By Joe Ragonese
Micro-aggressions, safe spaces, girls versus boys, how government works, black power, white entitlement, and etc. What Millennials know and don’t know is mind boggling. They have been raised in an atmosphere where competition is unacceptable and that everyone is equal in all things; except, when it comes to white privilege or conservative thought.
This writer is a member of the Baby Boom Generation and when growing up there was this giant space between our parents, from the Greatest Generation and us. That space was referred to as the generation gap. It was used to explain the differences between what we believed were the facts of life and what they thought. The gap was huge. In fact, it is as great a gap in basic principles as that between Generation X and Millennials.
At this point, all the Millennials reading this are waiting for the big BUT. To their delight, and the distress of older generations, it isn’t coming. Millennials are going to run the world in the not too distant future, and like it or not, they will have to face the exact problems that all generations before them encountered: war, peace, right, wrong, good and evil. They will learn that they must make choices that up until assuming power, they did not contemplate. Other truths they learn will shake their foundations; such as that without competition, innovation does not occur; and that innovation only happens when there is a profit to be gained.
At this point, they have not learned to be competitive; after all, it might hurt their feelings if they lost, so while growing up they were presented with a participation award for just showing up. Simple participation does not accomplish anything meaningful, nor does it spark innovation. The truth sucks, and one of life’s most important lessons is that you learn just as much from failing as you do from success. They have yet to learn how to fail. That wake-up call will hurt when they do. They will also learn that they can fail and get right back up on their feet. The rest of us did; however, up until Millennials, we learned it in our pre-teens.
Learning to process other’s opinions is another shortcoming of Millennials, just look at college campuses where conservative thought is shut out. Like an ostrich sticking their head in the sand, these students refuse to hear anything that opposes their point of view, least they might learn that they don’t know everything at the ripe old age of 18. That lack of knowledge, unheard from opposing views, stifles innovation in all areas, from business to government. In order for them to get ahead, they will have to listen to others whose view may differ from theirs.
Shark Tank, that television show where billionaires sit in review of new ideas, with a view to invest if they see a way to make money, is an excellent gauge of Millennial thought and abilities. Watching, one can see that Millennials are very interested in the environment, in helping people, and producing products that benefit everyone, rich and poor. Not too much different than the Baby Boomers who in their idealistic world went forward to accomplish the same things. The major difference is that Millennials also believe that everything should be free.
During a recent show, two Millennials presented a fairly good idea on how to provide everyone with free photos off of their telephone, paid for by advertisers, who would place their advertisements on the back of the photo. Good idea, until it is thought through. Those advertisers will not renew their ads if they do not receive a benefit from the ad, and people who have nothing invested in obtaining the photos, lose interest, especially after receiving hundreds of free photos that they do not want, so they won’t even look at the ad, much less utilize the advertised product or service. With nothing to gain, advertisers will not renew contracts. Without contracts, no more business; no business, no profit. A rather simple lesson.
When this business truth was presented to the couple, the look of astonishment on their faces was priceless. They had learned their first lesson in business, that free is not always good. This couple may proceed with their business model, and if they learned from the show, will charge a nominal fee for their service, for the photos that the customer wants, subsidized by advertising. Life’s lesson, just like Gen Xers learned. Extrapolate that to government, and giving free stuff to low income or non-working people is not necessarily good for them. Many in government, and academia, never learn that truth because they are never faced with reality, only theory. The rest of us understand this basic truth. It is why, after trillions of dollars spent, and almost 50 years in passing, President Johnson’s Great Society is the failure that conservatives predicted it would be, way back in 1965.
Idealism is based on the theory of what could be. It is not a bad thing, when infused with reality. When idealism is focused on a theory that does not work, like communism, it becomes a bad thing; as was the Great Society. The Great Society was developed on the ideals of Karl Marx, which have been proven to be false assumptions. They have never worked and cannot work because they stifle innovation and initiative. The truth is that without innovation, idealism cannot work. Innovation has to be based on what has worked, and what has not worked in the past.
Millennials have not been taught what does and doesn’t work. Take communism, as an example, due to history not being taught in schools (schools now meld history into social studies, where the student gains nothing of either), most Millennials are unaware of communism’s failures in providing care for citizens who lived under it. And, they are unaware of the horrendous atrocities committed in its name. They think Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh and Fidel Castro are simply leaders like George Washington, never being taught that each murdered more people than Adolph Hitler, and that each of their systems of government have caused countless human suffering due to its failure. Learning what works takes knowledge that they do not yet possess and must be taught.
What boomers learned, and Millennials have yet to learn, is that in the real world, if there isn’t a profit to be had, none of their idealism works. Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Company is a great example of the learning curve. Two hippies got together with all the idealistic zeal of the 1960’s and thought only groovy thoughts, while decrying the war in Vietnam, which might make them do something that they did not want to do (like go into the Army like everyone else because of the draft), and almost starved to death, while fading away into obscurity, high on their drug of choice. One drug in particular induces the munchies, which led this pair to crave a certain flavor of ice cream, which was unavailable.
So, they made their own, and liked it so much that they began selling it, and that led to an ice cream franchise where millions of people bought their products. This made them hundreds of millions of dollars, while employing thousands of people. The profit motive, fueled by innovation, fulfilled their desires. However; this turned them into the rich proletariat that they despised in their youth; so to equalize their karma, they donate heavily to the Democratic Party, while naming their products after icons of the hippie era. Doing so did two things; it made them feel good about themselves, and made them very rich. As hypocritical as it is, they could live with that.
Today’s Millennials, some now in their late 30’s, are learning the same lesson. Those who learn it the soonest, will reap the rewards fastest. Those who don’t, are tomorrow’s homeless, sleeping on open grates to keep warm. There is; however, a great difference between those Millennials who were born in the 1980’s and those after the turn of the century. The latter have been exposed to the worst of leftist thought, for the longest time. The result is that the latter group are now attending college and requiring safe spaces against micro-aggressions and forbidding any speech that doesn’t align with their skewered thought process.
For those Generation X’ers, their parents, don’t worry too much, because reality will hit them squarely between the eyes as soon as they are on their own. That’s why they shouldn’t be on your health insurance until they are 26, it will take them that much longer to have to face reality. Once they become earners, independent from academic thought, they will learn that all the free stuff they demand from government, is not free. They will be the ones who pay for it through higher taxes and lowered incomes. This will be worse than a micro-aggression, and cause them to squeal all the way to the ballot box, where they will fire those who want to give everybody free stuff, while taxing wage earners; who will be them, at atrocious rates.
The pendulum will swing far to the right, while it tries to equalize itself. It always happens that way. Ask any Baby Boomer that works for a living; no matter how hippie they were in the 1960’s, and they will tell you that life isn’t what you think it is when you’re 18; at some point you have to grow up. That’s why so many voted for Donald Trump, this nation grew up after being slapped in the face with reality provided to us by Democrats.