Tag Archives: millennials

In Defense of Millennials, Part 2

If you’re on the ‘right’, it’s temping to bash millennials, but it’s worth noting that alt-right millennials, thanks to postings on 4chan, Reddit, and Twitter, swayed voters and the ‘national dialogue’ and helped put Trump in office. Although millennials supported Hillary by a much larger margin than Trump (55% vs. 38%), Trump’s millennial base was far more persuasive despite their smaller numbers. All generations have losers and idiots (for boomers, it’s aged hippies; for millennials, it’s SJWs). But dismissing all millennials as ‘brainwashed liberal idiots’ is falling into the tempting trap of reductionism and overlooks the many millennials who aren’t.

In 2015, I wrote a post defending millennials, and now that millennials helped get Trump elected, maybe I was right to not give up hope on this generation when many others on the right did. In 2014 and 2015, I wrote many posts about the post-2013 SJW-backlash as related to #gamergate, which like the at-right was primarily a millennial-driven movement against far-left liberalism (or as some call ‘regressive liberalism’). And also, many gamergate people joined the ranks of the alt-right, and a lot of the memetic and social networking methods used in gameragte were employed by the alt-right. So gamergate may have laid the foundation for the alt-right, which followed just a year or so later.

There is evidence the latest generation, Generation Z (those born after 2000, and who are often lumped with millennials), may be the most conservative generation since WW2.

Furthermore, there is evidence millennials are more conservative than Boomers or Gen Xers were at their age, according to a study.

In 1976, when Baby Boomers were donning their caps and gowns, 21% of high school seniors identified themselves as conservative. In 2014, when it was the millennials’ turn to graduate, 29% did so, the study authors report.

Meanwhile, the percentage of high school seniors who identified as liberal was 35% in 1976 and 34% in 2014.

The obvious flaw is that terms ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’ were different then than they are now. A liberal 40 years ago may be considered conservative or moderate today.

The good news is, by virtue of the normal distribution, there are millennials, perhaps as many as tens of thousands, who care about philosophical inquiry, not what’s on TV or the latest celebrity gossip. NRx and Dark Enlightenment, for example, have a lot of millennials as ‘members’, such as college students, who are curious abut this fledgling intellectual ‘movement’.

A theory as to why alternative ideologies and movements (such as NRx, HBD, rationalism, libertarianism, anarcho-capitalism, alt-right, red pill, MGTOW, etc.), that don’t fall within the mainstream left-right dichotomy, appeal to millennials is because – thanks to the Flynn effect, readily accessible information online, and ‘intellectualism culture’ (this includes culture both online and offline valuing and elevating intellectual pursuits) – millennials are possibly smarter and better-educated than older generations and thus are more inclined to wander off the beaten path to explore these new and possibly taboo ideas, whereas their parents, who may not be as smart or intellectually curious, prefer simper and reductionist narratives (good vs. evil) and activities. (Parents: voting is a civic duty; Millennials: democracy may not be the best solution, because voters may be uninformed, ‘bribed’ by politicians who promise benefits, or democracy doesn’t solve society’s most pressing problems but rather exacerbates them.) This is also related to the post-2013 backlash against ‘low information’, which includes reductionist narratives and media sensationalism. This is both good and bad: It’s ‘bad’ because it spawns SJWs, who suck up Cultural Marxism from the universities and spit it back at society; but as stated above, it’s ‘good’ because we also get the alt-right, as well as #gamergate, as a counterweight to far-left liberalism. It’s like a barbell.

Also, many millennials are struggling, many through little or no fault of their own – a job market that is perpetually anemic despite record-high stock prices and surging profits and earnings. Just telling millennials to ‘suck it up and quit complaining’ is something I would have written years ago, but not now seeing that I understand the issue better. And also, it’s not just liberal arts majors who are having a hard time – even STEM majors are faced with a more competitive economy, student loan debt, and difficult job market. And I have some empathy for millennials who major in history, literature, philosophy, or economics, which may not pay as well as STEM but are still intellectually rigorous and ennobling. There is value in those degrees – the pay may be less than for STEM – but there is value nonetheless.

Millennials assumed that the same advice that worked for their parents, who were serendipitously blessed with four decades of post-WW2 prosperity, would work for them, too. When 2008 came along, all that changed – permanently. Their parents had it easy (good paying-jobs strait out of college or high school), with generous benefits and early retirement. In post-2008 society, where the supply of labor for most jobs vastly exceeds demand, ‘value creation’, not merely ‘showing up’, is valued, and this is much harder. In earlier generations, it was ‘good enough’ to be average; now you have to be exceptional to get your foot in the door, because as stated above, everyone is getting smarter, so that means more competition, in addition to competition by automation and inexpensive foreign labor. Sixty years ago, knowing how to read, write, and do basic math made you ‘above average’; compare that to today where AP-courses are the norm. Many millennials who supported Obama realize that the economic ‘hope and change’ he promised was – as the ‘right’ correctly predicted – a dream or delusion. This disillusionment contributed to the rise of the alt-right and Hillary’s loss. (Hillary won a smaller percentage of millennial votes than Obama, 55% vs. 60%. Also, Trump’s support among minority voters was higher than for Romney.).

Era of the Introvert, and the demise of ‘Careerism’

Over and over again, articles about following themes themes or topics, go viral:

-Being alone, the benefits of being alone, etc.
-Introversion, introverts
-Coping with being ‘average’, being ‘boring’, etc.

Today’s viral article: How being alone may be the key to rest

Could it be that what we really want, in order to rest, is respite from other people?

Seeing friends and family, chatting or drinking socially all come much lower down the list. This doesn’t mean that the respondents don’t like socialising, but that they don’t consider it to be particularly restful.

Interestingly, this applies both in the case of extroverts – sometimes defined as people who gain energy from being around others – and introverts, who find other people draining. Extroverts do place chatting and socialising a little higher up the chart, but still they are beaten by solitary activities.

It seems like we’re definitely in the ‘era of the introvert’…more an more people are writing about being introverted, describing their experiences, to much approval. Decades ago, it seemed like extroverts were in control, but now that has flipped, and factors such the information/knowledge-based economy and ‘intellectualism culture’ may be to blame, as I explain in Introverts Rule the World.

This ties with ‘shared narratives’, as all introverts, regardless of their politics, are unified in their dislike of ‘small talk’ and other vapid, atavistic social rituals that we voluntarily impose on each other and ourselves, which could explain why the article above went viral. We carry out these motions not because we derive pleasure from them, but because we have become so accustomed to doing them that to refuse is inconceivable. One such ritual is voting and the ‘democratic process’, and I’m pleasantly surprised to see millennials losing faith in democracy. Politicians promise ‘more freedom’ in exchange for your vote, but that results in diddly-squat. If you vote, it’s because the candidates embodies values you agree with, not because you expect a specific outcome or result.

This is also related to the decline of ‘careerism’. Careerism, which thrived in the 80′s and 90′s, wasn’t about creating economic value; rather, it was about sycophantism, of millions of people ‘showing up’ and carrying out these ritualistic motions, everyday exchanging their livelihoods for steady remittances needed to ‘keep up with the Joneses’. As I wrote in Millennials and Misconceptions, millennials are abandoning careerism in droves, choosing introspection, MGTOW, ‘being alone’, and introversion, rather than gregariousness and ‘office politics’. But it’s not laziness, as many wrongly assume. When millennials choose to work, they do so to maximize economic value and their own productivity, meaning that they prefer not to dither with ‘small talk’ and ‘office politics’, and they want to work on their own terms, preferring autonomy instead of sucking up to a boss, who is is often overpaid relative to the economic value he or she produces. This is why personal finance (budgeting, investing, etc.) is so important to millennials, because financial independence and self-sufficiency is necessary to have freedom, or more specifically, autonomy, instead of careerism. It doesn’t mean having money for the sake of consumption, but money for autonomy.

Millennials and Misconceptions

This is going viral: College Advice from a 75-Year-Old Who Went to School for 55 Years and Got 30 Degrees

Note how a comment that was critical was heavily down-voted and subsequently deleted, while comments praising the man were up-voted:

The story went viral because Millennials believe that, despite high student loan debt and weak job prospects for many graduates, the accumulation of knowledge is and of itself is a noble goal, but they also believe in wealth (as measured by wealth in a bank account, a brokerage account statement, or in real estate, instead of ostentatious displays of wealth in the form of rapidly depreciating positional goods and services (sports cars, nightclub VIP service, etc.)). Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, and Elon Musk epitomize the latter, all being extremely wealthy and smart but also living a minimalist lifestyle, in contrast to Donald Trump (who isn’t as smart and has a much more extravagant lifestyle), who I support for president, but he’s not as respected by millennials as much as Musk or the founders of Google. Speaking of minimalism and intellectualism (both which are valued by millennials), Warren Buffett drinks cola (not fancy imported spirits), drives an old car, and still lives in the same home he bought decades ago in the quiet suburbs of Omaha, avoiding the commotion and extravaganza of New York despite arguably being the most important person in finance alive.

This is why I’m not so quick to beat-up millennials who accumulate debt, because even if the job prospects are poor, having the degree is part of a ‘bonding experience’ or camaraderie between other millennials who also have degrees and find themselves in similar predicaments. The degree also signals intellect. A STEM degree is preferable, but that doesn’t make the liberal arts useless in the eyes of millennials, provided the degree has some degree of intellectual rigor and are not completely useless or commercialized (like degrees ‘child development’ or ‘search engine marketing’).

Also, many have grown weary of the constant hectoring about how you ‘have to major in STEM’. Given all the recent media coverage about STEM, there is almost no one alive who doesn’t know that STEM pays more, and such reminders have become repetitious and patronizing. Even parents know STEM pays more, as well graduates and prospective students who choose to go to college for reasons besides making money (although they may later regret their major).

…and from that same discussion, a highly up-voted comment that defends religiosity:

Part of the reason why I have written so many posts about millennials is because there are so many misconceptions perpetuated by the media, as well pundits, who are all too inclined to overgeneralize millennials to fit a preexisting political bias, agenda, or belief. A common misconception is that millennials subscribe to the same form of ‘militant atheism’ as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, but although millennials lean atheist more so than other generations, as shown in the screenshot above they are refreshingly tolerant of Christianity, understanding even if one chooses to not believe in god, that religion still has a useful function at both the personal and societal level in terms of fostering well-being and community. As part of the post-2013 backlash against ‘low information’, demagoguery and zealotry (by believers and non-believers alike) is frowned upon. Same for the post-2013 backlash against SJWs and rise of centrism and rationalism: many people, especially the well-informed and educated and even liberals, are tired of a shill, vocal minority that uses ‘low information’ tactics to try to impose their poorly researched beliefs and values on others.

Another myth: that millennials are spendthrift and or ignorant about finance. Quite the opposite, as I expound on here and here. Millennials on Reddit are not representative of all millennials, but it’s a pretty big sample.

Whereas older generations embraced activism and action ‘you must save the whales’ ‘you must get a job’ ‘you must fight the man, man’ ‘you must must start a family and buy a home’, millennials want to stay at home and ‘chill’, embrace pacifism, procrastinate, indulge in intellectual endeavors, or be ‘boring‘. But also millennials seek wealth, but on their own terms, and don’t wish to fritter their money on rapidly depreciating positional goods. ‘Careerism’ is a post-ww2 phenomenon that locks people into a rat maze where a big home or a fancy car, not cheese, is waiting at the exit. Millennials, generally, want none of that, and who can blame them. Rather, they are choosing MGTOW, Red Pill, minimalism, etc. as alternatives. For millennials, wealth is measured not just by how much money you have but also how much you know, too, which is why they value higher education (even if the degrees may not pay much and or require a lot of debt).

If it seems like I’m picking on the ‘right’ here, I’m only trying to help by correcting some of the persistent misconceptions of millennials that may impede the ability of Republicans to connect with this very large and influential bloc. Another common misconception is that all millennials are radicalized liberals. Although SJWs and BLM are mostly millennials and have gotten a lot of media attention for their antics and tantrums, they are not representative of all millennials, and many millennials, including even liberals, are tired of how WSJs suppress free speech or any idea that may deem ‘racist’ (a word which has been redefined to mean anyone who holds views that the far-left finds offensive), as part of the post-2013 SJW backlash. Consider the alt-right surge, which is mainly led by millennials and has been so immensely successful and influential that even Hillary Clinton and the MSM (such as CNBC) are talking about it. Trump owes some of his success to the alt-right.

In Defense Of A Boring, Comfortable Life (analysis)

An article on Dose.com, In Defense Of A Boring, Comfortable Life, is going viral:

There is nothing wrong with living a comfortable and unadventurous life.

I know. This is the internet. The odds are good you just spent five minutes watching someone do something incredible. After watching that video, you probably thought to yourself, “Wow. I should totally go and punch a giant shark in the face.” Or maybe, “Sure. I can take that zip line over a volcano. Why not?” Then you realized, like most people, that you’d rather go hiking instead. But then you find hiking is super boring and nature kind of sucks. Especially if you’re like me, and insects make you the main course every time you enter the woods.

It’s then you begin to realize, as I did when I turned 33, that maybe the adventurous life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It just looks fun, and because we’re regularly exposed to other people’s allegedly fun lives, that makes us imagine doing the same things with our own.

If you want to live in a beautiful, comfortable apartment, and chill out and watch Netflix on the weekends? (And I mean really watch Netflix, which is why I put the “chill” first there), there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s your life. You should do what makes you happy. Honestly, I read a lot of books. If I can spend my weekends working on my comic and reading a good book? I’m as happy as a clam.

This article echoes many themes of this blog and post-2013 society and culture, such as millennials choosing to be alone, at home being introspective, reading, or watching Netflix instead of engaging in ‘adventuresome’ activities such as traveling or going to nightclubs, as part of embracing a ‘spartan’ or ‘boring’ lifestyle of frugality, minimalism, and intellectualism, not excess, materialism, or extravaganza.

Part of this economics: a perpetually weak job market, as well as too much student loan debt, means less money to spend on traveling or going out, but intergenerational cultural factors may also play a role.

Millennials are sorta like 20-something curmudgeons. It’s not the 70-something yelling ‘Get off my lawn!’ – it’s the 20-something saying ‘I want to watch Netflix or read a book at home alone. No, I don’t want to go to a social event such as a club, a baby shower, or your wedding’.

The ‘boomers’ when they were young embraced escapism (such as through psychedelic music, cross-country motorcycle trips, and recreational drug use) and rebellion (against ‘the system’, ‘the establishment’, and ‘the man’).

Gen-x, while there was less rebellion, had escapism in the form of alternative and grunge music, MTV, ‘dumb’ sitcoms (such as Seinfeld, Friends, etc.), as well as drug use. There wasn’t as much intellectualism back then, and consumerism was everywhere. But at the same time, for much of the 80′s and 90′s, living standard for many Americans still weren’t that great, corporate profits & earnings were much weaker than they are now, and interest rates were too high.

By contrast, as mentioned in Intellectualism, Individualism, and Wealth, Part 4 (philosophy of millennials), millennials (with some exception of SJWs) generally don’t seek to rebel or escape, but rather adapt and be in the ‘preset’, engaging in studies and online debates on philosophy, finance, and economics, all to better understand ‘the system’ instead of fighting it. Escapism for millennials is generally constructive and intellectual, such as watching documentaries and high-production shows on Netflix, posting or blogging online, or reading (such as in the case of the author of the Dose.com article, B.J. Mendelson), not binge-watching Friends or zoning-out on music videos. Although millennials created OWS, it quickly fizzled out, and they soon realized that it’s more productive to learn to emulate the rich and to understand how the economy works than rebel against it (which is counterproductive).

There is also less drug and alcohol use than earlier generations (although marijuana may be an exception):

As a result of this saturation of information, the media latches onto millennial drug use. However, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), millennials actually use fewer drugs and less alcohol than their parents’ peers did. Tempting though it may be to point fingers, teenage drug use declined by more than 34% between 1993 and 2013, a crucial time period that encompasses the teenage years of almost all millennials.

By all accounts, alcohol use is also less common for millennials. According to the same NIDA report, teen drinking has decreased by 42% since 2003 alone, and by more than 60% since 1995. Now that most millennials are in their 20′s or 30′s, this demographic is also leaning away from hard liquor, preferring craft beer and wine. In fact, millennials drink twice as much wine as their parents did at the same age.

This article also relates to ‘advice culture’, borne out of Millennials learning how to adapt, not rebel, to a challenging economy, which seems to reward individualism and lavishes heaps of praise upon an exalted few, with mediocre job prospects and student debt for everyone else. Edgy, contrarian articles (such as In Defense Of A Boring, Comfortable Life) that offer ‘advice’ on navigating post-2013 society and culture often go viral, as millions of people (not just millennials) are coping with ‘how to be average’ if you cannot be the next Zuckerberg, Musk, or Theil (not that everyone wants to be like them, but they are portryed by the media as paragons of success and accomplishment).

And from Wealth, Intellectualism, and Individualism, Part 2 (the obsession with finance):

But at the same time, an article about ‘being average‘ also went viral. This ties into post-2008 ‘authenticity culture’, of how it’s better to be authentically ‘true to yourself’, even if it means being average, than being deluded and afflicted by Dunning Kruger. Biological determinism again rears its head, with genes limiting the potential of people who aspire to more than their biology will allow. This is related to ‘share narratives’, as millions of people are seeking answers to existential questions like, ‘Can someone who is only average find meaning in life in an economy and culture that seems to rewards individual success and talent, and how so?’ Not everyone can be a day trading genius, a web 2.0 billionaire, or a top physicist or mathematician, so learning or coping with being ‘average’ is a useful skill.

Although job prospects may not be as good, the good news is many millennials are rejecting the corporate ‘rat race’, preferring a lifestyle of minimalism over consumerism, as a way of not only adapting to a more difficult economy but as part of a culture that has become more intellectualized. Millennials would rather code and stay home and read, sometimes in the case of the former becoming suddenly very wealthy, but in spite of the wealth still living a minimalist lifestyle.

Intellectualism, Individualism, and Wealth, Part 4 (philosophy of millennials)

Errata: yesterday’s article, Alt-Right: Classifications and Significance, described neocons as apologetically anti-populist, when it should have been unapologetically anti-populist.

Continuing on the series on Intellectualism, Individualism, and Wealth…

The Millennial Mindset, Part 2: Philosophy and Wealth describes the underlying philosophy of most millennials as rationalist and valuing of authenticity. But another label could be deontological. Millennials, particularly smart and rational ones, seem to have an ethical system predicated on rules and promoting maximum ‘goodness’, even if ‘goodness’ may be hard to quantify or may be attained by unconventional means. The Kantian categorical imperative is relevant:

Kant then argues that the consequences of an act of willing cannot be used to determine that the person has a good will; good consequences could arise by accident from an action that was motivated by a desire to cause harm to an innocent person, and bad consequences could arise from an action that was well-motivated. Instead, he claims, a person has a good will when he ‘acts out of respect for the moral law’.[12] People ‘act out of respect for the moral law’ when they act in some way because they have a duty to do so. So, the only thing that is truly good in itself is a good will, and a good will is only good when the willer chooses to do something because it is that person’s duty, i.e. out of “respect” for the law. He defines respect as “the concept of a worth which thwarts my self-love.”[13]

As evidence of the importance of deontology, a Reddit ‘Life Pro Tips’ post which meticulously gives a list of rules for disposing of the possessions of the deceased, went viral and got a lot up-votes and comments. This is in contrast to boomers, in the 60′s, who eschewed rules and promoted ‘rebellion’ (even though they were conformist in their need to rebel). That’s probably why millennials don’t go to clubs, preferring instead to stay at home and be introspective.

This is also related to consequentialism and utilitarianism, discussed numerous times on this blog and at the end of part 3. The philosophy can also be described as quasi-authoritarian and somewhat bureaucratic, but with contradictions such as promoting individualism and authenticity. To reconcile this, individualism and authenticity is championed provided it’s within the sphere of one’s biological capabilities (also related to the meritocracy stratified by IQ), and to try to exit the sphere puts one at risk of becoming a poseur, which is among the worst things to be in a culture and society that values authenticity more than ever.

But we’re also seeing the rise of ‘advice culture’ – a subset of ‘intellectualism culture’ (as categorized here, and will be described in greater detail in upcoming installments of this series). Like the story on ‘coping with being average’, as mentioned at the end of part 2, articles that offer advice on navigating today’s difficult, hyper-meritocratic economy and culture, frequently go viral. Boomers, like the iconoclasts of the Protestant Reformation, wanted to tear down the system; millennials, on the other hand, seek to adapt, either by emulating the rich and successful or by finding ways of coping with mediocrity. Even in the 90′s, for gen-x, it as about The Matrix cyber punk rebellion and escapism though alt music, MTV, and sitcoms. But millennials want to stay in the present, to confront reality head-on, and seek complications through philosophy and inquiry (intellectualism) into things like economics and social dynamics – not the simplicity of blissful ignorance. Writers like David Foster Wallace and Hunter S. Thomson (who committed suicide within three years of each other), exude authenticity and have seen their legacies explode in recent years, becoming cultural icons. Wallace’s This is Water, a commencement speech he wrote in 2005, and Hunter’s Finding Your Purpose, a letter addressed to a fan, have been shared innumerate times and cover themes about coping with the idiosyncrasies and travails of modern society without losing one’s sanity, as well as existentialism and finding meaning in life.

Why So Many Millennials Are Struggling

From The Daily Dot: The real reason young people are the poorest generation in 25 years

The kids are not all right. As the millennial generation starts to reach its 30s, many of these ‘80s and ‘90s kids are having kids of their own, and recent surveys show one in five millennial parents is living in poverty. That’s the result of a combination of rising costs for raising children, falling wages, increased unemployment, and high debt—mostly college related. But the boomer generation seems to think otherwise: Millennials are to blame for their own financial situation, thanks to wasting time on the Internet and being too lazy to find jobs.

Millennials were promised that if they followed the American prescription for success, starting with a college degree, they’d be on a track to profitable careers and respected roles in American society. Instead, they entered college precisely at the moment tuition was skyrocketing, endowments were falling, and interest on student loans was climbing. College loans are a major contributor to millennial debt, so much so that there are legitimate fears of a college debt bubble that could be as devastating as the tech bubble of the 1990s (boomers) or the recession (boomers again).

Millennials, raised in the 90′s and early 2000′s – a era of participation trophies, an unusually strong labor market, and the ‘self-esteem movement’ – were in for a rude awakening when 2008 rolled along, and suddenly the panglossian promises made by teachers, parents, and society in general, of ‘good jobs’ and the attainment of the ‘American dream’ was, for many millennials, pulled away.

So what happened? Economic reality – that’s what happened. But the problem is multi-fold:

1. Millennials, for much of the 90′s and 2000′s, were coddled and fed affirmations by teachers, parents, and society and culture (such as networks like MTV) about how ‘great’ they were, about how they were the ‘future’, and so on. Their boomer parents, having had for decades of post-war prosperity dropped on their lap, assumed that the good times would continue for their children too, and we (millennials) believed it too.

2. Then the financial and housing crisis came. The economy became more efficient and productive, with employers using the 2008 crisis an excuse to thin the herd, which has persisted to this day even as profits, earnings, and stock prices are at record highs. The economy became much more competitive – and many Millennials, lacking the tenacity and grit due to being coddled and their self-esteem artificially boosted, were unable to adapt.

3. But credentialism has become a major problem, leading to a vicious circle of increased college attendance and then more student loan debt, as BA degrees, which become devalued, are replaced by Masters, and those, eventually, are replaced by PHDs, and so on. As I discuss in Fixing the Student Loan Debt Crisis and Reforming Edcuation, one solution is to replace costly, time-consuming college diplomas with cheap, easy-to-administer IQ tests (and proxies like the SAT and Wonderlic) that can signal competence to employers. A college degree, unless it’s specialized, is just a very expensive way of signaling ‘general competence’.

The result: more debt

4. The economy has also become more hollowed-out and bifurcated, with a proliferation of low-paying service sectors jobs, some good-paying ‘creative class’ jobs (coding, advertising), and professional service job (doctors, lawyers), but not enough jobs for those in-between, who have neither superior intellect nor the time to acquire a high-paying, specialized skills. This is due to the decline of manufacturing (ongoing since the 80′s, with the decline of unions) and the decline of ‘middle-income’ jobs such as banking and real estate jobs – jobs which paid well during 90′s and 2000′s during the real estate boom, but have since seen major and permanent cuts due to the 2008 crisis.

I mention IQ because the cold, harsh reality as elucidated by by Charles Murray in Coming Apart and The Bell Curve is that IQ has – in our era of outsourcing, automation, and efficiency – become something of a ‘sorting mechanism’ for those who succeed or fail in America’s increasing competitive economy. Whereas coding, finance and other high-IQ jobs have done very well, seeing only small dips in 2002 and 2008, ‘blue collar’ jobs – manufacturing, energy (drilling, fracking, oil exploration), mining, landscaping, and construction – have seen much more volatility and large dips in employment, first in 2008 during the housing bust, and then, in 2014, due to the energy/oil bust as oil plunged from $100 a barrel to just $30, resulting in the loss of hundreds of thousands of energy jobs.

5. Despite courses being ‘dumbed down’, the college dropout rate still stands above 50%. Parents and guidance counselors are to blame, too, in conscripting millions intellectually unfit students to a decades of debt, with noting to show for it. Charles Murray wrote that the minimum IQ to benefit from a ‘liberal arts education is around 110, which seems accurate (from Para Pundit):

There is no magic point at which a genuine college-level education becomes an option, but anything below an IQ of 110 is problematic. If you want to do well, you should have an IQ of 115 or higher. Put another way, it makes sense for only about 15% of the population, 25% if one stretches it, to get a college education. And yet more than 45% of recent high school graduates enroll in four-year colleges. Adjust that percentage to account for high-school dropouts, and more than 40% of all persons in their late teens are trying to go to a four-year college–enough people to absorb everyone down through an IQ of 104.

6. Students are to blame, too, in majoring in ‘worthless’ subjects. In the 90′s, when the job market was more tilted in favor of workers, those with useless degrees found work, but nowadays ‘social justice’ or ‘oppression studies’ are not skills employers are looking for. That’s why majoring in STEM is still the best path to prosperity. That’s not to say other degrees are a total waste, but research shows STEM has the best ROI.

7. Related to number 2, the labor market seems perpetually crummy, and for many jobs the supply of labor vastly exceeds the demand. During a 2011 national hiring day, McDonald’s received over a million job applications, and only 62,000 people were hired. The rise of the ‘gig’ economy, is an example of employees being paid for the economic value they produce, in our era of increased productivity and efficiency. Legions of millennials, with liberal arts degrees in tow, find themselves with jobs (assuming they can even find work) that are not commensurate with their academic credentials and expectations.

Overall, it’s apparent the problem is multi-faceted, and decades in the making. Solutions will be hard to come by. The first step is ‘unlearning’ the indoctrination, followed by learning skills employers are seeking.

Adulting

Adulting is now a ‘thing’:

Adulting (v): to do grown up things and hold responsibilities such as, a 9-5 job, a mortgage/rent, a car payment, or anything else that makes one think of grown ups.

Used in a sentence: Jane is adulting quite well today as she is on time for work promptly at 8am and appears well groomed

On social media, I’m seeing many references to ‘adulting’, and unlike the article above I have more optimistic take on the trend. IMHO, the neologism has less to do with immaturity and more to do with a change in mindset in response to difficult economic and social times, as a way of subtlety protesting how ‘being an adult’ or ‘fulfilling the traditional roles and responsibilities of an adult’ are becoming obsoleted in our ‘new economy’ and the ‘new era‘ of post-2008 society. ‘Anti-adulting’ could also be seen a way of rebelling against the conformity of politically correct norms, where ‘adult social skills’ and taking special care to not ‘offend people’ is more important than the pursuit of truth.

With the rise of MGTOW, millennials living with their parents longer, the rise of individualism, minimalism, and personal finance culture, many millennials are perhaps realizing that the ‘old rules’ of being an ‘adult’ don’t apply, due to the changing economy and other factors. Rather than starting families, which can be expensive and time-consuming, millennials would rather live with their parents and use the saved money to later become self-sufficient, getting rich by trading stocks, Bitcoin, buying a home, or learning high-paying skills like coding and physics, instead of making the landlord rich month after month to no end. Why waste time with relationships that go nowhere, ending in alimony and child support. Why get an unfulfilling, low-paying job that will likely not exist in a couple years. Why spend tens of thousands of dollars on a worthless degree, with nothing but debt and bleak job prospects to show for it.

Millennials value authenticity and individualism, preferring endeavors that, perhaps, may not pay as much as being a cooperate cog but may be more enriching, allowing more personal freedom as the quote by Steve Pavlina (not a millennial) on why he doesn’t have a ‘regular job’, illustrates:

I maintain a flexible and self-reliant lifestyle centered on exploring personal growth. I haven’t had a job since 1992; being a corporate slave doesn’t interest me. I define my own objectives, choose my own projects, and work for the joy of working.

Going your own way, rejecting ‘adult conformity’, means no more office politics and vapid small talk.

Source http://adultingblog.com/

Boomers had four decades of post-WW2 prosperity serendipitously dropped on their lap, which they frittered with excess consumerism, with millennials fighting for the scraps of what is left in our increasingly competitive, winner-take-all economy. Boomers never had to compete with computers for jobs, had to contend with an economy so hellbent on productivity and efficiency, with a culture and economy that rewards quantifiable results and individualism over family and community, more than ever. The post-2008 economy is like an ‘Ayn Rand world’ in overdrive. Being an ‘adult’ means trying to emulate an economic and social ideal that no longer exists, as well as being a slave to political correctness or a corporate machine, and it’s understandable why millennials have turned sour of the concept, instead embracing the ‘Randian’ ideal of individualism over obsoleted collectivist ideals of family and community, because it’s the best way to adapt.

Millennials and Intellectualism Culture, Part 2

Part 1

Continuing on the article…

No. 1: read a fucking book…

No. 2: learn something…

No. 3: stop buying so much shit….

Everything he’s listing that he wishes were happening is already happening, at least as I can perceive based on my own observations in the field.

As further evidence of how America is not ‘dumbing down’, Arxiv is flooded with complicated physics and math papers – almost 100,000 papers submitted in 2015 alone. http://arxiv.org/help/stats/2015_by_area/index

A ‘Wait but Why’ article about the Fermi Paradox was the most popular on the site ever, getting over 300k Facebook shares…not bad for a country that is supposed to be in the throes of an ‘idiocracy’, indicating a large demand for complicated, intellectual stuff. It may not be as popular as reality TV or the latest scandal on TMZ, but it’s nothing to sneeze at.

Elon Musk, the poster child of the post-2008 wealth and intellect synthesis, AMA was the most popular ever in the history of Reddit, and AMAs by scientists tend to do very well.

Martin Shkreli, a smaller version of Elon Musk, combines wealth with intellectualism, and is very popular among millennials who are rejecting ‘low-information’ SJW-liberalism and class warfare in favor of wealth creation, self-improvement, and intellectualism.

The Big Bang Theory – a hugely popular TV show and one of many examples of the appropriation of ‘nerd culture’ by broader society and pop culture.

Whether it’s economics, political science, philosophy, or advanced mathematics, the internet is making people smarter by exposing them to information that they would have otherwise never encountered. Nowadays, many people are are interested in Category Theory and Tensors, both very advanced mathematical concepts which even just fifteen years ago were inaccessible to anyone that wasn’t studying graduate-level physics or math. The recent explosion of interest in these concepts has less to do with physical applications and more with esotericism and intellect as a form of signaling to boost social status in a society that in recent years values intellect more so than ever, as discussed earlier:

… STEM skills are increasingly valued both culturally and economically in our new economy. It’s the tyranny of the bookish, of smart people pulling ahead as everyone else struggles with a perpetually anemic labor market, stagnant home prices, and falling real wages. Math and code are the new ‘scriptures’ of modern society and economy, with mathematicians, philosophers, physicists, and economists the new ‘priesthood’. More and more young people are studying code and symbols, much like Bible readings, as a way to salvation, except not an intangible one, but one measured by higher wages and more respect.

Interestingly, on Reddit and 4chan, English, History, and Philosophy majors are also respected, too, as they sacrifice monetary gains to pursue a ‘higher’ calling. Such degrees, even though they may not pay very well or have immediate real-world applications, are a solace of intellectual purity, patience, and understanding in a society spoiled by instant gratification, ostentatious materialism, ‘low-information’ pandering, and sensationalism. Both STEM and some liberal arts (not the useless ones like child development or gender studies) combine authenticity, sufficient intellectual rigor, introspection, and abstractions. For the math major such abstractions include axioms, postulates and theorems; for the literature major, it’s words and grammar; for philosophy, it’s ontology and epistemology. ‘Low-information’ means not circuitous enough, too obvious.

Of course Youtube, 4chan, and Reddit are not representative of all millennials or all Americans, but it’s a pretty big sample. I’ve also heard plenty of arguments about how highly intelligent people, versus just the merely competent, are marginalized by society, their talents underutilized or unappreciated. But even the smartest person in the world may still have to market himself, meaning that some effort is required, although the path to success will be easier than for someone who isn’t as intelligent.

Many millennials, to their credit, understand that being financially independent is better than depending on a handout. We’re also seeing the rise of minimalism, with millennials eschewing ostentatious materialism for intellectualism, financial independence, wealth creation, and introspection. Nowadays, it’s ‘cool’ to have money and buying stocks, while reading philosophy, investing, and coding – not frittering money on depreciating positional goods. As evidence of this trend towards intellectualism, for example, many millennials would rather stay home than go clubbing. Intellectualism, with money in a bank or in the stock market or real estate, rather than flashy and rapidly-depreciating car, is more impressive. Like Musk, Warren Buffett is another example of someone who is very wealthy as measured by stock market wealth, but prefers reading complicated financial statements than drawing attention to himself. Counterintuitively, less you try to demand attention, the more people seek your counsel, by virtue of your talents and expertise. Despite Buffett’s minimalist lifestyle and introverted demeanor, thousands of people flock to Omaha for his annual shareholder meetings.

This is related to the rise of ‘advice culture’, the tendency of millennials (but also older generations) to impart their knowledge and advice to others through blogs, social media, and YouTube, whether it’s about self-improvement, economics, masculinity, career advice, and so on. Decades ago, this information either didn’t exist or was only accessible in libraries, but now an abundance of it is online, often with a slight contrarian bent: Vice, Thought Catalog, and Daily Elite articles written by smart people about how conventional wisdom may be wrong, and how political correctness and coddling (which I agree) is incompatible with the harsh realities of the ‘real world’. Here’s one example of such an of such an article.

The rise ‘intellectualism culture’ of the ‘alt right’, objectivism, right-rationalism, and other ideologies and movements is part of a reality-based approach to life, as opposed to delusions, false victimization, and wishful thinking.

The Daily View: Prescriptivism , Populism, and Why Democracy Doesn’t Work

In earlier posts I explore the possibility millennials are smarter and less impressionable than earlier generations. Some on the left argue millennials are sloppy at grammar and are careless, but there is an abundance of evidence to the contrary. For example on Reddit this user got rebuked in the comments for his ‘descriptive’ approach to grammar. To many millennials,prescriptivism is very important, as it signals competence and is important for clear, unambiguous communication.

From the comments:

Care with language has a whole lot of connotations. I would not use careless syntax and grammar just like I would not want to be 1 minute late for a business meeting. Laziness is not an appreciated quality.

It does make a small difference in the speed it takes us to register things. Research shows that unconsciously we like ideas conveyed in a more easily read/understood fashion (big, clear, fonts with nice contrast from background for example).

This ‘Life Pro Tip’ LPT: It’s better to have no opinion on something than an uninformed one recently went viral on Reddit. Millennials are correct that we have an epidemic of the uninformed spilling their opinions, which are seldom original but derived from someone else’s wrong opinion – the blind leading the blind, attributable to bad journalism and confirmation biases. The Daily Show and Colbert are especially guilty of this, telling their audiences what they want to hear even if it’s wrong or taken out of context, and then the audience regurgitates it later, thinking it’s the truth or the complete story. This ties in the post-2013 rise of centrism and rationalism and the rejection of ‘low information’.

Bernie Sanders’ brand of populism is another example – the belief you can grow an economy by spreading the wealth of the most productive to the least. Such a message is appealing to his low-information voters, like cattle corralled into the abattoir of reason and rationality that liberalism. Putting the fate of the country in the hands of the least informed, who tend to be of middling intelligence and aren’t economic stakeholders, is the best argument yet against democracy.

Even neoliberal Bryan Caplan, a contemporary anti-democracy pioneer who isn’t in any way affiliated NRx, agrees that the average person is too ill-informed, cognitively biased, or dare we say ‘dumb’, for democracy to work.

In a post-2008 world, tact, nuance, and not overgeneralizing has become important, compared to the shoot-from-hip style of writing that typifies independent blogging – which began its slow decline in 2008 or so with the rise of social media and professionally written long-form online journalism.

In the past, society was slow and uneducated, with interest rates too high. Now it’s smart and fast-paced thanks to the internet, education, financialization, technology, and other other factors. This is the transition from type-0 to type-1 civilization status, unfolding before our eyes…

Social Skills and Political Correctness

Are Poor Social Skills Contributing to Political Correctness?

I think it’s just the opposite: In a meritocratic society, social skills are a crutch for the incompetent who get by on connections instead of skill or talent, as well as fostering political correctness because people are unafraid to ‘notice’ things and speak their minds. ‘Good’ social skills means taking precautions to not offend ‘protected’ groups and easily triggered people – a willful rejection of reality or a cognitive dissonance to avoid hurting feelings.

Silicon Valley, yes, which I know has various leftist tendencies, values competence and results over social skills. People get rich from creating value, producing quantifiable results (such as coding an app), not by sucking-up and shallow flattery. In academia, particularly in STEM, it’s also that way.

Rationalism and reactionary beliefs, to the uninitiated, may come across as autistic or Asperger-like. We care about data and empirical evidence, not sparing feelings. Being smart means accepting and noticing reality, the good the bad and the ugly of it, as opposed to taking solace in wishful thinking and fairy tales.

The strongest push for politically correct speech comes from younger Millennials. None of the older generations of Boomers and Gen-Xs wanted PC to become more radical or applicable to our everyday speech. Even older liberals like Bill Maher hate Political Correctness just as much as their older, conservative counterparts. Only the young blood SJW’s are pushing so hard for it to become universal and radicalized.

It’s not that way on Reddit, Youtube, and 4chan, at least, where since 2013 or so, following the demise of OWS, there has been a backlash against political correctness, by millennials. Youtube and Reddit doesn’t represent all millennials, but it is still a very large sample. Based on my own observations, the tide has definitely turned as shown by how pro-SJW comments get voted-down quickly and anti-SJW posts and discussions do well.

An example: Anita Sarkeesian’s YouTube videos have received such a negative response that comments and ratings are disabled. Meanwhile, AEI scholar Christina Hoff Sommers’ videos do very well.

Maybe it’s also like a barbell: on one extreme are SJW-millennials, but on the other are the ‘alt right’.

From An Army of Fact Checkers: How Reddit (and social media) is Destroying the SJW Narrative:

As I predicted in 2014, there is definitely evidence of SJW narrative collapse, especially on Reddit and elsewhere, with the rise of Red Pill, Dark Enlightenment, and other anti-SJW movements and ideologies. Online, whenever a story breaks out about the public school war on boys or about false rape accusations, the overwhelming majority of comments are against the SJWs, and we’re not talking about conservative websites, but sites like Reddit that have a broad appeal. For example, I was on Reddit in early August following the Ferguson melee, and I estimate at least 3/4 of the users were on the side of the police and against ‘black lives matter’. Anti-police comments were summarily down-voted. This was for general, bi-partisan subs like /r/news, not conservatives ones.