The Secret Language Of Millennials
This is an interesting article, in that it shows the difference in understanding of words and phrases commonly tossed around. The Millenials don’t appear to like Capitalism, but approve of Free Markets. Is this because they understand that we don’t have Capitalism, but rather Crony Capitalism? Sometimes definitions get in the way of understanding. I am a Boomer, but prefer to use the term Free Markets, because what is referred to as Capitalism isn’t Capitalism anymore. When talking to young people, perhaps it is smart to say Free Markets, if you are, indeed, meaning Free Markets. It is a simple change, but far more descriptive of what is being discussed. – Shorty Dawkins, Associate Editor
by Nick Gillespie
Boomers just don’t understand what younger people are saying about politics and culture.
Fifty years ago, Baby Boomers and their parents suffered through what was ubiquitously understood as “the generation gap,” or the inability for different generations to speak clearly with one another.
A new national poll of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 — the Millennial Generation — provides strong evidence of a new generation gap, this time with the Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) playing the role of uncomprehending parents. When Millennials say they are liberal, it means something very different than it did when Barack Obama was coming of age. When Millennials say they are socialists, they’re not participating in ostalgie for the old German Democratic Republic. And their strong belief in economic fairness shouldn’t be confused with the attitudes of the Occupy movement.
The poll of Millennials was conducted by the Reason Foundation (the nonprofit publisher of Reason.com, the website and video platform I edit) and the Rupe Foundation earlier this spring. It engaged nearly 2,400 representative 18 to 29 year olds on a wide variety of topics.
This new generation gap certainly helps to explain why Millennials are far less partisan than folks 30 and older. Just 22% of Millennials identify as Republican or Republican-leaning, compared with 40% of older voters. After splitting their votes for George W. Bush and Al Gore in 2000 (each candidate got about 48%), Millennials have voted overwhelmingly for Democratic candidates in the 2004, 2008, and 2012 elections. Forty-three percent of Millennials call themselves Democrats or lean that way. Yet that’s still a smaller percentage than it is for older Americans, 49% of whom are Democrats or lean Democrat. Most strikingly, 34% of Millennials call themselves true independents, meaning they don’t lean toward either party. For older Americans, it’s just 10%.
Millennials use language differently than Boomers and Gen Xers (born between 1965 and 1980). In the Reason-Rupe poll, about 62% of Millennials call themselves liberal. By that, they mean the favor gay marriage and pot legalization, but those views hold little or no implication for their views on government spending. To Millennials, being socially liberal is being liberal, period. For most older Americans, calling yourself a liberal means you want to increase the size, scope, and spending of the government (it may not even mean you support legal pot and marriage equality). Despite the strong liberal tilt among Millennials, 53% say they would support a candidate who was socially liberal and fiscally conservative (are you listening, major parties?).