In Defense of Millennials and Individualism

Forget Justin Bieber. Don't Hate on "Generation Selfie"

Note: This article originally appeared at The Daily Beast on March 18, 2014. Read it there.

There is suddenly much panic about the rise of the “selfie” generation. But millennials are simply rejecting the worn-out trappings and organizations of the Establishment—and quite right too.

That discomfort you’re sensing all around you? It’s the American Establishment loading its Depends diapers over the prospect of a younger generation that is turning its back on political parties and other zombified artifacts of our glorious past.

On the heels of the Pew Research report titled “Millennials in Adulthood,” two leading New York Times columnists have penned anxious articles sweating it out over the “The Self(ie) Generation” and “The Age of Individualism.”

“Millennials (defined by Pew as Americans ages 18 to 33) are drifting away from traditional institutions—political, religious and cultural,” muses Charles M. Blow, who sees a “a generation in which institutions are subordinate to the individual… This is not only the generation of the self; it’s the generation of the selfie.” Oh noes! And it’s only gonna get worse: “In the future,” worries Ross Douthat, “there will be only one ‘ism’—Individualism—and its rule will never end. As for religion, it shall decline; as for marriage, it shall be postponed; as for ideologies, they shall be rejected; as for patriotism, it shall be abandoned; as for strangers, they shall be distrusted. Only pot, selfies and Facebook will abide.”

Does it strike anyone else as odd that selfies—clearly less the product of rising narcissism and more the product of the same awesome technology that empowers citizens to capture cops beating the shit of innocent people—have emerged as this year’s droopy pants, backwards baseball caps, or visible piercings, as a shorthand for all that is wrong with today’s youth? Getting bent out of shape over selfies may just be the ultimate #firstworldproblem.

The Pew study itself leads with charts titled “Millennials: Unmoored from Institutions” (specifically, 50 percent call themselves political independents and 29 percent are religiously unaffiliated) and foregrounds that just 19 percent believe “most people can be trusted” (this compares with 31 percent of Gen Xers and 40 percent of Baby Boomers). Only 49 percent of Millennials define themselves as patriotic, which is far fewer than Gen Xers (64 percent) and Boomers (75 percent). Whoda thunk that growing up against the background of two inconclusive, ill-conceived, and poorly prosecuted wars might have soured Millennials on the old Red, White, and Blue?

It’s easy to understand why folks at The New York Times and, say, at Democratic and Republican headquarters, and the National Council of Churches are worried about all this. After all, it’s their “traditional institutions” that are being left behind like Mayan ruins. But who can blame Millennials for, say, vacating worn-out, pre-Civil War political brands such as the Democrats and Republicans, two groups that are about as relevant and dependable as your father’s Oldsmobile?

The Dems and the Reps have been leaking market share for decades, the inevitable byproduct of wielding power directly at odds with the promises that got them elected in the first place. Far from being a limited-government conservative, George W. Bush and his Republican Congress was a big government disaster that massively increased federal spending across the board, passed record-setting levels of economically significant regulations, and embroiled the country in two decade-long wars. Barack Obama expanded the very surveillance programs he denounced while running for president, acted foolishly at home and abroad by bailing out bankers like nobody’s business and droning the hell out of countries with which we weren’t at war, and had to be dragged kicking and screaming into support for gay marriage and pot legalization (and the jury is still out on the latter).

His signature health-care plan is just as unpopular among Millennials (54 percent say they don’t approve) as it is among the rest of us (also 54 percent, says Pew). Of course it is: It’s based on a command-and-control model of economics and politics that should have gone out of fashion for good when the Soviet Union collapsed. Who the hell can take universal mandates seriously in an age where all the cutting-edge action is based around persuasion and personalization? Say what you will be about Facebook and other aspects of what Douthat calls “the online Panopticon,” but social media is chock full of opt-outs.

More than most age groups, Millennials know that they are being set up for a generational scam of epic proportions. Indeed, Obamacare’s individual market is explicitly predicated upon overcharging relatively younger, healthier, poorer people to subsidize lower premiums for relatively older, sicker, and wealthier people (who really hit the jackpot when they turn 65 and get Medicare). A full 51 percent of Millennials believe they won’t receive any Social Security benefits and an additional 39 percent say that they will receive reduced benefits if they get anything at all. That’s not even factoring in analysis by Urban Institute researchers who show that virtually all workers getting Social Security after 2009 will get less out of the system than they paid in. Wait until that sinks in on younger Americans.

Given that, the real question isn’t why most Millennials are turning their backs on institutions, it’s why any of them are still clinging to the old ways? The Pew study documents instances of what I would charitably call the confusion of youth (despite huge and ongoing disappointment with Obama, the Affordable Care Act, and political parties, 53 percent of Millennials still say they want “a bigger government that provides more services”). But it also shows an optimism that should be genuinely bracing and energizing for Americans of all ages.

Millennials in 2014—still slogging through an anemic recovery to an awful recession—are as optimistic about their future as Gen Xers were in 1994. That was a time when the U.S. economy was revving up, the Internet was becoming a mass medium, and the post-Cold War world has seemingly slipped the noose of history. Eighty-five percent of Millennials say they either already earn enough or will earn enough “to lead the kind of life they want,” compared to 68 percent of Gen Xers and 60 percent of Boomers.

Maybe it’s because Millennials are too busy taking all those selfies to pay attention to the world going to shit around them. More likely, it’s precisely because they are turning away from played-out institutions in American life and turning to a future in which individuals are free to form new communities and new ways of navigating a world that is as uncertain as it is untapped.

Note: This article originally appeared at The Daily Beast on March 18, 2014. Read it there.

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  • wareagle||

    this movie has played out forever - the older generation is perpetually bitching about the ways of the younger folks.

  • ||

    Exactly. Wake me when an older "generation" doesn't flip their lids about the kids these days. I'd better get off their lawn first.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    It looks like the younger generation agrees that the original Star Wars trilogy was better than the prequels.

    So that's something.

  • ||

    I don't think there is anyone retarded enough to think the prequels are better than the original. Except maybe Canadians.

  • Virginian||

    Mary, I like your new handle. It's a shame no one will be able to use it soon.

  • Virginian||

    Epi? What is Epi?

  • Stephencj||

    Did anyone else notice that the prequels are just one big spoiler for the "I am your father" moment in the Empire Strikes Back?

  • KDN||

    Correct. If you want to show the whole story to someone that is completely unfamiliar, apparently the best way to do it is IV, V, I, II, III, VI.

  • Sunmonocle Backwards Tophat||

    But do they believe the originals are better than the remasters? It would be no surprise to me that the Generation of Greed would prefer Greedo shooting first.

  • nancy284||

    Start earning with Google. Just work for few hours and have more time with friends and family. I earn up to $500 per week. Its actually the nicest job Ive had. Linked Here www.Pow6.com

  • General Butt Naked||

    How about the cultural revolution where the kids were flipping their lids that the older generation weren't orthodox enough?

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    That was more like kids flipping their lids that their parents and grandparents were still clinging to Confucianism, Buddhism, or capitalism rather than embracing Chairman Mao's vision.

  • General Butt Naked||

    From what I've read they went after a lot of local party officials, administrators, and educators, i.e. true believers.

    That they held onto 99% of the party doctrine the fact that they bitterly clung to unorthodox ideas, such as 'maybe bach wasn't so bad' they were singled out for abuse.

    The whole point of the CR was for the doddering Mao to regain some of the power that party members and the military had usurped in his advancing age. Therefore new and stricter dogma was created that could only be adopted by the young, who would then in turn push out the old who threatened Mao's power. The whole thing was an internecine power squabble that had little to do with any actual capitalist and religious threats to the state.

    That's how I've read it anyways.

  • wwhorton||

    I'm all late, but I minored in Chinese history and one of my professors lived in China at the time. Following the Great Leap Forward Mao lost a lot of power within the CCP. Moderates like Deng Xiaopeng and Liu Shaoqi were on the rise, advocating moderation and economic reforms.

    Depending on your read on Mao, one of two things happened. Either he genuinely believed that the GLF failed because the Chinese people failed to embrace Chinese communism fully, partly because of lingering remnants of traditional Chinese culture and partly because of capitalist saboteurs, or he recognized that there was an entire generation of young Chinese who were raised to worship him as a god and turned them against the rest of the Party so as to reclaim his spot as top dog.

    At any rate, from the younger generation's perspective, it was most certainly a revolutionary movement. A lot of the propaganda speaks in terms of the youth needing to be Mao's revolutionary army, and having the revolutionary spark that their parents lost.

  • John C. Randolph||

    I remember when the media were clutching their pearls and bitching about the "me generation" of the 1970s.

    -jcr

  • ||

    "Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it and wiser than the one that comes after it"

  • Homple||

    Funny, I heard the same spiel from every dumbass boomer I grew up with. Note how that turned out. The Millennials are not any smarter, as you will see in due course.

    A certain fraction of geezers think that the young will change the world order in a way that the geezers would like, but it never happens. Dream on

  • Winston||

    A certain fraction of geezers think that the young will change the world order in a way that the geezers would like, but it never happens. Dream on

    Sums up Gillespie.

  • PapayaSF||

    53 percent of Millennials still say they want “a bigger government that provides more services”

    That's the "individualism" of putting your own posters on the walls of your bedroom at Mom & Dad's house.

  • Cytotoxic||

    BAM.

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Sprüngli||

    Yowch!

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Yeah, they are so individualistic that they favor more government than any other generation, less capitalism, work less than their forebears, and feel good about themselves for doing so. They are more complacent and less willing to challenge hierarchies. Most have spent their entire lives cocooned by a public school system extending into their mid-twenties, and have no notion or understanding of the world outside that context and indoctrination. If you want to pin your hopes on student revolt, then simply know that 1) such things generally don't work out well from a historical point of view, and 2) this generation in particular is not likely to mount a revolt of any kind, since they're just fine with current trends in government outside of some peripheral issues.

  • BardMetal||

    Wasn't there recent polls saying that Millennials care less about the enviroment then previous generations, and that they are less likely to support gun control then their parent's generation?

    I think these people might be a little more complicated then you're making them out to be.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    No, that is the generation before millennial IIRC. That said, I don't see how anyone could expect better of a generation indoctrinated in government schools for longer than any other generation before it.

  • Cytotoxic||

    No BM is right. On environmentalism and gun rights the Millenials are better than other gens. It's weird because so much of Gen Millen is as crappy as you say. Keep in mind Coochi got more Milli votes than McCauliffe.

  • ||

    Those are single issues. On broader issues of the role of government, millennials aren't any different from boomers - they like it big.

  • David Wall||

    My millineal daughter an all her buds are simply agnostic about government's role. Their biggest issue is getting job in the field they studied in college and getting on with their life. I've also hire lots of these folks for entry level manufacturing jobs.

    I've not met one that wanted a government job or wanted on the government dole. Not one.

    Like Bard said above, its complicated. The jury is out.

  • ||

    No group of people is ever a monolithic bloc. As a generality though, the plurality of every living generation in 2014, the youngest included, is in favor of a very strong central state far beyond the scope that any classical liberal or libertarian would support. That the kiddos like to smoke pot does not a libertarian moment make. On broad questions of the role of government, the very survey Gillespie cites makes it clear that millennials come down on the side of a more powerful, more centralized government.

  • Virginian||

    Indeed, and I'd like to expand on it by pointing out that every single person I've ever met is a libertarian when it comes to their own preferences, hobbies, interests, and lifestyle. No one ever thinks that the things they like need to be regulated or controlled or banned.

    Or as a better writer once said

    Must be a yearning deep in human heart to stop other people from doing as they please. Rules, laws — always for other fellow. A murky part of us, something we had before we came down out of trees, and failed to shuck when we stood up. Because not one of those people said: Please pass this so that I won't be able to do something I know I should stop. Nyet, tovarishchee, was always something they hated to see neighbors doing. Stop them for their own good.
  • Robert||

    Are you still hiring? I need a job.

  • Homple||

    Polls? I'll wait right here for the revealed preferences to show up.

  • TPaign||

    Your Generation
    Written by Thomas Paign, 2012

    U People will try to keep us d-down (Talkin' 'bout your generation)
    While U work us into the ground (Talkin' 'bout your generation)
    To support a future that’s already been s-s-sold (Talkin' 'bout your generation)
    I hope U die before U get old (Talkin' 'bout your generation)

    This is your generation
    This is your generation, Granny

    Why don't U all f-fade away (Talkin' 'bout your generation)
    U better listen to what we all s-s-say (Talkin' 'bout your generation)
    We are trying to cause a big s-s-sensation (Talkin' 'bout your generation)
    To defend our future from your g-g-g-generation (Talkin' 'bout your generation)

    This is your generation
    This is your generation, Granny

    Why don't you all f-fade away (Talkin' 'bout your generation)
    And don't try to s-steal our p-pay-day (Talkin' 'bout your generation)
    I am trying to cause a b-big s-s-sensation (Talkin' 'bout your generation)
    I'm takin’ this message to the entire n-n-nation (Talkin' 'bout your generation)

    This is your generation
    This is your generation, Granny

    Pop your boner pills and p-play away (Talkin' 'bout your generation)
    Kick the can again our w-w-way (Talkin' 'bout your generation)
    We’ll no longer do what we’ve been t-t-told (Talkin' 'bout your generation)
    Gotta steal our future back from the o-o-old (Talkin' 'bout your generation)

    This is your generation
    This is your generation, Granny

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Classic!

  • setTHEline||

    So by joining the army of selfie snapping millennials, I will be considered an icon of individualism? Because nothing says individual like doing the same thing as millions of other people. The movement away from political parties is less of a movement towards individualism, and more of a movement towards apathy about important things.

  • BardMetal||

    You would be a special little snowflake, just like everyone else.

  • Gorilla tactics||

    Hey that's the motto on my participation trophy.

  • Brandon Magoon||

    Rejecting the Republicrats is apathy?

  • Stormy Dragon||

    The Boomers are deathly worried that the Millennials' self-focus will start moving our society's center of attention away from THEIR self-focus.

  • Gorilla tactics||

    it's self absorbed solipsisms all the way down

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Bing!

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    Given that, the real question isn’t why most Millennials are turning their backs on institutions, it’s why any of them are still clinging to the old ways? The Pew study documents instances of what I would charitably call the confusion of youth (despite huge and ongoing disappointment with Obama, the Affordable Care Act, and political parties, 53 percent of Millennials still say they want “a bigger government that provides more services”).

    Because obviously welfare statism would be so much better if they were the ones running it.

    Most people involved in politics at any age don't want to destroy Sauron's Ring; they think they can wield it and reshape the world in their image.

  • Gorilla tactics||

    I think the problem is that these people are basically the children of boomers and early generation Xers, the boomers were suckers for practically every bullshit neurotic parenting trend in the past 35-40 years or so and they imparted that madness, like the self esteem movement, onto their children and we are stuck with them today. That, combined with an educational system that has horribly prepared them for work in the real world, has more or less resulted in reality hitting them like a ton of bricks. That being said though, I think we are past "peak milllenial" because of Obama's crash and burn of an administration. He was their guy and I wouldn't be surprised if we could peel off a few libertarians off of them.

  • Virginian||

    I'd argue it's more about the horrific regulatory structure then anything else. I'm 25, and I'm pretty smart. I have a business idea, and was utterly stymied by the paperwork, and this is in Virginia, which is usually in the top five or so states for regulation.

    I don't have the ability to quite either of my jobs to work more hours on this side gig, which I hope will turn into a main earner. So I'm basically forced to either steal time from my other employers, or run the whole thing under the table and risk all that entails.

    The regulation is strangling the economy.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I'm 25, and I'm pretty smart. I have a business idea, and was utterly stymied by the paperwork, and this is in Virginia, which is usually in the top five or so states for regulation.

    I don't have the ability to quite either of my jobs to work more hours on this side gig, which I hope will turn into a main earner. So I'm basically forced to either steal time from my other employers, or run the whole thing under the table and risk all that entails.


    I see this a lot with entrepreneurial types in their twenties. Another thing I notice is how life and business decisions are postponed 'for school' to the point where all of these decisions (and the timescale to make mistakes when you're young) is basically nil. Higher ED and regulation are killing our natural talents before they even try.

  • Virginian||

    Well I dropped out of school after one year, because I realized I was accruing a fuckload of debt if I kept going. I burned through my parent provided college fund in one and a half semesters. Took out a loan for the rest. Then was like...fuck that's dumb.

    I have over 50 grand that my grandparents saved for me. Haven't touched it. When I have a smart plan for it, I'll ask for the keys.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    That was definitely the way to go, if you want to own your own business. There is ~zero point in getting non-occupational training lasting longer than three months if your goal is to be your own boss.

  • Virginian||

    I wish I could own my own business. Even in the best states, it seems like you're more like a straw boss for the bureaucrats.

    Hell, just trying to figure out what the best kind of business to set up is tricky.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Yeah, it's a shitshow out there. Good luck.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Hell, just trying to figure out what the best kind of business to set up is tricky.

    Might I suggest providing something people want to buy?

  • Virginian||

    Might I suggest providing something people want to buy?

    Nah, I think I got that part. I'm talking about which forms to fill out. Drives me nuts.

  • ||

    That's one of the areas where a little coursework is very helpful. But a financial adviser could point you in the right direction for the cost of a 1 hour consult, and you can offload the actual business formation to any number of services, including LegalZoom. They make it stupid easy.

  • Virginian||

    Yeah I've heard of them....on the radio...so are they legit? Because I dismiss most radio ads as a scam to be honest.

  • ||

    If you're just forming a basic business structure, up to and including a s-corp or uncomplicated c-corp, they're great. If you're thinking of founding the next Facebook and Y Combinator is knocking on your door, you'd probably better consult a decent corporate attorney.

  • ||

    There is ~zero point in getting non-occupational training lasting longer than three months if your goal is to be your own boss.

    Having obtained a business management degree that I may as well have wiped my ass with in anticipation of owning my own business, I can confirm this 100% (graduating in 2009 didn't do me any favors either, but the point still stands). A year's worth of community college courses and some free library books will get you all the basic knowledge you need to start and operate a business. However, unless you're going to be getting into the trades, it's not a terrible idea to have a credential to fall back on in case you fail, because you won't even get any interviews otherwise.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    The regulation is strangling the economy.

    THIS, THIS, 1000 times THIS.

    Fixing economies is easy. You simply need to make it easy for business to do business. Unfortunately, 50% of the population has no idea what I'm talking about.

  • ||

    Even many of the European social democracies have figured out you don't kill the golden goose. America's take on Italian fascism is the worst of all worlds.

  • Gorilla tactics||

    Yeah but the problem though is that the progtards are "creationists" economically. like a creationist, only an all knowing super intelligence can create wealth, through a highly centralized process. The idea that wealth is the product of a decentralized, disruptive process simply cannot fit into their mental architecture. Remember chief Lies with tenure Elisabeth Warren? "the roads we all paid for" It didn't occur to anyone in that room to ask her where did "we" get the money to spend on TEH ROADZ in the first place? They believe that wealth is the normality, meaning that it's absence necessitates an explanation and that poverty is abnormality when in reality it is the diametric opposite.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    But hey, at least we got this Millenial on the side of liberty

  • General Butt Naked||

    Ummm, dude this video is totally a fake. I've been informed that people that are aged similarly to this woman don't believe these things. Ever.

    So this video is either of a really well-preserved WWII vet, or CGI trickery.

  • Virginian||

    I have never understood the youth cult shit. Maybe it's due to being a conservative for my teenage years, but I never understood how so many of my peers managed to internalize that old stuff was automatically bad.

    If the 2nd is outdated, so are all the others. They're the same age.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Watch the video.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Part of a pre-New Deal cloning project to preserve Real America from FDR and Truman, actually.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    If only she went to Duke.

  • Mike M.||

    Millennials in 2014—still slogging through an anemic recovery to an awful recession—are as optimistic about their future as Gen Xers were in 1994. That was a time when the U.S. economy was revving up, the Internet was becoming a mass medium, and the post-Cold War world has seemingly slipped the noose of history. Eighty-five percent of Millennials say they either already earn enough or will earn enough “to lead the kind of life they want,” compared to 68 percent of Gen Xers and 60 percent of Boomers.

    It seems to me like most Millennials don't "earn" anything at all, as most of them are more or less unemployable and still living in their parents' homes.

    I bet they wouldn't be so unjustifiably optimistic and proud of themselves if their parents decided to kick their lazy, worthless asses out of the house.

  • ||

    I'd be fairly surprised if your estimate is correct even for a 50%+1 definition of "most". Gen Y is probably the most statist in history, but that doesn't mean it conforms to whatever lazy stereotype you read in a hysterically panicked op-ed.

    Unemployed != unemployable.

  • Gorilla tactics||

    "recovery"

    lol

  • Kevin47||

    Who is complaining about their individualism? It is their collectivism, and demands that government provide for their every whim and want, that has me concerned.

    Sure, all of this comes under the auspices of individualism. We need to forgive their college loans, we are told, so they are free to study whatever topic they want and share their individual wisdom with the rest of us (by forcing on us). Insofar as they are rejecting both parties, it is not in the name of liberty, but the embrace of "third way" politics that is always looking for more ways to get government involved in everything we do.

  • ||

    Narcissism != individualism

    And Gillespie's own source blows his claims out of the water, as was already pointed out. The book's been out since 2011. At some point, can't you just admit you might have been wrong about the pending gen y "libertarian moment"?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Eighty-five percent of Millennials say they either already earn enough or will earn enough “to lead the kind of life they want,” compared to 68 percent of Gen Xers and 60 percent of Boomers.

    Wow, this is a stunning counter factual to many conservative myths.

    Great essay, Nick.

  • Kevin47||

    Not really. They clearly believe governmental provisions are part and parcel of attaining the lifestyle they want. Else, why would an unemployed or underemployed 20-something share such a confidence?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    So Millennials are all unemployed layabouts?

    I expected something stupid like that from Mike M above but not from others here.

    That is a sign of the deficiency of the conservative mind - Hasty Generalization.

    ALL LIBERALS ARE ON WELFARE!

  • ||

    So Millennials are all unemployed layabouts?

    Man, you sure killed the FUCK out of that strawman.

    They are, on the other hand, poorer and vastly more underemployed than previous generations were at their age, and apparently are satisfied with that.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    They clearly believe governmental provisions are part and parcel of attaining the lifestyle they want. Else, why would an unemployed or underemployed 20-something share such a confidence?

    This idiot said exactly that.

  • ||

    This idiot said exactly that.

    No, he said exactly this:

    Not really. They clearly believe governmental provisions are part and parcel of attaining the lifestyle they want. Else, why would an unemployed or underemployed 20-something share such a confidence?

    The portion you extracted wasn't in the text. Suggesting that reliance on government might partially explain why poor people with no jobs are more satisfied with their lives than their relatively wealthier peers != So Millennials are all unemployed layabouts?

  • Kevin47||

    If 85% of respondents said they make enough, or are confident they will make enough, it is certain that unemployed and underemployed people are expressing that confidence.

  • Virginian||

    The problem many of my age people have is that they still haven't realized the bright and shining lie. They brownnosed, got into good colleges, studied hard, took on truly staggering levels of debt.....and all that was a lie.

    They really really want their loans paid off by the government. That will be the next big justice push, watch.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    It's one of the things the Dems will use to buy more votes.

  • ||

    That will be the next big justice push, watch.

    Pretty sure Occupy Wall Street was that push.

    Well the white kid version of that push anyway.

    Boy those OWS people really really were so very blindingly white.

    You guys noticed how friggin white they were?

    Like some Nazi Austrian Octoberfest kind of white.

    I don't think down town New York has been that white since the dutch ran the place.

  • ||

    Hell the cops were more diverse then OWS.

    It was like watching Caesar's Legionaries who were conscripted from all over the Roman empire cut through the grubby white hordes of Ambiorix's army.

  • Virginian||

    Yeah a huge part of their platform, such as it was, was "student loan debt relief".

    It's bailout nation man, we just live in it.

  • ||

    Thank God for lowered expectations, eh shreeek?

  • Homple||

    As I said elsewhere, I'll wait for the revealed preferences before believing any poll.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Yay, generation bashing!

    Gawd, if ever there's been a more useless exercise in idiocy, I haven't seen it.

  • ||

    Well, we could engage in REGION WAR or KULTUR WAR. Those are pretty fucking retarded too. Isn't collectivism fun?

  • General Butt Naked||

    You individualists are all the same!

    Get a job, asshole.

  • ||

    My job right now is to go get a pastrami Reuben and some beer since I finished my squats. Luckily the friends who will be joining me are already drunk, having been drinking for a while at the Odin brewery in Fremont. Fucking lushes. Oh how I envy them.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    Can't you squat and drink beer at the same time? Just decrease the weight by 10%. (or increase it if you are that kind of drunk).

  • General Butt Naked||

    Man, pastrami is the shit.

    I found a deli that makes their own and can't wait to get over there to try it.

    They have a corned beef and pastrami on toasted rye with swiss and hot mustard.

  • Robert||

    You're living in a squat?

  • Riven||

    You just described my Saturday. Weird.

  • ||

    But they are not individuals.

    Try telling an Obama joke to millennials and you will get lectured too about Bush.

    In the 90s everyone would make fun of Clinton especially progressives.

    And Clinton was actually popular unlike Obama.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Hey Virginian, what would you do if I told you an Obama joke?

  • Virginian||

    If you tell an Obama joke to this millenial I'll respond with a tirade of invective and fury.

    But don't let me trample your lawn.

  • ||

    It depends a lot on the audience. You can usually tell when you meet a person, regardless of what generation they're from, whether they're going to be A) humorless and B) partisan knob gobblers. That said, most millennials are statist asswipes. Which isn't all that surprising when you take into account they were raised by 3 prior generations of statist asswipes. You don't have to be a Team player to be a statist.

    And before anybody drops a "get off my lawn" on me, I'm entitled (drink!) to make that judgment about millennials - I've got a birth date in 1986.

  • ||

    I'm entitled (drink!) to make that judgment about millennials - I've got a birth date in 1986.

    So does that mean I have to be black to criticize Obama over stimulus policy?

  • ||

    Obviously no, but it does make make the people who would default to a counter-argument of "RACIST!" look kind of silly.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    "So does that mean I have to be black to criticize Obama over stimulus policy?"

    That would make you an Uncle Tom.

  • General Butt Naked||

    That said, most millennials Americans are statist asswipes.

    Fixed that, because if it were any other way we wouldn't have the monstrous behemoth that is us.gov.

  • ||

    I quite agree, which I thought would be clear from the sentence following that one.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I don' have time to read entire comments before responding.

    Gawd, what do you think I am, some sort of social security collecting boomer with the time to parse every word said by every person everywhere?

    Here's a hint: Get a job hippy.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Damn kids. When I was your age in 1983, I would troll on the internet uphill through the snow both ways.

  • ||

    On a 14.4 baud modem too

  • ||

    "Try telling an Obama joke to millennials and you will get lectured too about Bush."

    I just mock them with "B-B-B-B B-B--B-B-B BU-B-B-BUT--BOOOOOOSH D-D-D-D-D-DID IT" Then ask them if stammering like an idiot worked on their parents.

  • mr lizard||

    I figure I should inform all you stooooopid meat sacks that your future reptilian overlords actually favor Gen X types... The flannel trends of the 90's amuses them.

  • ||

    I await URKOBOLD's take on all this.

    He is better at knowing the minds of the reptilian overlord demographic then they know themselves.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    So the increasingly arthritic, and always idiotic, Baby Boom is throwing its typical tantrum that the rising generations decline to acknowledge their wonderfulness.

    I belong to the Boom, and they have always made me tired.

  • ||

    Millennials are turning their backs on institutions

    53 percent of Millennials still say they want “a bigger government that provides more services”

    Eighty-five percent of Millennials say they either already earn enough or will earn enough “to lead the kind of life they want,” compared to 68 percent of Gen Xers and 60 percent of Boomers.

    Cynically optimistic about expanding the institution they hate!!!

    Jesus this makes them sound just like GenX.

  • Palin's Buttplug||


    George Bush Lost an Entire Generation for the Republican Party

    —By Kevin Drum
    | Fri Mar. 7, 2014 12:45 PM GMT

    Pew has released a new survey about the social and political attitudes of various generations, and it makes for interesting reading. The thing that strikes me the most is just how clear the trends are.

    Bush was that bad. The stench will last decades. War, Bible Beating and Big Gov are a bad combo.

    http://www.motherjones.com/kev.....ican-party

  • ||

  • ||

    "B-B-B-B-B-B-UUSH D-D-D-D-D-DID IT"

  • ||

    Shrike has his finger on the pulse of generation 2000.

    BOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHH!!!!!

  • ||

    And the Republicans used to own the youth demographic too. Goddamn BOOOOOOOOOSH.

  • Robert||

    "Bouche? He wasn't even running!" — Gary Shandling

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Bush was that bad.

    No way!

    Booooooosh was totally awesome. That's why we all love him.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Bush = GOP.

    Obama/Clinton = Democrats.

    Easy win for the latter.

  • XM||

    The war in Iraq stopped being an issue years ago. The Democrat presidents got us into several wars and many of them were staunch defenders of segregation. People move on.

    Seriously, you think most 25 year old millennial can recall details from the Clinton or Bush presidency? Engage in any sort of substantive debate about NAFTA, deregulation of the banks (Clinton was involved in that) and the dot com burst?

    You must feel good that most millennials will vote democrats, but it doesn't change the fact that they will more or less continue the errors of their predecessors, including wars and failed experiments like ACA.

  • ||

    Seriously, you think most 25 year old millennial can recall details from the Clinton or Bush presidency? Engage in any sort of substantive debate about NAFTA, deregulation of the banks (Clinton was involved in that) and the dot com burst?

    This frustrates me to no end. Having to explain things to them.

    I knew about the fucking 70s and 80s and I didn't have wikipedia.

    Clinton was involved in that

    Also have to remind them that Clinton signed the defense of marriage act.

  • Riven||

    Consider the average 25 year old millennial was in the beginning year or two of grade school.

    I remember watching Clinton's impeachment on TV when I was in first grade. Anything else about his administration, I've learned in the years since. Point is, while they may not be able to recall some of those things, they're certainly capable of learning about it.

  • Eggs Benedict Cumberbund||

    Progs love power, its their holy grail. Without power to perfect man through the historical march to a perfect government we would just have chaos. That's why eugenics, fascism, etc are so cool to these guys.

    So guys like Clinton, who have the power (and use it) to have inconvenient associates whacked (Vince Foster), are beloved by the power loving hive.

  • Stephdumas||

    Speaking of Millennials, the website American Thinker mentionned that video about Millennials and Obama. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RhBVkkyoOg

  • ||

    You know nothing Julia Bass....you are still hot though.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    You can have all the attention you want here:
    http://reason.com/archives/201.....nt_4395693

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Obama/Clinton = Democrats.

    Which Clinton?

    Oh, wait, it doesn't matter, your tongue still has shit all over it.

  • ||

    I think he means the Clinton that after losing the house moved his politics rightward to within the width of a cunt hair of the Republicans.

    Interesting enough that Clinton is still beloved unlike the other Clinton, Bush or Obama.

  • ||

    Pretty sure being raised in a society with Internet will have measurable political/social trends vs people being raised in a society without Internet.

  • ||

    It's Mary. Just point and laugh.

  • Damien||

    Sorry but with a few exceptions, Millennials cannot endure deprivation for much more than an hour or two. They are overly dependent upon the corporate capitalistic structure, and I have not observed many who are able to make it independently. Even the Occupy movement folks devolved into jingoistic leftist claptrap.

  • Virginian||

    Even the Occupy movement folks devolved into jingoistic leftist claptrap.

    They didn't devolve there, they started there. The attempt of painting the OWS people as libertarian was retarded from the get go.

    They are overly dependent upon the corporate capitalistic structure, and I have not observed many who are able to make it independently.

    That applies, if it does apply, equally to their parents and grandparents.

  • Winston||

    Problem is there aren't many yute activists that really do challenge the ideas of their parents or grandparents except to demand more free shit or full communism or whatever. Not really all that rebellious or libertarian.

  • Virginian||

    But again, this is true of every fucking age group nowadays.

    It's a nation of moochers. Everybody wants a piece of the pie.

  • Winston||

    I know the irony of the boomers and yutes not really being all that different from the old folks. I recall there was a lot of ink spilled about Teh Yutes in the Jazz Age and are they really all that different from their descendants?

  • Winston||

    A full 51 percent of Millennials believe they won’t receive any Social Security benefits and an additional 39 percent say that they will receive reduced benefits if they get anything at all

    Do they actually oppose Social Security or are they just mad they won't be getting enough free shit?

  • Virginian||

    Well given the choice of

    a. paying FICA and getting SSDI
    b. paying FICA and not getting SSDI
    c. not paying FICA and not getting SSDI

    I chose C over B and A, but if C isn't an option then I damn sure would rather have B than A.

  • ||

    "damn sure would rather have b. paying FICA and not getting SSDI than a. paying FICA and getting SSDI"

    huh?

  • Virginian||

    Damn it we need an edit button. Obviously my preference ranking is

    C, then A, and then B.

  • Winston||

    Well I understand getting pissed about being looted but my point is that choosing A is not a sign of some rebellious latent libertarianism.

  • Virginian||

    Well that's kind of the insidious nature of the welfare state, isn't it, and democracy in general.

    My attitude is, I didn't set it up, I didn't vote for it, but they're gonna slip my money away, I'll catch whatever coins they throw back.

    Hell of a world, isn't it?

  • ||

    I'd agree to the compromise of continuing to pay FICA taxes while the current generation of beneficiaries receive benefits, but the system gets spun down for everyone else.

  • ||

    Goddamn kids these days can't even tell A from B.

  • Virginian||

    A is A. I read it in a book.

  • Winston||

    Eighty-five percent of Millennials say they either already earn enough or will earn enough “to lead the kind of life they want,” compared to 68 percent of Gen Xers and 60 percent of Boomers.

    So the yutes are more satisfied with the status quo then their elders? This will make them more likely to challenge the institutions and change the world how?

  • Winston||

    So isn't this post a bunch of the same old nonsense? Old fogeys complaining about Teh Yutes and an old fogey defending Teh Yutes by saying that they are going to create utopia by doing whatever said old fogey wants?

  • General Butt Naked||

    I think that this isn't anything different than before. We have another generation that loves big government, but not any more or less so than their parents.

  • Winston||

    We have another generation that loves big government, but not any more or less so than their parents.
    Or the Greatest Generation or the Jazz Generation and so on...

  • Winston||

    Or about how modern tech means the youth will create utopia like the Victorians or the Jazz Age or the Baby Boomers...

  • Winston||

    So why aren't the yutes rebelling against old ideas? Well what ideas can they rebel against? Tolerance, anti-racism, anti-bullying, the welfare state, the regulatory state, free university, self esteem, being "rebellious", etc.?

  • Winston||

    You Know Which Other Country had Youth cynical about the Government and of the mainstream political parties yet wanted more government?

  • ||

    France?

  • General Butt Naked||

    America circa 1969?

  • Byte Me||

    Whoda thunk that growing up against the background of two inconclusive, ill-conceived, and poorly prosecuted wars might have soured Millennials on the old Red, White, and Blue?

    These neo-Confederate, separatist, anti-government anarchists must be silenced!

    /sarc

  • Agile Cyborg||

    The individualist track is all good and well but if millenials don't gravitate to studying the past then the future is not necessarily that robust for them. Sadly, this problem of knowing very little about history is a cancer that seems to infect a lot of people I run into- both online and offline.

  • Eggs Benedict Cumberbund||

    I agree. We can't really advance without institutions or as least loose social constructs that create the great networked intelligence through trade and other forms of exchange that keep us from starving, getting bored, or eaten by aliens.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "there will be only one ‘ism’—Individualism—and its rule will never end. "

    YAY!

  • Sade||

    "Only pot, selfies and Facebook will abide." This made me laugh out loud harder than I have in months...these people are so out of touch it's a wonder they can even wipe their own ass.

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