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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