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“What’s The Matter With Kids Today?”


I can remember my father telling me that I had to live in my own times, whatever that means,  (Today, it is called generational studies.)  He was the “greatest generation” that came of age during World War II, amid national harmony.  Boomers came of age during Vietnam, amid national disharmony.  It is small wonder we see the world differently.  Neither viewpoint is right nor wrong, just different.  How will other generations view the world?

Avi Tushman has just written Our Political Nature:  The Evolutionary Origins of What Divides Us.  There was one passage, in particular, that resonated with me.  Describing the Millennial Generation, i.e., those coming of age during the last 15 years, it said:

Today’s young voter adheres more closely to the personality pattern shaped by evolution, though environment variables such as the social media revolution have left a mark as well.  As expected, millennials lean substantially to the left on most social issues, but slightly less on economic issues.  These “digital natives,” who grew up steeped in social media, have also been dubbed the Selfie Generation.  and Selfie may be a more apt description:  The age group is characterized by individualism across the board.  According to the Pew Research Center, millennials are far less affiliated with traditional political, religious, and cultural institutions and less likely to be married than previous generations were.  Some commentators have accursed the Selfie Generation of having a sense of entitlement, interpreting their individualism as a kind of Facebook-induced narcissism.  Other observes have argued that millennials measure higher in cynicism and singleness — and more often live with their parent — because they face worse economic prospects than did the previous two generations.

Does that mean they will be less optimistic than the Greatest Generation, as well as even more introspective than Boomers?  Will they take even more benefits from the government than the Greatest Generation?  Will they hate the government even more than the Boomers?  Are they too individualistic to care about national harmony?  

Somehow, it makes me sad, but isn’t that what other generations always do?

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