Millennials

The Secret Language of Millennials (And Why Boomers and Gen Xers Just Don't Understand)

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Meet the new Generation Gap, same as the old Generation Gap. Except this time, the baby boomers are playing the role of angry, non-comprehending parents:

Millennials use language differently than Boomers and Gen Xers (born between 1965 and 1980). In the Reason-Rupe poll, about 62% of Millennials call themselves liberal. By that, they mean the favor gay marriage and pot legalization, but those views hold little or no implication for their views on government spending. To Millennials, being socially liberal is being liberal, period. For most older Americans, calling yourself a liberal means you want to increase the size, scope, and spending of the government (it may not even mean you support legal pot and marriage equality). Despite the strong liberal tilt among Millennials, 53% say they would support a candidate who was socially liberal and fiscally conservative (are you listening, major parties?).

There are other areas where language doesn't track neatly with Boomer and Gen X definitions. Millennials have no first-hand memories of the Soviet Union or the Cold War. Forty-two percent say they prefer socialism as a means of organizing society but only 16% can define the term properly as government ownership of the means of production. In fact, when asked whether they want an economy managed by the free market or by the government, 64% want the former and just 32% want the latter. Scratch a Millennial "socialist" and you are likely to find a budding entrepreneur (55% saying they want to start their own business someday). Although they support a government-provided social safety net, two-thirds of Millennials agree that "government is usually inefficient and wasteful" and they are highly skeptical toward government with regards to privacy and nanny-state regulations about e-cigarettes, soda sizes, and the like.

That's from latest column in Time, which draws off the great Reason-Rupe Poll of Millennials that was released yesterday.

Read the whole column here.

Read the Reason-Rupe Poll and polling director Emily Ekins' analysis here.

NEXT: Let the Kids Stay: The Drive to Deport Unaccompanied Minors, Refugees of America's Drug War, is Immoral

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  1. I think someone needs to poll millennials about this.

  2. By that, they mean the favor gay marriage and pot legalization, but those views hold little or no implication for their views on government spending.

    Issuing any marriage license is putting state force behind the wants and wishes of your union. What could be more liberal? Discuss.

    1. Forcing other people to pay for it.

    2. You shoulnd’t need a license, but you DO NEED the legal system to recognize your marriage. And since our legal system is the monopoly of government, we still need government recognizing marriage.

      The problem is not government in marriage, it’s government in our legal system. And that’s not going away until five seconds before we get full blown anarchotopia.

  3. Psychobabble.

  4. At least all these little shits will be working themselves to death to support the super geriatric fossils that we will become.

    1. little shits

      I think they are taller on average then Gen X and baby boomers…

      1. As long as they house, feed and care for me when I’m 112 they can have all the pot smoking gay atheist multi spouse marriages they want.

        1. multi spouse marriages

          Few support that proposition. They still think that taboo. And they’re not actually liberal in any real sense insofar as they still support TEH BANHAMMERZ on anything they consider taboo. They just don’t think drugs or teh ghey are such.

          Ideological consistency is absent. My co-generationals are simply solipsists.

          1. Either way you guys are gonna be left holding the bag for a world full of demented geezers. We are also leaving you a shit ton of debt. Serve us right if you euthanize us all.

            1. I will be forming roving bands of droogs to ruthlessly beat the everloving shit out of you fogies. I am teaching myself Russian not for my pending Siberia trip, but rather so I can master Nadsat.

          2. They still think that taboo.

            The token feminist at Kotaku (pat something) wrote an article about her Harem a few months ago and how Japanese relationship cartoons influenced her.

            One of the few things she has written that isn’t a pile of shit.

  5. So the kids are arguably using the word “liberal” more correctly? And people say that they’re ignorant.

    1. So they say they’re for something. Their actions, in general, defy what they’re saying.

      Signaling that they’re compassionate and SJW types seems to be more important to them than standing for principles of limited government.

    2. You are correct…

      But i think Nick exaggerates.

      They also think Obamacare is broken so we need single payer and they love themselves some Net Neutrality run by a super powered FCC…

      and then there is what they want to do about global warming.

      1. This. I see no reason to rejoice. All I see is lots of “self-esteem” and a finely honed desire for a parental figure.

    3. To Millennials, being socially liberal is being liberal, period.

      I’m curious about whether this is part of a larger package of “social justice” views, as we know that they can be held simultaneously.

      And, as we should all know by now, when push comes to shove, fiscal conservatism gives way to social liberalism which generally means social justice/prog/big gov.

      This cohort are strong, reliable Dem voters who put Obama back in the White House.

  6. All I can gather from this is that Millenials are, as a group, poorly educated and more interested in signaling than principles. Doesn’t make me feel optimistic at all.

    1. It’s preening all the way down.

    2. Millenials just support their favorite bite sized pieces of logic without bothering to understand the principle behind the idea. Millenials want a free market, then say government should make sure everyone is housed, fed, educated and has medical insurance. Because those aren’t already fucked up enough by government? WTF?

      The one thing I find most amusing in millenials’ spaghetti logic is the decline in support of expansion of redistributive government as their personal income increases. “I want free shit, but I don’t want to pay for your free shit.” The 56% who want to be entrepreneurs probably also want the government to make more money available for small businesses and startups.

      Millenials are the evil libertarian caricatures we see in the media.

  7. “To Millennials, being socially liberal is being liberal, period.”

    They are Kultur Warriors first. As long as that’s understood. Which means they don’t buy into the rights of free association and economic liberty when they touch on their precious social liberalism.

    “For most older Americans, calling yourself a liberal means you want to increase the size, scope, and spending of the government (it may not even mean you support legal pot and marriage equality). Despite the strong liberal tilt among Millennials, 53% say they would support a candidate who was socially liberal and fiscally conservative (are you listening, major parties?).”

    Being as most of the candidates up for office in the near future will be of the older generations, the Millenials had better understand what those cohorts mean by “liberal” or they will be surprised by the policies their votes are supporting.

  8. Millennials are just like everyone else. They want more spending and less taxes.

  9. Scratch a Millennial “socialist” and you are likely to find a budding entrepreneur (55% saying they want to start their own business someday).

    LOL. So they don’t understand what socialism or capitalism mean, and they aren’t so keen on the whole religious freedom thingee, but they are going to entrepreneur the hell out of America… because they said so. OK, then.

  10. In other words, Millenials are fucking stupid.

    1. Look, we were raised and educated by boomers. It’s not exactly our fault.

  11. Nick’s obsession with intergenerational warfare is always fun to watch.

    1. It’s creepy is what it is.

      Personally, I think it’s a fetish.

      Nick’s always trying to get The Kids pissed at the old folks–but Nick’s an old folk.

      If he really cared about The Kids he’d figure out some way to explain to them that they’re gonna be ‘old folks’ for at least three times as long as they get to be ‘The Kids’.

  12. This article made it on Drudge.

    I thought Drudge had an embargo on Reason…then again the drudge link is to the original article at Time.

  13. Being illiterate is not “using language differently.”

  14. Apologies if this has been raised in previous threads, but is it possible that the apparent ignorance of the definition of “socialism” is not entirely the fault of millenials? I mean, when each and every effort to expand welfare is denounced by the GOP as “socialism,” can you really blame the average millenial for conflating the notion of a social welfare state with “socialism”?

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