Millennials Are Destroying The Status Quo And Why We Should Help Them Do It

millennials

Millennials, AKA Generation Y, are supposed to be dirty lazy entitled losers strung out on prescription drugs. Ever wonder who made that story up and why?

Why are we constantly being told that Millennials, that generation coming of age right now, suck? It’s pretty simple, actually: They represent a VERY different future from the status quo and the people in charge don’t like that idea. Not at all.

Via Alternet:

I was out at party a while ago, listening to some people in their 40s talk about hiring millennials, and how they are all entitled. This is the word that comes up over and over. After a certain number of minutes into the conversation (10? 15? I’m a pushover) I found myself agreeing that, yes, 25-year-olds are just doing drugs in their parents’ basement because they hate the mere idea of working. Meth, probably. At least Adderall. Probably something stolen out of their parents’ medicine cabinets because those unemployed losers can’t get money to buy their own drugs to fuel their Lena Dunham-esque sex romps. “I’m like you,” I wanted to say, “by which I mean I am an employed non-meth addict.”

And that’s just what people at a party think. Journalists think we’re much worse. Wall Streeters bemoan that only 32 percent of millennials consider themselves entrepreneurial (compared to 41 percent of Gen-Xers, and 45 percent of baby boomers). Time thinks we’re narcissists. The Christian Science Monitor is nervous that “ The Millennial Generation Could Kill the NFL” – because, sissies that we are, we really don’t like seeing people suffer long-term brain damage. Meanwhile, the New York Times says — more or less every week — that we probably don’t have much of a shot in the real world.

Notice anything familiar here? Druggies, supposedly lazy, peaceniks and sex-addicts? What was the last culture movement that had these traits? The Hippies, of course. Those awful, terrible people radically altered the fabric of American society and seriously threatened the status quo. Can’t have that again, can we?

But what makes Millennials so different and scary?

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Neil Howe notes that the trend of millennials living at home post-college was on the uptick even before the great meltdown of 2008. It’s not even particularly uncool anymore. At the Grammy Awards, the band Fun., famous for their song “We are Young,” thanked their parents “for letting us live at home for a very long time.”

And millennials are grateful for this support. They know their parents have invested a huge amount in them and, with that backing, comes a pressure not to screw up.

Greg Cohen, a 27-year-old working in real estate, says, “Most people I know have parents who are generally supportive of their kids financially or otherwise. They gave their kid a new car on their 16th birthday instead of buying themselves a new motorcycle. When kids get out into the real world, they realize how hard it is to actually make a buck. They really appreciate the generosity of their parents. Not wanting to disappoint them [comes with that]. I just don’t think parents 30 years ago gave as much of a shit about their kids, for whatever reason.”

Herein lies the greatest threat of the Millennials. Right now the status quo, as dictated by conservatives for the last 30 years, is that everyone is supposed to fail or succeed on their own. If you are poor it’s because you are a bad person and deserve it and if you are rich, you are morally superior. Even if you had the luck of being born to an upper middle class white family with connections to get you into the best schools and a good job right out of college, you’re a self-made man, dammit! No matter how much help you had along the way, you didn’t really have any help, especially not from the damn government!

Like right wing actor imbecile Craig T. Nelson likes to say:

“I’ve been on food stamps and welfare, did anyone help me out? No.”

This is the conceit at the center of conservative thought and explains why nothing they say or do makes any sense.

But Millennials do not think this way. They know damn well they’re getting a lot of help to succeed in a tough world. College is expensive and living at home longer is not a social sin. The job market is awful and the only thing standing between college graduates and starvation wages is the federal minimum wage. Oh wait…

So you have an entire generation leaning on mom and dad to survive and grow. They are more connected to each other and in larger groups than any previous generation thanks to social media (both a blessing and a curse). What happens when you are raised to see life as a cooperative endeavor? The right-wing principle of “I got mine, screw you” leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Rather, “I finally got mine with a lot of help, let me lend you a hand” would seem to be more the order of the day.

This is absolutely incompatible with modern-day conservative thought. How do you convince millions of cooperative minded younger voters to vote for the myth of the “self-made” mogul when they know from life experience that it’s bullshit? How do you convince them to vote for bigotry and hate when they’re more open-minded than ever? How do you convince them to place corporations on a pedestal when their formative years were spent watching corporations screw the country while lavishing massive bonuses on the CEOs in control of the screwing?

Well, you don’t. But you CAN work to minimize their impact down the road by painting them as worthless losers. And so the “liberal” media complains about how “entitled” Millennials are. Conservative media goes into hysterics over their far more mild (than the Baby Boomers) sex and drug habits. Shame on those Millennials for not being the right kind of self centered jerks!

It seems unlikely that this will work but the reaction by the old guard is incredibly instructive as to what they fear the most. Look at the incredible overreaction to the Occupy movement, mostly comprised of Millennials: it reeked of panic. Liberals should pay close attention to this and understand it for what it is. The Millennials are laying the foundation for a social movement that utterly repudiates Reaganomics and the economic conservatism that has heavily infected much of the Democratic Party (it’s already consumed the GOP). The status quo is threatened and we should be listening very closely to what the Millennials have to say.

They just might represent the future of the progressive movement.