Far too often, conservative pundits blame the generation known as “millennials” (those born in the late 1980s through the early 2000s) for the downfall of culture, politics and society. But, those accusations are simply false, overreaching and unsubstantiated.
Conservative columnist Ben Shapiro, who writes for Breitbart, wrote a piece yesterday titled “7 Reasons Millennials Are The Worst Generation.” Unlike Andrew Breitbart, who was a defender of youth culture and understood the importance of young conservatives and libertarians, Shapiro makes broad accusations that truly do not hold up and tries to paint the picture that all millennials are dumb, self-absorbed brats.
For instance, Shapiro cites a Fusion poll which found that many millennials would vote for Stephen Colbert from Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report for president. Shapiro uses the poll as a way to portray millennials as uber-liberals, but that’s not necessarily the case.
While younger people tend to be more liberal, thanks to politically correct college professors, the fact that millennials would vote for Colbert only pin-points the fact that youth culture puts a high importance on the power of celebrity.
If Ronald Reagan were alive and running for president today, millennials may be more inclined to vote for him solely because he was an actor in Hollywood. Is this a decline in culture? Not exactly. It just reiterates a well-known truth that young people follow celebrity culture much closer than middle-aged and older people. Not all that surprising.
Shapiro goes on to claim that millennials know absolutely nothing about politics.
This could not be farther from the truth, as millennials have grown up knowing nothing other than a polarizing political landscape with former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. And who is more polarizing and captivating than President Barack Obama?
Shapiro’s evidence is that the same Fusion poll found that 77 percent of millennials could not name a Senator from their home state. But, Shapiro does not take into account that millennials, for the most part, do not lead political-driven lives like their predecessors from the 1970’s hippie generation.
Millennials are in college, studying, working three jobs, living paycheck to paycheck, paying off debt and trying to figure out what Obamacare is and how to not get scammed by it.
Much like how mothers are not keeping up with Congress’ every move because they’re busy raising children, millennials are the same, just trying to get by at the moment is the goal for many. And not to mention, less and less millennials are identifying with a political party, mainly because of the perceived gridlock in Washington DC.
In fact, millennials are becoming increasingly conservative.
In a Reason poll back in 2014, 66 percent of millennials say government is wasteful and inefficient. That is a drastic increase from 2009, where just 42 percent of millenials said so. Also, Reagan-like solutions to a bloated economy are heavily favored by millennials with 64 percent saying that cutting government spending by 5 percent would help the economy. 59 percent said cutting taxes would also help the economy.
Shapiro cites a study that found that 57 percent of millennials said government was more helpful than harmful. However, this could be because of the White House administrations we’ve had to live through.
Under W. Bush, federal spending was awfully high and the Republican president did not exactly push an agenda that preached the importance of limiting government.
Currently, under Obama, federal spending is higher than ever and millennials are told that it is because of government that we are successful, with an emphasis on higher education and supposed ‘free’ healthcare.
Unfortunately, young people are much more easily influenced than any other demographic, so millennials bought into Obama’s notion back in 2008, but not anymore.
A survey by Harvard found that the number of millennials who identified as Democrats had dropped from 38 percent in 2010 to 35 percent in 2014. Those who identified as Republicans went up from 2010-2014, taking the percentage from 23 to 25 percent.
Accordingly, millennials are deemed a generation of leftists who are left of Karl Marx. Though, this is also far from the truth.
Back in 2014, MTV conducted a study which found that a whopping 88 percent of millennials oppose race-based affirmative action, saying that they “believe that favoring one race over another is unfair.” And, even higher, 90 percent of millennials said that everyone should be treated the same, specifically when it came to job hiring and college admissions, regardless of race.
And millennials understand that having Obama in office has not helped race relations whatsoever. In that same study, 67 percent of millennials said the country is still heavily divided even though there is a black president in office.
Millennials, largely, face an uphill battle in politics that no other generation has ever faced.
Day in and day out, millennials (who do not agree or question the liberal ideologies of university professors, cable news pundits and entertainment writers) have to constantly reject what they are told and learn for themselves what economic and social policies actually work despite the majority claiming otherwise.
For conservatives like Ben Shapiro to deem millennials as “the worst generation” is to disregard the liberal influences previous generations have created and pushed down the throats of millennials in order to keep their agenda going and grow their own base.
Millennials are not the beginning of the end, but a generation that is unconventional. There is room to be concerned, but vilification is unnecessary and more importantly, not helpful.