With any luck, “Gen R” will fail to launch socialism, too

 

Today in my email, among the 3,467 press releases therein, I found a message that began thusly:

What if the “failure to launch” is actually an intelligent response to the challenges that today’s young adults face? 

Being the cultural junkie that I am, especially when it comes to the next generation of Americans, I clicked open the publicist’s pitch letter about a new book:

In NOT QUITE ADULTS: Why 20-Somethings Are Choosing a Slower Path to Adulthood, and Why It’s Good for Everyone (Bantam Dell; December 28, 2010), Richard Settersten, Ph.D., and Barbara E. Ray shatter widespread stereotypes about today’s 20-somethings and issue a call to action.  ’The great shake-ups that are going on in the transition to adulthood are transforming American life,’ they write, ‘and the reverberations will be felt by everyone.  These changes will demand new responses from governments, families, and society.’

Really? The transition to adulthood of America’s children will “demand new responses from governments”? (I guess keeping 26-year-old adults on their parent’s health insurance policies was just the beginning!)

I read enough of the publicity letter to prompt me to respond and ask for a review copy of the book, though I decided not to indicate to the publicist that my take on it probably won’t be positive. To give you a sense of its conclusions, it appears the authors believe slowing down the progression to adulthood is a good thing, “helicopter parents” aren’t such a bad thing, and going home after college to live in the basement may be a sign of successful launching, not failure.

Meanwhile, out of curiosity, I surfed around and landed on the blog of one of the authors, Barbara Ray, a Chicago-based writer and editor who already plans to follow up her new release with a book called “Generation R” — “r” for recession — about the impact of the current economy on young adults. (Which is funny because I’m also working on a book about America’s younger generation, and for a while my working title was “Generation S” — for socialist. Only it’s not actually funny.)

Anyway, while visiting Ms. Ray’s site, I learned about something called “Think 2040,” a “vision for the future” that she says “clearly rebukes” the media-promulgated notion that the Millennial generation is “a bunch of spoiled slackers.”

“Think 2040” is based on the “Blueprint for Millennial America,” coordinated by the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, “the nation’s largest student policy organization.”

Ms. Ray can hardly contain her excitement for the contents of this “blueprint”:

Coming together in focus groups over the course of several months, Think 2040 participants mapped out their key concerns for the future and what to do about it. The resulting blueprint reflects this generation’s deeply held concern for equity, respect for individuals, belief in community empowerment and self-determination.

High on their list is for the United States to continue to be a moral beacon for  the world. This requires the US to fight global warming and work for greater social equity on many levels.

Starting at home, they want to reform the social safety net to a trampoline. They want to create a system that gives displaced workers the tools to bounce back after layoffs and retrenchment by lowering barriers to entrepreneurship, combatting intergenerational poverty, and rethinking our tax policies.

Reflecting their status as the most diverse generation, they want to rethink immigration policy to better retain the most talented students from abroad and efficiently funnel them to the top jobs. They also want to reframe the conversation we have about immigration to a more positive one, which reflects the many benefits that immigrants bring to these shores–and in doing so, bind us together rather than creating a second-class citizen tier.

They also want to ensure more equity by reducing the influence of money in politics.They want to give labor a larger voice, and they want to restore the vote to the disenfranchised, including felons. They also want to reduce the gap in educational outcomes between groups and make college more affordable.

Not surprising, given the state of the economy today, this generation is worried for their futures. They call for reforms that can reduce federal and household debt. A first start is reducing health care costs by focusing more on prevention–with, for example, programs to prevent obesity and diabetes. They also want to raise taxes on the wealthiest and reduce the cost of entitlement programs by restructuring the safety net.

Still reeling from the banking meltdown–a generational “where were you when Kennedy was assassinated” moment if there ever was one–they want banking reform. They want to limit bank size, regulate shadow banking industry, reform executive pay, and reform bankruptcy laws.

They also want to rebuild the country’s infrastructure in a more “green” and sustainable way and to support and expand the information-based economy.

To accomplish these goals, Millennials begin locally. This is not a generation waving the “let’s change the world” banner. They do not tilt at windmills. This generation is pragmatic, and they believe firmly in “acting locally.” This bottom-up philosophy, they believe, is how we spur America back to prosperity.

As the report says, “We are your children, your grandchildren, your neighbors, your co-workers, and your best bet at overcoming the 21st century challenges that we face with a comprehensive vision we can get behind, support, implement, and achieve.”

I for one am already inspired.

I, for one, am not.

And suffice to say, all roads lead to George Soros (the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network’s partners? One Nation Working Together, the National Academy of Public Administration, the Center for American Progress and People for the American Way, among others). But anyway.

The Roosevelt Institute doesn’t mince words about it’s mission, given that the banner across the top of the site says, “Carrying forward the legacy and values of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.” Still, it’s a little shocking to read the flowery, morally-superior prose that describe clearly and starkly the socialist utopia these perpetually “young adults” want to impose on America’s future.

I don’t want to hyperlink you into oblivion, but does anyone else see the dangerous connection between the premise of Ray’s new book about the slow transition to adulthood and the obvious need for the  ”Think 2040″ nanny state that such a premise, once accepted, would require?

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  1. Profile Photo Contributor
    @Midge
    Marybeth Hicks: Today in my email, among the 3,467 press releases therein, I found a message that began thusly:

    What if the “failure to launch” is actually an intelligent response to the challenges that today’s young adults face?

    Well, I don’t think it’s an intelligent response to today’s cultural challenges — far from it. But as for the economy? That’s another matter.

    The uncertainty of the economy that makes it difficult for businesses to plan and take risks also does the same thing to individuals.

    Why invest time, energy, and money into pursuing challenging professions if they’re likely to be smacked down on at any time?

    Better to just drift through life — or become a public-sector employee and make the problem worse for everyone else.

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Contributor
    @PaulARahe

    The folks at the Roosevelt Institute, like most left-liberals today, are living mentally on another planet. There is no chance that anything of what they want will take place. The resources are simply not available.

    Those who “fail to launch” are going to suffer the most. There will be jobs for the enterprising and disdain for slackers. It is not going to be pretty.

    • #2
  3. Profile Photo Inactive
    @MelFoil

    I’ve heard the case made, that young women, by their own standards of behavior, determine these things. A hundred years ago, when (most) women didn’t have sex until marriage, and didn’t marry until their betrothed had a steady job, then adulthood was not delayed one bit. Not if their boyfriend’s hormones were working. Adulthood was accelerated, good times or bad times.

    • #3
  4. Profile Photo Inactive
    @FuneralGuy

    So this Brave New World™ of pristine environments and moral beacons will be forged by the sweaty browed endeavors of aging “Gen R” pioneers from the comfy basements of their long suffering and over indulgent parents.

    Sounds terrific. And revolutionary!

    I only have one question. Who’s going to clean up the unicorn poop?

    • #4
  5. Profile Photo Inactive
    @BlueAnt

    That summarized blueprint is way too long for the short attention span of the post-MTV Twitter-ized Generation “R”. We need to slim it down to under 140 characters or it will never be read. How about:

    Gen “R” wants to ride their government-funded magic unicorns and barbecue them too.

    • #5
  6. Profile Photo Contributor
    @PaulARahe
    etoiledunord: I’ve heard the case made, that young women, by their own standards of behavior, determine these things. A hundred years ago, when (most) women didn’t have sex until marriage, and didn’t marry until their betrothed had a steady job, then adulthood was not delayed one bit. Not if their boyfriend’s hormones were working. Adulthood was accelerated, good times or bad times. · Dec 10 at 1:31pm

    And today, when (most) women are perfectly happy to have sex before marriage, men are slackers? I fear that this may be true. The untold part of this story is that 60% of the students in our colleges and universities are young women. Something is amiss with young American men.

    • #6
  7. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Pseudodionysius

    Contraception isn’t liberating for women: its just gives them a new problem, the perpetual adolescent male. Gee thanks big Pharma!

    • #7
  8. Profile Photo Member
    @PTomanovich

    It’s tough to tell if I’m the frog and this is another stick in the fire that’s slowly bringing my proverbial pot to a boil or if the internet age has just made me more aware of the harmless lunacy that has always gone on. I’m leaning towards the latter only because I – now a fine, upstanding citizen – was a total derelict when I first graduated college.

    One of the books on my shelf that I haven’t gotten around to reading yet is Michael Barone’s “Hard America Soft America.” The subtitle is “Competition vs. Coddling and the Battle for the Nation’s Future.”

    It’s one thing for apprehensive co-eds to voice platitudes and support for any form of largess directed their way. It’s another to organize and elect the people that will get that done. For that you need something like a Tea Party. And, if these young’ungs can pull something like that off, then maybe they aren’t so hopeless as they look.

    But I’m not holding my breath.

    • #8
  9. Profile Photo Inactive
    @AngloCon

    OMG, like totally awesome. If only I had known this before I went and got responsible, like, and all. Here I was thinking we were supposed to grow up. Like, bummer. And, yet, transcendent.

    • #9
  10. Profile Photo Member
    @PaulDeRocco

    Extending adolescence seems like a recipe for demographic catastophe, especially when combined with low birth rates, increasing life spans and a stubbornly static retirement age. You can’t run a civilization on the principle that you can spend thirty years growing up, thirty years working, and thirty years playing golf in Florida, especially if you forgot the bit about having kids.

    • #10
  11. Profile Photo Member
    @PaulDeRocco
    Palaeologus: Gen “R” eh?

    Seems that Florence King was right. The Boomers running the sociology/anthropology/integrated studies departments are hell-bent on making sure that they have the last generation with a memorable name.

    What do you call a generation whose parents only had one child? Busters?

    • #11
  12. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Kervinlee
    Ms. Ray can hardly contain her excitement for the contents of this “blueprint”:

    Ms. Ray’s comments are such trite pie-in-the-sky blather, it’s hard to believe anyone, even the most dedicated save-the-planet goo-goo could read them and take them as a realistic barometer of the attitudes of the young people she describes. I’m with Paul Rahe; there just is no way to pay for all this utopia. How this sort of stuff ends up being taken seriously is beyond me.

    • #12
  13. Profile Photo Member
    @Sisyphus

    Pffft. At 662,663rd on Amazon (is there a 662,664th?), looks like America’s socialist infantilization market may not be quite as well primed to receive the message as some would like. Hopefully, the paleo-feminists, Columbia University Substance Abuse Team, and Pelosi staff members making up the target audience will put considerable effort into these ideas before discovering the classic all-American twenty-something bird flip.

    I am flashing on the taunting scene from Braveheart.

    Thanks Marybeth, always good to get a reading on how George Soros is trying to avenge his beloved Reich this week. 

    • #13
  14. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Palaeologus

    Gen “R” eh?

    Seems that Florence King was right. The Boomers running the sociology/anthropology/integrated studies departments are hell-bent on making sure that they have the last generation with a memorable name.

    I guess Clinton came by his legacy-angst honestly.

    • #14
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