In an interview with the Daily Caller, conservative commentator Jonah Goldberg made the case that young voters are "so frickin' stupid" and, accordingly, aren't worth the media and political attention.
"It is a simple fact of science that nothing correlates more with ignorance and stupidity than youth," Goldberg argued. "They don't know better--that's why you call them 'young people'."
Goldberg's big-picture discontent appears to stem from media and political candidates' steadily-climbing focus on the youth vote. In the presidential race, the Romney, Obama, and Paul campaigns have devoted significant manpower and money to catering towards this voting bloc. This July, millennials will certainly be paying attention to the impending showdown in Congress over expiring subsidized student loan rates.
Nevermind the fact you'll never get a reputable social scientist to agree that there's a correlation between stupidity and youth — and that great Americans, from Thomas Jefferson to Bill Gates, did incredible things for our country in their youths. What really gets me is this sentence: "If they're going to run the country someday, we really need to explain to them why they're so frickin' stupid about so many things."
Last time I checked, every market crash, dumb war, and other massive societal blunders were caused by middle-to-upper-aged generations. If I'm learning anything from my elders right now, it's from their mistakes.
Goldberg's rhetoric unfortunately represents why millennials aren't registering with his party. Diverse, open to compromise, and pragmatic, the Republican brand — to the majority of Millennials — is viewed as white and male, narrow-minded, and patronizingly ideological (Goldberg proves all of that in his interview).
Millennials aren’t particularly happy with the left either. Our generation may value Democratic ideals of social justice, equality of opportunity, and progressivism, but the pyrotechnics of “hope and change” are fading fast amidst low-millennial unemployment and the escalating pension/entitlement crisis pushing cities, counties, and states towards bankruptcy.
If neither party gives us what we truly want, where do we go? I’ve seen millennials do one of two things. Some commit themselves to their beliefs in a hands-on way — in a service program like Teach for America, in a political movement like Occupy Wall Street or the Ron Paul revolution, contribute to the American workforce with a 9-to-5 and a family, yet still make time to vote and get involved in a local charity.
These are the millennials that show Goldberg is dead wrong. They’re out there actively shaping the society they want to live in. They’re demonstrating “hope and change” can only happen with a long-term commitment. That’s smart.
Millennials who stick their head in the sand, though, and don’t participate are the ones who let people like Goldberg get away with their rhetoric. And right now, those people are winning. Bigoted, extremist Republicans, and fiscally irresponsible Democrats are winning. They’re winning because there aren’t enough smart, committed, involved millennials — and, let’s be honest, many others across the generations — participating in our great representative democracy.
The American Experiment is only as good as the men and women who commit to it. Millennials who don’t realize this are only proving Goldberg’s case.