Could Millennials Be More Conservative Than Previously Thought?

Is the smartest generation, the millennials, when matched by age, more conservative than most generations in history, including the babyboomers? The problem with studies that purport baby boomers to be more conservative than millennials is that they are not matching by age. Yes, baby boomers are more conservative, but that’s possibly because they are older, and maybe people become more conservative as they age (although this is heavily disputed). Another problem is the definition of conservative and liberal. A neo-liberal is technically a liberal, but holds views congruent to conservatives on things like support of free market economics, foreign interventionism, and harsher sentencing laws.

A better study would be to match the political views of baby boomers when they were in their 20’s with millennials. My hypothesis is that a typical 20+ year-old baby boomer from the 60’s or 70’s was more liberal than a millennial today, both economically and on some social issues. Perhaps, young baby boomers were more open to wealth redistribution and higher taxes. Not only that, but compared to millennials, baby boomers were are also less educated and less competitive. You can observe this today. Many millennials, particularity the smarter ones, are so curious about the world and seek empirical explanations for everything, refusing to accept things on faith alone and rejecting platitudinous ‘soundbite solutions’ to complicated problems. They believe absolute right and wrongs (moral absolutism) whereas earlier generations, even among self-reported conservatives, leave more room for ambiguity. In the 60’s, the only 20-30 year-olds that cared about economics were those who were studying it to get their degree. Since 2008, with the rise of internet libertarianism and the culture of student loan victimization, everyone is talking about economics in much the same way young people talked about sports a couple generation ago. When the millennials get older, perhaps they’ll be even more conservative than the boomers.

As we mentioned in the smartest generation series, by virtue of being highly educated and empirically minded, not only are millennials more receptive to HBD and other controversial ideas, but they are more pro-business than earlier generations. For example, from an extensive study of millennials, yes, they are more liberal on social issues, but hold business in a more favorable light than respondents aged 30 to 59.

In agreement with the hypothesis, the study mentions:

Millennials’ response puts them about in the middle of previous generations’ opinion of business. When they were young, baby boomers had the lowest view of big business in the history of the survey, giving business a mean ranking of 42 in 1976.

So young babyboomers were actually more critical of big business than millennials.

The survey also found that millennials are more supportive of free trade than other age groups. Not surprisingly, millennials are more distrustful of the federal government and politicians than earlier generations:

Millennials are less trusting of the federal government than other young adults have been on average during the 50 years this question has been asked (46 percent), and far less trusting than young adults in the 1950s and 1960s, when more than 70 percent of young people thought they could trust the federal government to do what is right most or all of the time.

This aversion to ‘politics as usual’ is a good sign because it leaves the window open to 3rd parties or alternative republican candidates that will promote better policy.

The next step is eugenics becoming mainstream, which many people can get behind if correctly marketed as a solution to reducing he wealth gap, poverty, crime, and entitlement spending.