Paul L. Caron

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Millennials, Put Away Childish Political Things

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Millennials, Put Away Childish Political Things, by Mary Eberstadt (Panula Chair in Christian Culture, Catholic Information Center; Senior Fellow, Faith and Reason Institute):

As the election results of 2021 suggest a chill in the air for the left, the time has come to talk to younger voters—millennials and Generation Z—about America’s future. The message can be distilled in a single sentence: You’ve been robbed.

You have been robbed of something treasured by millions of less-literate Americans before you: knowledge and appreciation of your own country, and its symphonic, tumultuous, sometimes riven and always illuminating history.

According to some of today’s loudest and most influential voices, the U.S. is an irredeemable cesspool of racism and bigotry. This lie has resulted in a wide patriotism gap. In 2020, according to one poll, under a quarter of Democrats surveyed said they were extremely proud to be American, as opposed to almost three-quarters of Republicans. Only a third of Americans your age say the same. ...

Many of today’s young have been robbed, too, of another source of immaterial wealth: the consolations and joys of family life. This theft is due in part to generational arithmetic. Today’s younger adults hail from smaller networks of kinship than earlier generations. You are more likely to have lacked a father at home and to have had fewer siblings, cousins, uncles and aunts than your forbears. ... No wonder surveys show that young people are the loneliest Americans.

Some of you have been robbed of another rich inheritance: organized religion. Men and women throughout the ages concluded that humanity exists within some form of a sacred order. Alongside that understanding of the divine flourished the greatest art and science, architecture and music and human creation at large that our species has ever devised. Permanent membership in “none of the above” secularism risks relinquishing your own cultural inheritance: Western civilization. ...

In place of today’s cynical exploitation of race, conservatism says Martin Luther King Jr. In place of identity politics that flies under rival banners and denies our common home, it says only the American flag should fly over a U.S. Embassy. In place of ever more fastidiously defined factions, it says one nation indivisible. And in place of indifference to the sufferings incurred by family decline, family subversion and postmodern cultural chaos, conservatism seeks revival.

This is the room where the grown-ups are. This is where you deserve to be too—you who know from the inside your generation’s poignant realities. You are overdue for the restoration of America’s undiminished promise and for upward moral mobility.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. — 1 Corinthians 13:11

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