdays, and working until we die to get get there. Not even the infinitely mislabeled Greatest Generation can say that, or that they will be willing to make that sacrifice. While Boomers will pass with regrets, having left a mess for their kids to clean up and two generations bent on not repeating the same mistakes, we'll go to our graves knowing that everything we suffered was to restore America to and guarantee its place as a haven for freedom, not socialist interventionism, and to ensure that our children had better lives than we did.
After everything that has been happening lately with illigal immigration, the MSM, liberals gone wild, what a refreshing read this is. It gives me hope in a world gone mad.
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