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Robby Soave, senior editor at Reason magazine, author of 2019’s Panic Attack: Young Radicals in the Age of Trump, and someone who is (just) over 30, (finally) joins Young Americans to discuss whether the political activism of young people today, especially on campus, is uniquely dangerous and poised to spill out into the culture as a whole. (Also, some LOST references sneak in.)
Are we all ill-served by “smartphones” that actually stupify? Beyond the concerns about mental health (depression and anxiety, addiction) driven by social media engineered to drive constant desire for interaction, beyond worries about muscular-skeletal concerns from people hunching down into their hand-held digital devices, beyond even negative cognitive performance results, there appears to be a loss of social skills important to every brick-and-mortar business, including restaurants.
This last concern arises from observing servers and bartenders, usually at least partially compensated by tips, ignoring customers, money-making opportunities, lost in keeping up with their Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, or Twitter account. So, teens and young adults are being harmed in their job and career development, aside from all the other claimed negative effects of smartphones on teens. To the extent that Americans are putting such devices into children’s hands at a younger age than parents in other countries, they may be building in lifelong disadvantages, while being sold the line that they are actually helping their child get ahead.
How would we expect a young person to pay attention in a workplace, when they have been allowed almost unlimited screen time for years? Should we be surprised that people will not make eye contact? Consider this current commercial for the latest Samsung Galaxy:
This episode of Young Americans is special for many reasons. For one, it is a crossover with the White Noise podcast, whose co-host, Joe Pappalardo, joins Jack. For…two, Jack and Joe attempt to discuss the effect that excessive technology use may be having on the ability of young people to focus on what matters. And for…three (?), they attempt this discussion…while themselves deliberately distracted by as many apps as they could have open while recording.
I happened to fall into conversation with a young veterans’ organization member, who turned out to also be eligible for the veteran’s organization to which I belong, due to service in Korea. My outfit needs more fresh blood, so I had an ulterior motive to sit and listen, just prompting him for more of his thoughts. It was a treat to hear a well-spoken young man’s perspective on his own life, work, and service. The trick, really the pleasant surprise, was to then find an amazing breadth and depth to this fellow veteran, who I took from the conversation to be in his mid-20s.
That places him on the cusp between Millennials and Gen-Z. Folks, he was none of the negative stereotypes routinely riffed about his age cohort. He started on active duty, then (fairly recently) transitioned to a reserve component. He was highly focused on leveraging the mutually reinforcing training, certifications, and experience of his civilian and military careers. He had mapped out paths of advancement in both, taking advantage of the commonality in the two technical occupations. Oh, and he had not even needed college to get on this path, but already had thought through the evening/weekend/online schooling that would punch his ticket to the top of his chosen field in both the military and civilian life.
He had already been to the Middle East and Asia, so was looking for opportunities to see Europe and especially Africa in Uncle Sam’s service. And then it got interesting. We really do not understand the Middle East because we have forsaken much of our own intellectual and spiritual inheritance, he observed. We have the Arab world largely on our side or under our control, yet we cannot see the lines everyone there sees, of the Ottoman and Persian empires, let alone the one that once was centered in present-day Iraq. Turkey and Syria are two fixed countries in our eyes, yet Turks have a memory of empire that included Syria and more.
On this episode, Jack and guest Anders Hagstrom discuss the rise of Area 51 memes, what they say about memes as a whole, whether this is Generation Z’s first meme, and if the U.S. government would actually kill millions of Internet weirdos if they showed up at the gates of Area 51 trying to get in.
Green shoots or suckers? Time will tell, but consider a few recent stories from diverse sources. Will this collection of dots end up forming a map to President Trump’s reelection in 2020? Perhaps.
We are told that the left has a lock on the minds of the youngest eligible voting cohorts, “Millennials or Generation Y” and “Generation Z.” Gen Y, the generation born near the turn of the millenium, is now 25-42. Gen Z, little talked of, like Gen X, is now 7-24. So, they are experiencing the craziness of the left’s cultural crusade first hand. Consider three articles on this latest voting-age generation.
John Hinderaker’s daughter, Kathryn Hinderaker, wrote of St. Olaf College, the small (il)liberal arts college from which she just graduated:
In an episode of multiple firsts, Jack strikes out on his own to interview Matthew Hennessey, the deputy op-ed editor of the Wall Street Journal, author of Zero Hour for Gen X: How the Last Adult Generation Can Save America from Millennials, and, at 44, a decidedly un-young American. They discuss whether Millennials or Baby Boomers are really to blame for America’s problems, whether Gen X can save us, and whether generational warfare might ultimately be a distraction from the real enemy: excessive technology.
Follow this podcast on Twitter @youngamericanz.
By the 2020 election, America’s “millennial” class will replace Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest age-bloc of voters. David Davenport, a Hoover Institution research fellow specializing in constitution federalism and Americans politics and law, discusses what it will take to get a cynical under-35 crowd to the polls and, in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting, whether the even younger “Generation Z” will emerge as a political force.
I’m putting this in my too-good-to-be-true file: kids of post-millennial “Generation Z” are the most conservative generation in decades. They’re financially prudent and they’re even socially conservative. Okay, I can think of a few caveats: Preview Open
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