At face value, the recent Pew Research survey on social and demographic trends reflects generational outlooks precisely as it ought. Naturally, the media…right on cue… simulates astonishment when the Pew survey states what should be evident. They are aghast that Millennials don't believe in God. They are shocked because Millennials don't believe in traditional marriage. They all scratch their heads in disbelief because the survey reveals Millennials to be more distrustful and more superficial in their social interactions than older people.
And if we take the the Pew poll at its word for just a moment as the media has done, I ask you. Given the society that has reared and defined them…filled with Lewinskys, twerking, global warming hysteria and zombie apocalypses, how is it surprising? In fact, it's so dogmatic as to be laughable. Every leading indicator begs us to assume that Millennials are in the process of rejecting traditionalism. Yet, that very lack of surprising insight and gradation is precisely what makes this survey more than a little suspect. I wholly distrust this assessment because it is such a parody of a cultural study that it can barely be taken seriously.
Let's be clear. Pop culture has been guiding Gen Y to reject God and embrace materialism since the day they were born. We should all know by now that they are self-absorbed, agnostic narcissists. But that's my problem with the whole thing. Specifically because the survey lacks dimension and nuance, I suspect its motives. Because the survey cannot conceive of an individual that declares allegiance to anything but his or her generation, I can't buy it. It's simply too two-dimensional to be the truth.
And by Pew standards, my contrarianism must naturally reflect my allegiance to Generation X. Because Gen X is the sum total of who I am. Right? Why else would I feel this way? Nothing like sifting and categorizing people into neat and tidy stereotypes to keep the meme flowing.
The whole generational pastiche originates with the study of the "Silents" and Baby Boomers, of course. Naturally, no one particularly wasted time christening earlier generations…though, I'm sure they were all equally compelled to follow mob mentality and replicate everyone else born within the same decade – but this whole name calling charade begins at the moment that sociologists took up navel gazing as a controlled, progressive, scientific pursuit and it was in the name of understanding the contrast between the WWII generation and the Boomers.
The Silents are said to be traditionalists in all their monochromatic glory. Not a one has ever moved beyond this tidy description to think outside the box or to rebel against society. They all love God, country and mankind without exception. They all play by the rules and pay their taxes. They are there when you need them. They never jaywalk. They are America's last generation of patriots. They are standup people that America can count on, one and all. Forget Bonny and Clyde. Forget John Dillinger. Forget Al Capone. Counter-culture is pure abhorrence to the Silents. They always play by the rules. And I'm not trying to tear anyone down, by the way. I'm just suggesting that there's more to this generation than the snapshot that the Left provides as evidence of their cultural purity.
Then you've got your Baby Boomers who are described as the anti-Silents. The Baby Boomers have long been thought to be ground zero for the culture bomb that changed everything. The Boomers have been bigger and more affluent than any previous American generation. They have had more attention bestowed upon them which grants Boomers a level of power, influence and entitlement that has been unprecedented in American history. Those who were intent on central planning focused the whole of their energies on influencing Boomers away from American traditionalism.
The result was said to be a culture bomb of social engineering that promoted the growth of entitlement programs and an erosion of rugged individualism that denotes the American experience. The whole generation is just Jane Fonda and Timothy Leary and Shirley Maclaine.
But the Boomers – contrary to early projections – did manage to grow up and become responsible adults. Maybe they are not exactly of the same ilk as their generational predecessors, but when you look at the big picture, Boomers are more conservative with each passing year. They did not continue in self-absorption as was predicted by sociologists thirty years ago. Somehow, in spite of everything, they managed to mature, raise children, save for their retirements, inspire a technological revolution, drive an economy and produce culture. Go figure.
Generation X. Generation Y. Generation Z. That's how the post Baby Boom population is demarcated. Have you ever wondered at the eerie finality of that branding? It's a countdown, you see. Sociologists have provided us not so much a generational framework as they have revealed their roadmap to reshaping the culture. That's why nothing the Pew Research Center has to say about generational trends should be taken seriously. We knew what Generations X, Y and Z were going to be the minute our wise leaders started pigeonholing individuals by anything as specious as the decades in which they were born. We may as well categorize individuals by their horoscopes for all the insight these labels actually provide.
Generation X indicates the people who were born from the early 1960s to the early 1980s. Generation X was supposedly so named because X'ers don't stand for anything. Kind of a fill in the blank peer group, the idea was to influence Gen X to be materialistic, slacker and utterly disenfranchised. But will wonders never cease? Once they got past the self-centered stage, they grew up, raised children, saved for retirement, contributed to a technological revolution, drove an economy and produced culture…just like everyone else.
Contrary to predictions, Gen Xers are educated, active, balanced, happy and family oriented perhaps because Ronald Reagan happened but also because people of all ages were growing weary of sophisticated marketing meant to herd people in unnatural directions. Xers were given every permission and encouragement to be materialistic do-nothings. Like the Baby Boomers, it turns out they ultimately decided to buck the assigned roles and go in a different direction.
Generation Y was supposedly so named because they're meant to question everything. And now these Millennials are now being told that they believe in nothing. They have been given permission to be socially, religiously, philosophically, politically agnostic. Deadbeats.
Traditional marriage. Per Pew, Millennials see this as what difference does it make? The divorce rate is such that there's really no point to being married. They are told that marriage represents an obstacle to the next liaison once a relationship begins to dissolve.
Gay marriage. Millennials are statistically obedient regarding this shift in mores. If two people love each other then that's all that matters. Yes, of course this represents an inconsistent opinion between heterosexual relationships and homosexual relationships. The Pew survey only reflects what the Millennials are supposed to think. It only has to drive the trends. Continuity is irrelevant for people who believe in nothing, right?
God. Their parents never took them to church. They were told that they should believe whatever feels right to them. Science tells us God is not possible or is at least improbable and anyway, Creationists are knuckle-dragging Neanderthals. Everyone knows that.
This is the sum total of the intellectual curiosity and emotional depth that Millennials have, or so the Left would have you believe. Which is vastly different than the shallowness exhibited by Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. How on earth will society survive?
And watch out because if you though Gen Y was bad, Gen Z is nipping at the Millennial heels. Gen Z is a very interesting study because pop culture architects are working overtime to define this so-called last American generation. Pop culture pledges that these children will be angry, feral anarchists who have had it with all previous generations. Through their anger, they will uproot America as it was founded because it is inherently unjust. Sociologists are sowing the seeds of discontent right now. It is in every text book, every work of literature, every top forty hit, every movie, every TV show, and every video game available to children. Nihilism is being hard sold to the Z Generation. If cultural architects have their way, Gen Z will make the Millennials look like Ricky Nelson and Sandra Dee.
Watch and learn. The books, the music, the TV, the movies…modern themes are consistent. These cultural outlets without exception excoriate the selfishness of the Me generation. They reflect a palpable hatred for the lack of stability in families even though parents were assured that living selfishly would make children happier. The children are encouraged to be angry, vile and insipid. Monolithically, children are congratulated for rejecting God, tradition and the parents that brought them into this world.
Cultural architects are preparing Gen Z for social upheaval. And yet, I still don't think that this is who the Gen Zs will be. Nor do I think that the Millennials are to be written off either. I think that in the Left's enthusiasm for self-congratulation, they have miscalculated the cultural countdown to self-destruct because at the end of the day, generations are not uniform. When one assumes that young people have no sense of self-preservation or uniformly loath their parents, they disregard biological impulses that go far deeper than pop culture trends.
Do the Millennials have their issues? Will the so-called Gen Zs have problems too? Absolutely. It's unavoidable. But in the end, I suspect we will find that Gen Y and Gen Z will decide to buck the self-destruct sequence in favor of survival just like everyone else. Somehow, in spite of everything, they will managed to grow up, raise children, save for their retirements, inspire a technological revolution, drive an economy and produce culture. It's only natural.