New generation conservatives

The very British “Edge of England’s Sword“, identifies an interesting trend in the youngest voters;

They are, as is well known, completely disconnected from the political process, but their political views might be surprising to many:

These first-time voters are dubbed the selfish generation. But the poll shows that 61 per cent worry about helping their parents in old age. They are more old-fashioned and authoritarian than their parents’ generation and are very concerned about school discipline. More than half oppose the legalisation of drugs. The majority of first-time voters also think that mothers should stay at home to look after young children.

In other words, it appears that they’ve seen the mistakes their parents made and have therefore realised the wisdom in the ways of their more distant ancestors … A large number are seriously worried, with fear of “higher taxes”, mentioned by 81 per cent, at the top of the list. A large proportion of young people are strapped financially and the prospect of sharp tax rises after the coming election alarms many. Substantial proportions are also worried about whether they will be able to assist their parents financially in old age (61 per cent) and paying for their own continuing education (50 per cent).

This combination of worries about social disintegration and high taxes is natural Tory territory

Conservatism may have a bright future: this is the generation that was 25% aborted, whose parents divorced at the drop of a hat, who will have less earning power than their parents, so they esteem material wealth less than life experiences and time spent with the people they love. Go Gen Y!

UPDATE: In spite of jeers from the Left, evidence of this trend is not just a right-wing fantasy. (Is it right-wing to want to put the brakes on radical social reengineering, ever-increasing tax, growth in state power, or call for government accountability?) From Chicago Report:

Next Generation College Right: Emphasizes Responsibility, Not Theocracy
[As] one who helped establish a “Right” at UIC where previously none had existed, I had always felt that the events of 9/11 that had been so openly celebrated by the campus Left was actually the worst thing to happen to them and the Leftist academy.

… concepts of privatization, personal responsibility and respect for individual rights [are] the heart of the Next Gen-Conservative …

I was shocked to see that out of all the “value” reassertion that is occurring among the next generation conservatives, mindless statism and prejudice against is not one of those values and a live-and-let-live ethic exists in its place. It’s about time. The only consistent conservatism was the one that called for limited government and the live-and-let-live ethic.

From OpinionJournal:

Right on Campus: Conservatives begin to infiltrate the left’s last redoubt.
The protests shocked the mainstream press, but to close observers of America’s college scene lately they came as no surprise. For decades, conservative critics have bemoaned academe’s monolithically liberal culture. Parents, critics note, spend fortunes to send their kids to top colleges, and then watch helplessly as the schools cram them with a diet of politically correct leftism often wholly opposed to mom and dad’s own values.

But the left’s long dominion over the university–the last place on earth that lefty power would break up, conservatives believed–is showing its first signs of weakening. The change isn’t coming from the schools’ faculty lounges and administrative offices, of course. It’s coming from self-organizing right-of-center students and several innovative outside groups working to bypass the academy’s elite gatekeepers.

The number of College Republicans has almost tripled … to to 1,148 today, with 120,000-plus members … Other conservative organizations, ranging from gun clubs (Harvard’s has more than 100 students blasting away) to impudent newspapers and magazines, are budding at schools everywhere–even at Berkeley, crucible of the 1960s’ student left. And right-of-center speakers invited by these clubs are drawing large and approving crowds.

Many of the students, especially the women, value getting married and raising a family with a fervor that would thrill the Family Research Council. “I’m an old-fashioned girl,” avers Cornell’s Miss Stewart. “I think it’s wonderful when a mother can spend the majority of her time devoted to her child’s early years. I plan to do just that.” Reports University of Virginia sociology professor W. Bradford Wilcox: “My biggest surprise in teaching here is that I am coming across growing numbers of postfeminist college women. They tend to be very bright and–other things being equal–would normally gravitate to feminist academics.” Instead, Mr. Wilcox notes, they’re looking for “a sane path forward for the revival of courtship and family life.”

Notes Edward Morrissey, “Captain Ed” of the popular conservative blog Captain’s Quarters, these kids “grew up on . . . moral relativism and internationalism, constantly fed the line that there was no such thing as evil in the world, only misunderstandings.” Suddenly, on 9/11, this generation discovered that “there are enemies and they wanted to kill Americans in large numbers, and that a good portion of what they’d been taught was drizzly pap.”

Yet a deeper reason for the rightward shift, which began well before 9/11, is the left’s broader intellectual and political failure. American college kids grew up in an era that witnessed both communism’s fall and the unchained U.S. economy’s breathtaking productivity surge. They’ve seen that anyone willing to work hard–regardless of race or sex–can thrive in such an opportunity-rich system. “I’m only 20, so I don’t remember segregation or the oppression of women–in fact, my mother had a very successful career since I was a kid,” one student observed in an online discussion. “I look around and don’t see any discrimination against minorities or women.” Left-wing charges of U.S. economic injustice sound like so much BS to many kids today.

The destructive effects of “just do it” values on the family are equally evident to many undergrads, who have painfully felt those effects themselves or watched them rip up the homes of their friends. They turn to family values with the enthusiasm of converts … Conservative ideas take on even greater allure for students when the authorities say they’re verboten … pervasive campus political correctness–the unfree speech codes, obligatory diversity-sensitivity seminars and school-sponsored performances of “The Vagina Monologues’–to the professorate’s near-uniform leftism … Student leftists … regularly try to shut down or shut up conservative student publications, practicing what civil libertarian Nat Hentoff calls “free speech for me and not for thee.”

Further links: International Young Democrat Union [IYDU.org] — The Sexual Revolution and Teen Dating Trends [mentalhealth.about.com] — Misreading Millenials [reason.com]

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2 thoughts on “New generation conservatives

  1. that fully explains why at the 1999 election the Greens got the biggest chunk of the special vote (enough to send them from 4.9% to 5.3% overall), and that the majority of special votes are from young people.
    Young people tend to be more idealistic, liberal and tolerant of others than older generations. There has not been a rise in conservatism within the youth, there has been a slight rise in right-wing idealism though.

  2. I can live in hope! These figures were from England, where the flame of freedom is still alive. Down here in Helengrad it’s being suffocated by Labour’s mighty propaganda machine.

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