US voters are not apathetic. They are quietly cautious . No-one in their right mind posts their political views on Twitter or Facebook any more. There is a sense that something has gone horribly wrong with our political class. No-one knows what’s happening. Even Democrat voters are beginning to wake up to this and are abandoning their party in droves. It feels like the quiet before the storm.
Political conversations are still happening, albeit quietly. I was in a dentist’s waiting room yesterday when one such conversation started up over, of all things, a young man’s tee shirt that said Dad on it. All 3 of us seemed to be in political agreement in our conversation about the absurdities of today’s “cancel culture”. Even the receptionist was nodding her head.
It is quite interesting that the only place I see people fomenting at the mouth about politics is online, where it’s impossible to ascertain if its real or not. We might be living in a completely contrived world, where “regular” people know deep down that something is not right, yet are afraid of saying so due to be programmed by social media or whatever news outlet they subscribe to.
We need a re-awaking, which I think will happen in the U.S. in November.
If the voting process is protected
I’m not sure I agree.
I’ve never seen so much “real world” political anger.
All of it at the gas station.
The last 4 times I’ve filled up, someone has made a loud, nasty comment about Biden, to near-universal agreement from the other patrons.
I don’t recall another time where there was such public anger at the political class among the usually non-political.
Why are you surprised that anger against Biden would be expressed at a gas station? No where else is the result of his policies so utterly transparent and painful than at the pump. Results from someone who campaigned (from his basement) promising to “abolish fossil fuels”.
Promises made, promises kept.
1979. Jimmy Carter.
Yes to actual face-to-face interactions. Too much “information” presented to us on too many screens is distorting the real hopes and opinions of the people.
I particularly object to all the polling. The pollsters start with this distorted view and then write questions that pre-suppose a limited list of possible answers. It reminds me of a trick my mother used to try on my siblings and me. We got wise real fast!
I think the unravelling of the Covid narrative is starting to get ‘normies’ realizing that they have been fed a lot bunk by all the trusted authorities and experts. I am hopeful that may get them wondering what other things they are told by the same people that are nonsense.
Maybe life has been so easy for the current young adults that there’s no need to focus on big issues such as:
– where is their money coming from (that’s easy, Mum and Dad, student loans, govt handouts)
– how can we solve big issues such as poverty, war or homelessness (that’s easy, just put up a new social media profile pic)
– deal with major health issues (that’s easy too, just wear a mask, lock yourself in your bedroom, and let the govt inject you with whatever they want, whenever they want, as many times as they want)
With all the big life issues dealt with so easily it lets them focus their energies on the really serious stuff like if a 16 stone man with a beard has a p***s but says he is a woman, then why won’t people just accept he is now a woman, and let him into the girls changing rooms.
Or devoting their lives to ’othering’ anyone they choose. These days there seems to be more straight folk at gay pride than gay folk, and whilst most black people are just getting on with their life some nice young white come along and tell them how poor and deprived black folk are. Oddly, if you’re poor and white then, by default, these young white folk will label you as white trash and blame you for your situation.
Maybe a winter of discontent, rampant inflation, and global starvation is what these youngsters need to wake the f up, and start realising that there are more serious issues to fight for than whether a person identifies as a Disney Prince or a Disney Princess.
Don’t get me wrong, there was a time when gay rights and racism were the major issues of the time (and rightly so), but over the last half century we have made MASSIVE progress in these areas, but right now, today, we have some issues on our plate that put these things way down the priority list.
These youngsters need to wake up and start fighting for their rights whilst they still have a few.
They need to start fighting for a diplomatic solution in Ukraine rather than flying the Ukrainian flag and using the war cry ’slava Ukraini’. Fighting to the last Ukrainian might be a good sound bite, and easy to say, but in practice it’s not a nice thing. Maybe they don’t remember those immortal words from Frankie Goes to Hollywood … When two tribes go to war one is all that you can score.
And they need to realise that politicians, big pharma, big tech, and big business in general, rarely have the best interests of the plebs as a top priority. They need to learn that it is 100% about two things; money and power.
Here’s an example of what we are dealing with.. bbc dot com/news/business-62148525 . People only really learn through their own experience but today people are protected against themsleves and then when things do go wrong they look to blame someone else. Unless we let people fail and fall and suffer some pain they will never wake up to reality.
Continual spending is often to fill a void, and this void tends to be “purpose” shaped.
Wittgenstein or Heraclitus?
Or a more realistic view in my opinion is that they’re simply giving up. If you have no hope of improving your lot then what’s the point?
When the entirety of your wages goes on basic living costs, with no hope of owning a family home or building capital then eventually people are simply going to throw in the towel, especially when they see those at the top extracting more wealth from society than ever before.
Very good points Billy Bob. I’m sure there’ll be many that feel that way. And it must be sickening for them to, as you say, ‘extract more wealth from society than ever before’.
Well, I’m sorry but that says more about the people “giving up” than it does for the economy. Getting on in this technological world requires hard work and adaptability, not just expecting opportunity to be delivered on a plate like a welfare cheque. It may sound hard but it is reality. And I am afraid throughout history there has been a section of socieyt ill equipped to succeed for various reasons. A great deal of life is luck; we are in control of very little of our lives although most people do not recognise that. But doing your damnedest to make the best of what you can control is the only way to get on. And I am afriad everyone also has accept that life is not, nor ever has or will be fair. That’s just life.
Life never has been fair, I don’t think anybody expects it to be. However ever since we abandoned serfdom peoples lives have been improving through the fruits of their labour. Even if theirs only improved a tiny bit, they knew that it would be slightly easier for the next generation so they ploughed on. This is the main reason capitalism has survived as the dominant system.
However we’ve now reached a point where millennials are expected to be the first generation to be poorer than the one that came before it. Despite them (on average) working longer hours than their predecessors and many having paid to give themselves degrees to improve their lot, they’re substantially worse off than their grandparents who left school at 15 with nothing and bought a house and raised a family of 15 on a bog standard salary.
If all your efforts result in you going backwards eventually even the most determined will eventually wonder what’s the point of trying
Blair did much of the damage. He turned polytechnics and colleges into ‘universities’ and pushed large numbers of young people into doing degrees (many of which were unlikely to generate big salaries) to keep the unemployed numbers of young people down. Some of my students who were manifestly unsuited to this,as they didn’t even succeed at or enjoy A level work were pushed into applying by schools & sixth form colleges because it boosted their reputations, and by parents who wanted to brag about them. There were never going to be sufficient jobs that needed graduates & paid high salaries, instead bog standard jobs started requiring graduates anyway. Apprenticeships were neglected and are only now really getting going,unlike in other European countries. Sad and disillusioning for many,saddled with huge loans to be paid off, the irony being that so many don’t earn enough to do that so the taxpayer funds it all anyway.
I hate Tony Blair. But although he’s responsible for mass-produced tertiary education in the UK, the trend had begun elsewhere a decade before Blair. In New Zealand, the Lange-Douglas LINO government of the late 80s turned universities into state-owned enterprises (SOE’s) with tuition fees. Meaning that universities had to enroll as many students as possible to stay afloat. As a result, NZ universities are now very much about quantity rather than quality of education.
They grew up being told they could be and do anything and getting a prize for every effort, no matter how lackluster.
The expectation of improving one’s lot is quite a high expectation. For most of humanity for most of history, and for all other life, adaptation and mere survival was and is generally the best that can be expected.
Wanting for more is to be encouraged, but if you can’t even motivate yourself to firstly and independently ensure your own survival, how can you expect more from life?
We can thank the U.S.A. for providing the conditions where human freedom was allowed to flourish, unabated, which led to boundless opportunity for anyone to create their own economic condition. That experiment has started to wane and we are quite likely to revert back to the world’s norm as you state.
I mean, ones own survival? It’s not like one can just go out and live and survive if one wants to. We HAVE to participate in this world. I could go out and build a shelter and a fire, hunt and grow food and raise animals….but it’s f*****g illegal. So…
Why is it? Improving your lot is the underlying appeal of capitalism, and it has been happening since the days of the industrial revolution. Just because in the Middle Ages people simply survived isn’t a reason to expect youngsters today to do the same
“…more from life…” is this first, most important promise of capitalism.
Perfect conditions for a totalitarian regime to step in.
Almost every violent revolution is preceded by times of vast inequality. If people see their living standards dropping despite working hard then eventually they’re going to start looking at alternative systems
We are living in a period of managed decline wherein the rich and powerful, with the help of feminism, mass immigration, LGBQTI ideology, and critical race theory, are dismantling our public institutions. Like vultures hovering over a corpse they are feeding over the leftovers.
I think a lot of that nonsense has simply spread out of university than being a plot of managed decline. The environmental movement seems more in keeping with managed decline to me personally
Oh gosh no. CRT has been lauded by the FBI. I’m sure more than lauded…promoted too ad nauseum by the ruling.
see my comment above – one gives up when there appears to be no meaningful way forwards -and that appears to be an accurate assessment in my view !
I beg to differ on one point…the rights of 51% of the population are severely at risk unless people push back on the infiltration of gender ideology into all our institutions. As an older woman not wishing to have to receive intimate care from a man in a dress (and other indignities too numerous to list) this is my priority above all the others!
Absolutely right Alison. I find it strange and slightly worrying that the needs and wants of that 51% seem to be completely trampled on in order to make the very small percentage of people who have gender ‘issues’ happy. Don’t get me wrong, that small minority deserve respect, tolerance and understanding, but that can’t be at the expense of the 51%.
Why are you blaming young people for a whole set of problems they so clearly inherited from you and me? You’re practically admitting we wrecked the joint, then attacking those who wanted to inherit it… as we did.
Great topic for a debate Peter. Do we not all inherit problems from previous generations? Some of our parents and grandparents were racist, homophobic wife beaters, but we did something about this narrow-minded thinking and moved on. And in turn our generation didn’t get everything right. For example we took the brainwashing of children to a whole new level, we maybe became to materialistic, we maybe was too light on discipline, we maybe frittered away too many natural resources, and maybe we polluted the world too much.
But does that mean today’s generation are right to throw in the towel, give up the rights our grandparents fought for, and create a culture that blames everyone else for all their troubles?
I say these things rhetorically in the spirit of debate.
“These youngsters need to wake up and start fighting for their rights whilst they still have a few.”
This has been the key line throughout history. Simply put…if a society has nothing to fight for, it will be taken over by one that does.
However everything you have said is exactly why young folk are giving up the treadmill necessary for some level of success or satisfaction – my 30 year old clearly sees all the corruption and BS that is managing the world these days and spends his time rock climbing surfing and demonstrating against animal exploitation – whilst only needing to work occasionally to support his $100 per week lifestyle (plus he has had a vascectomy !). Sounds like what i would have done at his age if the situation was the same then. However back in the 70/80’s there was way more hope and freedom for young peolpe !
I get where your son is coming from as my 24 year old is on the same path.
But where is the fight? Why fight against animal exploitation and just allow human exploitation on a huge scale? It is admirable to save and improve the lives of animals, but are good men, women and children not worth fighting for too?
If the people rose up as one (in a sensible, grown up sort of way) and let their voices be heard, we could have a far better world, not just for us, but for future generations, but it seems most younger people would rather fight passionately for the rights of animals, people who struggle with their gender or sexual identity, or over reperations for the distant ancestors of slaves.
Not to say some of those things are not worth fighting for, but right now, we have many major issues that will impact on the future of mankind, and I am not talking net zero
You mean your son isn’t interested in being an area sales manager for toys r us? No wonder society is crumbling.
I would just like to say as a ‘youngster’ (31) that your view of the younger generation is part of the problem. I read extensively, especially about geopolitics, I do not have social media or what’s app and I have worked full time from 16 starting on £3.90 an hour. You are not entitled to the minimum wage until 21. When I turned 18 in 2008 my pay went up to £4.50 an hour. I paid for my own car (a £270 G reg fiat panda) the cheapest I could insure it for was £600 a year. This system alone makes it very difficult for anyone who doesn’t have mummy and daddy to pay for everything to get mobile and move out. I moved out of home at 19 anyway and supported myself before ever even being entitled to the full minimum wage. This is not easy, budgets have to be managed, I have never been abroad on holiday or owned a car less than 10 years old. There are some elements of what you talk about but you are far to stereotypical and sweeping and your view does not accurately reflect what I know about people my own age and how we live. I was 11 when the twin towers fell, I remember watching my parents struggling to comprehend what was happening and it was the inconsistentcies with this and the subsequent invasion of iraq, that led me to the early alex jones videos. I understand Alex jones is a contraversial figure but he has inspired many of my generation to at least look at things more openly or from a different perspective and to be very wary of big government, global organisations and corporations and NGOs. So when I turned 18 and the 2008 financial crash hit and we bailed them out, I was watching on my £4.50 an hour with my dad who had a massive corporation tax bill to meet and we just handed them the cash. This does not happen in the real economy and hmrc are not so generous if you are a small business late with tax payments. Then we have Covid. My daughter was 3 when covid hit, my partner is self employed and we still rent although we have managed to build up some small savings I would not consider purchasing a house at the moment as the prices are hideously inflated and the danger of being stuck with negative equity now is very real. Therefore I would argue that I think my generation is more aware than any before of how fu**** we are. My parents thought it would be impossible to put this country into lock down. They thought that Russia would never invade ukraine. People my own age were far less skeptical about these matters. My generation is very aware how precarious our situation is. And how dangerous global corporations have become. Seeking utopia in the old capitalist system would be insane when it’s about to fall. There is about to be a massive power shift to the east away from America, the dollars in trouble, Europe has nothing to power itself with for the winter and no one knows how to stop quantitive easing or what will happen if we do. My generation is very aware of this. Not all but some of my generation as far as I can tell can see the sense in growing your own instead of buying food (we do), not buying into big fashion, big holidays, big weddings etc and therefore working less so we can keep chickens and vegetable plots that will feed us when inflation starts to bite and the global supply chains that are still limping along finally collapse entirely ref the fbi and mi5 joint statement that says the invasion of Taiwan would cause the single largest global collapse in history. Those of us that aren’t doing that are probably having a good time while we still can, even if it is on mummy’s money. I’m going on holiday in August and I’m treating like my last holiday, because when what’s coming next finally hits it will be the end of this system as we know it and things will become more difficult than any but perhaps the war generation can comprehend. Perhaps worse than that. I’ve got my bulk flour stored. I will spend the summer learning to cook bread in an old fashioned Dutch oven so when the winter blackouts hit I can cook on my woodburner. There are many like me and my generation are driving the off grid, prepper boom, we are very much awake. Unfortunately alot of the mass protest movements are hijacked by the Liberal elite and I can’t afford to go to London and protest, I have a child to care for, ever increasing bills to pay and veg and chickens to tend. Anyway, look what happened to the Canadian truckers, bank accounts taken, arrested, trucks impounded and the Dutch farmers protesters were shot at with live ammunition last week. Short of going as far as the Sri Lankans and actually running them out I’m afraid it’s too late. We are doomed to live the collapse, covid has crystallised the police state, no one will be on the streets if they don’t want you to be, all we can hope is that we come out the other side in one piece.
Paragraphs are your friend.
I am one of said disaffected millennials and based on the mostly uncharitable viewpoints here in the comments I felt like I should chime in.
I am 32 years old with a college degree, married with a 2 and a half year old. I work part time on a local farm and my husband works beyond full time doing construction. We struggle tooth and nail to makes ends meet. We have some savings by the grace of god but have absolutely no hope of owning our own home in the near or ever nearly distant future. By the time we both get home from work, or by the time my husband gets home from work, we neither have the energy nor the patience to put towards anything other than the bare minimum. Dinner on the table. Kids teeth brushed, book read, put to bed. Collapse in to bed. We nearly hate each other by now. My health is in a general state of collapse mostly due to stress, and I manage it the best I can. Nothing the doctors can help with of course, one of those chronic “mystery illnesses” that the health system isn’t set up to handle. So I take herbs and try to pace myself. And by the way, I am not obese, I do not have diabetes, I am fit and eat as well as I can afford to.
We have no willing family to help us out with our kiddo. I can’t work more than I do because childcare costs are prohibitive for our family and with the woke disease that has infected every corner of society, I don’t want my kid around essentially a bunch of strangers that I would be paying too much money to do a worse job parenting my kid than I would alone.
There are so many comments here implying that the lot of us are just “lazy” or “entitled.” That we just don’t care enough about the “priorities.” Let me ask you this, is this a world worth participating in? I am as hard working as they come, as is my husband and we are always one illness away from utter crisis.
Our parents and our grandparents look at us with pity and think we should just “do how they did.” Really? Where is that possible? My parents never struggled this much and neither did my in-laws. Our grandparents even less.
Always chasing a life that eludes us, never living it. Never secure. I’m missing the best years of my sons little life.
We are currently mulling over the prospect of building an earthen home, with on site materials (read: very low building costs, no mortgage, no rent) on a plot of land that is growing into what they call an “intentional community.” I lived there for 6 months this last year and experienced what it must be like to have support actually. When you are sick, people help pitch in with childcare and bring you meals. The kids have other kids to run around and play with; what they most need for their development. I have room to breathe, to slow down.
On this matter of slowing down: clearly there is much about this world that isn’t working well. We don’t have enough time. Not enough time for our families or for our health. Not enough time to savor our precious lives on this earth and our precious families. There are many of my generation that are no lost to the Metaverse. That future is also largely being pushed on them by those that cling to political and economic power as the most important metric of a success.
Nowhere in this article did I see word one about declining health. Of course it has something to do with our disaffection and unhappiness. We see a world where we are only useful, and indeed even viewed as worthy of empathy, as long as we work for some delusion of “eternal growth” that will never even benefit us. Let me ask you: why should we keep working? Is it for your dream or ours?
Look, maybe you read this and think i should have tried harder to secure white collar employment. I did try and I can assure you my counterparts that did are not faring much better. They just get fluorescent lights with their deal.
I’m working to build a resilient community from the ground up. I don’t look to my government for answers. Not only are they completely inept but they don’t give a shit about families like mine. I spend my days growing food and trying to ensure the fertility of the soil for another couple generations. We are reviving the Grange system in our area. We are trying to make real change.
I’m not hearing much compassion for others in these comments and it’s a real shame because if anything is to change in the world it will be because people helped each other do it.
I know that was really long but felt it needed to be said. Thanks for reading.
I hear you and agree. My children are in their early 30s and both feel that the old social contract of work hard at school and college, get a job and build a home and family before a decent retirement is totally gone. They are well-educated, but even with higher than average salary jobs, all their cash goes on rent and keeping body and soul together. Neither has much hope of ever having their own place. No wonder so many are giving up. I wish you well.
This needs to be an article on your post.
Or maybe Freddie could interview Ms. Kassner.
Or just commision her to write something more for us!
Agreed- we would like to know how her plan goes – a new way forwards !
Brilliant. Thanks for sharing in such an honest way. I agree with Laurence. This deserves to be an article in its own right.
Thanks Laine, you are completely correct – and the way forwards IS to create a new way of living like the intentional community. Very good luck and stick to that vision toward health and greater self-sufficiency/freedom – the new way forwards…
Hi Laine, thanks for your post and for telling it how it is. Every one wants to complain about the system, or groups of this or that people but no one wants to address the fundamental problem which is lack of community and basic support for childcare, mental health issues and ups-skilling, which is ultimately a matter of generosity and care, which our society (at least in Britain) is massively void of.
I’m 29, married with two kids and though I won’t say I’m in a terrible situation, I’m certainly not seeing the rewards of endless working and in a very difficult job in engineering and physics, even living in Oxfordshire! Everything rests on lottery basically, if I get a cash deposit for a house, it will only be because my company gets bought out and I will get a windfall on some promised shares. There’s no bonuses or good enough salary to really save any money and no guarantee of anything or a promotion, even though I’ve worked excessively.
There are young people winning but they generally had the support we didn’t, they had parents telling them to wait and save money, not to pursue their dreams but sit in their bedroom and save thousands of pounds a month in preparation for a house. I wasn’t told this, I was told to be ambitious, go and make something on my own but it now ends up I’m peddling water with all sorts of anxiety and fears for the future and I’m one of those people making new things happen every day.
Btw if you ever wanted to talk you can find me on LinkedIn quite easily. Would be more than happy to help if I can in some way. 🙂
I think this is one of the most important replies I’ve read on this website. Thank you for taking time to put “pen to paper”, so to speak, and for being one of the readers here.
I’m 37. I have been married for nearly 13 years. I have two children in heaven, and two very young children who still depend upon me and my wife girding our loins every day for the challenges life seems to be presenting.
I’ll freely admit to our “privilege” up front. My wife and I were raised in large conservative Christian nuclear families. Our parents modeled “breadwinner” and “stay at home mom” for us growing up. I had a lot of advantages in upbringing, but chief among those I would say was a daily encouragement to think critically and to recognize God as the source of every blessing. I fell back on those two things as I completed high school, went to college on an NROTC scholarship, and entered the work force with an officer’s commission in the U.S. military. None of this was without challenge, and I made a lot of missteps along the way. I cut off an engagement that had grown toxic. I nearly failed out of college then came to my sense and got back on my feet. My wife and I have dealt hard with pregnancy loss – we didn’t expect it to be this hard to have two children, and we both regret not having more.
What 2020 brought home for my household is the utter uselessness of nearly everything the technocratic elite loves so much. Wearables. Trackers. Notifications. Subscriptions. All of it is attention hogging by design. All of it feeds without nourishing in the slightest. So we said to hell with it. Got off all social media (except Gab – which aligns with our values and priorities). Canceled all streaming services. I don’t need any of that s***. We don’t need it. My kids don’t need it.
If I didn’t have it growing up, it’s something I can live without. I want my kids to have a childhood that’s beautiful and free and full of promise. Trying to convince myself that this is found in optimization algorithms and the unloving arms of a wage slave day care worker or public school teacher and the sorry and brainless and macabre displays known as modern “entertainment” and the self-driving cars and digital ID’s is NOT GOING TO WORK. I don’t need or want that. The main question on my mind these days is: are enough of us free enough and powerful enough to spare us from that?
Everyone seems to understand now that power lies with bureaucrats, technocrats, plutocrats – anyone but the politicians we elect.
Oh, they have the power – they are just too craven to use it.
The article describes and quantifies the problem well, the analysis is abysmal. The rapacious, grossly iniquitous situation we are in? Just passive-voiced as though it were the weather, and not the inevitable end result of 30-40 years of unregulated demolition of the social contract.
The future? Human battery hens being fed by people who laughably call themselves “very talented, original people”. They are grifters, who burn through countries but there are no ‘police’ and the mob can’t catch up with them in the Cayman Islands.
This author casually tosses in “Marine Le Pen, the doyenne of French fascism” and then goes on to scold readers about being politically disconnected. Media is paid by government to (mis)name and shame the threats to their lucrative political hegemony, and all but the dimmest know it. Kotkin thinks people are just kicking back waiting for the next Soma delivery? Um, Sri Lanka and Dutch farmers would like a word.
Young men have seen their fathers work hard to then only lose everything in the divorce courts. If the rules of the game are fixed, the only option is to refuse to play.
refusing to play = it is now next to impossible to afford having kids !!
At my old job one of my senior colleagues let slip what she was earning. It turned out that senior staff, who were doing the same jobs as everyone else, were still on the old pay grades and being payed 20% more than their colleagues, pay grades which were not even available anymore to the rest of the office. On top of this they had pensions, now discontinued, which were so generous, that most the senior staff retired in their mid to late 50’s, funded in part by cutting the pay grades of younger staff.
I can’t blame many of the young, seeing the ladder their seniors climbed kicked away behind them, to conclude the effort is no longer worth the rewards.
I was shocked to discover older colleagues in my firm were being paid final salary pensions, which I thought were a relic of the pre-2008 years. Apparently not.
There needs to be more nuance about voting patterns. In the US, house races have become less and less competitive. Gerrymandered districts across both sides of the political divide have entrenched more extreme candidates. The Sunshine Laws and the advent of CSPAN have encouraged spectacle and grandstanding as evidenced by that comically tragic exchange between Senator Josh Hawley and the Berkeley law professor over what a woman is or is not. No one looked good in that debate but both Hawley and the professor got their sound bytes to show their respective social circles that they do indeed stand strong against the other side.
Politically the US has grown more and more apathetic. I fear the long peace of the 1990s until 2001 birthed a generation of western citizens who were apathetic, even derisive, of politics because times were good. Who needed politics so long as Pax Americana ruled supreme? Revolution and corruption were things of third rate countries. Values mean nothing and the almighty dollar means everything. I hope we will turn the tide, but like the deep, deep sleep of England in 1938, it may take cannons. The extreme polarization and the nauseating theatrics have hollowed much of our past vibrancy. We coast on bygone wealth and we yearn for headier days. We are, above all, boats against the current, beating ceaselessly into the past.
House seats were originally supposed to represent 20,000 voters each. Now most represent over 300,000.
Many problems flow from that expansion. I’m sure you can name them yourself. Being a cipher to your own representative, with the resulting understandable apathy, is only one.
In this country anyone below the age of 30 has been given nothing in terms of help, support or subsidy, rather they have been mined for whatever can be squeezed out of them and left with unsupportable debts and no prospect of owning a bedsit, let alone a house. It is a massive problem in waiting I for one, don’t expect to be referred to as a ‘loved one’ when I’m in my dotage.
Wow, wasn’t this article just a ray of sunshine? I’m 42, so I could be considered a part of this problem generation. Knowing how bad a shape the world seems to be in, I can’t really blame older folks for being upset, so I don’t take it personally. Still, I also won’t blame anyone for following their own individual self-interest, and if they deem that sitting on their asses and collecting government stipends sounds like a better deal than working 50+ hours a week for a soulless corporation that regards them as replaceable assets with no union to represent them, no advocates in government willing to stand up to the corporations, no hope of advancing beyond their middle management parents, I can’t really blame them either. After all, that’s what free market capitalism is, individuals acting in their own economic interests without regard for society or anybody else. It’s hypocritical to complain about people acting like selfish greedy pigs when the system explicitly endorses such behavior, and is run by people who shamelessly parade their wealth and wield it like a weapon to keep themselves rich and powerful. Moreover, until our corporate overlords give up their private jets, Olympic swimming pools, and off-shore bank accounts for the sake of the climate or the common man, I’m not interested in lecturing, or being lectured about social obligation and moral duty. I’m not inclined to listen to the likes of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos talk about climate change, or underpopulation, or overpopulation, or w/e else. I think I’d rather find their mansions and burn them down. The reason some of the tech oligarchs endorse UBI and other such schemes is because the smart ones know very well that the alternative is all these idle people showing up on their doorsteps with pitchforks and torches. Like the Roman Emperors, they will sit on their thrones and give people bread and circuses simply to protect their own power. I can’t say its an ideal future, but when the alternative could be constant civil strife, anarchy, or civilizational collapse, I’ll do as the Romans did and take what I can get.
‘one might expect to see the masses out in the streets, calling for the heads of their rulers’ – which of course they are in Sri Lanka.
Concerns about social trends in one country, or one ideological conglomeration of countries (the West) sound rather outdated when global geo-political realities, which have been ignored for decades, start impressing themselves onto our daily consciousness.
Does it matter how the majority of people in the US end up living so long as the nation state they live in is able to defend itself against ideologically opposed near neighbours (China and Russia)? Then the question becomes; does how the majority of people live in the US make the job of self defense easier or not? Ie: if half the people in America become obese metaverse cruising pot smokers, how are you going to raise an army? (Or maybe you just need better robots?)
“In the future, the disaffected masses could find themselves living more like prisoners than citizens. Avoiding that outcome requires finding ways to replace disaffection with ambition and a commitment to human progress.”
You can’t fix the failures of secular humanism with more secular humanism. Just like you can’t get around the evils of Communist Russia and China by saying, “That’s not real Marxism. Real Marxism actually would produce Utopia.”
No, the pursuit of utopia always produces dystopia. And the pursuit of human progress always becomes dehumanizing. What we need is a human perfection from the other side, one that invades the present order; it cannot be”reached” by any trajectory emmanating from the current world.
He’s not a household name in the US, but Finnish eco-fascist Penti Linkola envisioned a world where a tiny core of advanced technocrats lord over a tightly controlled proletariat who are only given primitive technology. Think of the Amish, but with forced birth control.
Terrifying, but where we’re heading.
The Supreme irony would be, laziness and tech addiction circle us right back to Eighteenth century toil and oppression.
One point I don’t see made often enough is that millennials are the children of boomers, mostly, the richest generation in US history. One reason why I’m less willing to support a student loan bailout (for example, even $10,000 that would be forgiven for single earners up to $150,000 and couples up to $300,000, according to one recent trial ballon) is not only that this population of borrowers skews better educated (by definition) and better off than average and that loan forgiveness would not only add more debt but would effectively subsidize more inflationary discretionary spending with rising costs borne most by those with the least (including the often laughable masters degree social credentials many pursued out of ego and status more than a practical professional application). Of course not all millennials have parents or other relatives in a position to pass on wealth. But many do. And yet some of the people from the most financially comfortable if not affluent families (who paid most of their inflated tuition in many cases) are the loudest complainers re: what society has denied them and seem most invested in recreational pessimism and navel gazing. Some of this dropping out is a long, self-indulgent phase. I’m not saying it’s good for society or our economy long-term, and it’s clear from surveys many millennials report mental health issues, a lack of hope and purpose and community and meaning. But is it a financial disaster for them personally? For some, I’m sure it is. But many are going to receive what’s been called the biggest transfer of wealth between generations in human history. And for many of those many, that windfall isn’t too far off. That will likely mean an even sharper break between haves and have-nots. I’m not sure the millennials we hear from the most are representative. Those who are really having to hustle to barely get by are too busy and too tired.
[…] while more than two-thirds of older Americans still embrace democracy, only one in three millennials do.
This makes for a shocking read (even as I recall this from the past). If this is true, we could be in real trouble.
We are in real trouble.
Yes, many people can see this happening, but given the enthusiasm with which significant numbers of people are surrendering their integrity and self respect for the idea of the state and its institutions as guardians, responsible for meeting all needs and managing all problems, no matter how personal, it looks like we will sink further into this mire. It is for the rest of us to remain free and responsible, making our disagreement known; in time a little leven will raise the whole loaf.
Well when even owning a house seems like an unrealistic goal, which for several decades was realsitic, as it should be, people become apathetic. Add to that that young people have been made to suffer over a decade of austerity whilst the elderly have had all their state support maintained if not improved whilst not having to foot any of the bill, which instead goes to the young.
The price of food and essential goods has dropped massively in 40 years but has been replaced by house price rises, something that is purely speculative and should not cost more as the product is the same as it was beforehand. We should be living in a world of shorter working weeks but instead people now work longer. What should have been progress has been put into reverse by a purely unnecessary increase of cost to life.
It’s my understanding that Native Americans who receive a dividend from the profits of a casino or other tribal business do much better (measured statistically) than they did before the profit sharing started. And I’ve never seen any evidence that the people of Alaska are burdened by the oil revinue tax dividend they receive each year.
The link to an article by Aaron Renn got me a bunch of boiler-plate Conservative dreck about “takers” vampire-ing off of “makers”. Very 1990s.
People respond to incentives. It’s no surprise that people are withdrawing from a corrupted system that is seeking to harm them. On the economics, It’s all by design – “You will own nothing, and you’ll be happy”. Interest rates are rising and commercial banks will end up repossessing most of the UK’s mortgaged housing stock https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cm0ZprdgOuA&t=642s
we can expect a future of stagnation and ever-growing inequality
Unless the environment changes and people need to adapt in order to survive. We are witnessing so many crises at so many levels at the same time, that this “stagnation” is likely to end sooner than later.
A future with no meaningful contribution by citizens? How awful. Society has become quite complacent over the last 20 years or so of prosperity and easy life. It is changing and perhaps sounding a wake-up to us all. Idle hands find something to be offended over, but that leads to more separation. Compensation has certainly become divorced from value over those years but that is likely to self-correct. I still suspect there remains much left to create, my hope runs high.
I get paid over 190$ per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless. Heres what I’ve been doing..
It’s fascinating how a whispered Boomer fear permeates this article- they’ve gathered all the gold lying in the shallow creek and now they’re getting old and can’t protect their hoard!
I get paid over 190$ per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless. Heres what I’ve been doing..
Bot Lives Matter
Just a small nitpick, but I despise the term “Millennial”. That word has been in use since I was a teenager (I’m 33) and most of us are in our 30’s to early 40’s. We are the largest voting block in America and the current managerial class. Who exactly are you talking about in this article?
It’s kind of like how youngsters refer to Gen X’ers as “Boomers”. They get indignant, and rightfully so. I’m not trying to police anybody’s language, but why not use young people or young adults, or if you want to be specific Generation Z, since that is who you are trying to reach in this article.
All of this fake concern for the futures of “the young” gets to me too since it is the older generations who are directly responsible for their misery. They’re dropping out because the planet is dying and society around them is crumbling.
Agree entirely as a Millenial myself.
I find both the article and the responses a really depressing narrative – with the focus on young people (meaning anyone under 40?? Not clear in the article) having things done to them rather than with them and language that frames them as passive, dropouts that should be grateful for lack of housing, welfare traps, the rise of an unaccountable oligarchy etc. There are countless examples of how young people are actively making a positive difference in the world – not waiting for things to happen to them and the constant drip, drip of adults telling them to focus on what’s important to the adult population is kind of missing the point. The questions we need to be asking are what kind of environment needs to be set that enables young people to contribute? What will allow for their contribution to be recognised to inspire others?
And @Paul O, can I ask that you reflect on what your reaction would have been if you were aged 14 and someone told you that
“Maybe a winter of discontent, rampant inflation, and global starvation is what these youngsters need to wake the f up, and start realising that there are more serious issues to fight for than whether a person identifies as a Disney Prince or a Disney Princess.”
How would your 14 yr old self feel if hearing this? Angry? disheartened? Feel powerless in the face of seemingly unavoidable and unmanageable crises that you didn’t create? We need to be setting an example through leadership rather than just shouting down at each other.
Because below the negative headlines and articles like the above are countless grassroots, hyper-local work as shown in things like the #iwill movement in the UK – https://www.iwill.org.uk – which encourages an environment where young people can challenge and make a change to the structures, organisations and systems around them on issues meaningful to them – from housing to health, poverty to racism or civil rights (now far too easily dismissed or labelled as ‘woke’ by those unwilling to listen or engage). Set up by Cameron, #iwill is still going strong some 10 years down the line. And it’s not some fluffy stuff, but genuinely life-changing activity is happening in communities all around us. But it’s under-reported, under-represented and far easier to point fingers and do nothing. Recommend Jon Alexander’s new book Citizens for more examples and stats from Europe, Africa, America and elsewhere where there is active citizenship happening right now.
There is a huge irony in the article above and the responses – the tone and the narrative suggests but does not say that we’ve given up on young people. That we’re the dropouts. That we, and the systems and landscapes around them, have failed or are failing them. We need to better understand how to create new environments that shifts this narrative and give power back to young people and away from the digital oligarchs mentioned in the article who (if the article is correct), are actively encouraging a dropout generation because it suits their own needs and profits.
And we desperately need to move away from them vs us encouraged by the media and internet because that just creates anger, frustration and apathy on all sides.
The irony in the timing of this article is that today is World Youth Skills Day, created by the UN to champion and encourage organisations, employers and wider society to harness the energy, ideas and challenges that young people bring. Recommend readers search online for inspiring examples of what young people are doing and contributing to society right now.
For what it’s worth, as a Gen-X, I see today’s wokeness as a direct consequence of what came before it, rather than a perversion of it. So, while I don’t endorse much of what constitutes as wokeness (despite recognising some positives), I wouldn’t “blame” it on the Millienials either.
I don’t place blame or praise about anything on an abstract group; it is individuals acting in concert that push ideas (good or bad). Much of this placing people into age groups, whilst it could have some benefits as these groups often experience similar economic, political, and social conditions, just serves to divide the population and pit them against each other; it is another arrow in the quiver of the identity activists.
I’m not Paul O, but I can give you a perfect example of what you are asking for. A young person at the beginning of the previous century, say a teenager in 1913, witnessed the worst plague in the history of mankind (The Spanish Flu). Then witnessed the horrors of WW1, which all ended around 1918. Plague, famine and world war certainly are worse than anything a young person today has experienced.
Yet that generation fought a brutal second World War, and managed to save the planet from fascism. They faced the most atrocious conditions of any generation and that’s perhaps why they have been called “The Greatest Generation”. All without cell phones, the internet and welfare, by the way.
To Warren T: the Spanish Flu raged from 1918 to early 1920 – towards the end of and after the First World War (1914-1918), not before it.
I get that completely. This is what I meant by changing the external environment or factors in motivation – in 1914 patriotism, a sense of duty, belonging and connection to the community or a place (joining friends to sign up etc) were huge motivators to do something in response to the First World War/rise of facism/Spanish flu, Great Depression etc. at the turn of the last century.
However, to say young people should just do what a generation did 100 years ago feels a bit simplistic unless further investigating what the real motivations were at the time. It also reinforces an Us vs Them dialogue. The generations that fought in the wars should be celebrated, as well as those that came before and after that fought for suffrage, human rights and technological and scientific progress. But not to the detriment of those today, and those to come. We should certainly look for inspiration from all the great things previous generations have done, but be wary of making negative comparisons that don’t lead anywhere.
My main issue with the article is that it lists the causes of the great Drop Out generation (which I’m not sure does exist). What it doesn’t do is investigate why these causes exist and what could be changed. For example Political Alienation is a good label, but where has this come from and what can be changed to remove it? Citizens Assemblies, Proportional Representation and other ideas are being trialled right now but the article doesn’t list these, and so ends up reinforcing this doom scenario of Generation Drop Out. So it continues a negative story, which itself allows us to shrug our shoulders and point fingers across the generations.
It also feels like some of the arguments that were made by the parents of the post-war generation – look at all the kids with their long hair and rock n roll music, they should be grateful, they’ll never amount to anything, they’ve never had it so etc etc.
There’s also something in the adage that Suffering is Universal – every generation faces its own crises and challenges and has done since the dawn of time. However, by presenting that nothing can be done, or telling the youth of today that they are too feckless to do anything and should be grateful to previous generations, it becomes a completely cul de sac of thought and enquiry. We end up doing nothing because we tell ourselves that nothing can be done.
Which comes back to the ‘dropout’ label and my point that we should be putting this on each other as well as the younger generations. Taking some ownership or highlighting where change is already being made is more likely to avoid the DropOut Catastrophe compared to shouting at the young to sort out the shit we and previous generations have helped create, while simultaneously saying they are too lazy and ungrateful to do anything meaningful, anyway.
My feeling/fear I that by telling young people [or even all of us] that it’s almost impossible to make a difference, then they/we won’t. Especially if they see politicians/organisations not tackling these issues either (whilst also recognising that many young people already are trying/are actively making a difference, but we’re oblivious to it).
I also just wanted to note that plague, famine and conflict are way worse than anything a type of Western young person may have experienced. So again, we need to question the narrative we’re telling ourselves in order to see what the solutions may be. Millions of people are facing these challenges right now, and either coping, doing things despite them simply by surviving, or actively trying to overcome them. And some of them are our neighbours and colleagues.
And lastly, cell phones, the internet and welfare aren’t going away anytime soon, so perhaps we should be looking to see how these can be harnessed to prevent the Drop Out generation from happening rather than pretending there can be a world without them. There’s no going back now – for better or for worse!
the young would be re-empowered by a global economic crash-then everyone would be equally broke but the young would have energy !
Don’t forget the Great Depression, during which both my parents were youngsters/teens. Both of their families were very negatively affected.
Total war = full employment, high salaries and a common purpose. Both things that our supposedly peaceful societies are lacking.
And population control.
“The worst plague in the history of mankind”? Seriously?
The Pneumatic and Bubonic plagues would like a word with you.
thanks for that perspective Dave – keep commenting !
Why not just give an age bracket? Also, by no means do all the people born at a certain times believe the same, or necessarily have the same experiences which is why many “boomers” (and of course other age brackets) get irritated by the generalisations.