Meditations on millennials (and gen. z)

Why are today’s teens putting off sex, driving, dating and drinking?

Even though I’m on the ‘right’, I’m not so quick to beat-up on millennials (and the generation that follows them, dubbed by some as ‘Generation Z’). Millennials were dealt a bad hand: two recessions which included financial crisis, a scarcity of good-paying jobs, expensive healthcare, and expensive tuition. Everything adjusted for inflation has become more expensive, as real wages have been flat for most millennial workers. This minimalism and delaying of family formation is how millennials are adapting to this difficult economic environment (whereas their parents had five decades (1950-2000) of prosperity dropped on their laps).

But culture also plays a role in that millennials seek to self-actualize than have to conform to a delineated set of normative cultural values. Millennials seek wealth and independence, but on their own terms. This is double-edged sword because it means millennials are more likely to embrace far-left ideologies, but also on the other extreme the far-right, too. Can you imagine trying to explain to a babyboomer what ‘kek’ means or how the alt-right differs from Sean Hannity.

From Millennials and Misconceptions:

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…

Even Vox Day, who is on the far-right, empathizes with millennials and argues that boomers are out of touch, both in terms of the simplistic, Pollyanna mindset of most boomers but also boomers’ blindness to the economic predicament facing many millennials.

Look at Steve Bannon…a pro-Trump intellectual who reads NRx and is familiar with rationalists writings. I can see Bannon being a bigger fan of Scott Alexander (or even Scott Aaronson) than Coulter, due to the matching of intellect than ideological agreement. This goes back to the shared narratives concept. Vox Day and Bannon, although 50 and 60 years old respectively and of the ‘right’, understand the mindset of millennials more so than liberals who pander to millennials. Bannon, who calls himself an ‘economic nationalist’, in a recent interview, he said in 2016 he visited Northwestern cities that had been blighted by outsourcing and opium and saw the first-hand the enthusiasm for Trump, due to the connection Trump was able to make with these voters. Part of the reason why so many millennials look up Milo and Peterson, is not necessarily because of political agreement (although that does play a role), but because of a deeper, more fundamental intellectual connection, which also explains why reactionaries and rationalists keep bumping into each other. If right-leaning millennials simply wanted right-wing talking points, they could watch Fox News or tune into one of the many right-wing talk radio shows, but the intellectual and empathetic connection is not there.

Regarding shard narratives again, from an excellent article Crappy Futures: Or Musings on Dystopian Cyperpunk without the “cool stuff” by Gio Pennacchietti, this passage stuck out:

As the Frankfurt school Marxists at various times theorized that there is no where to hide from capital, from materialistic consumerism and enlightenment rationality, so too is there no escape from the reality of their being no “private special place” as a professor I grew fond of explained to me once. There is no “deep seat” where we can hide from these forces, and despite me not being a Marxist, I tend to agree (well apart from the soul, but that is another matter). So too, we cannot escape the desire towards the virtual, the reality of easily accessible and shameless methods of simulation. We can only lie to ourselves, but the drug of “being anything you want to be” including an animal or a giant monstrosity in SL or on some fringe forum, is far too great of a high for most.

Both the high-IQ ‘left’ and the high-IQ ‘right’ can agree that society is fundamentally and irreparably ‘broken’. For some millennials, the solution is to retreat to Netflix, the internet, and introspection; for others, it’s to engage in activism. By repeated use of the plural pronoun ‘we’, the author is intimating that everyone, regardless of their political orientation, is part of this journey and ‘system’.


The Millennial Backlash Against The Baby Boomers