Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Barone on the Young

They’re contented, optimistic about the future, revel in their unprecedented freedom, not that irresponsible, not worried about Social Security, and think that our foreign policy problems will be solved if we get rid of Bush and get out of Iraq. If Michael is right, it’s hard to see why they’d vote Republican. He’s employing his journalistic license to exaggerate, but there is something to his description.

Discussions - 7 Comments

I guess they are not part of the 70% of Americans who think the country is going in the wrong direction so.

I think they're pretty happy if they have their Starbucks, internet connections, a nice SUV, and money for movies, Old Navy, and music downloads. Now if something were to happen to those, a major depression might set in!

It runs even younger than the age focus of this article. I teach 16-18 year olds in a semi-affluent community that, as Tony states above, as long as the status quo remains the same and the harsh realities of the world dont hit too close to home then all is well. I recently had my students view the Obsession(if you have not watched it, please do so)and that seemed to have an impact for about 24 hours. I find it interesting to compare this generation to the Greatest and see how they pale. Perhaps a better comparison would be to the generation of the 20s?

To be more generous, I'm not sure they do pale in comparison with previous generations. They just need some real challenges to bring out the mettle of the American spirit. It's there, I hope and believe, but for the moment it seems mostly dormant.

The young people described by Barone are libertarian. As I have argued on my blog, the libertarians have become the swing voters. They constitute 13-20% of the electorate, and the new, younger voters are increasinly libertarian. The Republicans have carried recent presidential elections only because they won most of the libertarian voters. Without the libertarians, the Republicans will lose. This is likely now that the Republicans have embraced "compassionate conservatism" and rejected the older version of conservatism as a fusion of traditionalism and libertarianism.

Young people do tend to be libertarians, but that is not such a bad thing. Once they grow up and have something to protect, they are more likely to be conservative, as they cherish hearth, home, internet connections, SUVs and Starbucks. Already, as they gain children and property their perspective and concerns change.

Barone's "Iraq exception" indicates an enormous divide between those for who Islamic terrorism is a threat and those for whom it is a "lifestyle issue" like being gay or a smoker (of any kind.) Since that is likely to be their "real challenge" beyond child-rearing and coping with a mortgage, how the war is settled, or not settled, ought to have a major impact on how they vote in the future.

Also, when the world is not paradisical in a post-Bush era, as Democrats have promised, why would they NOT vote Republican? Of course, to be Republican will have to mean something desirable to them, perhaps not only as a defender of Freedom on an International scale, but also as a defender of individual freedoms?

Post 5: It should be noted that the libertarians left the traditionalists in the fusion Republican coalition and not the other way around. This is directed at Larry Arnhart's implication that the traditionalists should kow-tow to libertarians. Of course, this may have dove tailed with increasing but always belated awareness by traditionalists that libertarians were the new Marxists in sheep's clothing. And Kate is right with respect to my students. They are socialized libertarian, but live communitarian, at least still in the South.

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