Why I Feel Alienated From My Generation

For ages, I’ve been planning a post on why I feel so alienated from my generation, the so-called millennials (I think that’s what they’re calling us nowadays). I also was going to break my silence on all this NSA nonsense that has been going on. Then I found two excellent blog posts through Twitter, written by a scholar named Tom Nichols. I was unfamiliar with his work until a few days ago, but he has quickly become one of my favorite bloggers. (And once I have access to an academic library again, I plan to check out some of his formal academic work.)

Anyway, onto the blog posts, which can be viewed here and here. Appropriately enough, they’re titled “Generation Snowden, Part I” and “Generation Snowden, Part II”. (The title derives from the overwhelming support for Snowden present among those under thirty.) Tom examines what’s wrong with this (i.e. my) generation. Here’s his list of the most undesirable characteristics among today’s young people:

  • These are the most fragile egos the United States has ever produced in one generation.
  • They suffer from a level of political literacy so low that there is no understanding of the differences between nations or how the international system even works on a daily basis.
  • A prolonged adolescence, including the classic adolescent trait of demanding perfect moral consistency from the world while adopting, shall we say, situational ethics for oneself.
  • Even by the standards of youth, the arrogance and pedanticism of Generation Snowden is breathtaking. Never before have so few who know so little lectured to so many who know so much.
  • They embrace simplistic conspiracy theories as a means of simplifying a morally and politically complex world.

That list is copied and pasted directly from Tom’s blog. Both posts have generated loads of comments. I’d highly recommend that you read them in their entirety.

My view on what’s wrong with the millennials can be summed up in one phrase: refusal to take responsibility for one’s own actions. I used to hear people at my university whining about bad grades they received in a class (when, in the same breath, they talked about how much fun they had drinking the entire weekend instead of studying). The first time I heard that, I was annoyed. Eventually, I just would burst out laughing when people made stupid comments like that.

So, people, are you a millennial? What do you think is wrong with us?

(Note: This should go without saying, but these are obviously generalizations. Not every person under thirty is like this, and young people often do stupid things. However, Tom’s argument – one that I tend to agree with – is that the current millennial generation’s stupidity goes above and beyond mere foolishness of youth.)

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2 thoughts on “Why I Feel Alienated From My Generation

  1. What’s wrong with us is that we’ve been systematically fucked by the older generations. We’re the most educated generation in history–with the student debt to prove it–and yet it seems too many of us aren’t qualified for any more than an unpaid internship. I’d rant longer but this cartoon sums it up nicely: http://t.co/aKNojyNIHb

  2. The website seems to be down so I couldn’t read it.. anyway…

    I think it’s exciting to be part of this generation, but also we have inherited a lot of problems from a world ruled by morally bankrupt corporations and governments. At the same time, a lot of us has inherited wealth from our families, or rather, we are forced to depend on family wealth because housing and education is too expensive. It doesn’t make it easier–it makes us powerless and dependent.

    I am generally the outsider, but I think there’s a good bunch of us who are extremely apt at research and self-education, thanks to the internet-savvy we have. But there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. Like I said before in my last blog post, Snowden and Navalny were unwise. They may be knowledgable, but they were ultimately very unwise people. Probably because of arrogance.

    So, the narcissistic side of us wants to plaster our identities out on the social networks, yet, we cry foul over privacy issues. To be frank I’m not shocked over the existence of PRISIM–I would expect any competent intel agency to have such a program. The threats to our security (and ultimately, freedom) means we need such programs in the age of terrorism. Of course many will disagree with me, but it is not in my place to lecture anyone on it. However, as Tom pointed out–everyone tried to lecture *me* about it. I am no expert, but I do know a little more about such things than the average person, and it is frustrating and tiring to hear all this nonsense from the clueless. I have since just disengaged from such discussions.

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