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.