The Most Cynical Generation


Note: I like how Jonah cautions about the limits of generational stereotyping, while having some fun with…generational stereotyping. There is fun to be had.

Polling: the scourge of journalism these days. The media’s increasing dependence on polling data contributes to the echo chamber. A poll is taken in America every ten seconds, it seems. Wait, I have an idea. I propose we take a poll on how Americans feel about polls! Look below for our poll, and cast your vote. But first, here’s an intro to Jonah’s article:

Jonah Goldberg writes:  In case you hadn’t heard, young people these days — a.k.a “the Millennials” — are the most cynical and distrusting generation ever recorded. Only 19 percent think most people can be trusted. According to a big study from the Pew Research Center, they are less attached to marriage, religion, and political institutions than Gen Xers, Baby Boomers, and the other demographic flavors journalists love to use. They like their friends, their digital “social networks,” and their toys, and that’s about it. Not even a majority will call themselves “patriotic.” Probably more dismaying for liberals: Of any living generation, they are the least likely to call themselves environmentalists.

“Honor, glory, and respect are earned individually, not collectively.”

Now, I should say that I often find generational stereotyping pretty annoying. For instance, there was no “greatest generation.” Sure, there were a bunch of great Americans who stormed the beaches of Normandy. But is some guy who was in jail in 1943 for petty larceny deserving of special respect because he was born around the same time as a guy who won the Medal of Honor during WWII?

Honor, glory, and respect are earned individually, not collectively.

Politicians pander to young people, and lots of young people fall for it. And that speaks well of neither. Politicians pander to “youth” because it’s a time-saving way to trawl for votes and volunteer door-knockers wholesale. It’s the difference between using a gill net and a fishing pole. “You’re great because you were born more recently than other people” is the lamest form of flattery I can think of.

When politicians invoke generational stereotypes, what they are really doing is saying, “Act your age.” What’s pathetic is when young people unwittingly follow that advice… Read the thing >>> at NRO

National Review Online

— Jonah Goldberg is the author of The Tyranny of Clichés, now on sale in paperback. You can write to him by e-mail at, or via Twitter @JonahNRO. © 2014 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

[Order Jonah’s book The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas” from Amazon]

[BONUS: Get P.J. O’Rourke’s book “The Baby Boom at Amazon]

One Comment on “The Most Cynical Generation”

  1. […] Pundit from another Planet Note: I like how Jonah cautions about the limits of generational stereotyping, while having some […]

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