How the Right lost the Youth
"The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently." -FN
Why are millennials progressively (pun intended) leaning more towards the left side of the political spectrum, rather than the right? Why did 55% of millennials vote for Hillary Clinton compared to 37% for Donald Trump. The numbers are roughly similar to the 2012 election, where 60% of millennials preferred Barack Obama to 37% for Mitt Romney. In fact, the 5% differential that Clinton lost compared to Obama actually benefited Senator Bernie Sanders the most, exposing a pull even further to the left for young Americans. In party affiliations, a similar story can be found: 57% of millennials lean Democrat vs. 36% leaning Republican. According to the Pew Research Center. So, what explains this inevitable drag of millennials farther and further left? and why the growing desertion of young adults from the Republican Party?
To understand a perceptual shift in the mindset of a certain segment of the population, it is sometimes helpful to look at their social circles where they may be influenced. For the youth, one must not look further than then our universities.
The growing phenomenon of political correctness has immensely affected America’s colleges. That is easy to understand when one contemplates that liberal professors in the United States outnumber conservative ones by a 12 to 1 ratio, an unbelievably worrying statistic.
The university is now a prime outlet of left leaning influence on young people, it is not so uncommon to witness incredibly violent protests by college students often in opposition to a conservative speaker.
Waves of hundreds of students often take to the street in opposition to such opinions deemed “hateful and oppressive”, where mass vandalism and mob rule is deemed as a fit response to free speech.
The University of Chicago, UC Berkeley and even my very own NYU have been victims of such phenomena. Protesters often have the full support of their professors and faculty, who serve as either inspiration, or motivators in these endeavors.
The university is where a lot of one’s self esteem is formed, and where young influential minds first seek guidance outside of their immediate family. that guidance, is provided by professors and faculty who hold tremendous respect and credibility in the eyes of students.
This is a dangerous equation, because students often look up to this infrastructure for mentorship, and when it is that very one that is inciting this behavior, there is no authority ensuring some crucial boundaries are not crossed.
even when university faculty are not directly forbidding conservative speakers from appearing, they very often cancel the event by fear of an escalation of the violence by the protesters. this is known as a “Heckler’s Veto”.
a Heckler’s Veto is a situation in which a person who disagrees with a speaker's message is able to unilaterally trigger events that result in the speaker being silenced. such as riots. The message given to students by university leadership is clear, if you make enough of a mess, we will shut down events you don't agree with. is that a viable lesson to teach to teenagers?
Other instances of infringement of free speech may resemble college administrations forbidding words such as “Fireman” or “Mankind” less the “gender neutral” or female population take offense to such un-specificity. Never has the offense to freedom been so great then when instituted by academic institutions, who see themselves fit as to forbid words.
To cite a couple examples of events I have just explained, the appearances of conservative speakers Ben Shapiro and Milo Yiannopoulos at college campuses are routinely and frequently interrupted, or even cancelled by university leadership, while the ones with ultra-left-wing parties seem to increase.
the one of Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour comes to mind, one of the organizing minds behind the January Women’s March on Washington, whose family ties to Hamas and Hamas funding organization have been well documented. She was tastily invited to be the commencement speaker at the taxpayer-funded City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy.
we have now seen where this ultra-left mentality promulgates, but what of the right? Surely the blame must also lie in the deserted. And indeed, it does.
It is my firm belief that over the course of the past couple decades, the Republican Party has not been able to form an attractive enough platform for young people, and subsequently stuck to policies that repulsed the newer generation, who happens to have a much higher progressive standard than that of its predecessors.
One particular subject I believe to be primarily responsible for such occurrences, is the topic of religion. According to Dr. Jean Twenge, a psychologist at San Diego State University, the rejection of religion within millennials is very real, four surveys have been conducted between 1966 to 2014 involving 11.2 million American adolescents between the ages of 13 to 18. They found that Millennials were less likely to attend services, less likely to say religion was important in their lives, and less approving of religious organizations than Boomers and Gen X’ers were at the same age. In fact, millennials are widely considered to be the least religious generation yet.
This movement away from theology can be explained by the historically induced, and inevitable shift of our species away from religious influences and towards a more scientific approach to thought.
Knowing this render the unattractiveness of the right more understandable, with Republican platforms to this day refusing to bend on religiously related issues such as homosexual marriage and abortion, often providing no rational argument other than divine scripture.
With such policies, the right has alienated a very susceptible progressive mass of young thinkers who very often believe themselves to be revolutionary. They have defined themselves by their opposition to the perceived “old school of thought” and brandish modernism as their flagship. a similar mentality was observable in May 1968 in France, where General De Gaulle was portrayed as the incarnation of the “old way of thought”, while young people prided themselves in their opposition to it.
Such generational shifts can be witnessed over multiple époques, but the latest one, currently affecting the majority of higher education institution seems to be a particularly violent and intolerant one, not shamed by censoring free speech and difference of opinion to ensure its monopoly on public thought.
Perhaps the emergence of a more current, secular version of the right, more progressive on social issues while remaining common sensical and capitalist in regards to its free market economy would bring back a lot of lost adherents, and give reassurance to those of us still ardent believers in a secular ethical common sense. To the phrase: “If you’re not a socialist before you’re twenty-five, you have no heart; if you are a socialist after twenty-five, you have no head.” The thinking man is due to reply, “well, why not always have both?”