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  • I must be wrong...

    Writing this would be much simpler if I belonged to this group but alas I have found myself in that unenviable position of being untrustworthy as I am over 30 (I'm probably dating myself by even referencing that sentiment. ) Instead of discounting what I observe below please give me a chance. It is only my ignorance that compels me to write this and not a sense of superiority, disdain or animosity.
    My job provides a unique perspective on the mind of 18-20 year old lower and middle class American university student. One thing that continues to baffle me is the general malaise and disaffection they have toward obtaining a job we would consider good. Now before you start screaming that I am being an ageist, let me explain. Maybe it has been this way for some time yet I am just noticing.

    These are VERY smart and very motivated students who I respect tremendously for the sacrifices necessary to obtain a college education. Like all of us they want a happy life, a family, a home, good roads and safe communities as well as all the material distractions that occupy our American lifestyle.

    But unlike previous groups they don't seemingly want to pay the taxes/social security and seniority system that prop up the American way of life. A shocking conclusion I admit but it is the best (though flawed) way I can describe what I sense.

    Let me provide some background. Anyone who has a grasp of US social programs knows these programs work as a safety net to support retirees, orphans, disabled, sick or unemployed. The way these programs are funded though is less well known. They work pretty much works like this as an example. Citizen X pays a LARGE percentage of their gross pay toward social security, taxes and unemployment. That money is not held in some golden pot waiting for Citizen X to need social services but instead is IMMEDIATELY used to fund those who qualify (Citizen A, B, C, etc) for benefits. The expectation is that the following generation of citizens will fund the same in turn...your basic social contract and the cornerstone of civilization.

    In financial terms this is known as a ponzi scheme as it is both illegal and financially untennable therefore impossible to be fair and equitable. The very nature of taxes is likewise nothing more than an endured form of economic plunder.

    Now here is my point and forgive me for generalizing more than necessary but I don't wish to obscure my point in over explanation.

    The students I work with don't expect to EVER see personal benefit from these programs. Those with a more long term perspective know they certainly are receiving such benefits if they have student loans, grants or scholarships much less the public educations, police/fire/EMS services, national defense, roads/bridges/airports/rivers/dams/ports of our nation.

    They would describe the programs that they receive as being their due....entitlements is another word some might use. They deserve a good job, they deserve a good house, vacation, etc. Failure to get these things makes them question the efficacy of government, schools and the political process. This is no different then demanding your daily bread allotment instead of working the fields/granaries/mills.

    "Why should I pay social security when it will never be there for me?" might be an example of what I mean. I see lines of students applying for high interest credit cards to receive a $2 t-shirt made in China that will be thrown out in weeks when it fades/shrinks/is uncool. I see them deferring student loans and graduation dates in order to avoid repaying Sallie Mae low interest student loans.

    They ALL have cell phones, high end laptops, iPod's and new head to foot designer clothing emblazoned with designer artwork/labels. Inevitably this leads to debt culture, poor credit rating and a life of desperation to pay these deferred expenses or the allure of filling for bankruptcy. Yet they all DESERVE a good job, house, family and on and on.

    When it comes time to advise them of jobs I am struck by the total shutdown I receive at any MENTION of a production facing position. No engineers, no doctors, no teachers, no mathematicians for this group they want business jobs and corporate office jobs where they can direct someone elses labor. Your classic white collar positions.

    In many ways they are the most suspicious and jaded generation I have yet known. Their heroes are murdered rap singers, steroid tainted athletes, failed pop singers and drug addled movie stars who suicide out or lose themselves when their fame gutters.

    They have been coddled by helicopter parents, drugged and over-analyzed by social services. Their education has treated them like numbers bereft of genuine authority figures and community support, religious upbringing or safety. Their leisure is a miasma of first person shooter games and casual encounters over the internet. Their families frequently have relocated multiple times as their parents chase GOOD jobs making long term attachment to extended family and community friends difficult.

    Their futures include the threats of horrifying STDs/drug addictions/disease and environmental fears that whiten my hair. They are tested to the point of insanity to mill out those who will 'succeed' to be groomed for future prosperity that our economy no longer offers. What is going to happen when the 'promise' doesn't materialize?

    I am dealing with the brightest or those with the most motivation you think, and you would be right. But the difference is that the brightest don't want to build any more they want to consume and to be paid handsomely to do so. What happens when the economy doesn't pay any more?

    In every opportunity I try to oriented their thinking toward a progression of employment instead of expecting to find employment in management immediately. The push back and astonishment I get amazes me..."But why should I have to suffer such oppression as the established seniority system, I scored a near perfect SAT/GRE score!" My words certainly but it describes the essence of what I am hearing.

    So, finally, my point. These young adults are going to resist taxes like we have not. They are not going to idly stand by when property values plummet and take their life savings with them. They want someone to FIX the problems not just talk about them. BUT they are completely closed to working to solve these problems themselves...they have no dream, they only have expectations. Someone outside of them must supply the dream/goal/path. They have never had the freedom to develop one on their own.

    Someone is going to promise to fix their problems and they will gain unprecedented support. When they don't deliver what happens then? Forgive and forget? I think we may be walking around with the future revolutionaries and not even know it.

    What do they have to lose? They will own nothing (who would give them a mortgage or a small business loan?) they are not trained to DO anything (the basic tenet of an economy is production) and they have no faith in their elders for leadership (disconnected upbringing) and they certainly are not forming marriages choosing instead a string of convenient relationships unburdened from the social stigma of illegitimate children or social responsibility (weak family bonds and low social dissonance.)

    Worse they have been raised on a level of violence and protected from the consequences of their actions by a nanny state and obsessively protective parents that they don't have the equipment to process the results of their actions (disassociated.) They have never worked saved or worked physically demanding jobs. They have been catered to, driven around and pampered by soccer mom's dropping everything to cart them around in SUV's. They have never been deprived or done without...in fact they have come to expect their food to be available at any fast food drive in both hot and cheap (instant gratification.)

    Tell me that these things don't add up, please. I want to see more so that I can understand what I am missing. I want to believe these young adults will shoulder the responsibilities required to survive Peak Oil, global economic cooling and shattered housing/credit/financial markets. Help me understand, I want to believe good things will happen to these bright students.

  • #2
    Interesting observations. I've found that the majority of my peers fit that description.
    I can't imagine they'll become revolutionaries though, they seem to prefer complaining to taking action.

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    • #3
      I also see the complaining but there is something different coming about here. They don't seem so much bitter as reactionary. I would describe this group as a tipping point that I haven't seen in my generation or any in my life. Will that mean they actually 'do' something is the real test but I have been woken to this change and will keep an eye out for a movement coalescing.

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      • #4
        I think das* was ahead of the curve
        WE DIDN'T BELIEVE THOSE WHO HAD SWORN TO KILL US 9-11-01

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        • #5
          You have several things to thank for the young-people situation you describe. Admittedly, most of these are a result of the Progressive programs all working toward the final item in the Progressive Society list.
          Parents
          Kids have no consequences for bad actions. This is not necessarily completely the parents faults. They go to jail if the spank the brats.
          No mother at home. She had to go to work to help carry the tax burden they've lain on us, OR
          No father at home. Easy to hump and hoof it.
          Hollywood
          Let's show the beautiful people doing whatever feels good or the badasses overcoming all without showing the consequences for actions.
          Always show upper middle class or higher people.
          Public Schools
          No consequences for bad actions
          Reward for showing up, not producing results
          No Civics lessons
          No good history lessons
          Progressive Society
          No consequences for bad actions, it's societies fault!
          Want a dumbed down populace
          Want people with no critical thinking skills
          Instant gratification. I want it and I deserve it NOW.
          Want people dependent on them so they can maintain their jobs and CONTROL over the populace
          Without parents completely vigilant to correct these ills all the time their offspring are growing up, you get perpetual adolescents, the ideal liberal. Think about it.

          Adult: Takes consequences for actions, can control urges resulting in monetary savings (for a rainy day?), delayed reproduction, being able to say that if a and b then c.

          Adolescent: Always someone else's fault. Wants it NOW. Early sexual activity results in early offspring or murdered offspring. CANNOT see that if you do a and b you will get c.

          Which describes the liberals YOU know?
          "If Howdy Doody runs against him, I'm voting for the puppet." - SkyOwl's Wife, 2012

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          • #6
            Worse they have been raised on a level of violence and protected from the consequences of their actions by a nanny state and obsessively protective parents that they don't have the equipment to process the results of their actions (disassociated.) They have never worked saved or worked physically demanding jobs. They have been catered to, driven around and pampered by soccer mom's dropping everything to cart them around in SUV's. They have never been deprived or done without...in fact they have come to expect their food to be available at any fast food drive in both hot and cheap (instant gratification.)
            first, a very eloquent and well written report .. thank you for that
            secondly , in a world CRISIS.. and I do mean SHTF crisis the majority will be among the first to die. I am not trying to be dramatic and I don't want to come across as uncaring on a public forum ( so easy to be misunderstood )
            those that adapt quickly or are able to find generosity and a place with others will survive

            Third - If there is no crisis ( highly unlikely ) then that generation will prosper and go on to become caring, contributing citizens that donate time and effort to community and their church. they will grow into hard working Americans magically, loving their spouses, staying married and singing the praises of those that came before. then again... I may have been hit in the head too many times while sparring ;)
            Either way... great report .. thanks
            Deja Moo: The feeling that you've heard this bull before.

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            • #7
              As some of you know I run a cotton gin company here in NC and for the past several years I have tried to hire Americans to do the work but I have been un able to hire anyone under 40 in the past 8 years as they younger ones with no real education or experience will walk in and say up front I wont even consider coming to work here for any less than $12-15 an hour . The age of the applicant was 18-22 and the job being applied for was floor sweeper . Most did not finish high school .
              I don’t have an answer for you but I do think you are right
              Robert W
              Democracy Will Cease To Exist When You Take Away From Those Who Are Willing To Work And Give to Those Who Are Not.-Thomas Jefferson

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