Why is Generation Y so conservative?
Mass media debate has been sparked around this age group, trying in vain to ascertain why we’ve lost the flare for rebellion.
GENERATION Y is on the brink of an identity crisis. Young people have ceased to be the bona fide avant-gardists who passionately loved left-wing politics, joined Greenpeace and annoyed parents by becoming vegetarian.
They have ceased to sport the brand of defiance, to do anything for the sake of doing it, to rebel against \”the suits\”.
The days of punk rock and progressive counter-culture are over. Today, they are \”the suits\”, falling over themselves in the mad rush to get older, faster. Welcome, young people, to the generation of conservatism.
Last week the Bible Society of Australia announced it had translated all 31,173 verses of the Bible into SMS, a move that, according to the society\’s spokesman, Michael Chant, would appeal to young people, the biggest users of mobile phones. But what else does this say about young people?
Every generation chose some things to regard as sacred – for the baby boomers it was free love, for the \’70s kids it was stadium rock. Generation Ys love safety. We\’re more concerned with a stable job and getting married than we are about acting our age. We\’re even taking this concern with us to the polls – from 2001 to 2003 Labor\’s support among young people fell by 3.6 percentage points and the Democrats\’ by 3.1 percentage points, while support for the Coalition among young people increased by 6.4 percentage points.
Our viewpoint on religion and abortion has taken a more conservative swing than in past generations, and we seem increasingly shocked by anything slightly risque, like, say, people in the Big Brother house carrying on like the twentysomethings they are.
The closest we\’ve ever come to rebellion is wearing a spiky wristband, which bouncers make us leave at the door anyway because that sort of thing could be used as a weapon.
The evidence that we\’re straight is there, but we\’re still hell-bent on sporting rebellious imagery. We claim we love protest but when two guys scribble \”No War\” on the Opera House we shake our head and tsk-tsk about the \”public desecration of a treasured national monument\”.
We claim we\’re all about defiance but when Kate Moss racks up a few lines we gasp and say, \”Gosh, how could she?\” Why is this?
Perhaps conforming to non-conformity has become so old that conservative concepts have become the new brand of rebellion. Or perhaps it\’s simply about following history.
Young people in the \’80s were into the corporate greed thing in a big way, something that only fell over in the \’90s when life was more about getting stoned and listening to Nirvana.
But since 2001 a lot of people have dusted off their Bibles, shifted to the political right and changed their outlook on life, a shift that\’s infused the rebellious blood of Generation Y.
Maybe this shift to a more conservative mind-set has left young people mentally impotent. Maybe we have allowed ourselves to become part of the same herd that previous generations fought so hard to be different from, devouring the popular culture handed to us and no longer questioning anything about our world, much less wanting to change it.
Whatever the reason, at least we know that some things will always stay the same: as Ecclesiastes, chapter nine, verse 10 reads: \”Wrk hard at wateva u do. U will soon go 2 da wrld of da dead, where no 1 wrks or thinks or reasons or knws NEting.\”
Amen to that.