Skip to comments.Millennials Choose the Path of Least Resistance
Posted on 04/04/2014 4:26:50 AM PDT by Kaslin
When Alexis de Tocqueville visited America in 1830, he was struck by how many Americans were participating in voluntary associations. It was quite a contrast with his native France, where power was centralized in Paris and people did not trust each other enough to join in voluntary groups.
Tocqueville might have a different impression should he, utilizing time travel, visit the America of 2030. Or so I conclude on reading the recently released Pew Research Center report on the attitudes and behavior of America's Millennial generation.
By then the Millennials, people born after 1980, will be closing in on age 50 and will be the dominant segment of the working-age population.
Today the Millennials, write the Pew analysts, are "relatively unattached to organized politics and religion," and significantly more unattached than the age cohorts -- Generation Xers, Baby Boomers, Silent Generation -- that came before.
Politically 50 percent of Milennials classify themselves as Independents rather than Democrats or Republicans, compared to about 36 percent of their elders, and less than one-third of Millennials see a great deal of difference between the political parties.
Large majorities of Millennials voted for Barack Obama -- 66 percent in 2008 and 60 percent in 2012. But only 49 percent approve of his performance now, just a bit more than among Xers and Boomers. Only 34 percent of white Millennials rate Obama's performance positively.
On religion most Millennials say they believe in God, but it's a smaller majority than among older age groups, and only 36 percent say they see themselves as "a religious person," versus nearly 60 percent of their elders.
Some 29 percent of Millennials are religiously unaffiliated, a percentage that has been rising in recent years. They're evidently moving away from their parents' religion but not moving toward one of their own.
One reason may be that people tend to join churches when they marry and have children -- and Millennials, so far, aren't doing much of either. Only 26 percent of Millennials age 18 to 32 are married, far lower than other generations were at their age (Xers 36 percent, Boomers 48 percent, Silents 65 percent).
Millennials aren't entirely rejecting parenthood, but 47 percent of births to Millennial women are outside of marriage. Even so, about 60 percent of Millennials, like their elders, say that having more children raised by a single parent is bad for society.
Unlike Tocqueville's Americans, and unlike the generations just before them, Millennials seem to be avoiding marriage, church and political affiliation, and to lack a sense of social trust. Only 19 percent say that generally speaking most people can be trusted, compared to 31 to 40 percent among older generations.
This is in line with Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam's thesis that social trust is declining in America. The Pew analysts speculate that this may result, as Putnam has uncomfortably concluded, from increasing racial diversity.
Nearly half, 43 percent, of Millennials are non-white -- about 20 percent Hispanic, 15 percent black and 8 percent Asian and other. Non-white percentages are much lower among the more trusting Boomers (28 percent) and Silents (21 percent).
Racial divisions are mirrored in political attitudes, with white Millennial souring on Obama and his party, Hispanics doing so to some extent (according to other surveys), but blacks remaining loyal.
So whom do Millennials trust? Their friends, those they are connected to in digital social networks. Some 81 percent of Millennials are on Facebook, with a median 250 friend count, and 55 percent have shared a selfie.
The picture we get from the Pew numbers is of a largely disconnected generation, in touch with self-selected peers and distrustful of others. They are more likely to be college-educated but also to be hobbled by college loan debt. They're not doing as well economically as their elders were at their age, but they're eerily optimistic about their economic future (only 14 percent think they won't earn enough to lead the life they want).
A Tocqueville arriving in 2030 will see whether these optimistic expectations are met, and whether the MIllennials' connections to marriage and parenthood, religion and political party were just delayed or never widely established.
He will see whether the absence of a universal popular culture, aimed at everyone, like America had from the 1920s to the 1980s, has caused atrophying social disconnectedness and trust, or whether the Millennials have managed somehow to turn current trends around. Good luck.
The Detached Generation isn’t fit to build a meaningful society. They are too selfish. Their only hope is that their parents won’t have to spend all their savings before they die so they can inherit wealth they didn’t earn.
Yet they're unwilling to involve themselves in politics? These are not mutually exclusive ideas. They are both requirements of an adult's success. These idiot kids (I'm 34, but I figured it out) think that shit's just going to be handed to them for the rest of their lives.
I cannot WAIT for the day that the market crashes. I'll be laughing at all of the wandering masses, a shotgun in one hand and a steak in the other, while they wonder what happened.
What’s going to be funny is when the money used to finance everything they think they’re entitled to runs out.
Perhaps the decline in trust correlates with the decline of individual responsibility and the liberal focus on the "group".
I know one thing about dealing with millennials is that they seem to lack social skills. Their “smart” phone seems to have all their attention nowadays.
They also do not pay attention or listen to instructions well.
Again, this is not all of them mind you but a very large percentage that I come in contact with. It’s almost like they have been in a closet somewhere.
I guess there is a pill for that now.
The storm clouds of war and economic collapse are in the air, not to mention the potential for a complete societal breakdown. The shared values that once united the population have been torn asunder and those who desire a totalitarian state are successfully turning groups of citizens against each other.
The current state of affairs cannot continue indefinitely. I suspect the millennials will be tested much like the Amercians who became 20 somethings during the 1920’s. They may live through a complete economic collapse and a long period of global bloody warfare. They may also be the first American generation since the Civil War to experience a fight for survival inside the nation’s borders. If so, they may also be the first generation of Americans to lose a global war and become subjected to the rule of a foreign power.
Even the greatest stash in the world eventually gets depleted, then either the consumer of that stash must quickly learn a whole new skill set, or perish.
All life forms seek out the greatest return they can get for the energy expended. That is why such a great excess of them are created in the first place. “Finding your niche” is an imperative of all living organisms. Salamanders do not take up rocket science or engineering careers, they are patently incapable of acquiring the skills. But salamanders are extraordinarily good at scavenging remains of smaller creatures (including other salamanders), and consequently, they serve as a sort of garbage pick-up, converting what would be rotting corpses into salamander feces. Natural selection has made salamanders very good at being salamanders, but not much else.
The Universe is a cruel and unforgiving place. Its only law is that stupidity will be punished, with extreme prejudice.
A large number went to college, graduated, and then the great recession hit. They couldn't find jobs, and working at a low paying job meant they would pay everything they make and more for student loans.
So far, they are comfortable living off Mom (and/or Dad), but at some point that will end. The question is will they go into despair or anger.
Large groups of unemployed, with out hope, young males tend to get rather upset. As in wars, massive social change, revolution upset.
Cause they spend all of their time on social networks, where you should not trust anyone, even for a nanosecond.
Logic isn’t their strong suit.
From what I have seen, Millennials suck at critical thinking. That will be a hugh problem in the future.
“Converting what would be rotting corpses into salamander feces”
The Millioneel generation will take over once they’ve reached level 83.
My point is this she really does not like Christmas. She has to go to 8 or more Christmas's. Both sets of grandparents are divorced from each other and remarried to someone else. Her parents are divorced. Her boyfriend's parents are divorced and so are his grandparents. Is is any wonder they don't trust?
One is crushed by the irony inherent in this post.