THE OLD AND THE RESTLESS: POLITICALLY, ADULTS ARE THE NEW YOUNGS
WE'RE IN A HISTORICAL MOMENT WHERE IT'S YOUNG PEOPLE WHO SEEM TO BE SHOWING MORE DELIBERATION — IF NOT EXACTLY RESTRAINT — THAN THEIR ELDERS
"Post-Brexit, it’s time to reconsider the Churchillian adage, “If you’re not a liberal at 25, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative by 35, you have no brain” — and not just because historians are pretty sure he never said such a thing. As we have done with much of the conventional wisdom pundits held as dogma prior to The Trump Era, it’s time to question the association between youth and high-emotion causes versus adulthood and more realistic goals.
We’re in a historical moment where it’s young people who seem to be showing more deliberation — if not exactly restraint — than their elders. In Britain, 75 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 24voted to remain in the European Union, as did 56 percent of those aged 25 to 49. Forget the “conservative” ideological label, much less the party, associated with the “Leave” movement. Which option was the one of caution, and which one asked voters to plunge into unknown legal backwaters? Which campaign made its argument with emotionally-freighted images rather than facts?
Meanwhile, the young people who so overwhelmingly favored remaining in the EU face the prospect of a future of sharply curtailed job opportunities, travel, and education. The Leave campaign hinged on the largely mythical assertion that immigration was “breaking” the U.K.; millennials who voted to remain did so for the concrete advantages EU membership gave them.
The referendum itself was based on a short-sighted political bargain: Back in 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron (now resigned) promised a vote on the issue, and pledged his career to the outcome. At the time, it was a way to wrangle the support of an unruly nativist constituency and to co-opt the one-issue UK Independence Party. UKIP voters were older (71 percent over the age of 50) and less educated (only 13 percent had college degrees); frustrated with a changing society and economy, they were poised to bolt to another candidate until establishment insiders pandered to their worst instincts. And an election cycle later, those insiders are shocked to find themselves kicked to the curb by angry voters in favor of a blustery, almost comically populist character with terrible hair.
All the worst trends start in Europe, huh? And I thought EDM was bad." -- Ana Marie Cox, MTV
Read the full story HERE.