Are We Losing Generation Z?
They're barely out of high school and we're losing them already. Generation Z, or the post-Millennial generation, is proving to be the most liberal generation yet—according to a new poll from Pew Research. It's not terrible to be socially liberal, but almost two-thirds of these post-Millennials say the government should do more to solve their problems. That's up from Millennials and Generation X, who all grew to love government over the past century. The only light at the end of this tunnel is the possibility that Generation Z could still out-grow their political views.
In my early twenties I was a raging, hardcore libertarian. Libertarianism is one of the smarter, pre-adulthood political ideologies, but I eventually outgrew it and came to appreciate a healthy balance. I eventually transitioned from a libertarian into a moderate pro-capitalist who understands there are certain things the government can fix and certain things it can't and shouldn't. Capitalism and government should create a healthy duality where one never gets the upper hand over the other—they should both be used to keep each other in check. There are also certain social traditions that should be preserved to keep society running on a steady moral compass. Fifteen years ago, I would have called myself an idiot. Let's hope Generation Z can come to their senses like I did.
The latest Pew data shouldn't be taken as definitive evidence that the Z in Generation Z stands for zombie. There have been previous polls and studies that have called Generation Z the “most conservative generation yet”.
A study done in the UK found that 59% of Generation Z described their positions as “conservative” or as moderate. In 2017, Forbes warned Democrats in the United States about the rise in conservative beliefs among the next generation:
They grew up watching Millennials entering the work force with thousands of dollars in school debt, and it seems that they are intent on not making the same mistakes as us.
According to research, Gen Z is more individualistic, more conservative both socially and fiscally, and they’re already making waves of impact on our political system. Gen Z, those born in 1995 or later, is possibly the most conservative generation since World War II, and it is worrying that their impact has been completely overlooked during this election. While our fears might be preemptive, we should not make the mistake of disregarding the intriguing yet also possibly worrying world views of Generation Z.
Oftentimes Millennials have been criticized for being notoriously liberal, but it looks like the generation right behind us has completely rebelled. A U.K. Study at The Gild did a survey of almost 2,000 adults and found that on issues like gay marriage, marijuana legalization, transgender rights, and even tattoos, 59% of Gen Z respondents described their views as ‘conservative’ and ‘moderate’.
So, we have two studies with contradictory results, meaning that the real answer to what Generation Z believes is somewhere in the middle. The author of the above article, Ashley Stahl, is clearly a Millennial liberal. There doesn't seem to have been an effort to hide her own bias, fear and hostility toward a new generation that seems to be growing wary of the social and economic decisions being made by Millennials.
If Generation Z is watching Millennials screw up their futures with deficit spending and a new brand of social liberalism that borders on depravity, Western civilization might have some hope after all. However, that's assuming Generation Z is smart enough to question everything they're being told in school and university.
Canadian and American universities and colleges are still home to the same breed of Marxist professors and academics that brainwashed Millennials into becoming hyper-sensitive and neurotic social justice warriors. The latest Pew study describes Generation Z as the “most well-educated” generation yet, meaning that Gen Z has spent more time in college and university than Millennials or Generation X:
No longer the new kids on the block, Millennials have moved firmly into their 20s and 30s, and a new generation is coming into focus. Generation Z – diverse and on track to be the most well-educated generation yet – is moving toward adulthood with a liberal set of attitudes and an openness to emerging social trends.
On a range of issues, from Donald Trump’s presidency to the role of government to racial equality and climate change, the views of Gen Z – those ages 13 to 21 in 2018 – mirror those of Millennials. In each of these realms, the two younger generations hold views that differ significantly from those of their older counterparts. In most cases, members of the Silent Generation are at the opposite end, and Baby Boomers and Gen Xers fall in between.
Simultaneously being the most educated and the most liberal generation seems a bit coincidental. Campuses across North America are hotbeds of cultural Marxism and Keynesian economics. Even taking Science classes and Psychology courses exposes students to some degree of subtle, Marxist ideology. I remember taking Film 101 in university and being forced to sit through short films and documentaries that were directed and written by my instructor. Of course, my instructor was a far left, Micheal Moore wannabe with only half the intellectual capabilities of his hero. We would be forced to watch his films, which were pseudo-intellectual analyses about the evils of capitalism and right-wing political discourse, and then answer questions about them on our exams.
I lasted just a few months before realizing that even my Psychology professor was compromised. He was an engaging guy who would insert subtle jabs at George W. Bush (the president at the time) and make mocking quips about conservative thinking. He even managed to include an entire commentary on racial injustice and white privilege during a lecture on Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis theory.
University is a shit show, but not everyone is smart enough to see it. The ones who do end up quitting, or they deal with it by plugging their noses and adhering to the nonsense until the end. Most young and impressionable students can't see the Marxist, left-wing biases in their universities and often come out thinking that anything right-of-centre is racist, immoral and in need of immediate dismissal. They then get jobs in media, the arts, academia and politics—where they go on to spread their self-righteous, morally correct worldview to everyone else.
On goes the cycle of cultural Marxism.
Prior to World War II, North Americans were less educated and more committed to labour and blue collar work. After the war, university and college enrollment started to grow. The Silent Generation mentioned in the Pew study refers to the pre-war generation, born somewhere between 1920 and 1940. The Silent Generation was obviously less educated and more blue collar—thus, they were more conservative, pro-capitalist and right-wing. In 2019, all of these traits are frowned upon by academia and media.
The narrative in 2019 suggests that being less educated (as in, not having a university or college degree) goes hand-in-hand with being a right-wing bigot. That's why we continue to see talking heads in media smear conservative and right-leaning voters as “mostly uneducated and white”. According to Millennials, who were churned out of left-wing universities, conservatism is synonymous with uneducated. This mindset permeates throughout university and college campuses and, therefore, embeds itself into the minds of most graduates. With every “well-educated” generation, we see an expansion of this mindset—which many of us less educated folk have come to call “elitist”. The truth, however, is that labour, technical work and trades require a great deal of critical thinking and cognitive skill.
As many Gen Z-ers choose technical colleges over universities, we may see this elitist mindset wither in the next twenty years. Unlike universities, technical colleges and trade schools avoid political discourse and indoctrination like the plague. According to the latest statistics, more youngsters (Gen Z) are choosing to attend trade schools instead of universities:
COLLEGE ISN'T FOR EVERYONE. It’s a hard truth to swallow, especially for students who find themselves disinterested or disheartened during their tenure at a four-year university, and those who’ve been preached to their entire academic lives about the absolute necessity of a college degree. But there are alternatives to a traditional university route.
The 1990 Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act defines post-secondary vocational education as “organized educational programs offering sequences of courses directly related to preparing individuals … [for] emerging occupations requiring other than a baccalaureate or advanced degree.” While the ’90s saw a general decrease in the number of high school graduates enrolled in these courses, enrollment is on the rise— The National Center for Education Statistics published a report in fall 2016 that shows 38 percent of all undergraduates are enrolled at two-year or less-than-two-year institutions. In fact, 49 U.S. states enacted nearly 250 policies to support vocational programming in 2017, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.
Again, this shows hope for Generation Z. It's far too soon to dismiss Gen Z as a worse version of Millennials. There are not only contradictory studies that suggest conservative thinking is becoming more trendy, but there are hard statistics that show Generation Z abandoning the traditions that have made Millennials who they are.
Hard labour and technical skills are frowned upon by Millennials, as their attitudes have shown. To a Millennial, choosing to be a plumber instead of a professor in gender studies means you have chosen to be less educated and, therefore, probably a right-wing conservative. As fewer students choose university and college, the decline of cultural Marxism will become inevitable. It's increasingly obvious that universities break students down into weak, collectivist social justice warriors who quiver in their safe spaces—while trade schools churn out skilled, critical thinking workers with an appreciation for labour and grit.
Journalists and academics will still come out of universities and colleges, but as the Trump era has proven, the resistance to the elitist mindset that frowns upon the “uneducated” will continue to grow and take on different shapes. After Trump, the uneducated resistance against the elites will manifest in other leaders and political movements. That's not to say that Trump has been the only voice of this forgotten sub-class, but he has definitely energized them and given them a footprint into the 21st Century.
There is a lot of conflicting data about Generation Z, even when it comes to their financial wisdom. According to the most recent data from Charles Schwabb, Gen Z has more than $4,000 worth of debt, on average, per person. It sounds bad, but it's $6,000 less than the average Millennial. Gen Z is also saving less than previous generations (CNBC):
America's young adults don't have robust savings, either. Almost half surveyed had less than $250 saved.
"Kids of the Great Recession are now on the cusp of financial independence and making decisions that will have a lasting impact on their long-term ability to build wealth," Schwab-Pomerantz says. So it's concerning that there's a lot of misunderstanding about debt. For example, one in five young adults surveyed believe home mortgages are "bad debt," and almost 40 percent call student loans "bad debt." Meanwhile, 27 percent labeled revolving debt, such as credit card debt, "good debt."
Other surveys have shown Gen Z to be a bit wiser, but not by much. With all of this conflicting data on politics and financial wisdom, it's safe to say the truth is somewhere in the middle and that Gen Z is a mixed, diverse bag of idiots and geniuses.
Gen Z might be more liberal on social issues, but past surveys have shown them to be more open to church and more conservative on abortion—so it's anyone's guess. What this mixed bag of data tells me is that there is hope. We shouldn't write Gen Z off and declare an end to Western civilization just yet. They're still young and highly impressionable, so it's up to us to lead the way.
I changed. So can Generation Z.