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Posts tagged ‘GEN Z’

Why Did Gen Z Turn Out to Vote for Democrats and Against Their Own Interests?


BY: AUGUSTE MEYRAT | NOVEMBER 16, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/11/16/why-did-gen-z-turn-out-to-vote-for-democrats-and-against-their-own-interests/

girl in red sweater holding her phone sitting next to a girl friend
No one challenges the kids, so they grow up soft and slow, making them the perfect sheep to be manipulated en masse.

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AUGUSTE MEYRAT

VISIT ON TWITTER@MEYRATAUGUSTE

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There’s plenty of blame to go around for the disappointing results of the last week’s election: the current post-Covid rules (or lack thereof) for voting, mismanaged ballot collection and counting, Republican leadership, and American voters. Naturally, all of these factors played a role in helping a party that has failed on multiple fronts to stay securely in power.

However, one major reason for Democrats winning was Gen Z voters coming out in large numbers to vote for them — though this was not quite as big a reason as Democrats believe. This cohort was responsible for electing cognitively impaired man-child John Fetterman and incompetent shrew Kathy Hochul as well as reelecting Covid tyrant Gretchen Whitmer. Less unsurprisingly, they’re also responsible for supporting the legalization of marijuana and expanding abortion.

Why did these young people feel motivated enough to go and vote against their interests and keep the country on a downward trajectory? Do they like rising crime, high inflation, mass illegal immigration, homeless encampments, high gas prices, and a shrinking economy? Did they really think Biden would pay off their student loans? Are they just brainwashed zombies who comply with the narratives of TikTok?

Based on my extensive experience as an English teacher, I would say that yes, the average Gen Z American is largely indifferent to important issues that affect the country, even ones that affect their general quality of life. Every day, I witness their lack of reasoning skills and personal drive. This in turn causes them to be disturbingly introverted and handle most of their interactions with people through social media. Many have no real community or deep-seated beliefs and act more on feelings than principle.

Instead, they spend most of their waking life on the internet, consuming mindless content and dreaming up fake personas for themselves. And as a result, they are largely immaturelonely, and neurotic.

This much is argued by writer and former English professor Mark Bauerlein, who writes that Gen Z, “will be the most conformist cohort in American history, already favoring cancellation more than any other age group, and politics will be a primary mode of grouping.” This generation is told what to think by various online influencers, and they passively comply. Because of screen addiction, they will never learn to think or act for themselves, nor will they ever really want to.

The propagandizing effect of heavy social media usage cannot be overstated. For young people, nearly every narrative and social phenomenon now originate from the internet. This means that it’s the dumb and disturbed “influencers” online, not parents or teachers, informing this next generation about politics, economics, and culture. And the algorithms of popular social media sites are designed to curate and amplify this same defective messaging a million times over. The subversive effect on people with still-developing frontal cortexes is not all that different from the “Ludivico technique” in “A Clockwork Orange” in which criminals are forcibly bombarded with images and music in order to condition them against misconduct.

Why is Gen Z so glued to their screens? Two friends and fellow teacher-writers Jeremy Adams and Shane Trotter have examined this question in depth. In his book “Hollowed Out,” Adams argues how the breakdown of family, schools, and the culture at large has left today’s young people morally and intellectually adrift: Not working? Not supporting oneself? Playing video games all day on somebody else’s dime? Not feeling a crumb of shame about it — even describing such a state as happy? That is hollowness.

The many norms and standards (these things that would “fill in” a person) that used to be reinforced by their parents, pastors, teachers, politicians, entertainers, and artists simply aren’t anymore. Should it surprise people that the kids carelessly withdraw from the world and play on their phones?

In Trotter’s book “Setting the Bar,” he attributes the failures of Gen Z to low standards and a permissive parenting culture that coddles kids:

The typical modern youth experience — from the school environment, to the parenting norms, to the broader cultural value structure — is ingraining limiting beliefs and destructive habits that leave our kids ill-equipped for the challenges that lie ahead of them.

No one challenges the kids, so they grow up soft and slow, making them the perfect sheep to be manipulated en masse.

Adams and Trotter demonstrate how circumstances have turned many Zoomers into sad, confused individuals doomed to have an impoverished adulthood. Instead of receiving lessons on independence, critical thinking, and disciplined living, too many of them are protected from all forms of adversity and given an iPad to keep them pacified. This treatment insulates them so much from reality that they never come to know themselves and are bored to the point of despair.

Ironically, understanding this dark reality may be the key to generational reform. True, it might be easy to agree with Bauerlein that Gen Z is hopeless and will probably bring the rest of the nation down with them, but this theory assumes that the Gen Z lifestyle is actually sustainable. The students in my classes all share a natural desire to be better people. I do what I can to offer them a way out; that is, I talk to them and push them to do more. At first, they resist and resort to their phone for comfort but this attitude changes when they feel the profound joy of actually learning and accomplishing something. 

Conservatives can shake their heads at today’s young adults refusing to grow up, or they can actually try to reach these kids. It’s not like they want to be lonely, ignorant, or “neurodivergent.” And most, if they’re being honest, don’t want to be slaves to their smartphones. Rather, like everyone else, they want goodness, beauty, and truth. They want loving relationships, authentic experiences, and some degree of mastery over their emotions and impulses. Above all, they want meaning.

If they have those things, then they will stop voting for corrupt mediocrities and suicidal social policies. More importantly, they will stop wasting away their lives on frivolity and enjoy a fruitful and fulfilling adulthood. Although election results are technically a political matter, what they reveal about voters is a cultural and moral one. We should treat this midterm as the Gen Z cry for help. It’s time for us to go out and save them.


Auguste Meyrat is an English teacher in the Dallas area. He holds an MA in humanities and an MEd in educational leadership. He is the senior editor of The Everyman and has written essays for The Federalist, The American Conservative, and The Imaginative Conservative, as well as the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. Follow him on Twitter.

Watching Phones Instead of Reading Good Books Is Starving Kids’ Souls


BY: KATIE SCHUERMANN | OCTOBER 11, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/10/11/watching-phones-instead-of-reading-good-books-is-starving-kids-souls/

young man on his phone

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KATIE SCHUERMANN

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Consortium for Classical Lutheran Education 2022 conference. It is excerpted here with CCLE permission.

My husband pastors a campus church at a Big Ten university, and we live amongst college students. It is a blessed life, one in which our evenings are longer and our mornings shorter, all because we have the privilege of fostering 50-plus Gen Z-ers in the faith.

What passion and curiosity reside in the hearts and heads of our young people! But do you know what else resides there? Fear and distrust of most everything coming out of the mouth of anyone older than them.

For so many of these students grew up reading, hearing, watching, and absorbing stories that assert that they are omniscient, that no outside source is as trustworthy as their own feelings. They are certain they know what is best for themselves, and anyone who asserts otherwise is an indoctrinated false prophet of the dead past who simply refuses to sing along with Elsa, “Let it go.”

How did these young people come to trust their own corrupted gut more than the wisdom of their parents? I suspect it has something to do with Cinderella, Ariel, Elsa, and Anna; as well as Monica, Ross, Rachel, Phoebe, Joey, and Chandler; and “Modern Family,” “Sex and the City,” “Parks and Recreation,” Marvel movies, and even “Veggie Tales,” for many of our present college students were raised in homes dominated by screens.

Much of their free time was spent absorbing serial television, and while not every televised program, movie, and YouTube channel necessarily tells false stories, much of modern programming follows a storytelling formula that ensures the pet social agendas of screenwriters are always being covered in the plot and in ways that narrate lies surrounding sexual identity, the sanctity of life, the good order of creation and marriage, the strength of men, and the reality of absolutes.

Stories have always been a part of how we pass down what is good and beautiful and true to our children, but depending on the storyteller, this practice can corrupt as easily as benefit. As more and more families turn over the care of their children to institutions, programs, clubs, teams, and devices, parents are no longer controlling the narrative of the stories being passed down to their children.

The loudest, most powerful propagandist holds the bullhorn, and he makes sure the story’s plot fits his personal agenda, no matter if it is evil and ugly and false. This proves especially dangerous in the classroom, where most children spend the greater part of everyday away from their parents.

We now have generations of children raised by bullhorns, and it is commonplace for a child to be occupied by some sort of program every moment of every day, whether it is a daycare program, school program, televised program, sports program, or an arts program — you name it. Many of today’s college students have had few opportunities in life to grow bored, to daydream, and to experience what happens to their bodies and minds and emotions when not occupied. They seem to have missed out on what used to be standard human experiences such as unregulated play, relating to peers of all shapes, sizes, and maturity levels, and making messy, wonderful, formative relationships with imperfect people.

I have observed that when young people are denied the opportunity to share experiences with other real people, they bond with the fake experiences and fake people they see on a screen instead. It is not uncommon for conversations amongst college students to be centered around Disney or “Game of Thrones” or the show “Friends” or countless other streamed programs. Sadly, those Hollywood-scripted shows are the memories peers share, and those designed-to-disorder plots are the common experiences with which they relate to each other.

So, what do we do about it? How do we reclaim the hearts and minds — the attention — of our children? We have to turn off the television, certainly, and power down our devices and pick out the books to be read before bedtime as well as model chastity and charity and temperance and kindness and patience in our own lives.

As Rod Dreher suggests in “The Benedict Option,” “Christians are going to have to become better tellers of our own story,” for the screenwriters are already pitching a relentless campaign for that position, programming our children into an understanding of humanity and of God that is false, an understanding that fools’ men, born free, into living as slaves to bullhorns.

Bo Giertz, the most celebrated storyteller in my own tradition of Lutheranism, writes: “People often think they are free when they put themselves above God’s commands and don’t do what He wants. Actually, they only stop serving one power and begin serving another. Jesus tells us there is only one way to find true freedom: to remain in His Word, listening, receiving, and understanding. Then we perceive truth, and the truth sets us free, truly free.” (“Wednesday after the Third Sunday in Lent,” To Live with Christ, Bo Giertz, 224.)

We need more of this truth that “sets us free” in the stories our children are consuming. We need to read and discuss books with them that teach toward virtue and away from vice, so our youth can recognize tyranny and slavery to sin when they see it.

And they need to know they are not alone. When the time of persecution inevitably comes — when their character and endurance are put to the ultimate test — it is helpful for them to know that they are in good company. They stand with Jesus and the Apostle Paul and Samwise Gamgee and Josip Lasta and Charles Wallace and Katniss and the Rev. John Ames and Robbie Jones and saints and angels and hundreds of years of fictional heroes who have been tested and tried and even triumphed.

Think of it this way. A child is born having no formative memories of virtues and vices. At least, we hope he doesn’t, for firsthand knowledge of tyranny and sloth and intemperance would suggest that the child has been abandoned or deceived by a parent or abused by an adult or has endured some unthinkable suffering.

But a child can still know that patience is a virtue, that joy accompanies charity, that self-sacrifice has its rewards, and that chastity is a beautiful, worthy aspiration, because he has heard the story of Joseph in Egypt and Isaac on the altar and Stephen in Jerusalem and Frodo in Mordor and Bigwig in “Watership Down” and Anne in Avonlea. These characters and stories — fiction or nonfiction — give children memories of virtues before they experience them themselves. These stories teach children into a thought pattern and into a mindset and behavior that is virtuous, that is free.

As Wendell Berry writes in his essay “A Native Hill”: “It is not from ourselves that we learn to be better than we are.” Our children need us to keep telling them good, true stories — especially the true story of their forefathers, both in the family and in the faith — so they can learn to be better than they are. For we have already seen that, if left to the world and its false stories, our children will learn to be worse than they are.


Katie Schuermann is a full-time homemaker, a part-time musician, and a seasonal writer. Find her books and more at katieschuermann.com.

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