The ’90s and now, part 10

But also, boomers tend to default to platitudes such as ‘democracy’, ‘ education’, and ‘voting’ as solutions to societal problems, whereas many of these woke (as in to be awake and aware, not necessarily left-wing as the definition is commonly understood) young people prefer alternative, potentially controversial and politically incorrect explanations and solutions to such problems that have more to do with biology and fundamentally restructuring society, than mere civic participation, and prefer intellectualism instead of consumerism and mindless entertainment. From the Mel Magazine article 4chan’s ‘Doomer’ Memes Are a Strange Frontier in Online Extremism:

Any rundown of these figures — which remain the subject of some debate, and in the nature of memes, have quickly spiraled out of coherence — must begin with the concept of inherited Boomerism. As dedicated students and curators of the Boomer ethos will tell you, one needn’t literally belong to the Baby Boomers to share in their delusions. An older millennial, for example, may be perfectly imitating their parents’ progress through the expected stages of career, marriage and family, and hold trust in A) the unstoppable betterment of humanity; B) the ability of government to likewise improve or amend its flaws; C) order, justice and prosperity under capitalism; and D) survival of the world’s existing power structures in the face of climate change, etc.

This is also why there is so much renewed interest–as part off the post-2009 philosophy boom and intellectualism culture online–in Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. These philosophers resonate with many smart, young people, whether it’s life being a struggle for an unobtainable idealization of happiness, or about the lack of meaning and purpose of life and how one must create their own meaning instead of relying on religion and other mores. Just as The Beatles saw a huge resurgence of popularity in the early 2000’s after a two decade slump, so too have philosophers, especially Wittgenstein, who’s deified online. But also there’s a huge upsurge in interest in stoicism, especially among millennials and gen-z, who see it as a sort of secular alternative to Christianity and that comports with the aesthetic of minimalism and rejection of consumerism among young people today. The ’90s were driven by emotion, consumerism, and blind faith in government, cultural, and media institutions, but young people are spending less money on consumerism, and as discussed above regarding ‘new journalism,’ are incredulous to mainstream narratives and seek more nuanced and smarter discourse. Among young people, a sort of fatalistic realism or indifference has replaced rebellion and activism, especially since 2013 with the apparent failure of OWS to change anything. Rather than trying to push back, they seek to understand the system through intellectualism and then accept and plan accordingly.

From The Failed Hero’s Journey:

Although the far-left and far-right are, ideologically, polar opposites, they both seem united in these shared narratives. That’s why far-right philosophers (such as Nick Land ) and left-wing philosophers (such as Slavoj Zizek), because they are both high-IQ, seem to agree on the fundamental set of shared values that transcend left-right politics. There are also shared themes of determinism; in the case of Nick Land, Marxist accelerationism; for Slavoj Zizek, Hegel’s historicism. But also, a lot of Nietzsche, too, which is related to existentialism and one’s individual quest to find meaning in a world of dysfunction despair and the rejection of society’s values for creating one’s own. Jordan Peterson touches on these themes also, reconciling such despair with self-improvement (cleaning your room), and this explains the huge popularity of his videos with smart millennials that watch them.

The rise of stoicism also parallels the decline of the relevance of the culture wars. Trump, for example, in 2016 ran on a campaign that pushed battleground issues such abortion, guns, and gay rights to the periphery, focusing more on immigration and economics. The PMRC unsuccessfully tried to censor the music industry, and major politicians such as Dan Quayle criticized pop culture, but nowadays there is a sort of indifference and inaction on either side of the aisle. Drug criminalization was a huge rallying point for conservatives in the ’90s, but nowadays many on the right concede that programs such as DARE were a failure. Rather than trying to criminalize and stigmatize drugs, many conservatives have become indifferent or prefer to ‘leave it up to the states.’ Same for gay marriage, pornography, and don’t-ask-don’t tell, the latter especially which dominated the headlines during the ’90s, but now, as discussed earlier in the parts about stoicism and non-judgmental conservatism, many conservatives have thrown in the towel on the culture wars (as it pertains to those issues at least, but abortion is still very controversial). The difference between now and the ’90s is that many conservatives don’t seek to impose their values even if they acknowledge/believe the superiority of such values, but the ‘left,’ however, with the rise of SJW-activism, are more inclined to impose their values.