Gen X to the rescue? Matthew Hennessey writes that Gen X’s roots in the analog world make it perfectly suited to counterbalance the influence of millennials on our culture:
“Markedly less patriotic than boomers and Gen Xers, millennials see nothing special about being American and recoil at the notion of US exceptionalism. A 2016 Gallup poll found that socialism was more popular than capitalism among those under 30.
“Nearly 70 percent of millennial survey respondents said they’d be comfortable voting for a socialist candidate. […] Perhaps most troubling, millennials have displayed an indifference to the bedrock American principle of free speech. A 2015 Pew study found 40 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 34 felt the federal government ought to censor potentially offensive statements about minority groups. […]
“Given the acquiescence of millennials to the all-online world, Gen X has a formidable responsibility to keep faith with reality. They are the last analog generation. Raised in a pre-revolutionary moment technologically, they are children of books, handshakes, body language and eye contact. They learned — even if they didn’t always appreciate them — the virtues of patience, self-control and delayed gratification. They knew what it meant to be out of contact with someone they loved. Some of them — too few — learned how to fix an engine or wire a light fixture. Most remember how quiet things used to be; how easy it was to be alone. […]
“So what can Gen X do to help save America? It can begin by reasserting the relevance of the flesh-and- blood world that formed it. On an individual level, this means putting the iPhone down, turning off the computer and taking a book out of the library or visiting a museum. It means talking to your friends face-to-face more instead of mostly texting or e-mailing them. On a societal level, it means pushing back against those who blithely accept that technology can be the solution to all our social and political problems. It means adopting a healthy skepticism of millennials’ efforts to disrupt every industry with technology and an ethos of ‘sharing.’ It means fighting for your privacy.
“If Gen X doesn’t get its act together — and fast — it will have the rug pulled out from under just as it’s on the verge of realizing its potential. That would be a shame, for a society that desperately needs a counterbalance to the millennial rush to a digital world.” [The Manhattan Institute]