Millennials and Democracy.

I heard something on Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, that I actually find rather hard to believe.

Most people of the World War II generation think it is important to live in a democracy. I can understand that. But not so with millennials. A clear majority of that generation does not feel it is vital.

I belong to generation X. And I like to think I understand my generation. Growing up, in high school, most gen X’ers were open-minded, on issues like gay rights, for example. From what I understand, most millennials are too.

**But why the strange deviation on the democracy issue? How would millennials like to live? In a totalitarian regime? A plutocracy? A fascist state? Someone please clarify for me. I want to know.

And did I misunderstand the answer? Does this mean for our country, or just others?**

A couple of points to add. In case you all don’t know by now (again, Bill Maher tells all), Donald Trump probably won’t leave office, even if he loses or is term limited out. Also, FWIW, as I have said before, I personally think an aristocracy is the ideal state. But I mean the original meaning of that word: government by the best and brightest citizens. But since no such people or state probably exists, I defer to the notion a democracy is best, for now at least.

Actually, sci-fi genres like Star Trek might agree with me. In the fictional Star Trek universe, many advanced societies are governed by an oligarchy of the best citizens. That’s at least the impression I get. They often make references to ruling councils, ministers and so forth. Correct me if I am wrong, by all means.

And for those of you who will ask what my question/s is/are, I have bolded it above, so there is no doubt:).

Thank you in advance for all your kindly replies:).


I think either you or Maher have misunderstood what was being said. It’s not that millennials don’t consider democracy important or desirable, it’s that millennials don’t TRUST that the system we actually have IS a democracy in any real form. They’ve LOST FAITH in (what the US calls) democracy. There’s a difference.

And the fact that I hedged that answer demonstrates that some Gen-Xers are pretty cynical about it, too…

It’s not a strange deviation. There’s been a steady decline, and millennials just happen to be at the (current) end of it. There’s a chart halfway down here.

It is not difficult to see where this comes from. The US is not a real democracy.

Two of our last three presidents lost the popular vote but won the presidency (Bush in 2000 and Trump in 2016).

In 2016, “45.2 million Americans cast a vote for a Democratic Senate candidate, while 39.3 million Americans voted for a Republican,” yet the senate remains in republican hands. (SOURCE)

So when the conservatives on this message board piously tell you to solve your problems at the ballot box point to the above and let them know the American people have spoken and do not want their brand of politics but the scales have been tipped which does not seem very democratic to Millennials (and me too, a Gen-Xer).

Most people of the World War 2 generation thought authoritarian government was a bad thing. But look where we are now. We live in strange times.

… and FWIW, America’s democracy has effectively ceased to function over the last 20-30 years. I’m not just talking about the Electoral College and the outcomes of elections. Even after the elections are over, our government is a stew of oligarchy, business money, hate, and obstruction. We just watched half the government spend eight years trying to obstruct the other half. And now that same party has control of all three branches of government yet it STILL cannot pass the legislation that has been its obsessive focus for years.

Meanwhile, the Retard-in-Chief’s only identifiable policy is to undo everything the last executive accomplished. America cannot make - much less execute - any kind of long-term planning if every generation only cares about stopping their imaginary enemies and reversing the last generation’s effort.

I hate to turn this into some kind of angry rant, but if America’s so-called democracy is representative of how democracies are supposed to function… No, thank you. At least China and Russia are capable of planning strategic goals that won’t be reversed every four years thanks to a mob of goddamned idiots.

Does this sound about right?

Except that’s from an article about Australian millennials from 2016 (looks like the poll is from2014):

And Canadians?

Maybe it’s American exceptionalism that makes millennial different in the US, but I doubt it. Seems like it’s a world-wide trend in western democracies, as the article indicates. But in India and Indonesia, young folks still apparently value democracy.

This kind of illogical paranoia is where I get bored and wander off looking for more reasonable discussion.

Yes,I know that in the course of human events, revolutions have happened. And once, We the people actually succeeded.

But today’s society is nowhere near as divided by the level of hatred that we lived through in the 1960’s; a time when 10’s of thousands of national guard troops were mobilized in a hundred cities across the land, and blood ran in the streets-- of the ghettos, and at the Democratic convention in Chicago.

Today’s prophets of doom seem to enjoy prepping for a right-wing/Christian takeover.
And they look as silly as those preppers who’ve spent years preparing for nuclear war, and love to show off their stores of guns and food hidden in their cabin up in the mountains.

We live in times where the sort of repression of freedom found acceptable by “the world War 2 generation” (or previous generations) is not tolerated.

That “Greatest Generation” accepted mass imprisonment of Japanese-Americans, saw the passage of the Smith Act and acquiesced in President Roosevelt giving J. Edgar Hoover emergency mass censorship powers.

It wasn’t just in the U.S. either - Britain during WWII for example saw prosecution and imprisonment of citizens for doing nothing more than comparing Churchill unfavorably to Hitler.

A significant number of people at various times in our history have tolerated or encouraged repression of basic freedoms in the name of economic or national security. It’s nothing new, but has to be fought whenever it crops up.

America is a plutocracy with democratic trappings. I think that is what millennials are opposed to. No matter which party you vote for, policy is always designed to benefit the rich first and foremost.

But sadly other forms of government just empower the plutocrats even more. If people think plutocracy is bad in a democracy, wait until they see how bad it is under an authoritarian state where naked bribery is legal and the politicians have nothing to fear from voters.

Also sadly due to all the mindless military worship here, large sections of America are now OK with a military junta.

How can you call that illogical paranoia? Trump said he wouldn’t accept the results of the election if he lost.

He probably won’t step down voluntarily and may have to be forced out by the new guys secret service detail.

No, he didn’t say that (from Time):

World-wide trend? In my anecdotal experience the Anglophonic democracies follow a decidedly right-wing trend compared with other nations.

I mentioned previously that I’d downloaded the World Value Survey Wave 6 and was looking for interesting statistics to measure. Here’s one:

To the question “How much confidence do you have in the government in your nations’ capital?”,
responders could answer 1 = A Great deal; 2 = Quite a lot; 3 = Not very much; 4 = None at all.

Here are the average scores of 60 countries, sorted from most to least confidence in government:

1.601 Uzbekistan
1.807 Qatar
1.973 India
2.011 Philippines
2.047 Ghana
2.077 Nigeria
2.135 China
2.137 Bahrain
2.140 South_Africa
2.143 Malaysia
2.218 Kyrgyzstan
2.280 Japan
2.302 Kazakhstan
2.319 Estonia
2.327 Egypt
2.347 South_Korea
2.351 Singapore
2.366 Azerbaijan
2.425 Chile
2.440 Thailand
2.453 Cyprus
2.474 Iraq
2.481 Ukraine
2.506 Pakistan
2.517 Palestine
2.522 Rwanda
2.533 Morocco
2.538 HongKong
2.540 Sweden
2.542 Zimbabwe
2.585 Germany
2.595 Algeria
2.599 Belarus
2.608 Ecuador
2.619 Turkey
2.623 Kuwait
2.628 Netherlands
2.654 Jordan
2.688 New_Zealand
2.690 Trinidad_Tobago
2.715 Uruguay
2.723 Russia
2.725 Slovenia
2.737 Taiwan
2.746 Lebanon
2.767 Colombia
2.788 Romania
2.794 Poland
2.807 Armenia
2.814 Argentina
2.819 Peru
2.831 Brazil
2.850 Spain
2.854 Mexico
2.883 Georgia
2.883 United_States
2.963 Australia
3.004 Libya
3.022 Yemen
3.101 Tunisia

Unfortunately, several major countries including the U.K. seem to be missing from the WVS data altogether. Nevertheless two Anglophonic countries score “poorly” on this question, ahead only of Libya, Yemen and Tunisia. (Obviously one can muse about respondent ignorance — is Thailand’s government really more trustworthy than the U.S.'s? But, whatever cause/effect inference you might want to draw, the result shown here is striking.)

“Seems like it’s a world-wide trend in western democracies, as the article indicates.” I was referencing this, from the article I linked to:

But yeah, the article is a bit sloppy about exactly what that means. The main point, though, is that the issue brought up by the OP is not uniquely American.

I’m calling it illogical paranoia because it is paranoia.
There is nothing to be afraid of.
After 12 noon on inauguration day 2020 or 2024, Trump will no longer be president. Anything he does will be a joke, not something to be afraid of.

Yes, Trump may act stupidly that day,staying in the White House bedroom in his pyjamas and sleeping till the afternoon.
He may even hold a competing rally of his supporters elsewhere in Washington, and then declare that his rally was bigger than the inauguration ceremony, so he’s still the big cheese.
Foxnews might even show it on a split screen.

But , so what?
No matter what he does or says, he will not be president.
He won’t be creating some kind of threat to democracy.
He wont be leading masses of revolutionaries in the streets.
He wont even have the authority to tell the White House chef to make him a cheeseburger.

There is nothing to be afraid of.

Yes; as often my goal was not to contradict your point but to augment or modify it. Your poll and the WVS survey asked different questions.

Setting aside the article’s question and looking only at the WVS result, do you find it unsettling, as I did?

And surely I’m not the first to note that it is U.K. and Australia, and not France, Germany or Scandinavia, that often seem to follow the U.S.A. down the right-wing or “populist” rabbit-hole. (Canada often seems more sensible — is that because they are partly Francophonic? :cool: )

Nothing wrong with democracy, when it works. And if really is that. But for decades democracy in many part of the worlds (including usa to same point) was and is just a nice sigil written somewhere in constitutions, whilst autocratic, buffonish, plutocratic and downright insane goverments rule(d) in the name of it. And then they go: you voted for us. Millennial know that this stinks. They want alternative. Not fascism or communism or monarchy (except stupid ones). They want some alternative that mirrors modern world and it is possibly not invented yet. Meanwhile they eat popcorn and sit in half demolished sofa.

Yes. But these autocrats and buffoons are elected by democratic processes. (Trump got only 46% of the popular vote instead of 48% but let’s please cease sniveling about this minor detail.)

Millennials should be our hope, but most don’t vote at all. Among those who do, many vote for R/Tyranny. (And a few of the 100+ IQ Millennials try to demonstrate their “superiority” by voting for simpletons like Gary Johnson. :smack: )

Slightly off topic. We really need more millennial power on this geriatric board. Go, fetch some grandchildren and force them to share their opinion here. :slight_smile: