No, the Hipster Barista Does Not Represent Millennials

Have you seen that “hipster barista” meme floating around the Internet? How many of you have scoffed at the Millennial generation for being a bunch of “snowflakes”? Or sneered at Generation Z (those born from 1996 onward) for their zombie-like passivity? We’ve all been there.

Whether you’re a Baby Boomer or even a Right-wing Millennial like me, we’ve all mocked the childish, liberal image of the Millennials and the generation succeeding them. But, looking at the four generations of American that have been born since the end of World War II, you begin to understand that the Millennials are increasingly conservative. It may be the case that Generation Z (or whatever label they end up with) will be more pragmatic and clear-eyed than their grandparents.

Of course, the image of our two generations is quite different. And it’s true that voting Millennials skew left. Yet everyone seems to forget that the younger a person is, the more liberal they likely are. Often it’s just a phase that passes with maturity.

But is such a noticeable prevalence of liberals among Millennials indicative of the entire generation (especially compared to the Baby Boomers at this same stage in life)? Or is it simply the picture of my generation that the generally Leftist mainstream media wishes to paint? I suspect it’s the latter.

For nearly a decade, the mainstream media has invested in a certain narrative about Millennials. We didn’t want to own cars because they’re too unwieldy and environmentally unfriendly, and besides, insurance is really expensive. We supposedly weren’t interested in homeownership, either. Marketing mavens and their friends in the press presented mounds of surveys showing Millennials would rather spend what little money we had on experiences—traveling and meeting new people while sampling avocado toast and artisanal ramen—as opposed to owning stuff.

Then, of course, there was the claim that the Millennials never wanted to live in the suburbs or the country; we were city-slickers destined to lead the newfangled “knowledge-based economy” from the urban centers. According to the city-dwelling, liberal media, the Millennials were inclined to rent overpriced studio apartments for the rest of our lives, because we never wanted to settle down, have families of our own, or be rooted in any meaningful way. We simply wanted to live in perpetual adolescence (was this possibly a case of projection on the part of those liberal Baby Boomer and Gen-X reporters?).

The image of the hipster barista has defined my generation more so than anything else. We are listless, rootless, and unable to plan for the future. So, we spend our days incurring hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt, majoring in women’s studies, and working on our latte art skills. In our free time, we supposedly go marching up the road with our fellow antifa  protesters (and burn down the very campuses we spent so much time and money receiving that worthless bachelor’s degree from).

What’s more, we are disinterested in the future because ours is the last generation that’s going to live on this planet, since those evil corporations are going to pollute us all to death by the end of the century. To be sure, there are Millennials who believe this garbage. But they do not represent the majority of my generation any more than Bill Ayers represents the Baby Boomers.

In each case, these claims about my generation were made by a self-interested, Leftist mainstream media pundit. Each one of these claims have been steadily disproven. As it turns out, a growing cohort of my generation—like all of the previous ones—does want to settle down. We do want to own cars and homes. Two-thirds of us want children, too (despite certain economic constraints). Oh, and by the way, we really aren’t interested in living in the grotesquely overpriced cities unless we absolutely have to (most of us live in the urban areas because that’s where the mythical jobs are). And many Millennials heeded the call to serve their country and volunteered to fight in both the disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (two wars that were conceived and led by mostly Baby Boomers).

So, why did the media paint such a mistaken image of my generation?

Because it served their interests to make it seem like the Right had lost the culture war long ago. It served the Left’s interests to convince enough people on the Right that, no matter what, the Left’s political victory was inevitable, when in reality it was anything but. The Communists were convinced of something similar, too. Yet as history has proven, the Communists were wrong about the inevitability of their victory. So are American Leftists today.

To be fair, the Right’s showing in the culture war has been lackluster. But, there are certain truths to human existence that span generations . . . and those truths are usually conservative in nature. It turns out that the reason so few Millennials were buying cars, owning homes, or leaving cities was less because they didn’t want those things, and more because the economy prevented us from having the opportunity to enjoy those things. Now that life is getting incrementally better for us, as employment opportunities slowly expand, things are changing.

More than anything, my generation believes that it can make an outsized impact on the world. My generation was told to go to college and all would be well. Of course, our elders were too busy instilling idealism into our heads rather than teaching most of my fellow Millennials the method for achieving success: hard work.

The Boomers told us that we were living in the twilight of history; our generation would never know war as theirs did. On 9/11, when that myth was shattered, they then told us that we would wage war for democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq. More lies. For the longest time, we were told by our elders that ours would be the generation that discovered a viable alternative energy source that would “save the planet” from the destruction of fossil fuels. Don’t hold your breath. We bought into the notion that voting for Obama would somehow fulfill these idealistic objectives.

We were misled.

Having been robbed of the faux idealism imposed upon us by the unrealistic Left; having been denied significant economic opportunity that previous generations took for granted; being burdened with stifling (and mostly unnecessary) student debt; and looking for ways to normalize our lives in the larger context of the “American Dream,” my generation is more than willing to go to the Right. After all. we’ve tried everything else—and we are poorer and less hopeful now than at any other time before.

Given all of the opportunity that has been lost, ours  may have no choice but to become the most conservative generation in years. In many ways, both the Millennials and Gen-Z already are. These trends will persist, not diminish, the farther we become removed from the utopia that our Leftist elders promised us.

The hipster barista does not represent my generation at all. He never has. His fame is a testament to how aberrant the image is for America’s Millennials. Once you understand that, you’ll learn not to worry so much about the future of America.

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About Brandon J. Weichert

Brandon J. Weichert is a geopolitical analyst who manages The Weichert Report. He is a contributing editor at American Greatness and a contributor at Asia Times . He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers). His second book, The Shadow War: Iran's Quest for Supremacy (Republic Book Publishers) is due in Fall of 2022. Weichert is an educator who travels the country speaking to military and business audiences about space, geopolitics, technology, and the future of war. He can be followed via Twitter: @WeTheBrandon.

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15 responses to “No, the Hipster Barista Does Not Represent Millennials”

  1. I would divide Millennials into two groups. Those who were in their teens under Bush and those under Obama. Those under Bush experienced relative prosperity as their Boomer parents indulged materialism during the oughts financial and fiscal debauch. Relatively free from want let alone unmet need they could ”afford” to humor leftism. Those who were teens after 08 experienced a very different life and watched their parents lives change after the crash.

  2. You say Millennials are more conservative, but your definition of ‘conservative’ is a lot more liberal than it used to be.

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    • Having a balanced personal budget, working hard, owning a home, owning a car, having a family, and embracing traditional social values are suddenly “liberal” nowadays? I respectfully disagree. Thanks for the read, though.

      • None of those are strictly conservative things, except “traditional social values.” And traditional social values are precisely where Millennials stop being conservative.

      • Good article Brandon. What you describe is a much better description of my 20 & 18 yr old children. Now, my kids were born and raised south of the Mason-Dixon, so there’s that going for them. They also grew up being taugh God, Country, Family in a family with a long history of service, from the Civil War to Iraq/A’Stan and every conflict in between. The sacrifices made by generations, I think, is the driving force behind the ideology of my children. They have seen first hand these sacrifices through my tours in the ME and through the stories of their elders of their service. I opposed a draft while serving. I am inclined to support bringing it back. Far to many people today live a priviledged life of freedom having to sacrifice nothing to have this right. I’ve told my children they can serve if they wish, but their family has more than done its time and sacrifice. Perhaps service to this country will open the eyes of those whom simply live off the sacrifices of others, i.e., liberals.

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  3. The Millennials are overall leftist in voting because they are young and have not been earning money and paying taxes long. Paying confiscatory taxes is the greatest cure for being a leftist. Those who live in California, NY, and Massachusetts and live in cities with high city taxes along with high state taxes will get cured fastest.

  4. “Once you understand that, you’ll learn not to worry so much about the future of America.”

    Let’s hope you are correct, Mr. Weichert. And let’s also hope that the manipulative messages of legacy far left media outlets continues to lose its increasingly radical grip on America.

    It was almost too painful to watch those same broadcaster “celebrating” American independence, when it has become so clearly obvious that they don’t want it, and worse, don’t want it for the rest of us either.

  5. This article does a good job of circling the airport and lining up with the runway, but doesn’t completely land the plane. Mr. Weichart implies that Baby Boomers are responsible for many of the problems of today. But how? The average Baby Boomer is just as much lacking in control over things as are millennials. And who is a millennial? A young cowboy in Wyoming or Oklahoma? A rookie Hispanic police officer in Denver? A risk-taking black entrepreneur in Cincinnati? A young coal miner, medical student, oil field welder, plumber, or factory worker? Having just retired as a university professor, I was around a lot of millennials and they are as individualistic as, well, any other group of individuals. I’ve long believed generational stereotypes stem from the view media people or other elitists have of themselves: all Baby Boomers went to Woodstock, opposed the Vietnam War, then matured and became materialistic yuppies. Millennials in turn, are idealistic light workers who shun the materialism of their elders (and may be plagued with tendencies to be snowflakes). Nonsense. True, there are common experiences that influence people, but not all in the same way. Mr. Weichart’s article is the first I’ve read that comes close to what I believe the situation is, but doesn’t completely nail it.

  6. Christ, the “Not ALL of us are like that!” article. Of course not. It’s very obviously a broad generalization; no cohort of millions of people is ever all one thing. Not all boomers are narcissists. Not all gen Xers are slackers. Duh.

    But having worked with young people for a the last two decades, I’d say the generalizations of Millennials as self-righteous, needy and entitled are, very broadly speaking, spot-on. Yes, that’s less of a moral failing and more a product of the era they were raised in and who their parents were … but the same can be said of every generation. In fact, from the assumptions underlying this piece, to the wounded-victim tone, to your overblown self-promoting bio (A Bachelor’s degree! A website that promises “world news done right!”), you pretty much confirm more stereotypes than you refute.

  7. Good article Brandon. I’m 56, in Houston, and interact with conservative millenials all the time….good kids!