Despite the mainstream media’s constant assertion to the contrary, and the “conventional wisdom,” young people are not uniformly left-wing. In fact, a Gallup study from 2017 showed that more teens identified as conservative than liberal. 25% of teens polled identified as “conservative” and only 16% identified as “liberal.” Furthermore, the study showed that fewer teens identified as liberals than their parents did, 16% to 19%. You might wonder how this can be, given the conventional wisdom that “young people are left-wing.” The reality is that young people aren’t leftists, they’re reactive.
Millennials are left wing because they came to political consciousness at a time when the religious right had preeminence in the political landscape. The dominance of conservative Christians in politics in the mid-2000s led to the rise of secular liberals like Jon Stewart, more or less the complete opposite from what they saw as the prevailing force in culture at that time. Before them, Baby Boomers reacted to the conservatism and stability of the 1950s by producing the radicalism and turmoil of the 1960s. That, in turn, produced the hegemonic conservative attitude of the 1980s, with its erased history of “punk Toryism.” This is a phenomenon that has existed in some form or another in all of living memory. But for some reason, the idea that “young people are left-wing” is taken as a truism.
Post-Millennials, who are aged roughly between 10 and 25, grew up during the Obama administration. And, unfortunately for the left, they are outright hostile to the multicultural bourgeois neoliberal establishment his administration fought for. Gen Z is coming to political consciousness in a time of left wing domination of media and culture. Millennials turned to the left as a rejection of the failures of the Republican party and the religious right. Immediately thereafter, a secular and left-wing establishment took over media and politics - and also failed, continuing the right's authoritarian surveillance practices; failed humanitarian interventions into foreign countries, and were totally unable to restore economic activity. And doing nothing about immigration and border security – let’s not forget that Democrats used to advocate for greater border security on protectionist and national security grounds. Post-Millennials saw the failures of the establishment left immediately after the failures of the establishment right. So, they’ve rejected party politics and embraced an amorphous “right wing” banner.
It was the failures of the Bush administration, among other things, that brought the left to socio-political preeminence in the mid-late 2000s. And since that time, we’ve gone from gay marriage being a fantasy of the radical left to the Canadian government making it illegal to not use “xie/xir” pronouns. What the left thought they were doing in the past 40-50 years was dragging society as a whole into the brave new world of secular multicultural liberalism. What they didn’t realize, and still don’t, is that as they dragged the middle of the country to the left, they created an increasingly radical, resentful, and youthful reactionary right wing.
One might wonder how the anti-gun Parkland kids fit into this, to which I would say that I have not seen a single young person online say anything in support of the March for our Lives “movement.” In fact, the only people I see supporting it online or at marches are aging left-wing Baby Boomers. Which is not to say that young people are completely, or even dominantly, right wing, which is of course ridiculous. But the Parkland kids are a small minority who have, to my knowledge, basically no support among their contemporaries on the internet.
So when you hear about how more Millennials support socialism than capitalism, or they turn out in droves to vote for Bernie Sanders, or they march on Washington to plead with the government to take away their right to self-defense, don’t worry. The left has overplayed its hand so dramatically that there is a growing movement of radical anti-establishment conservatives that have grown up with a new media landscape and have nothing but contempt for the left-wing secular political establishment and the media that defends it.