The Kids Are All Left

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Today's non-surprise surprise: Kids are liberal! From the Pew Research Center's survey of 18-to-25 year olds:

More than two-thirds (67%) believe immigrants strengthen American society; a quarter favor increasing legal immigration.

Just 47% of those ages 41 to 60 say immigrants strengthen society; among those 26 and older, 16% say immigration should increase.

While young people are split over gay marriage (47% in favor, 46% opposed), those over 25 are not: 64% oppose same-sex marriage; 30% favor it.

"This is a more tolerant generation than its predecessors," says Scott Keeter of Pew Research Center, which surveyed 579 young adults and 922 adults 26 and older.

Once in a while, conservatives kick around the non-theory theory* that legal abortion snuffs out potential liberal voters, leaving conservatives to, as Newt Gingrich would put it, Win the Future. This, apparently, is not happening. Young voters do get more economically conservative as they start paying for things, a process expedited in areas where housing is cheap and delayed in areas (like cities) where it isn't. But do they get more anti-immigrant? Do they get more anti-gay? Probably not, which means these trends will be extremely difficult to reverse.

Pew also provides the essential "young people used to, like, care about things" data:

The findings that this generation's top life goals are to be rich (81%) and famous (51%) contrast with a 1967 study of college freshmen in which 85.8% said it was essential to develop "a meaningful philosophy of life," while 41.9% thought it essential to be "very well off financially."

I'm not old, but I'm old enough to remember the hand-wringing of the early 90s over whether the next American generation would be the worst first to end up with less than its parents. We're supposed to grouse now that this isn't happening?

*I will cease using this trite formulation.

NEXT: O Pioneers! (East Bloc Nostalgia Edition)

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  1. More economically conservative, still socially liberal? I like!

  2. I have the pleasure (no sarcasm) of employing college students, often freshmen in their first paying job. Many are extremely, naively left and have “multiculturalism” stuffed deep into their brains. I’m never “Asshole Libertarian” to them, but I do nudge here and there.

    It always warms the cold, dead places in my heart when they get that first paycheck and I can watch the realization of how much of it goes down the federal, state, and local tax maw bloom across their faces.

    My favorite are the ones who innocently ask, “What’s this one for? 6.5%?” I give them a sad look and tell them “Social Security.”

    I convert maybe a 1/3 of them right then and there.

    Delicious.

  3. I’m not old, but I’m old enough to remember the hand-wringing of the early 90s over whether the next American generation would be the worst to end up with less than its parents.

    I think you meant “the first to end up with less than it’s parents.”

  4. no, it’s “its”

  5. Wait, I think there’s a typo in your correction of the typo. You were correcting “worst” as “first” but changed the “its”. ah, fuck it.

  6. Brainwashing from government propaganda camps.

    Also, kids are stupid.

  7. I naively hope for the day when young people are truly interested in freedom. interested in econimic and personal liberty.

    But I figure with all the opposition to liberty as a concept from democrats, republicans and libertarians…I suspect this is just a pipe dream.

    After all, each group says. We are the only ones whe really understand what “your” life, liberty and happiness ACTUALLY are.

  8. This survey is rather meaningless in the longterm. I believed a lot of idealistic things when I was 18. Since then, another 18 years of bills, work, and other realities has changed my opinion on many — if not most — things.

  9. Right now a generation of pro immigrant, pro gay rights, sounds good. Real good.

    But I know that once they get their first taste of power, they’re going to be demanding all manner of immigration assimilation programs, and gay parent subsidies.

  10. I have been saying this. I have been saying this. Blah Blah Blah…The bunk theory of “kids turn out just like their folks” is false, else there would be no change.

    Obviously we are getting more socially liberal as we get more urbanized. Traditional enemies such as gays, feminist, atheist, minorities’ etc. don’t pose much of a “threat”, despite whatever bias of the previous generation, when they grow up with you as peers and friends.

    The economic liberty bit is a little trickier. But keep in mind, it wasn’t till alittle over a decade ago that the Berlin Wall fell and the “promise” of communism was finally exposed for what it really is. I would say for every young budding Ezra Klein out there, there is also a Julian Sanchez. Anyway, I have hope.

  11. le young people are split over gay marriage (47% in favor, 46% opposed), those over 25 are not: 64% oppose same-sex marriage; 30% favor it

    This poll borders on meaningless. You can’t lump 26 year olds with 51 year olds with 76 year olds as though they had anything in common besides not being in the arbitrary “18-25” age group.

    The findings that this generation’s top life goals are to be rich (81%) and famous (51%) contrast with a 1967 study of college freshmen in which 85.8% said it was essential to develop “a meaningful philosophy of life,” while 41.9% thought it essential to be “very well off financially.”

    In other words, this generation is materialistic and spiritually vapid. Great.

  12. What percentage of 18-25 year olds are immigrants, compared to those 41-60 years old?

  13. …this generation’s top life goals are to be rich (81%) and famous (51%)

    Paroxyms of disappointment are just around the corner.

  14. Study: College students get an A in narcissism
    February 27, 2007

    By DAVID CRARY

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    NEW YORK – Today’s college students are more narcissistic and self-centered than their predecessors, according to a comprehensive new study by five psychologists who worry that the trend could be harmful to personal relationships and American society.

    “We need to stop endlessly repeating ‘You’re special’ and having children repeat that back,” said the study’s lead author, professor Jean Twenge of San Diego State University. “Kids are self-centered enough already.”

  15. “materialistic and spiritually vapid”

    Translation: Intelligent

  16. That young adults become more fiscally conservative as they grow into the group that pays for social programs isn’t much of a surprise.

    I have noticed, though, in my cohort (loosely defined by me as the couple dozen people I grew up with, went to college with, and our mutual friends, all between 26 and 33 years old now) that many of them have become more socially conservative as well, especially the ones starting families. Mostly they object to the oversexualization of pop culture and the perceived lack of work ethic among Gen Y. Not that every generation hasn’t thought the same. . .

    It’d be great to see a broader survey covering all age groups so we could see the shift (or lack thereof) of perceptions as people age.

  17. “materialistic and spiritually vapid”

    Translation: Intelligent

    Donald trump? Georg W. Bush? Lucky.

  18. Nice support for Cathy’s article on liberal professors. Aren’t we supposed to believe that far left bowtie professors are turning our redblooded youth into commies?

  19. “”materialistic and spiritually vapid”

    Translation: Intelligent”

    Fuck off, please. Better yet, kill yourself and your spawn.

  20. Since when is being anti-gay and anti-immigrant essential to being conservative? Dick Cheney is on record as being in favor of gay marriage. George Bush is in favor of opening up immigration. Are they part of this liberal youth groundswell?

  21. “What percentage of 18-25 year olds are immigrants, compared to those 41-60 years old?”

    Jose, this is a good question, but I must ask this question also:
    Would a higher percentage of, mostly devout Roman Catholics from Latin America also explain the more tolerant attitude toward gay marriage? Probably not. Though it might explain KFC’s new fish sandwich.

  22. Dick Cheney is on record as being in favor of gay marriage. George Bush is in favor of opening up immigration.

    Exactly. Both men lost support and came under fire from conservatives for precisely for taking these positions. Cheney was beaten into silence while Bush now supports the ‘border control’ backlash.

  23. It is true that young people are idealistic and once they are out in “the real world” that idealism is tempered somewhat by self-interest.

    What you folks are not getting is that this sort of thing applies to libertarianism also.

    Libertarianism is a highly idealistic philosophy – but self-interest will take over once people realize that it doesn’t work in the real world.

  24. I think they will become more socially conservative. People tend to base their attitudes on personal experience, not statistics or ideals. They may have great ideals now, but if they have a few unpleasant interactions with illegals or gays, they will change.

    I find even the most “tolerant” become more intolerant over time. Those idiot pacifist socialists have a series of unpleasant interactions with anyone with an ounce of sense, and its amazing to see how hateful they are to anyone who might want to mention the truth.

  25. Well, note that on the “life goals” chart, the choices were limited to getting rich, getting famous, helping others, leading the community, or becoming more spiritual. Given those 5 choices, getting rich is most important to me–but even more important are things like raising a family. When the poll leaves off major answer choices and asks teens to choose between being successful and being altruistic, of course the results will come out skewed.

  26. Wow. August. Just wow.

  27. Lets not forget that the boomers tended to be liberal before they discovered the appeal of a well-polished pair of jackboots.

    As for the desire to be rich: When I was in college, I thought there were more important things in life than money. Now that I realize I was totally wrong, it’s hard to make a course correction towards a life that might involve affluence. If only I could go back in time and slap my younger self…

  28. This post is disingenuous. I am no conservative (rather, a political libertarian opposed to open borders for reasons stated here), but very few conservatives would disagree that “immigration strengthens America.” In fact, most conservatives I have known are absolutely A-Ok with the sort of immigration promoted by the H1B–allowing immigrants with a skill or education to come here and work. In fact, I doubt most of them would even support the restrictions in the H1B program on job changing and things like that. The objection is being flooded by millions of low-to-no-skilled workers from any country.

    Enough of the smears! Most Americans are not the bumbling, inbred, racist, xenophobic hicks that open borders proponents think they are. Most Americans are also in favor of ending the uncontrolled immigration from south of the border.

  29. More economically conservative, still socially liberal? I like!

    Yeah, sounds familiar.

    The problem is that each generation gets old and thinks they know what’s best for the younger generations, even if it’s completely the opposite of how they lived their lives.

    Fuckers.

  30. “I’m not old, but I’m old enough to remember the hand-wringing of the early 90s over whether the next American generation would be the worst first to end up with less than its parents. We’re supposed to grouse now that this isn’t happening?”

    Huh? The fact that people under 25 value getting rich is not evidence one way or the other that they will be worse off than their parents.

  31. They may have great ideals now, but if they have a few unpleasant interactions with illegals or gays, they will change.

    That’s like when this guy driving a Lincoln cut me off, then flipped me the bird. Now I key every Lincoln I walk past in a parking lot. In fact, all Ford drivers in general are pretty much assholes. You meet a few that will pull over and let you pass, but for the most part, the somebitches ought to be rear-ended and pushed off the road.

  32. So warren, are you saying that you have to be anti-immigrant and anti-gay to be conservative? Just because there’s some disagreement in the GOP on gay marriage and immigration doesn’t mean that Bush and Cheney aren’t conservatives, does it?

    My point is that to take the survey to mean that the youths are liberals because of how they agree to two statements is jumping to conclusions.

    Even Tom Tancredo would say that “immigrants strengthen American society.” He just wants them to trickle in after jumping every hurdle in the naturlization steeple chase.

  33. “if they have a few unpleasant interactions with illegals or gays, they will change.”

    I wonder what August’s views of Hit & Run commenters will be by the end of the day.

  34. Stuff like this always reminds me of a bit in the book Venus On The Half-Shell in which in order to do lucrative business with a planet on which the inhabitants distinguish each other by smelling each others’ assholes, Earth sends all its pervs to this planet as emmisaries and go-betweens, figuring this will be good for business AND rid Earth of all its pervs. BUT as many pervs as Earth sends to this planet, there are still just as many pervs here on Earth!! Go figure…

  35. In fact, most conservatives I have known are absolutely A-Ok with the sort of immigration promoted by the H1B–allowing immigrants with a skill or education to come here and work.

    So who does the necessary work that doesn’t require skill or education?

  36. Please, August, tell us more about how hateful “Those idiot pacifist socialists” are.

  37. “What you folks are not getting is that this sort of thing applies to libertarianism also.”

    I suspect that this is true for a lot of middle aged people whose parents end up in nursing care. Federal Medicaid picks up the tab for anyone who runs out of money, thus saving their middle aged children from picking up the extremely expensive tab or having very needy parents move in with them. This is a very popular welfare program.

  38. Yeah, Abdul – makes me want to become both.

    But would I want to be a gay illegal or an illegal gay. There are no socially-conservative laws here in Illinois that could tell me what to think…

    MikeT. *yawn*

  39. “economically conservative, still socially liberal”

    You mean like a “SouthPark” Republican?

  40. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.

    You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis. You’re the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.

    You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.

  41. I suspect that this is true for a lot of middle aged people whose parents end up in nursing care. Federal Medicaid picks up the tab for anyone who runs out of money, thus saving their middle aged children from picking up the extremely expensive tab or having very needy parents move in with them. This is a very popular welfare program.

    I think it’s true because most people don’t want to live in a society where you’re totally on your own. We’d rather pay a little bit to others when things are going well for us so that if things suddenly aren’t so good there will be help for us as well.

    In other words, it’s often in your own self-interest not to only be concerned with your own self-interest.

  42. Dan,

    If that were true, then people would be paying into social security willingly rather than at gun point. Heck, you could get rid of the investigative arm of the IRS!

  43. “Fuck off, please. Better yet, kill yourself and your spawn.”

    and that response isn’t spiritually vapid?

  44. Wups, hit post instead of preview.

    What I mean to say is that if left to their own devices people do set up social safety nets, through churches, charities, fraternal organizations and the like.

    The idea that the government has to force people to do these things is laughable. If the government truly provided value, it would not have to force people to pay for the service at gunpoint…

  45. We’d rather pay a little bit to others when things are going well for us so that if things suddenly aren’t so good there will be help for us as well.

    Yeah. It’s called “insurance”. As you note, people think it’s important. And it doesn’t require government force.

  46. Sure, tarran. You throw in your share. I’ll get around to throwing in mine later. I promise.

  47. andy has a few issues with boundaries and doesn’t always use his inside voice.

  48. “They may have great ideals now, but if they have a few unpleasant interactions with illegals or gays, they will change.”

    what about gay illegal immigrants from south of the border? HAVE YOU EVEN THOUGHT ABOUT THAT YOU APPEASEBURGER?

    [cute “hot hot hot”]

    really, n=1=who fucking cares?

  49. Awesome. Another thread taken off of course by trolls.

  50. After 12 years of indoctrination in the public re-education system and another 4 years in finishing school, of course kids are liberal. And that has some downsides as well.

    I’m very skeptical of the numbers on immigration, that just is totally counterintuitive and flies in the face of personal experience, but I didn’t look to see how the question was framed.

    Take your microphone to any street in So Ca or Az and try to find one in ten people, young, college educated, or otherwise, that would agree that immigration is good for the country.

  51. sadly, yes. or not so sadly; is not trolling the essence of american political discussions? and agitation for that matter?

    what is a kiss-in but a form of location-based trolling? hell, the westboro baptist church is literally the Troll Made Flesh.

    building on that theme, politically programming is an excellent example of this; you not only take disparate views, but you make sure they’re from two people who have limited self-control and enjoy yelling at each other. that’s great TV.

    maybe not so great as life, but great tv.

  52. Most Americans are not the bumbling, inbred, racist, xenophobic hicks that open borders proponents think they are.

    No. Most Americans are just plain protectionist, and argue against open borders because they don’t want more people competing for their own jobs.

  53. There are pro-choice conservatives, does that mean the pro-life position isn’t conservative? Same goes with about any conservative position, there are those described as conservative that don’t hold every single conservative position.

    TWC,
    Your experience flies in the face of my experience. In my jobs, at school and most people I’m around are pretty pro-immigrant. I’m from SoCal as well. Especially in the context of legal immigration. Heck, I have a lot of friends’ dads that are very conservative all around that have said stuff like, “I have no problem with immigrants like you and your family. You guys work hard, are educated and make the economy better. I just don’t like letting in too many people on the left side of the bell curve. They’re the ones that leech of welfare and don’t pay taxes.”


  54. The idea that the government has to force people to do these things is laughable. If the government truly provided value, it would not have to force people to pay for the service at gunpoint…

    No, the reason they do have to tax people is because from an individual standpoint it is rational to not pay into a collective service if you don’t have to.

    I see the benefits of having a military, for example, and I’d reap those benefits even if I didn’t help pay for them. So if given a choice, I wouldn’t help pay for them.

  55. “After 12 years of indoctrination in the public re-education system and another 4 years in finishing school, of course kids are liberal.”

    Darn it. Did the professors turn our kids liberal or no? It seems like you’re saying it’s the damn high school teachers churning out little commies. Parents don’t have anything to do with it? Not even a little bit?

  56. Yeah. It’s called “insurance”. As you note, people think it’s important. And it doesn’t require government force.

    But it does require money, of which people have in limited quantities.

  57. “Yeah. It’s called “insurance”. As you note, people think it’s important. And it doesn’t require government force”

    I brought up the Medicaid program that pays for nursing care precisely because it is for something that you can’t really insure for. I don’t think that you can buy a policy that will insure against your parents needing nursing care and not having the cash to pay for it. At the same time, you would have to be among the most cold hearted people out there to ignore your parents need if it comes to that.

  58. “Most Americans are not the bumbling, inbred, racist, xenophobic hicks that open borders proponents think they are.”

    No, but most Americans who engage in anti-immigration political activism are.

  59. “Fuck off, please. Better yet, kill yourself and your spawn.”

    and that response isn’t spiritually vapid?”

    I’m working on it. I have even less patience for smug, self-righteous atheists than I do for the Ted Haggards and Pat Robertsons of the world- that is to say, none.

  60. “If the government truly provided value…”

    There would be a massive free-rider problem, absent enforced revenue collection.

  61. I brought up the Medicaid program that pays for nursing care precisely because it is for something that you can’t really insure for. I don’t think that you can buy a policy that will insure against your parents needing nursing care and not having the cash to pay for it.

    Well, then here’s a pointer.

    They note on the Quotes page that…

    Long term care insurance is often referred to as “asset protection” by financial planners. Medicaid will cover your long term care services, but only when your assets have been depleted. Unless you are extremely wealthy or can not financially afford the premiums, it is in your best interest to apply for long term care insurance.

    You’re welcome.

  62. “I’m working on it. I have even less patience for smug, self-righteous atheists than I do for the Ted Haggards and Pat Robertsons of the world- that is to say, none.”

    in the defense of smug atheists, very few of them – if any – actually engage in trying to change the laws of the land, in lobbying politicians and otherwise attempting to fuck with others.

    spiritually disinterested – rather than vapid, which strikes me as a description of a new age bookstore rather than people who just don’t really care one way or the other – isn’t necessarily a downside. not that people can’t find a slew of other values to use to justify their shittiness, of course, but a lack of interest in metaphysics has no inherent moral weight. (unless you believe in a metaphysically based morality, in which case oh well, i tried.)

  63. …allowing immigrants with a skill or education to come here and work. In fact, I doubt most of them would even support the restrictions in the H1B program on job changing and things like that. The objection is being flooded by millions of low-to-no-skilled workers from any country.

    Really??

    Funny, I don’t remember seeing the “skilled and educated” clause in “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, / The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. / Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, / I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

    Maybe you can point it out to me somewhere

  64. The objection is being flooded by millions of low-to-no-skilled workers from any country.

    Yeah, we need to save those low-wage, low-skill jobs for our own citizens and only allow immigration for the high-wage, high-skill jobs.

  65. “Fuck off, please. Better yet, kill yourself and your spawn.”

    “I have even less patience for smug, self-righteous atheists than I do for the Ted Haggards and Pat Robertsons of the world- that is to say, none.”

    …and we atheists are the ones accused of being anti-social.

  66. I saw some disreputable hack (R-Iowa) on C-SPAN last night, talking about immigration. He was bragging about how an organic farm near Yuma was being driven out of business because its labor supply had been cut off.

    He was also talking about what a great friend of the working man he is because of his efforts to stop immigration. He brought up the fact that the country has a 30% high school drop-out rate, and that some people just want to work a job that requires a strong back, and go fishing. Apparently, his take on a 30% high school dropout rate is to make sure that they can have seasonal jobs picking peppers by hand each July in Yuma. Because he’s such a friend of the working man, you see.

  67. Mo, we obviously travel in different circles, but I know very few people, socially, in business, or on line who are fond of immigration. Mrs TWC always jokes that we are two of the eleven or so people in this state that don’t hate immigrants.

    Shit even the immigrants hate immigrants. 🙂 Just had a guy from Columbia tell me last week how much it pissed him off to see the Vietnamese signs in Little Saigon.

    Now, as I said, I think it depends upon how the question was framed and it depends upon the context. As someone said earlier on this thread, lots of people will tell you they are okay with immigration so long as everybody jumps through the appropriate hoops with the appropriate limits on who and how many can come here.

    Anyway, I’m happy your experience is better than mine, that’s encouraging.

  68. The objection is being flooded by millions of low-to-no-skilled workers from any country.

    Being reported on the radio here is a new study from the Public Policy Institute of California that examines labor records of the state from the past 45 years and finds, among other things…

    1) There is no evidence that the influx of immigrants over the past four decades has worsened the employment opportunities of natives with similar education and experience, 2) There is no association between the influx of immigrants and the out-migration of natives within the same education and age group, 3) Immigration induced a 4 percent real wage increase for the average native worker between 1990 and 2004, 4) Recent immigrants did lower the wages of previous immigrants.

    At least anti-immigrant folks can latch on to finding (4): Increase immigration to screw prior immigrants!

  69. New Immigration Studies out Check out coverage here

    Some highlights:
    A study released Tuesday by the Public Policy Institute of California found that immigrants who arrived in the state between 1990 and 2004 increased wages for native workers by an average 4%.

    …the benefits were shared by all native-born workers, from high school dropouts to college graduates, because immigrants generally perform complementary rather than competitive work

    Another study released Monday by the Washington-based Immigration Policy Center showed that immigrant men ages 18 to 39 had an incarceration rate five times lower than native-born citizens in every ethnic group examined. Among men of Mexican descent, for instance, 0.7% of those foreign-born were incarcerated compared to 5.9% of native-born, according to the study, co-written by UC Irvine sociologist Ruben G. Rumbaut.

  70. “900 people,” he was bragging. Congratulations, Congressman Asshole. 900 families whose daddies get to figure out some other way to put food on the table. Or not. Buyers who get to scramble around to replace 900 workers’ worth of supply. The farm family who gets to go bankrupt. The people who would have sold that farm its supplies and equipment.

    For what? You should have heard him talk about how he could hear the illegals crossing the border at night. Alternately hilarious and terrifying. I can’t believe these people get to control the debate.

  71. Jebus, Joe. With that sort of righteous indignation over the government screwing a small business, one could almost mistake you for a libertarian.

    It’s best not to resist the assimilation.

  72. Another study released Monday by the Washington-based Immigration Policy Center showed that immigrant men ages 18 to 39 had an incarceration rate five times lower than native-born citizens in every ethnic group examined. Among men of Mexican descent, for instance, 0.7% of those foreign-born were incarcerated compared to 5.9% of native-born, according to the study, co-written by UC Irvine sociologist Ruben G. Rumbaut.

    What does this tell us? That first-generation Mexican immigrants tend to work hard and stay out of trouble, while the second and third generation… Well, are we supposed to think it’s a good thing that 5.9% of “native-born” Mexican-American men between the ages of 18 and 39 are in jail?

  73. Funny, I don’t remember seeing the “skilled and educated” clause in “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, / The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. / Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, / I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

    I don’t remember seeing this in our Constitution or anything passed by our legislature, either. Which, unless we are now making our laws by posting inspirational poetry on statues, renders this a rather meaningless point. 😉

  74. Sorry, I guess the 5.9% refers to people who have been incarcerated at some point, not people currently incarcerated. Still, my point holds: the incarceration rate for Mexican-Americans born in this country is disturbingly high.

    I live in a European country that has a similar pattern with Turkish immigrants. The first generation tended to work hard and mind their own business, while the present generations exhibit high rates of criminality and unemployment, and very low educational achievement.

  75. Akira,

    I don’t dislike all atheists, just the ones that act like they’re self-evidently superior to everyone else.

    “spiritually disinterested – rather than vapid, which strikes me as a description of a new age bookstore rather than people who just don’t really care one way or the other – isn’t necessarily a downside. not that people can’t find a slew of other values to use to justify their shittiness, of course, but a lack of interest in metaphysics has no inherent moral weight. (unless you believe in a metaphysically based morality, in which case oh well, i tried.)”

    When I refer to “spiritually” I’m referring not just to metaphysics but things like compassion for other living beings and a general awareness of the wonder of existence and of our connection with and obligation to everything else. The fact that “helping others” didn’t even rate in the top two of the vast majority of the respondents in the Pew Survey suggests that most people in my age group are cocksmacks- “spiritually vapid” is just another way of putting it.

    “in the defense of smug atheists, very few of them – if any – actually engage in trying to change the laws of the land, in lobbying politicians and otherwise attempting to fuck with others.”

    Are you serious?!? A non-insignificant number of these people only want freedom from religion, they believe nothing in freedom of religion, even though neither of those concepts are worth anything without the other.

  76. green mamba,

    You know what another word for “second and third generation immigrants” is? Native born citizens.

  77. green mamba: I take it back. In many European countries, even those whose parents were born and lived their entire lives there don’t count as citizens.

    Still, it’s tough to argue, based on the difference between immigrants and their kids and grandkids, that the problem exists anywhere but in the society of the host country.

  78. Joe, rather than painstakingly formulating my thoughts on the subject, let me be lazy and point you to a thread where this subject is discussed in some detail and several good points are made. I suspect this site will offend your liberal sensibilities, and yes some of the commenters are racists, but give it a look. http://isteve.blogspot.com/2007/02/lets-play-spot-fallacy.html

  79. Mo, we obviously travel in different circles, but I know very few people, socially, in business, or on line who are fond of immigration. Mrs TWC always jokes that we are two of the eleven or so people in this state that don’t hate immigrants.

    Of course, it could be that people tend not to bad mouth immigrants in front of an immigrant and those that are in my circle are those inclined to liking immigrants.

    Lots of people can hold their tongue and not say the n-word in front of black people and have no problem doing the same when among like-minded people. I’m guessing we’re seeing this effect in action as well.

  80. Honestly, 18-25 year olds are nothing more than walking bags of hormones with marginally functioning brains. Should I give a shit what they think about anything?

    And yes, that description applied to me at that age. I had plenty of half-baked ideas uninformed by experience.

  81. Yes, it says they think immigrants improve the country. yes, they say legal immigration should increase. But does it say what they think about illegal immigration? Of course it wouldn’t, the propagandists who did this poll threw the legals and illegals in the same category to confuse people and make pro-sovereignty people like myself seem like a bunch of nativists.

  82. ChrisO:
    18-25???

    Halve the first and double the second 🙂

    they’re all hormones and tennis shoes 🙂

  83. Also, from the results of the poll, it looks like my generation is more libertarian than liberal. Thank God. I think the lefty polltakers are pulling another lets try to confuse the libertarians into thinking they’re liberal conjob.

  84. How come, if all these illegals are stealing everyone’s job, that the unemployment rate is at historically low levels?

    I don’t think people’s objections to immigration have anything to do with “the working man”.

  85. As a matter of fact, the major unions in America – AFL-CIO, SEIU, UNITE-HERE, AFSCME, and I believe UAW – have all come out in favor of pro-immigrant immigration reform.

  86. joe: isn’t it possible that they are just looking for new members?

  87. joe: isn’t it possible that they are just looking for new members?

    That, and elimination of nonunion competition from illegal immigrants who can’t or won’t join unions due to the chance of detection.

  88. andy wrote:

    Are you serious?!? A non-insignificant number of these people only want freedom from religion, they believe nothing in freedom of religion, even though neither of those concepts are worth anything without the other.

    So you’re saying there’s this group of bad atheists who reject freedom of religion? So what’s their goal? Making religion illegal? Outlawing holy texts? Religious people wearing special identifying armbands? What exactly are these bad atheists advocating?

    Forgive my skepticism, but I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

  89. “Honestly, 18-25 year olds are nothing more than walking bags of hormones with marginally functioning brains. Should I give a shit what they think about anything?”

    When I’m jumping your sorry ass late at night and stealing your wallet you’ll give a shit.

  90. Dave2,

    Look at what happened in the USSR. Look at what happened in China. Don’t tell me you don’t think a commited group of militant atheists can make life hell for everybody else.

  91. One more thing.

    When I refer to “spiritually” I’m referring not just to metaphysics but things like compassion for other living beings and a general awareness of the wonder of existence and of our connection with and obligation to everything else.

    I think that’s a misleading use of the term ‘spiritual’. As for compassion, that’s just a character trait, a good character trait. Nothing spiritual there. Awareness of the wonder of existence, I presume, is just having a certain sort of funny ‘wow’ attitude towards the natural world, maybe something kind of like aesthetic appreciation. Unless you mean that there’s this thing — the wonder of existence — that we need to be aware of, in which case that sounds like weirdo metaphysics. Our “connection” with everything else is either metaphysics, or a metaphorical way of saying that we should care about everything else. I think it’s pretty bizarre to care about everything else, but in any case it doesn’t look spiritual. And obligations are just moral requirements.

    So if you strip out the metaphysics, what you have left is just a particular take on morality. And atheists and other non-spiritual people don’t have to reject morality.

  92. Look at what happened in the USSR. Look at what happened in China. Don’t tell me you don’t think a commited group of militant atheists can make life hell for everybody else.

    I thought you were talking about smug atheists that you might run into on the net, or people like Richard Dawkins. I didn’t think you were talking about Communist totalitarianism.

    I suspect Akira was just defending smug atheists in American political culture, defending them as non-dangerous (because they don’t try to change laws). I doubt he was defending Communist totalitarianism.

  93. “Our “connection” with everything else is either metaphysics, or a metaphorical way of saying that we should care about everything else. I think it’s pretty bizarre to care about everything else, but in any case it doesn’t look spiritual”

    Dave2,

    As to the connection I was talking about, get into Zen meditation and get back to me. Or, if you want to take a shortcut, take some psychadelics. I can’t explain it to you, but not everything worth knowing/experiencing can be explained.

    Regardless of whether people choose to call themselves or certain perspectives “spiritual” or not, I think most decent people can agree that “helping those who need help” should be up there in terms of people’s priorities, and unfortunately the younger generation seems to be lacking this compassion.

  94. andy, if indeed there’s been a shift away from helping those in need, then I totally agree with you.

  95. When I’m jumping your sorry ass late at night and stealing your wallet you’ll give a shit.

    And undoubtedly you’ll be using all of that spectacular 18-to-25-year-old brain power when you do that. Rather like assessing the thought processes of a rabid dog.

  96. Lamar,

    Undoubtedly, that is their primary motivation. No news there. What’s news is that they are NOT, as some would expect, working to shut out additional immigrant workers in a protectionist manner. If you believe the “friend of the working man” anti-immigration activists (or blatantly anti-union capitalists like those at Reason), union members are terrified of the competition from immigrants, and want to shut them out of the country. The fact that the unions are working in solidarity with the liberalizers is a political blow the xenophobes, and an intellectual one to libertarians.

    Mike P, you’ve got that exactly backwards. The unions are working to liberalize immigration, not stop it.

  97. “When I refer to “spiritually” I’m referring not just to metaphysics but things like compassion for other living beings and a general awareness of the wonder of existence and of our connection with and obligation to everything else. The fact that “helping others” didn’t even rate in the top two of the vast majority of the respondents in the Pew Survey suggests that most people in my age group are cocksmacks- “spiritually vapid” is just another way of putting it.”

    were they more active with the platitudes i might agree; though i don’t doubt we will see a resurgence of this young puritan current that’s gripping some parts of the united states. rebellion is, above all, a reflex; when permissiveness is the lay of the land, there is nothing more rebellious than orthodoxy.

    again, i don’t know. i see a lot of volunteers at the not-for-profit i work at who are very young, and many who are in their early 20s as well. i also see plenty who are older (60+). not so much with the 35 – 55 group though. again, n=1 so it’s not really significant one way or the other.

    i’ve worked with and in enough non profits to realize that they tend to be comprised of angels and fuckups in varying mixtures, like a lot of places. often those who try to do good end up doing naught but evil, and vice versa. it’s what keeps life interesting. and in many ways the desire to “help” others is but another manifestation of the will to control others, which is sad but again…what are you going to do about it? unless you’re willing to pull a pol pot and reset the clock, the answer is you do what you can and leave the rest to accident and incident.

    “Are you serious?!? A non-insignificant number of these people only want freedom from religion, they believe nothing in freedom of religion, even though neither of those concepts are worth anything without the other.”

    i am utterly and completely serious, unless you’re aware of an atheist fourth column in the u.s. that is seriously able to actually impact the religious lives of others. if so i would like to know about them. it’s pretty much the other way around. considering how deeply ingrained cultural bigotry towards atheists is – and such is the purvey of culture that the backlash against people like dawkins will increase, regardless of the actual “danger” they pose – the only real trait keeping things calm and nonviolent is that these bigotries tend to be in the realm of “social sanctioning” rather than actual physical or legal bigotry.

    it’s a culture war thang, baby.

    alternately, gay folks still can’t get married and some of these fucks have managed to outlaw vibrators in some states. now be it religious bigotry or a crass desire to control others, the point is they outnumber the atheists both in raw terms and in points of contention; their beliefs, genuine or lie, do have a real impact on the lives of countless others. i see them as a far greater threat than even the most smug atheists. (dawkins is a brilliant man, and while he raises some good points, his rhetoric is misaligned – the “coming out” terminology needs to be refined, to say the least – and he allows fear to dominate his thoughts in these areas to an undue degree.)

    that said, “spiritual” is an unfortunate term for a lot of things, most of which tend to be synonyms for “good” or, more specifically, for “empathy.” hence my new age bookstore comparison; they’re the, har har, spiritual companions to the will-to-power-lite schtick – no offense, grand chalupa – we see pop up on hit and run sometimes. (i would include rand in that category, perhaps unfairly, because i swear she read stirner and nietzche but failed to see the wry humor…)

    don’t get me wrong, i’ve had plenty of swings through the gateless gate and all, but i don’t particularly see any moral worth in those experiences above and beyond a tendency to romanticize the limitless depths of our own consciousness. but i am deeply skeptical in that sense. (i like the term “apagnostic” myself – that is, apathetic towards the question of metaphysics.) i do what i can because i feel like i must, not because we are all connected (we are, it’s just not significant or mindblowing in any real way) but because i choose to. i encourage others to do so as well, and like anything else, you win some and you lose some.

    since you’re big on buddhism you no doubt know about the centuries-long theological debate over whether altruism is actually possible, or if it’s merely a refined and sometimes non-harmful form of self-absorption. i can go either way on that question myself.

    to be fair, i can’t help but think we’ve had this discussion before in the past. i tend to repeat myself at this age, sadly.

  98. Mike P, you’ve got that exactly backwards. The unions are working to liberalize immigration, not stop it.

    Unions are working to liberalize the laws covering immigration, so there are fewer illegal immigrants who must work as nonunion labor. That is, their goal is to convert illegal immigrants into legal immigrants because they can’t very well recruit the former.

  99. Right. I must have misunderstood you.

  100. “since you’re big on buddhism you no doubt know about the centuries-long theological debate over whether altruism is actually possible, or if it’s merely a refined and sometimes non-harmful form of self-absorption. i can go either way on that question myself.”

    If you look at it from a western “me-versus-them” perspective, then yes, altruism is just a positive manifestation of egoism. But when you come to realize that all living beings are one and the same, then you see that anything other than altruism is a form of self-destruction.

    “to be fair, i can’t help but think we’ve had this discussion before in the past. i tend to repeat myself at this age, sadly.”

    That might be the weed 😉

  101. “If you look at it from a western “me-versus-them” perspective, then yes, altruism is just a positive manifestation of egoism. But when you come to realize that all living beings are one and the same, then you see that anything other than altruism is a form of self-destruction.”

    you should be very interested in the history of buddhism and inter-sectarian disagreements. (as an aside, david tibet tells a hilarious story of a bunch of hangers-on who came in when he recorded a buddhist monk and were appalled when the monk started eating raw meat. one interpretation is that it is good to eat meat, as you will help those poor selves who were trapped as lower life forms be reborn at a slightly higher station, through the boon of their self-sacrifice. similar justification for the open air burials of dead bodies in old tibet; sacrificing one’s body to the worms and flies.)

    anyway, when i get home i’ll dig up the relevant names, but the basic argument came down to this:

    one view defended the orthodox veneration of altruism as a noble goal.

    the other view said altruism was, at best, impossible – and that attempts to be altruistic were inherently selfish; people acted to ease the pain in their own hearts and the attachment of pity. they were moved not out of true compassion but a kind of selfishness that plays at being selflessness. (you see some relationship to this in terms of the deep separation between clergy and laity in much of therevada buddhism. some truths are too true for some, or so their reasoning goes.)

    it’s an interesting argument to have. as i said, i can go either way, but ultimately it’s immaterial, as metaphysics is a pretty but meaningless pastime.

    but please keep in mind that this has nothing to do with the west, mind you; we’re talking hundreds of years even before the islamic invasion of india. it’s tempting to buy into dualism – the west as the fallen king, etc etc and so forth – but buddhism is not a monolithic entity, despite what some people might try to tell you/sell you.

    it’s the same kind of soft racism one finds when turning all amerindian groups into some kind of proto-leftist pacifists. (which itself was a reaction to the hard racism of trying to justify the annihilation of so many people via manifest destiny, etc.)

  102. dhex,

    You’re right that Bhuddism isn’t monolithic; I was aware of that. I was just giving you my perspective as I had experienced.

    My use of the adjective Western had nothing to do with an anti-Western bias or any sort of soft bigotry but rather was a reference to the obvious dualism that defines Western thought.

    I’m well aware that dualistic thought is not unique to Western thought, but since most of us (presumably) in this thread are westerners…

    I do appreciate the well-thought, well-informed responses you’ve given me, though.

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