Along similar lines as my previous post about college kids becoming more conservative, my mom passes along a US News article titled "The good-news generation" (beware of pop-ups!). John Leo discusses some of the qualities of Generation Y (the Millennials) -- members of the cohort born between 1977 and 1994, which I am proud to belong to.
Now the focus is almost entirely on millennials, 78 million strong and the largest birth cohort in American history. Speaking at the American Magazine Conference last week in the Palm Springs, Calif., area, Clurman described millennials this way: They are family oriented, viscerally pluralistic, deeply committed to authenticity and truth-telling, heavily stressed, and living in a no-boundaries world where they make short-term decisions and expect paradoxical outcomes. (The sense of paradox means that every choice results in some good consequences, some bad: Air bags save lives but kill people, too.) ...I agree with all of Mr. Leo's conclusions, but he doesn't mention one thing that's particularly obvious (to me): Millennials are they way we are largely due to rebellion against our Boomer parents' approach to life. We love 'em, but we don't want to be like them in a lot of ways.
Yankelovich and other researchers have been picking up a renewed emphasis on family for years. The yearning for a good marriage is a dominant value among millennials, Clurman says, and 30 percent of those surveyed say they want three or more children. Indeed, one research company, Packaged Facts and Silver Stork, recently predicted a 17 percent increase in the U.S. birthrate over the next 10 years. ...
Millennials are apt to trust parents, teachers, and police. Apparently they are likely to trust presidents, too. A Harvard poll released last week reported that President Bush has a 61 percent favorability rate among American college students. This may not mean much. The millennials are not a very politically active generation. But they are clearly able to resist programming by their professors, 90 percent of whom seem convinced that Bush is either Hitler or a moron.
To many in my generation, the Boomers seem terribly unserious and preoccupied with fantasy rather than reality. There's a reason why the peace-nik protests of 2003 looked a lot like those from the 1960s: they were the same people. We yearn for strong marriages because far more than half of us have seen our parents divorce. We want kids and families of our own because we think we can do it right. We love the truth because our parents' generation is perpetually obsessed with style over substance, and most of the time they tell us there is no real truth.
Mr. Leo paints an encouraging picture, and I'm excited to find out whether he's right or not.