Skip to comments.Gene Healy Sees The Millenials As The New Statists
Posted on 07/14/2009 6:48:30 AM PDT by steve-b
Next month, as the class of 2013 moves into the dorms, Wisconsin's Beloit College will release its annual "Mindset List." The list is that much-forwarded email that always makes you feel old--the one that includes horrifying factoids like, "for today's college freshmen, GPS navigation systems have always been available," and, "there has always been Pearl Jam."
More horrifying still, soon they'll all be able to vote.
The generation born from the late 1970s to the early '90s has been called "Gen Y," "GenNext," and "the Millennials." Its name is Legion. But whatever name they go by, and despite their image as web-savvy individualists, when it comes to politics, young voters are as collectivist as they come.
In May, the Center for American Progress released a lengthy survey of polling data on Millennials, concluding that they're a "Progressive Generation," eager to increase federal power.
CAP is the leading Democratic think tank, so it has a vested interest in that conclusion. But they're on to something. In the last election, 18-to-29 year-olds went for Barack Obama by a 34-point margin.
The CAP report shows that Gen Y is substantially more likely to support universal health care, labor unions, and education spending than older voters. And other surveys support CAP's "Progressive Generation" thesis.
In 2008, the nonpartisan National Election Study asked Americans whether "the free market" or "a strong government" would better handle "today's complex economic problems." By a margin of 78 to 22 percent, Millennials opted for "strong government."
Kids today are a credulous bunch. The 2007 Pew Political Values survey revealed "a generation gap in cynicism." Where 62 percent of Americans overall view the federal government as wasteful and inefficient, just 42 percent of young people agree.
No wonder, then, that GenNext responds to President Obama's call for "public service," roughly translated as "a federal paycheck."
Here, they differ dramatically from their skeptical "Generation X" predecessors. A 1999 survey asked Gen X college seniors to name their ideal employers; they "filled the entire list with for-profit businesses like Microsoft and Cisco." What a difference a generation makes. In the same poll today, Gen Y prefers the State Department, Teach for America, and the Peace Corps. That's a problem for a country built on the entrepreneurial spirit.
What lessons can the GOP, nominally the party of limited government, learn from all this?
First, by staking so much of their electoral success on "social issues" voters, Republicans have lashed themselves to a sinking demographic. At 16 percent of voters currently, Millennials will grow to nearly 40 percent of the electorate by 2020--and they couldn't care less about the "culture wars."
Young voters are twice as likely as older ones to support gay marriage. Former Vice President Dick Cheney, of all people, has the sensible political position here: Conservatives ought to give up on marriage amendments, letting the issue get sorted out on "a state-by-state basis."
Second, given the rising strength of younger voters, beating the war drum isn't the way forward for the GOP: "Millennials have generally been the age group most hostile to the war in Iraq," CAP reports, and they're less likely than their elders to embrace a militarized war on terror.
Republicans can compromise on these issues without violating any principle that's essential to conservatism. But Millennials' romantic view of federal activism presents a more serious challenge to small-government conservatives. Luckily, this may be a problem that will work itself out on its own.
David Brooks, every liberal's favorite conservative, argues that the old Reagan-Goldwater antigovernment spirit made sense once, but today it's an anachronism. When this generation was but a gleam in its parents' eyes, Brooks points out, tax rates were 70 percent, inflation was rampant, and "the capitalist world was headed to a Swedish welfare model."
Oddly enough, that sounds like the world young voters will be facing very soon, as the Baby Boomers retire, and our wealth-destroying Social Security system forces every two Millennials to carry one aging hippie on their backs.
The rising generation is about to get a hard lesson in the costs of activist government. Before long, they may start to see the wisdom in Reagan's aphorism that "government is not the solution to our problems: government is the problem."
The only good I can see coming from this is that these young fools will see their standard of living deteriorate and will maybe, possibly, hopefully (yea right) make the connection between that and voting for socialism.
I was looking a study of "Scientists" and it shows that as a class they are shockingly liberal/democrat leaning. Shocking until you remember that academia with the "Political Correctness" movement began purging Conservative professors and voices in the 1980's. 20 years later, a generation that knows nothing about Civics, History or Reason. A generation that has no clue about the Constitution, the value of freedom, or even what it is like to live in freedom. Schools have become the most repressive environments possible. Rule books, expulsions at the drop of a hat, and petty infractions being handled by police are the new rules.
Its no wonder these kids are lost.
Wait until they get their first paychecks, have to make (any) payments for themselves, etc., and still see their cushy lives come apart. Reality will mug many of them. And the staunchest conservatives are often former libs who have been mugged...
This isn’t hard to figure out.
They’ve been brainwashed by union thugs in the government schools without anyone to challenge the false ideas drilled into them.
Parents are not paying attention, and the GOP doesn’t bother to educate Americans about the downside of statism, in part, because many, if not most, of them are statists themselves.
“We’re all Keynesians now.”
One of the few politicians on the national stage who actually talks about limiting government is Sarah Palin. And she gets trashed by other Republicans.
I agree with that. I think each generation gets more spoiled with material things. When Y’ers, et seq, see their SOL drop and their toys disappear, they’ll scream bloody murder.
Young people are more liberal? Who’dve thunk it?
The majority of working theoretical scientists depend for their living and career advancement upon government research grants and funding for public universities and labs. You’d no more expect them to be conservative than you’d expect that of a trial lawyer or the executive director of a county welfare agency. It’s about dollars and cents!
Beyond that, people who don’t really care about politics (and that’s most scientists) form their political opinions superficially.
If you think that science is very important and being well-educated, intellectual and articulate are the sine qua non of leadership, your superficial view of conservatives, what with the tolerance of creationists and the rather conspicuous role played by people who appear rather limited in intellectual fire power, is going to be pretty low.
About the only major that’s not dominated by the left is engineering because they deal with facts (numbers). And even libtards understand that a bridge built on what “feels good” will collapse. (Do remember in “The Saint,” though, where the ditzy lib female scientist cracked cold fusion by touchy-feely “science,” so maybe the libtards don’t understand that. S’ok, most engineers do.)
The generation born from the late 1970s to the early ‘90s has been called “Gen Y,” “GenNext,” and “the Millennials.”
I really wish they will stop lumping those of us born in the late 70’s, who are in our 30s, with teenagers.
Thanks to Obama they will enter the job market with at least 10% unemployment and probably closer to 25%. A lot of youngsters who inherited the same s**t with Carter became very conservative Reagan Republicans.
I hold out hope. I have 2 daughters in college, one of whom voted for Obama. I have also had a steady stream of kids that age through my home. I have observed a couple of things that surprised me. First, despite the tattoos and piercings (sigh) these kids are more conservative than I would have thought. Yes, they are more accepting of lifestyles I would deem wrong, but nearly all wanted to settle down and raise their children in a traditional family. Secondly, whether fairly or not, they view Republicans as not playing straight. The young are very adept at smelling BS. We, as conservatives are partly to blame, I believe. If we ever want to reach the young, we have to practice what we preach. If we truly want smaller government, then we can’t spend like a bunch of drunken sailors on shore leave.( No offense Navy Folks -) If we want to be known as the people who represent traditional family values, we cannot tolerate those who cheat on their spouses, etc. One final interesting note - a lot of the kids who supported Obama were also fairly impressed with Ron Paul. In their words - Ron Paul, whether you agree with him or not stands on his principles. If conservative values are to ever again rule America - then we as conservatives must talk the talk AND walk the walk.-—JM
It seems Gen X is smaller and more inconsequential than ever.
I was born in 1976 and am usually lumped in with “GenX.” I associate the millenials with the “second baby boom” of the mid/late 1980s-1990s.
The two are linked -- they hear Republicans claim to stand for "small government" and then turn around and advocate Big Government enforcement of their preferred social customs, and they smell enough BS to fertilize every cornfield in Iowa.
When I was a child, there were few children trick or treating and few playing in parks. I see more strollers NOW in Manhattan than I did in Long Island as a child.
they may start to see the wisdom in Reagan’s aphorism that “government is not the solution to our problems: government is the problem.”
From Healy’s article to God’s ears.
This kids are in for a rude awakening.
I don’t know if anyone saw the 60 Minutes piece on the Millenials, but they gave some examples of how their rooms are full of trophies even if they have not succeeded in winning.
Also, there were examples of parents calling their schools if their kid got bad grades blaming it on the school and even calls to their employers on why Johnny did not get the job or the promotion.
The expectation verse reality is going to be chilling for these people.
The modern SKOOL system has worked wonders. Truly young skulls full of mush.
Not only are they statists, but they are generally useless.
Uh, not all scientists who are conservative are creationists, I know I am not. Most scientists are employed by general industry, so that kind of shoots your grants from the government thing. The fact is that "Political Correctness" meant enforcing more than just word games, it meant enforcing what it promised "Liberals Only" in the Academic club, and thus they teach the students who are then the leaders of tomorrow while the conservatives happily pay the taxes to support the universities being turned into re-education camps.
A good article on this is found at the Christian Science Monitor right now Nearly all my professors are Democrats. Isn't that a problem?
Come to new york city. WE are full of young, highly taxed professionals who are insipid leftists.
So my firm, which is broadly involved in the tech/internet space has decided that it will avoid hiring Millenials at all costs. Unless they were home schooled, or are foreign-born. We actually have hired two 50-something "dinosaur" COBOL programmers who we taught SQL Server and database schema design to. And guess what? They have both become masters of the trade. Flawless database design. and they are self-teaching. they learn new skills as needed without complaint, or special handling or training required by the Millenials we've hired (and fired or lost) in the past. And these guys are loyal. They are old school engineers who want to work with others in the office to improve processes and make them more efficient. I never expected this from them, but it is typical of their generations. With the Millenials you were lucky to get good performance out of their narrow sphere of responsiblity. Having them think of others or the well-being of the company is a fantasy. they are selfish and care only about themselves.
I know I am painting with a broad brush here. Many of you may tell me about your Millenial child who isnt like this. but i am not alone. Read this piece from the WSJ to see how much so...
This should tell you something about Ron Paul. The "kids" who were impressed with Paul mainly only liked him because he was against the Iraq war.
The article seems to be based on the idea that “millenials” will remain forever as stupid as they are right now. One would hope that a few years experience would teach people a few things about how the world really works.
Er, why should they have "loyalty" to you if someone makes them a better offer? The workplace is for making a living; it's not your family. There's no reason employees shouldn't seek the best deal for themselves, just like any rational person does.
Would that it were true. Alas, too many engineers have been sucked in to the toeing the "party line" this is what group think does.
But, not so long ago, and for many years I believed in CO2 as a cause of Global Warming. It wasn't until I started reading about the realities of the Sun being primarily responsible for our Climate that only have become available recently, that I switched. I was shocked when so many scientists continued to cling to bad theory but this was just when Al Gore was doing his thing. Since then, it hasn't been a question of science but a question of belief and politics that has sustained this Hoax long after it should have gone the way of the Piltdown Man.
Anyway, I refer you to another link at FR Survey Shows Gap Between Scientists and the Public
That is not what I am talking about. I am talking about them leaving TWO WEEKS after training. We paid to train 2 Millenials for absolutely nothing. And we heard one of them did the same thing to the next employer and now works for MassPIRG, a left-wing agitator group. She left with no notice to go to the Obama inuagural and never came back. He was left in the lurch 2 days before a huge presentation. She probably couldn't care less. Some of these Millenials are malignant narcissists and outright sociopaths.
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 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.
The Trustafarian Hipsters in Williamsburg are even worse.
I doubt that a majority of these youngsters even knows what a free market is.
Ask these youngsters the same questions in a few months, when Obama’s destruction of the US economy is complete and civilization as we know it has collapsed into a dark age existence.
That will change over the next few years when many hve to drop out because Mom and Dad are unemployed now and can’t pay their tution. They can’t find jobs upon graduation and start to put two and teo together. It happened to alot of the wide eyed liberals in 1980 when they voted for Reagan.
Now you know how I feel being called a boomer! I am in my 40’s and boomers are in their 60’s!
“Parents are not paying attention, and the GOP doesnt bother to educate Americans about the downside of statism, in part, because many, if not most, of them are statists themselves.”
I’m paying attention. I have three boys, the oldest of whom is 10, and they know what’s right.
They know that government is bad. More government is worse.
Yes, well, we’re the exception here at FR, I’d hope. :-)
My kids are homeschooled, and are learning about real American history.
That is because a good chunk of us Gen Xers were aborted. The divorce rate of our Boomer parents started going up. I think one of my playmates in the 70s/early 80s actually had their parents still married. We all envied her.
I hope that many of us GenXers learned from our Boomer parents' mistakes.
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