Reaching Millennials With the Message of Liberty
A new survey shows that there's reason to hope young people will get on board.
It’s often said the current generation scorns the one that precedes it. Such has been the way of things since the Beatles showed up on the Ed Sullivan Show, and each succeeding generation since then has worried that the next generation of kids doesn’t value traditional American ideals. But a new study by Reason Foundation of 2,000 Millennials found that the concerns of this much-maligned group is more in line with the realities of modern America than you might think.
A lot of ink has been spilled about how the so-called millennial generation rejects the ideals that many of us have held for so long. We’ve been lead to believe this latest generation of young people is spoiled, misinformed and generally wanting a way of life that can only be had through massive government and social intervention. Well, take heart. This crop of young people is reachable with the message of Liberty.
On one hand, by a large margin, Millennials prefer a government that provides more services for people, and they like the idea of government services for the poor. But that adoration steadily declines as taxes rise to pay for them. Sure, 74% believe government has a responsibility to guarantee citizens a place to eat and sleep, but 57% also believe a smaller government with fewer taxes would help the economy and be more beneficial for specific welfare programs. Amazingly, 73% favor private accounts for Social Security (George W. Bush, anyone?). A majority of Millennials also believe that reducing regulations would be better for the economy in general. A vast majority would like to see the government provide health care (ObamaCare) and a living wage, but more Millennials than in previous surveys also believe that the government is wasteful and corrupt.
What does it all mean? Millennials are not as clueless as they have been portrayed in recent years. Sure, they’re idealistic, as all youth are. But it’s also worthy of note that this generation is well aware of the malfunction of our government. They want our government to do great things, but they also recognize that it’s not quite capable of making these good things happen.
It’s also worth noting that 64% of Millennials in this survey believe in the free market. A narrow margin supports capitalism over socialism, but a large portion of those who support socialism don’t necessarily know what socialism really means. Fair enough – neither do a lot of our elected officials.
Millennials in general are not a generation to be dismissed. Republicans looking to expand their base would do a service to themselves to appeal to this group. Their idealism is rooted in some basic American ideals of hard work, smaller government and self-reliance. Millennials are more informed – though also more misinformed – than any generation in American history. They are active and they are engaged. So the best thing that can be done is inform them with the truth.
As John Adams once said, “Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.” Likewise, James Wilson said, “Law and liberty cannot rationally become the objects of our love, unless they first become the objects of our knowledge.” Educating the next generation is the primary goal of The Patriot Post’s Essential Liberty Project, and we also have a new arrival at the Patriot Post Shop teaching kids how to treat the flag. This critical education is Step One for every American citizen who values the legacy of Liberty bequeathed to them by the enormous sacrifices made by generations of Patriots. Let’s work to win Millennials.