Why Millennials Won’t Turn ‘Conservative’

SellwynThumbby Selwyn Duke   9/12/13
Every so often the wonks of wishful thinking give us an article about how blacks are becoming Republicans, how Hispanics are supposedly a natural GOP constituency, or, as is the subject here today, how the millennial generation is turning “conservative.” Perhaps pundits asserting the last thing recall Winston Churchill’s observation, “If you’re not a liberal at 20, you have no heart; if you’re not a conservative at 40, you have no brain.” And perhaps they overlook that it’s possible to raise a brainless generation.

Don’t think, as one might, that this will be a typical analysis sneering at the proverbial “next generation” using the perceived gold standard of one’s own. After all, I realize that my generation is the tree the millennial nut fell from. Placing matters in further perspective, it’s true that older and younger generations ever slam each other; it’s also true that they both are always partially right. Lastly, I’ll say that I don’t at all consider the WWII FDR voters the “greatest generation,” though it makes for a nice narrative. The greatest generation was the one that founded our nation and wondered if we could “keep” its republic, and there has been a consistent, but accelerating, degeneration ever since.

In discussing our latest movement toward idiocracy, my starting point will be a Sept. 4 American Thinker article written by one Chriss Street. In making his case for millennial hope, Mr. Street points out that while 61 percent of millennials voted for Barack Obama in 2012, his approval among them has now sunk to 46 percent. But this is a deceptive statistic. For an approval rating amounts to the judging of a candidate relative to people’s ideal personal standard for the presidency, whereas in an election he is judged relative to another specific candidate for the presidency. And if Obama were again running against Mitt Romney — with all the usual media propaganda — does anyone really think he’d lose millennials to the governor? No doubt more would stay home, but I suspect the president would enjoy something close to his 2012 support among those who cast votes.

Moreover, millennials may have soured on Obama somewhat, but this reflects cynicism more than conservatism. Of course, that they’d be cynical is no surprise; they’ve been raised in an unraveling West in which feckless, morally-confused adults in their homes, schools, government, houses of worship and elsewhere have let them down. Nonetheless, cynicism is not traditionalism; in fact, it is a form of naiveté. Believing all people act out of selfish motives, the cynic instinctively paints everyone with the same brush. And such a person can hardly distinguish well among candidates.

Mr. Street also tells us that, “in 2008, 37.4% of incoming freshman women and 30.5% men identified themselves as liberals or leftists, the most in 35 years.” The reality, though, is even worse than this indicates. First consider that self-reporting is more about perception than reality. For starters, it always underestimates leftist numbers, as likely a majority of “moderates” are liberals who — usually because of self-delusion (a leftist bailiwick) and a desire to sound “reasonable” — don’t brand themselves what they really are; bear in mind when pondering this that liberals are generally solipsistic and fancy that they define the center, and also realize that the label “liberal” has been discredited enough so that many won’t don it. Yet even more significant here is that it isn’t just people’s perceptions that shift — the definitions of “liberal” and “conservative” do, too.

Consider that while a conservative in 1952 America was staunchly anti-communist, a conservative in the Soviet Union at the time was a communist. And “conservatives” in Western Europe are often our liberals’ ideological soulmates. This isn’t for lack of truth in political advertising. Rather, it’s because the only consistent definition of “conservative” is “a desire to maintain the status quo” while “liberal’s” only consistent definition involves a desire to change it. This means “conservatism” is always changing: tomorrow’s version will reflect today’s liberalism’s success in altering the status quo. Conservatism is the caboose to liberalism’s locomotive (I treat this in-depth here).

This explains a few things. First, it’s often pointed out that a healthy plurality in America describes itself as conservative. Is this surprising? All it really means is that many, many people align themselves with the status quo — and if this weren’t the case, the status quo wouldn’t be the status quo. Second, some insist that millennials will move toward conservatism, and this is true in that most people become somewhat more traditional with age. Yet it’s also true that conservatism will move toward them.

That is to say, as “conservatism” drifts “left,” it follows that millennials will “become more conservative” even if they stay in the same place, in that they will be situated more on the post-shift political spectrum’s right side; this is just as how a person can become poorer in a definitional sense if the poverty line standard is altered.

That so few recognize this reflects the relativism of our time, where we label ourselves with provisional terms and measure ourselves against other people (it’s people who define the political spectrum). If we want to see matters clearly, however, we must define them differently: in absolute terms.

In other words, what do millennials actually believe? Well, never before has an American generation been so tolerant of intolerable sexual practices, so supportive of faux marriage and skeptical of actual marriage, so relativistic and disconnected from Christianity (church attendance is one of the best predictors of voting habits). Never before has an American generation been to their degree socially “liberal.”

This brings us to the claim that millennials are, at least, fiscally conservative. Now, not only is convincing evidence of this elusive, but considering it a saving grace is essentially saying that it profits a man to gain the world but lose his soul. Regardless, however, while the social liberalism/fiscal conservatism marriage may exist in particular cases, I suspect that in principle it is an impossibility.

For instance, speaking of principle versus particular, if you ask people, “Do you believe government should balance its budget and be frugal,” of course they’ll say yes. But if you ask them if they’re willing to relinquish their particular piece of the pie (government college aid?), their tune changes. Espousing fiscal responsibility requires only a voice; achieving it requires virtue.

Second, consider the side-effects of social liberalism in modern times. And this should be prefaced by saying that since this explanation warrants a book, my treatment here will necessarily be lacking. But just as an example, social liberalism means loose sexual mores. Loose sexual mores mean a high rate of single motherhood (today it’s 42 percent… and rising). And what does this mean? Since the modern West won’t let these women twist in the wind, the government will step into the breach and play daddy with handouts and/or mommy with tax-funded daycare. It is unavoidable.

And in point of fact, this cultural decay brings us to the real reason for political drift. It was something about which the Founding Fathers — as well as great thinkers throughout Christendom’s history — spoke much. Ben Franklin warned, “As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” British philosopher Edmund Burke observed, “It is written in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.” And John Adams wrote in 1798, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Question: does “moral and religious” describe us today?

Of course, some will now say, “But why do you think millennials supported Ron Paul? They want liberty!” Sure they do.

So does a tiger in a zoo.

So does a toddler.

Neither, however, can be allowed to roam free in civilization without hurting himself or others. And the less people are civilized growing up, the closer they will be to that infantile or animalistic state — and the more they have need of cages and masters.

The truth? Government can be no better than the public’s virtue, though it can be worse. And this morality-government relationship is evident in voting patterns. Is it a coincidence that every group orthodox Christians label immoral — those involved in “alternative” sexual deathstyles, criminally inclined inner-city dwellers, effete college professors, grunge-type youths scarred with multiple tattoos and body piercings — vote left? “What fellowship hath light with darkness?” The darkness hates the light. When people have sins they yearn to rationalize away, the last thing they’ll do is support leaders who would uphold, even just through word, a moral standard condemning their passions.

Providing specificity as to how this affects government is another book-worthy topic, so I’ll offer just two examples. We’ve heard about those ruggedly individualistic Americans who’d rather live in poverty in Appalachia than accept government handouts and those spirit-of-entitlement types who protest violently when they don’t receive them. And society will always contain both kinds, but the ratio can vary greatly. In a nation characterized by self-sufficiency, honor, and virtue, a redistributionist will find barren ground. But if a spirit of greed, covetousness, and thievery prevails, people will be susceptible to the demagogic appeal, “You’ve been cheated, but give me power and I’ll get you your piece of the pie, comrade!” Or consider lust. If people resolved to be chaste outside of marriage, do you think the abortion movement or taxpayer funded contraception appeal could gain traction?

So how do you make a civilization susceptible to dark demagogues?

Make it love the darkness.

I wouldn’t first and foremost spend time on intellectual appeals. As the Soviets once did (as explained by ex-KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov) I’d seek to undermine the morality of the target nation. I’d spread the idea that morality is really “values” and values are relative — all just a matter of perspective, you see. Once this was accepted and people no longer believed in the rules of morality, it would be as if they ceased believing in the rules of human nutrition: not thinking any food could actually be “bad,” they’d be governed only by taste and would try, and could develop an affinity for, anything — even perhaps poison. Vice corresponds to this on the moral menu.

I’d then get them hooked on their bad moral diet through inundation. Stoke their lust’s fires via highly sexualized entertainment, and portray violence as just as casual and cool, so lashing out at others seems the norm. I’d engorge their egos with media messages about how they could determine their own morality so that, as the serpent said, “you will be like God.” I’d provide co-ed dorms and a general party atmosphere at universities, creating “occasions of sin” that will ensure the kids have as much as possible they need to justify. And after robbing them of moral judgment and creating a visceral craving for vice, I’d fill their heads full of anti-Western, anti-Christian — in fact, anti-goodness — ideas in college classrooms. When I was done with them, they’d not only possess the discernment of a man in the midst of a drug-fueled orgy, their egos would be so bloated they’d consider their ignorance wisdom.

Speaking of wisdom, when conservatives indulge wishful thinking and suppose that millennials will “wake up,” they ignore that we actually need a shakeup, something that changes the cultural trajectory on which we’ve long been (so if an asteroid strikes the Earth, millennials may turn into conservatives — of course, they instead may turn into cavemen, too). Until then, whatever the keepers of the flame plan had better require the participation of only a zealous minority. For the masses will not wake up when beset by a cultural narcolepsy in which nightmares are fancied nice dreams.

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11 Responses to Why Millennials Won’t Turn ‘Conservative’

  1. griffonn says:

    The GOP needs to stop chasing various demographic groups and start making plans to craft winning messages (short and long term – start laying the groundwork for long range cultural dialog)

    They might have solutions to various problems but you never hear about it; all you hear is them whining and complaining about so-and-so. That is not going to attract anyone.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Griffonn, it’s great to see you here.

      First off, Republicans do not ask me for their advice. And if they did, they wouldn’t like it because it would involve the injection of stiff cartilage into backbone tissues.

      But although I’m not fan of RINOs (to put it mildly), I think I’ve come to understand them better. I don’t think even conservatives have their backs. Oh, we like making some noise now and then. But when it comes time to actually doing something constructive and hanging by Republicans during controversial decisions, I think we have regularly failed them.

      And we have failed our communities. Are we showing up making a ruckus at the school boards when liberal gobbledygook is inserted for true academic subjects? Do we put pressure on city hall? Do we stand up even in our own places of employment and say a word in criticism of political correctness? There are some who do, and they are to be admired.

      But, by and large, I’ve come to believe that most don’t, and not even in the little ways that, while small, still matter. Oh, we listen to talk radio and do a lot of online bitching and complaining. But I don’t think when push comes to shove that most will back a truly conservative cause.

      So I understand how the RINO (at least some of them) are made. Although I’m a bit idealistic regarding leadership (especially with Reagan and Thatcher as good and not-too-distant memories), I think the Republican leadership can easily get too far in front of the crowd if they were to talk about actually cutting government. The dirty little secret is that EVERYONE now has some stake in entitlements.

      So although I would be all for pulling the plug on Washington DC and getting rid of all extra-Constitutional functions, I’m nearly alone in this viewpoint. And certainly there are not enough people in this country who will actually back a reduction of government, at least not yet.

      And I think Mr. Duke made a fantastic point regarding much of what passes for “conservatism” simply being a protection of the status quo. We saw that with Paul Ryan who actually defended a previous Democrat entitlement program (Medicare) as being threatened by a new one (Obamacare). This is how deep the theatre of the absurd goes.

      So what can we really ask of Republicans? Can we ask them to take stands that are more courageous than most of us will take in our private lives? Will we tell the HR Directors at our places of business to take a hike when they try to impose what, in effect, is Cultural Marxism on us? Will we tell them to take their “sensitivity training” studies and tell them to shove it because white males don’t deserve a presumption of guilt (nor do males of any other color)?

      I think that’s really one of the shadow issues. It’s easy to bitch and complain and point fingers at politicians. And, indeed, DC is full of men and women of little or not integrity or honor. But are we in our own lives standing up for conservatism? Are we conservatives who want more than just the protection of the status quo?

      Again, I have absolutely no love for RINOs. But too many of us help to sharpen their horns. I certainly am discovering from running this web site that not as many people are putting their money where their mouths are. All I ask is for people out there to share their experiences and help create a resources that, in theory, could be of help in pushing back Cultural Marxism. But most are not willing to stick their necks out. And that’s a shame. But I’m not going to run out of words anytime soon. I will battle in the way that I can battle.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        As someone who has no reliable source of income at present (which is why I have so much time available for such things as this), I certainly don’t contribute much. But when I did, I made modest contributions to candidates, and even now try to do at least a little bit (precisely on the basis of “putting my money where my mouth is”). I’ve also occasionally been a volunteer campaign worker (mostly for Anne Northup, our former Representative), and we have occasionally allowed yard signs to go up in our yard. Not to mention whatever value one may place in FOSFAX, which has been published for decades (even if its frequency has declined drastically in recent years, partly because of the age of the people putting it out) and has a great deal of political commentary and analysis. I’ve also pushed somewhat in other venues, such as on panels at SF conventions (as I did this year on the subject of global warming at InConJunction).

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Timothy, you really should supply me with some information regarding FOSFAX so that I can post that info here and people can subscribe to it. An address, website, subscription costs, etc.

          Regarding contributions, I’m with Glenn Beck on this: Not one dime to the Republican Party. Give any support directly to the campaigns of individual candidates.

          • Kung Fu Zu says:

            I stopped giving to the RNC as well as their Senatorial and Congressional funds years ago. Since about 2006, the little money I have given has been to specific candidates and most of them have been running for local positions.

            It is my opinion that conservatives must build from the bottom up. The people who get elected to local positions are very often the people who go on to run for state and national positions. We should flood the political pool with these people.

            A side note to this is that in our 2008 elections for county commissioners, the conservative candidate in my district went into a run off and won by only 36 votes. So, for those who thinkg your vote doesn’t count, think again. And I might add that it is in local elections where voter fraud does the most damage. That is one big reason we need voter ID.

            I believe Timothy does much more than most who claim to be politically involved. If everyone claiming to be conservative or moderately libertarian would do as much as he does, I believe conservatives/mod libs would do much better than they presently do.

            Whinging is not a political strategy or tactic.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Our address (which is also the FOSFAX address) is 2265 Bradford Drive, Louisville, KY 40218. We charge $4 per issue or $15 for 4 (though some may wonder how many that will be given our declines in frequency). The current issue will be a double issue (listed as 218 and 219), though the price would still be the same. (I have thought of sending some copies to Paul Shanklin to see if he’d be interested in my song parodies).

    • RobL_V2 RobL_V2 says:

      Agree, was it Daniel Moynihan who decried the racialization of politics?

  2. Pokey Possum says:

    “[Perhaps no one said this better than British statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke, who instructed, “Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.” ]”. “Written In The Eternal Constitution” by Selwyn Duke
    “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. ”
    -2 Corinthians 3:17 (ESV)

  3. RobL_V2 RobL_V2 says:

    What is the most rapidly growing religion in the world – Christianity.
    What ideology is sweeping into power across the globe – conservatism.
    Which are the most failed nations on the planet – socialist or fascist (a form of socialism unto itself) states.

    Recall Thatcher who hated by the left and disliked by her fellow established conservatives is the one who ended Britain slide to third world cesspool and returned her to first order nation. She alone did this and how? By remaining confident, faithful, and advocating conservatism.
    My point is all is not as bad as it may appear. Conservatism the ideology remains true and it will attract who it attracts, yes some sooner and some later but those who want truth will find it. It’s our job to promote and institute when possible. To continue to call out charlatans who profit from spewing rhetoric while strengthen the status quo (RINOs). No different than Dem libs who peddle words and quick buck programs to ensure political power. There is no honor in either.

    We just need continue to patiently offer conservatism softly to those who respond to softness, and loudly to those who favor loud and keep the discussion public. Those seeking truth will find us and those apolitical 60% who do will stick to conservatism when it provides them the stability they seek.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      In your favor, Rob, I just heard Rush report that the new Prime Minister of Australia ran and won on an anti-global warming platform. So perhaps you’re right. Either way, I’m all for pushing back in every way possible.

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