If there was ever an anthem for youth culture these days, it would have to be Khalid’s “Young Dumb & Broke.” I don’t mean that as an unjust attack as much as a pointed observation of reality.
I’m far from the first to express concern over the lack of critical thinking so prevalent among Millennials and Gen-Z. The moral and intellectual cesspools of the modern American university system have decimated not just their capability to think, but their desire. Movements and crusades that build there are predicated entirely upon vapid sloganeering, hashtags, and chants, leaving behind any appeal to rational or logical evidence.
Anecdotally you can witness this sorry reality in the popularity of both Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders among this crowd. Obama’s platitudes, speech patterns, and willingness to adopt cultural fads (see his shoulder brush, mic drop, or his slow jamming the news with Jimmy Fallon) made him a favorite. Meanwhile, Bernie’s promises of socialist utopia appear equally as enticing as Obama’s birth control bonanza.
It seems incomprehensible, but Sanders garners emphatic acolytes across college campuses as he thunders imbecilic lines like,
“You don’t necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers when children are hungry in this country.”
As if a broad market for deodorant takes food off of anyone’s table? This isn’t just poor thinking – it’s not thinking. Yet depressingly, young people seem enthralled by it. As the New York Times reports how even basic groceries have become unaffordable in socialist Venezuela, with 80% of the people now living in poverty, Ilya Shapiro quips,
“But at least they don’t have the tyranny of choosing among so many deodorants.”
It would be hilarious if Sanders were regarded as the unthinking professional politician he is. It is devastating given that he is instead the de facto voice of the next generation of Americans.
In the recent CNN debate between Sanders and Texas conservative Ted Cruz, a young millennial asked Cruz why she should prefer his plan to cut corporate taxes. After all, that is contrary to everything Bernie tells her is right – corporations are evil and should be taxed to death, since they merely exist to exploit workers at the expense of her future.
Cruz answered with remarkable simplicity:
“I’ll give you the best reason: because when you graduate you want a job. Do you know the United States has the highest corporate tax rate of any developed country in the world? You look at countries all over Europe, you look at Ireland, you look at the United Kingdom, you look at France, they’re cutting their tax rates. And what’s happening is jobs are fleeing to those countries. Capital goes where it gets the right tax rate. And Bernie’s solution is jack the taxes up even more. If you jack the taxes up even more, we’ve already got the highest corporate tax rates of the developed world. You’ll see even more companies leaving, even more jobs leaving. And the frustration young people feel is you’re coming out of school, and you don’t have opportunity. You know, Bernie talked a minute ago about the gap between rich and poor. He’s right. It’s growing. But it’s grown dramatically under Barack Obama.”
It makes sense if you are willing to think. Higher taxes on corporations will send any smart CEO looking for a new place with lower taxes to produce. And if that’s in London instead of Los Angeles, it means more jobs for the young people of England and less for the kids out of UCLA.
Luckily for Bernie, young people seem completely opposed to thinking. They prefer his war on deodorant choices over the opportunities coming from booming big business. I fear they will get what they ask for.