I remember the first time I met a “homophobe”. It was in high school, and the thing he told me was that gays were “fucking disgusting” and I was given no explanation for his reasoning. At the time, I tried to push back against this line of reasoning, though now I’d be somewhat inclined to agree. Finding out about things like bugchasing or the fact that most gay men have had more than 500 sexual partners in their lifetime has that effect on a person, but I don’t really care about the issue that much. I didn’t describe what he looks like, but I’m sure you have made an automatic assumption as to his age, race and religion. Write it down and then look at the list below. I’d be fully surprised if you get a perfect score.
My friend is:
I was about 14 at the time, but by then I had met way more gay and bi kids than homophobes. None of the adults I met seemed to have much of a problem with homosexuals, or rather, they never vocalised it. This was the first time I have ever heard this, and it was from a 14 year old Maori kid. As of recently, I am hearing more sentiment along these lines, and the ones vocalising it are getting younger and younger.
Strauss-Howe’s generational theory always interested me, mainly due to people’s misunderstanding of it. “Millenials are destroying television!” “Millenials are killing the napkin industry!” “Why are millenials…” doing xyzabc to industry defghi, and other assorted clickbait titles come to mind. My first indication of their misunderstanding of the theory stems from their terrible definitions for certain generations. Clickbait articles like these try to evoke the image of the “Millenial” by painting them as this amorphous group of ‘young people’ when the reality is quite the opposite. The people that still think millenials are young are probably still surprised when you point out that 1980 was 37 years ago. The oldest millenial is nearly 40 years old. This point bears repeating.
The oldest millenial is nearly 40.
The misunderstanding, I think, is where they place the lower limit of Gen Y. Strauss-Howe’s theory posits that a generation is a roughly 15-25 year group of people who largely share the same cultural understanding and world view, based on the year of their birth or coming-of-age. This is not a hard limit; the start and end period of a generation is usually where people decide which gen they more closely associate themselves with. The most important thing that defines a generation is what that gen grew up with and what they rebelled against in their 20s. I’ve seen cut-and-dry definitions for ‘millenial’ range from “born between 1980 and 2000” to “if they’re younger than Gen X”. These are both very incorrect. Millenials witnessed 9/11, the Iraq War, the 2008 financial crash, and for some of them, the fall of the Soviet Union. Millenials grew up with NWA, the earliest version of Pokemon, they grew up with the earliest Final Fantasy games. Ask the kid born in ’96 what 9/11 meant to him, and he’ll say “I don’t know, I was 5 at the time.”
If it were up to me, the definition of millenial would be anybody born from 1980 to 1995. They’re an old and short generation, which grew up to experience one of the few times in world history where things were ‘peaceful’. There were conflicts, sure, but there were no real existential threats. Nobody was pointing a nuke at them. Nobody was waging a holy war against them. They were not driven out of their suburbs by whichever migrant group is the fastest growing at the moment. Millenials, therfore, ARE a special generation. They’re one of the only generations to experience this ‘peace’, and one of the only generations to have had their ‘peace’ ‘stolen’ from them.
This, I think, explains many of the afflictions associated to millenials. Their adoption of leftist ideology may have been born out of them seeing the Soviet Union die when they were children, then seeing their world degenerate ever since. They probably, subconsciously, conflate the two with each other. Who could blame them? If my childhood was awesome during a time when Communism existed, but my adulthood was bleak long after the world largely abandoned the very concept, I’d think that there might be something to it. Their safe-space mentality may have been born of this same thing. They were the first daycare generation and their childhood was ‘peaceful’. That ‘peace’ is a very unique thing that not many generations can be lucky to lay claim to. Good times create weak men, weak men create hard times, and so on. The Boomers were born in a similar bubble post-WW2. The difference is that the good times were swept out from under the Millenials when they came of age. The safe-space mentality is a manifestation of their want to return to the safety of the world they inhabited as children.
This isn’t to say that they want a literal safe-space where they can be children, shielded from adult consequences, even though it may sometimes seem like it. They just want the relative safety of their plastic childhood world so they can have a good 30 years like the Boomers had. A world that has been deracinated, sterilised, prepackaged and marketed to those of arrested development, where it was still seen as easy, purposeful and straightforward to progress in life. If I go to this university, I can get that job with this starting salary and I can buy it within this timeframe. That dream more or less shattered when they became of-age, and thus they degenerated with the world. They adopted either nihilistic or revolutionary outlooks on life, filled whatever other voids they had with materialism, and they became resentful of the world that had become, not fully realising that the world they used to inhabit never existed. And this isn’t to say that resenting the modern world is a bad idea; there is nothing wrong with resenting the west in its current form. The problem is where that resent is rooted. And this is why I define Generation Z as being born post-’96.
To those born post-’96, the world growing up was a world with purposelessness exposed bare. I was seven years old when Youtube was launched. I was eight years old when Final Fantasy XII was released. I was nine years old when Pokemon Diamond and Pearl were released. I can remember listening to The Lonely Island’s “I’m on a boat” in primary school (I cringe whenever I’m reminded of this). I vaguely remember the events of Benghazi, I followed along with Syria since it started, and I remember the 2015 New Years Eve mass molestation as though it happened half a year ago. I remember a fundamentally different world to those of the Millenial generation. It’s quite an experience seeing Europe go from being barely talked about in negative terms to seeing very regular terrorist attacks occuring there while you’re still in high school. I can only imagine the image 15 year olds have of Europe. But being this young, you don’t have nearly the problems your elders have in identifying the causes of certain ills, or in vocalising them. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if we really were the “most socially conservative generation since the Second World War,” though I would personally use a different word.
‘Conservative,’ in this context, is a misnomer. Some argue that they are more socially liberal and fiscally conservative, while others argue that they are the opposite. This can get extremely confusing, especially when your only real source is a Gen X or Millenial researcher speaking on behalf of Gen Z. I would say that neither is the case, and that ‘conservative’ implies that there’s anything worth conserving at the moment. You know what I would like to conserve going forward? The quality of my Pokemon games. My ability to flip on flat ground. My physical and mental health. The quality of my philosophy books which, regretably, I haven’t read. My manga collection. There is nothing else I would like “conserved” from this world. As it currently stands, my nation’s government is selling my future out from underneath me; my nation’s central bank is keeping the interest rate on my nation’s dollar at a supremely low amount; my nation’s police force is wholly inadequate to uphold the law; my nation’s laws are labrynthine; half of my nation’s culture is being undermined, and the other half will be undermined in short time; my nation’s mental and physical health is in the sewer; my nation would sell the birthright which is our land to those of another nation and ceed control of our industry to them because “lmoa ur to lasey 2 do job”. Why would I want to conserve any of that? Why would I vote for the “conservative” party when all they want to do is dole out a McTaxCut™ every now and again? Why would I vote for the “liberal” party when they would do the same as the “conservative” party, but dole out extra benefit payments and call you a racist for breathing in the direction of somebody of a different race to you?
The “conservative” and “liberal” labels are rooted in the same overarching desire, but I don’t know what term to use for this desire. Is it Neoliberalism, Progressivism, Globalism, Communo-Capitalism, some other buzzword meant to evoke the image of a fat, monicled, possibly jewish individual stamping out even more buzzwords (except these buzzwords are the McGood™ ones that you believe actually mean something)? Ultimately, the quest to compartmentalise these complex ideas is a quest which seeks to obfuscate the reality of the situation beyond a necessary level. They help to grasp the basic concept, but they inevitably lead to the “everything I don’t like is…” syndrome. No, I don’t think this generation is the most conservative. It’s the most Anarcho-Statist.
What do I mean? Simply put, it’s the one most willing to shrug off buzzwords and subvert them. It’s the one most willing to drop political parties for cucking out on issues. It’s the one most likely to resort to insults either first or exclusively, because they recognise the futility in arguing against people that will not argue in good faith. Forgive my language, but they’re the most memetic. If you asked them what they thought, issue by issue, you’d get some honest answers, but if you tried to box them into this group or that political party, they’d be the first to subvert the very idea of it. If you asked me, issue by issue, what I believed, I’d be a centrist in aggregate. If you took my opinion on the migrant crisis and extrapolated my ideology from that, you’d call me an Identitarian. If you extrapolated my opinion on central banking or the nature of government, you’d call me an Anarcho-Capitalist. If you took the fact that I don’t care that the government’s role is to force people to do things they don’t really want to do, you’d call me a hard Statist. I don’t really care that the welfare state exists, but I would never want to draw from it. Am I a Social Democrat now? I don’t care that tax money is used to build shitty infrastructure, but I’d prefer that I wasn’t exorbitantly taxed and that the infrastructure wasn’t shit. Am I a Socialist or a Conservative? I think that the Alt-Right, the Alt-Lite, Kekistan and the “Skeptic Community” are cancer, but am I not allowed to borrow their ideas or watch their videos? Am I a Christian because I think that Christianity is an important part of the European identity and of cultures created by Europeans? Am I a Pagan for the same reason? Am I an Islamic National Socialist for supporting Assad over the Free Syrian Army and Islamic State? I’m none of these, because I would be a walking contradiction. At the same time, I am all of these things simultaneously, and I can interchange between them to piss off whoever it is I happen to be arguing against. What was that old Eminem lyric again?
Yes, I would agree that a lot of us have very similar beliefs, and that a large amount of us cluster around beliefs held by older ‘conservatives’. But you would have to be a fool to actually believe we’re a bunch of Neoconservative hacks ready to vote National or Tory or Republican from now until eternity. What you would instead see is a young and radical vote swing based on actions, results and personalities. If for some reason the ACT Party get near the 5% threshold this year, you can probably guess who voted for them. It’ll be a transient vote, favouring upstart and non-establishment parties, but probably with a low voter turnout. In New Zealand, parties that would stand to gain from a youthquake of Gen Z voters include New Zealand First, Green, Labour, ACT and TOP in that order, though National and the Maori Party would benefit somewhat from this. As to why it is that Generation Z have these beliefs, I would have to guess that it’s due to none other than 4chan and the rich history they have with Youtube and the internet at large.
Youtube used to just be a video repository. 4chan, at the time, couldn’t support video uploads, so they would upload videos to Youtube and either link or embed their video on their posts. This is why people remember “numa-numa guy” and not who he was as a person. Fundamentally, it didn’t matter. Youtubers were irrelevant when it came to what got famous, it was all up to 4chan, Something Awful and a handfull of other websites. The discussions that occured here determined the context for future discussions that would later happen on Youtube. Much of the modern gamer culture, otaku culture and political discussions were framed by /v/, /a/ and /new/, /b/ and /pol/ respectively. These discussions would fan out to Digg (and later, Reddit), Youtube and to wherever else they may have found themselves. Minecraft got famous from a Youtube algorithim change, but the early discussion happened on /v/ as Notch was developing it. The whole reason 4chan was created was so that Moot could discuss anime, and no doubt much of the nomenclature used by weeaboos such as weeaboo, waifu, and other cancerous words and phrases were coined here. The political side was a long time in the making. ‘Anonymous’ was started on 4chan so that they had a fallguy in case a raid, hack or their political action failed. It quickly gained notoriety after Project Chanology and Occupy Wall Street, and was eventually superceded by Anarcho-Communists and edgy Millenials LARPing as Comrade Che. Their largely significant overlap with other boards meant that /new/, and later, /pol/, could throw its weight around /a/ and /v/, and they would do the same. This would come into play much later on with things like GamerGate. In the meantime, /pol/ was probably laughing at the dumpster fire which was Atheism+. Notice anything? These are all things which played into a much larger feedback loop called Youtube. /pol/ spergs out in real life, it trends on Youtube, then Gen Z is introduced to Anonymous. /v/ spergs out about GamerGate, then it gets big on Youtube and Gen Z is exposed to small time media corruption and possible government intervention into “muh vidya”.
I can assure you that Generation Z was unsupervised on Youtube. It was the daycare that TV was to Millenials. I can also assure you that Generation Z was watching this stuff, and if they weren’t, they absorbed the effects of this from osmosis. How many of them watch Pewdiepie? How many of them used to watch Pewdiepie? I have no doubt he used imageboards like 4chan early on, and if not, he uses them sporatically right now. What about the politics channels they watch? Hell, what about the types of memes they engorge themselves with? Ask them. They probably won’t use words like ‘conservative’ to describe them, though it does happen occasionally.
I had a talk with some of the guys I do Parkour with a while back. They’re in their early years of high school, and they were saying that during their science class they were taken with the rest of their year to the hall to have a presentation with this philosopher lady. I forgot what it was that they told me about her, but it was the typical hippie, new wave, anti-white drivel you would come to expect from public education. They probably forgot too, but they were telling me that it was a boring presentation, that they preferred to be in class and that when one of them tried to object to a certain point, he was reprimanded because when he put up his hand, it looked too much like a roman salute for her liking.
Please don’t mis-generation me on my profile, thanks 🙂