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Opening Arguments

Millennial madness

Here we go again:

So the really interesting question about the millennials isn’t whether they’ll all be voting Democratic when Chelsea Clinton runs for president. It’s whether this level of individualism — postpatriotic, postfamilial, disaffiliated — is actually sustainable across the life cycle, and whether it can become a culture’s dominant way of life.

One can answer “yes” to this question cheerfully or pessimistically — with the optimism of a libertarian who sees such individualism as a liberation from every form of oppression and control, or the pessimism of a communitarian who sees social isolation, atomization and unhappiness trailing in its wake.

But one can also answer “no,” and argue that the human desire for community and authority cannot be permanently buried — in which case the most important question in an era of individualism might be what form of submission it presages.

There was so much pretentious crap written about my Baby Boom generation that we thought we were the most special cohort ever to come along. Now they're doing the same thing with the Millenials. Of course, they're individualistic, which is less interesting when you consider that they're individualistic in the same way. Let's all be nonconformists together! These people are immature now, and they will grow up, the way we all had to. Give it a rest.