“What is the Matter With Young People These Days?”

Pew Research surveys of other countries’ view of China, over time; if you ever doubted the power of propaganda, this should set you straight; thanks to Indi for the link

Over the past five decades I have watched the political views of my ‘boomer’ generation shift further and further right. In the process I’ve found myself more and more in agreement with “the younger generations” and less and less with my own. In every survey that includes a demographic breakdown, my views have aligned most closely with those of women in the youngest age bracket.

At least, that was the case until about five years ago. Gradually, the sociopolitical views of GenX have moved right to the point those views are indistinguishable from those of Boomers. But more surprisingly, the views of Millennials and GenZ (aka “Plurals”) on military and political interventions in other countries, generations that have been historically opposed to such interventions, have recently swung hard right.

The massive, IMO horrific, propaganda-driven shift in western attitudes toward China from mostly positive to overwhelmingly negative (see charts above) have cut across all generations and western nations. Statements by Biden and the Pentagon/CIA that China (the US’s largest trade partner) “threatens” the west’s political and economic dominance and hence must be opposed by every possible means, struck me, when I first heard them, as the senile, paranoid blatherings of people who just didn’t understand how the world really works. After all, the offshoring of manufacturing to China, instituted starting with Nixon and expanded by every government since, is the only thing that has kept the essential goods of western society affordable to all but the ultra-rich, and hence prevented the collapse of most of the western financialized do-nothing economies.

Now, suddenly, westerners of every generation are banging the drums for war with China, (and with Russia and other countries), and it’s young westerners who are banging the drums the loudest!

Citing a very recent Newsweek poll, Billmon at Moon of Alabama reports:

In the poll, those identified as “Millennial,” between 27 and 42 years old, were most likely to “strongly support” committing U.S. troops to Ukraine. However, more respondents aged between 18-26 (Gen Z) said they would support the measure overall, 47 percent saying they supported or strongly supported sending U.S. troops.
Nearly a third of respondents aged over 59 said they opposed pledging U.S. troops to Ukraine, with a further 25 percent “strongly” opposing the suggestion.

WTF? While Billmon rather belligerently suggests sending the younger generations to boot camp in Europe to change their minds, my reaction was more: What the hell has happened here? 

I am flummoxed, to use an old word that generations since the boomers would probably have to look up. One third of Americans think the US should send troops to Ukraine (tantamount to a declaration of war and massively increasing the risk of world war III and nuclear Armageddon ), one third are opposed, and one third are on the fence. And the younger generations (and Democrats) are much more in favour of direct military intervention. What are these (young, theoretically more ‘progressive’) people smoking?

That’s all I’ve got. I have no explanation, not even a theory. What am I missing here?

This entry was posted in How the World Really Works, Our Culture / Ourselves. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to “What is the Matter With Young People These Days?”

  1. Glennis Moriarty says:

    Do you think something is lacking in education systems worldwide? Objectivity? Being taught to see both sides of an argument? With the cult of individualism, young people are taught that how each person *feels* is the most important thing – which makes them prime targets for propaganda. And as history shows, propaganda wielded by a few sociopaths (especially now, via social media) can change the thinking and actions of many.

  2. MP says:

    The Urghur Genocide happened and China showed just how much it had actually changed.

    If you quizzed young people on how much they liked Hong Kong and Taiwan you might get a different answer.

    As for the Ukraine war, lots of people expected Russia to fall into internal civil war by now and just want the war to end so they can go back to completely ignoring Eastern Europe.

    Everyone is individualized because the older generations have become individualized so the younger generations have no alternative but to guess for themselves. Lots of old people are just completely hostile to the young in any shape or form now.

  3. Ray says:

    Maybe, just maybe, these youngsters feel it in their bones that there is no livable future for them anymore. Maybe they realize that they were born too late in the game and just want to get it over with.
    What better way than sending troops to Ukraine and give Putin the go-ahead for WWIII and nuclear annihilation.
    Of course, that’s not going to happen. The military-industrial rulers of the USA won’t allow this. Why not? Simple, there’s no profit in it for them.
    Or maybe, these youngsters are as clueless as everybody else and soak up whatever propaganda is best at infiltrating their brains.

  4. bogwood says:

    An aging Vietnam veteran, I have been interest in starting local peace initiatives (between naps). Church groups have been particularly resistant, even the Quakers. Could the churches and other NGOs be now openly part of the state apparatus? They need the tax deductions. The long standing incestuous church state complex is influencing the younger generations? The religious youth are less numerous but more vocal.

  5. FamousDrScanlon says:

    MP, I’ve seen no evidence of a Uyghur Genocide. Did you witness it first hand or did CNN tell you it’s true, 3467 times per day, based on unnamed sources within the intelligence “community”.

    See Dave’s last post on hate China propaganda.

    There’s a Uyghur Genocide & global warming is a Chinese hoax spun to destroy all those good American manufacturing jobs.

    BTW if you want to see morons lose their shit, challenge those formerly warm-N-fuzzy SJW types on the China-Russia-Putin hate narratives. They are screaming for blood just like, Saddam hating, right wingers. If you disagree, they’ll call for your blood too.

    MSM narratives on Uyghur Genocide & Tinemian Square are both bunk.

    China-Russia-Putin hate, Russia gate, Uyghur Genocide & Tiananmen Square are believed because CNN said they’re true based on sources within the intelligence community. The same intelligence community liberals were correctly labeling as criminal liars for their fake WMD claims they started a war based upon, BUT all of the sudden when Trump smokes Hillaray, the intelligence community is magically converted into the most trustworthy source in the history of mankind.

    When I hear intelligence community claims of a genocide where the only evidence is that a handful humans said so,I ain’t buying it. I need real evidence to believe extraordinary claims.

    Who remembers when they needed to feed the public rational so they could attack Iraq/Saddam in 1991?

    “The Nayirah testimony was false testimony given before the United States Congressional Human Rights Caucus on October 10, 1990, by a 15-year-old girl who was publicly identified at the time by her first name, Nayirah. The testimony was widely publicized and was cited numerous times by U.S. senators and President George H. W. Bush in their rationale to support Kuwait in the Gulf War.

    In 1992, it was revealed that Nayirah’s last name was Al-Ṣabaḥ (Arabic: نيرة الصباح) and that she was the daughter of Saud Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States. Furthermore, it was revealed that her testimony was organized as part of the Citizens for a Free Kuwait public relations campaign, which was run by the American public relations firm Hill & Knowlton for the Kuwaiti Government. Following this, al-Sabah’s testimony has come to be regarded as a classic example of modern atrocity propaganda.

    In her testimony, Nayirah claimed that after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait she had witnessed Iraqi soldiers take babies out of incubators in a Kuwaiti hospital, remove the incubators and leave the babies to die.

    Her story was initially corroborated by Amnesty International, a British-based global NGO, which published several independent reports about the supposed killings[3] and testimony from evacuees. Following the liberation of Kuwait, reporters were given access to the country.”


    Hill & Knowlton


    “Hill and Knowlton is one of the world ‘s largest and most influential
    corporations. As such, its virtually unregulated status, its
    longstanding connections to intelligence agencies, its role in shaping
    policy, and its close relationship to the Clinton administration
    deserve careful scrutiny.”


    Any claim made by any American authority requires extraordinary evedience, because of their long history of murder & lying. For the most part I stopped looking or caring or endlessly arguing with the humans.

  6. Vera says:

    China sucks. They do harass the Uighurs. And lots of others. Tiananmen Square happened.

    What is bizarre is that first they outsource most of America’s factories to China, build her up, and now they want a war with her. Nuts. Suppose Mustache Man moved most of Germany’s factories to the Urals. Then attacked the Soviet Union. Make sense to you?

    The neocon America, all the do is make up, arm, help build up, new Devils as they go. Then the go to war against them. That’s their whole strategy. Reminds me of that scene from Ghostbusters. Get ‘er! — That was your whole plan, get ‘er?!

  7. Joe Clarkson says:

    What am I missing here?

    Note that the rapid increase in dislike for China came during the same two decades that China became the “workshop for the world” (at the expense of well-paying manufacturing jobs everywhere else). And as China’s economy grew and grew, it became more and more assertive about its right to Taiwan, its right to oppress Uighurs, and its intention to ensure that it bought or stole as many technological advantages as it could.

    Then you have the obvious theft of the resources of the Exclusive Economic Zones of other countries bordering the South China Sea. Anybody paying attention can see that hopes for China becoming an open, democratic and peaceful part of the family of nations were being dashed. At least two young members of my family spent considerable time in China and enjoyed it thoroughly. Neither would go back now, not even as a tourist.

    Then the pandemic added the revelation that too many essential products were being supplied by a country that couldn’t be counted on to abuse their sole-source advantage. Hence the rapid shift in emphasis from globalization of trade to repatriating manufacturing.

    As far as war against China and Russia goes: little was heard about going to war with Russia after the annexation of Crimea and the Donbas or Georgia, aggressions about which virtually nothing was done by anybody. Despite the inane protestations that NATO “lured” or “forced” Russia into Ukraine, it wasn’t until February 24, 2022 that anybody really paid attention. A nuclear armed country attempting to annex a large neighboring country hadn’t been seen before. It’s not surprising everyone freaked out, including the young, especially after Putin’s threat to use nukes if things didn’t go well for Russia.

    As an aside: one of the worst things about the Russian invasion is the realization that the only thing that can really protect a country from invasion is possession of nuclear weapons, weapons which Ukraine gave up in the 1990’s, a lapse they surely regret. The desire to possess nukes will only increase everywhere because of Russia.

    With regard to war with China: preparing for war is not the same as advocating for war, indeed, it may actually discourage the kind of adventurism that is likely to lead to war through miscalculation. This is why North Korea hasn’t tried to invade South Korea and, so far, China has not invaded Taiwan. I see little indication that any recent US administration or anyone else actually wants war with China. The US still trades over $500 billion worth of goods with China every year (about 2/3 to US and 1/3 to China). I think most people want that to continue, with perhaps a more equal export contribution from both sides.

  8. MP says:

    FamousDrScanlon please at least listen to the actual existing Urgur people rather then dismiss it.


  9. Dave Pollard says:

    MP, you might find if you listened to other constituencies that there is serious doubt about the degree to which Uyghur people have been persecuted in China. In particular I would recommend the Canadian small businessman who has been living in China for many years and has written and spoken about the fact that certain vehemently anti-Chinese groups (some of them in China and opposed to the current government) have worked with (and been financed by) US/CIA intelligence and information agencies to propagate lies about conditions in China in order to soften up western voters to US government war and destabilization plans and practices. His name is Daniel Dumbrill and he’s spent time in Xinjiang. Here’s a good place to start: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7IbsPFM2Xg

  10. MP says:

    Dave Pollard.

    This is exactly like the people who debated whether the ICE roundup(I am sure you’ll agree that happened because it was perpetuated by the USA) counts as a ‘real’ genocide.
    I have lost a lot of respect for you today.

  11. Mike says:

    I think the reason young people are thinking these things is due at least in part, to generational forgetting. I don’t have the exact quote, but there’s one I’m thinking of that goes something like this: When those who fought the last great war are gone, the next one will begin.

    The modern West and its young folk never went through their own fire bombings, or nuclear attack or Blitz, they’re not going to understand how foolish it is to clamor for war until its on their own doorstep.

  12. Vera says:

    There are vast armies of pro-China-trolls on the interwebs. They used to infest Saker’s site, pushing the lie that Tiananmen never happened because the Chinese are too smart to sacrifice their students. I actually ran it by a neighbor of mine, who married into the US not that many years prior, whose family lived in Shanghai, and who had the opportunity to travel extensively in China and elsewhere. She assured me it happened.

    To say this or that blogger is trustworthy and KNOWS for certain to what extent they persecute Uighurs, Falun Gong people, and various dissidents, … I call bullshit. Too much at stake here, too many people profiting by widespread lies. (Not only in relation to China, of course.)

    As best as I can tell, China is a modified totalitarian system bent on world domination. They are not keeping the “domination” part secret, but would very much like to shove the totalitarian part under the rug for PR purposes. I have no way to triangulate all the conflicting stories. What I do keep an eye on is the desertification. Is it spreading? As long as it is spreading, China is in for massive trouble. (And so far, yes, it’s spreading. Rather fast. Right in the direction of Beijing.)

  13. Brutus says:

    Only complicated answers to this question but methinks you feign cluelessness. I rather like Ray’s first answer, which perhaps explains the generational split better than others. Those starting out in adult life may be more prone than Boomers, say, to assess their prospects for a meaningful life and find everything severely degraded. Willingness to incite war and risk armageddon is hardly a novel phenomenon, especially when little of the destruction thus far is occuring in American cities.

    It’s been said that American identity is fundamental negative, meaning based on repudiation of enemies rather than elevating ourselves or living up to our own values. Accordingly, propagandists have delivered one big bad (Soviets, Islamofascists, Russians, Chinese) after then next to keep Americans constantly absorbed by fear of invasions that never happen. Totally irrational but explainable.

Comments are closed.