It’s very fashionable for middle-aged farts like me to point fingers and laugh at the Millennial generation. As if the Baby Boomers didn’t do the same things to us thirty years ago…as the Greatest Generation did to them a few decades prior.
The reality is that most of the Millennials I know are just like anyone else who are young adults. Yes, they have a maddening tendency to look at their cell phones while carrying on a conversation and their coffee orders include FAR too many syllables. But all-in-all, they’re good folk.
But there is a subset of Millennials (and the so-called “Generation Y,” which follows them) who are now beginning to come of age politically. Their poster child, fair or not, is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—the Freshman Congresswoman who pulled an upset in a deep-blue New York City district last year.
She is an unapologetic Democratic Socialist. I’ve discussed elsewhere my thoughts on this philosophy so I won’t revisit it here. But the dissatisfaction that fuels those policies has little basis in realty.
AOC was featured on the cover of Time Magazine this week…along with an appropriately-fawning article written by fellow Urban Millennial Charlotte Alter. In promoting her story via her Twitter account, Alter tried to explain the popularity of AOC by suggesting she taps into the heart of Urban Millennial angst. To wit:
“In order to understand AOC, you have to look at what she experienced— and what she didn’t. Red Scare, Reaganomics & prosperous 90s were all before her time. Her adulthood was defined by financial crisis, debt & climate change. People our age have never experienced American prosperity in our adult lives— which is why so many millennials are embracing Democratic socialism.”
In her own odd way, Alter *has* fairly assessed the underbelly of urban Millennials. It is built on a profound lack of wisdom and experience. It assumes that things are terrible and are going to get MUCH worse unless significant government action is taken.
I hate to sound like a grumpy old man, but people who think like this are ungrateful little brats.
Here are the facts. Millennials grew up in the most prosperous and peaceful period in human history. And it is only getting BETTER. Even former President Obama said, “We are fortunate to be living in the most peaceful, most prosperous, most progressive era in human history.”
200 million Americans today will eat a meal that (a century) ago would have been available only to nobility. Two centuries ago, the difference between middle class and lower class was that the middle class had shoes and the lower class did not. Today, the difference is usually the difference between a Cadillac and a Chevy. The Chevy may not be quite as nice, but basically it provides the same services.
Overall, the typical American defined as poor by the government has a car, air conditioning, a refrigerator, a stove, a clothes washer and dryer, and a microwave. He has two color televisions, cable or satellite TV reception, a VCR or DVD player, and a stereo. He is able to obtain medical care. His home is in good repair and is not overcrowded. By his own report, his family is not hungry and he had sufficient funds in the past year to meet his family’s essential needs. While this individual’s life is not opulent, it is also far from the popular images of dire poverty conveyed by Democratic Socialists.
It’s also fair to note that many of you are reading these words on a device that grants you access to the sum of human knowledge. I want you to read that sentence again. Now I want you absorb just how truly extraordinary this is.
Do you want to talk about relative peace? There is no comparison. Just a perfunctory examination of war casualties from past and contemporary conflicts should convince you. If not, check out this report.
Think things are going to hell overseas? No. The number of African AIDS cases is dropping like a brick. All this while more and more of the continent hooks up to running water and electricity.
More and more, where you live has little to do with the quality of life you can expect. Human Progress cites in an article:
“In 15th century England, 80 per cent of private expenditure went on food. Of that amount, 20 per cent was spent on bread alone. By comparison, by 2013 only 10 per cent of private expenditure in the United States was spent on food, a figure which is itself inflated by the amount Americans spend in restaurants.
In summation: A century ago, poor people were toiling in fields with backbreaking work, eating the same gruel every day with no expectation of any improvement tomorrow. Today, they are sitting on toilets with indoor plumbing in a climate-controlled environmental while scrolling through cat videos with full bellies.
No, things are not perfect. They never will be this side of heaven. There is always something to improve and we should always seek to do so. But at some point you *must* appreciate what has been done and determine that the same strategies that were needed in previous circumstances would NOT produce the same results today.
The Urban Millennial’s view of a modern-day Dystopian Hell as an excuse to implement fundamental changes in the relationship between the Individual and the Collective simply doesn’t withstand even the slightest bit of scrutiny.
Of course, their version of “Socialism” is mostly-white, well-educated, upper-middle young people trying to make up for a lifetime of thinking primarily about themselves and their own well-being. And they (predictably) would achieve it in the most cowardly way possible…by forcing other people to be altruistic under threat of government coercion.
My lawn. Get off of it.