Sean Edwards

The American Resurrection

How Millennials Can Change The World

Millennials word cloud on white backgroundIt seems like everywhere you turn you see articles on Millennials. And usually they aren’t flattering. They get called “the worst,” “cry babies,” and “the most entitled generation.”

Especially when it comes to politics.

But here’s the deal, millennials aren’t cry babies, narcissistic, or entitled. They simply want to make the world a better place.

I’m a libertarian millennial, which I believe gives me a unique perspective on the issue.

Why are so many millennials liberal/socialist in their political beliefs?

Because liberal philosophy gives them a tangible roadmap to making the world a better place.

“Millennials aren’t cry babies, narcissistic, or entitled. They simply want to make the world a better place.”

They want to see everyone have access to top of the line healthcare, education, and resources.

They want to see social ills disappear, like mass shootings, poverty, and war.

When millennials look at the two political parties, it is no wonder why they vote democrat.

Bernie Sanders says, “Look we can do better, and here’s how.”

Democrats offer what appears to be a detailed plan on how to overcome these issues and build a better tomorrow.

Whereas republicans don’t.

By nature the conservative party resists change. And quite often they look back at the “good ol’days” when republican values ruled the country.

Ironically, that period never existed, and the “good ol’days” where plagued with violence, disease, a massive wealth gap, and systemic racism and sexism. But it’s good to dream.

It is no wonder that young people turn to a political party that says, “Yes, you are right, the world should be better and here’s how we can do it.”

The problem is that the quasi-socialist plan put forward by modern democrats party is riddled with problems.

When you start to dig into it, modern liberalism is a philosophical mess. It is full of contradictions and impractical solutions to problems. But from the surface it looks great.

The problem isn’t that millennials hate freedom, or that they want things without paying for them. The problem is that classical liberalism hasn’t been properly taught to the them.

I chalk this up to public education. In many schools around the nation, things like philosophy and political theory are left to elective courses (which are becoming less and less viable with stricter and stricter curriculum). And even when these subjects are taught, they are incomplete and obviously biased.

We may think that these subjects are less important than math and science, but it has left us with a generation who don’t know how to logically process a political/philosophical idea.

Then these same people go out and vote when they’re 18.

So, math and science are important, but logic, philosophy, and politics are far more important… Because they affect our nation’s future!

Because of this philosophical hole in our education system, millennials don’t think it is very important. In fact, most millennials can’t properly define philosophy or epistemology.

And one study revealed that millennials are the generation least interested in developing a philosophy on how to live life.

This means their political views are a patch work of ideas that look and feel good, but internally are a nest of contradictions and vipers.

On top of that, many people with a decent understanding of political theory attack and denigrate millennials for their views. This doesn’t help anyone. It just pushes them away.

If we want to win millennials to the cause of liberty, we have to do 3 things:

  1. We have to stop treating them as the problem
  2. We need to acknowledge and champion their passion for change
  3. We need to draw up a real plan for change, one that illustrates how liberty will produce the results they (and we) want.

1. Stop Treating Millennials as the Problem

No one likes to be criticized. It doesn’t matter who’s right and wrong. When someone feels attacked, they instantly go on the defense.

If you’re launching cruise missiles at me, I’m not going to say, “You know, you raise an interesting point, maybe I should learn from you.”

When people feel personally attacked, logic goes out the window, and you’re now dealing with an emotional person. It is just how we are wired.

When you say that my ideas are stupid, what I hear you saying is that I am stupid. And my need to preserve my sense of value will force me to defend my ideas to the bitter end, even if deep down I know I’m wrong.

It takes a lot of self discipline to overcome this impulse. And even the best still have to moderate their attitudes in a situation like this.

The point is this: If you want to persuade someone to a new way of thinking, don’t criticize them. Find a way to confront their ideas in a way that doesn’t threaten their sense of value.

So using language like, “Millennials are the most narcissistic generation in modern history,” isn’t going to change anything. It will just turn millennials against you.

Furthermore, lambasting people who support candidates like Bernie Sanders does the same thing.

When they read, “Bernie Sanders is an idiot who doesn’t understand economics,” they see, “You are an idiot who doesn’t understand economics.”

Millennials aren’t the problem. And our language towards millennials isn’t helping.

But this goes deeper than just using the right words. You have to believe it. Which leads me to my second point…

2. Acknowledge and Champion Millennials for their Passion for Change

I have friends that hold very different political beliefs than me. And some times they drive me nuts.

But, I also make a concentrated effort to respect and admire their passion for justice and change.

When you take their tactics out of the picture, millennials are amazing.

They believe it is possible to rid the world of most of its problems. Let me say that again: They believe evil can be defeated once and for all.

That is amazing!

And that is what we should be looking at. When we talk to them, we need to see that. Once we truly value who they are and what they want to do, they won’t be the enemy (which they never should have been in the first place). They are allies with a different plan.

When we force our hearts to look for the good in people, our demeanor towards them will change.

And since people can feel genuine respect, care, and appreciation, their demeanor towards us will change as well. I.e., they will be more receptive to what we have to say.

3. Offer a Real Plan for Change

Now that we’ve stopped firing cruise missiles at millennials, and we actually appreciate what they want, then we are in a position to communicate with them.

But we can’t just talk about what is wrong with their plan. It is never enough to just criticize something. You must also offer a solution that fixes the problem.

And ancient proverb says, “Without vision, the people perish.”

If all you do is say, “Taxing people to pay for the healthcare of others is wrong,” then you are doing nothing.

Even if you’re able to convince people of that argument, they are left with nothing. There is no hope for the future. You’ve just taken away their ability to make the world a better place.

And when you say, “The market will take care of it,” you seal the deal.

At best that offers ambiguity, and doesn’t give any hope for change (it means nothing…).

And at worst (and what is more likely to happen), millennials will write you off because many of them are convinced that the market is to blame.

They believe that a free market would make our economic problems worse, not better (this goes back to problems with our education system…).

So not only are we failing to offer a vision to fix real problems, but our rationale actually makes them support their liberal views even more! And it brands us as the enemy. Since we think the market should be freed, they will classify us as part of the problem and not the solution.

This is my biggest problem with communicating to my peers. And I believe it is the problem most libertarians have.

Democrats are the only ones that lay down a plan for change.

If we want to raise up an army of libertarian world changers, we have to draw up a better vision for how to achieve that change. One that is better than the plan put forward by most democrats.

We need concrete solutions to help everyone have access to healthcare and education. We need to specifically address how we’re going to fix problems with special interest, dirty money in politics, and the wealth gap.

We have to give millennials a reason to join our ranks.

I know I didn’t close the loop on this last point, but I can’t right now. I’m inviting other libertarian thinkers to join me in how we communicate our message.

Once we accomplish all of these things, treating millennials as champions, appreciating their heart for change, and drawing up a specific vision for the future, I believe millennials will fill our ranks… because freedom is the answer.

Liberty will accomplish everything they want.

We only have to show them how.

About Sean Edwards

Sean Edwards is an author and a communication strategist. He graduated from the Western Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in history. Sean has a passion for discussing philosophy and American politics.

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  • Interesting comments about millenials. While it is true that they weren’t taught free market principles, telling others that they have to respect that is not the solution either. Young people are always interested in change and their idealism means that they want to change things for the better. I was the same way when I was a millenial – I wanted to change things too, like get out of Vietnam, or things like that.

    Our political climate has polarized the nation into us vs them, whether old vs young, Muslims vs Christians, Democrats vs Republicans, blacks vs whites, men vs women, straight vs LGBT, Congress vs the President, Blue stats vs red states, etc. Millenials, like everyone else fit into several categories and as the nation becomes MORE polarized, the desire to talk to the “other side” decreases. Part of it is the media, which polarizes the mainstream viewers vs the alternative viewers. The candidacies of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders bear this out – that lots of voters have written off the mainstream political parties. And I don’t think its a matter of older more conservative people want Trump and younger millenials want Sanders. I don’t think that’s true. Some of the more knowledgeable millenials, who actually took the time to learn the financial system, may not back Trump, but they sure don’t back Sanders.

    As long as the leaders bombard the electorate with “there isn’t enough”, then millenials will believe in income distribution, because it is the path of least resistance. In my opinion, it takes age and wisdom to realize why income redistribution does not work. Call me selfish if desired – however I do not like the idea of spending 40 years of my life working in a thankless on call job where 1/4 of my weekends were shot, telling me I owe them because that is the change desired and because I have, they don’t. I also take issue with the idea that Democrats offer more change – like climate change or gun control. While Republicans never have offered change, it appears to me that the status quo, in this particular instance, is better than the change being proposed. To me, the status quo is better than the encroaching police state and as long as millenials vote Democrat, then I have to conclude that they like the idea of living in a police state, and to me, that is the generation gap.

  • Thomas

    Now that the election is over, the millennials (many, who by the way, didn’t bother to vote) really ARE crybabies, complaining about the results on an election in which they did NOT participate. They are lured by “free” education, “low-cost” healthcare etc etc etc. These are admirable goals in a utopian environment. Unfortunately, we live in the realm of reality, in which NOTHING is truly free and the only REAL way to make people’s lives better is to make it possible for them to EARN their dreams instead of having the government hand it to them, using money taken from the people who ARE working for their dream.

    • Sean Edwards

      Thomas, thank you for sharing.

      Though I agree with many of your points, I would encourage you to consider a different tone. Humans feel a need to defend their position to protect their person. Meaning, if someone feels like I’m judging them (i.e., thinking less of them) because of their position, they can abandon all logic to defend their position… because they’re really defending their value as a person. This is where most political discussion goes off course. There is no discussion, because both sides are merely trying to throw more horrid insults at each other.

      But when we try to see the world through their eyes, and temporarily adopt their worldview to do so, then we can have a fruitful discussion. Because they feel like their sense of value is no longer under attack. Then you’re both willing to hear new ideas. And that is never a bad thing.

      Anyway, as I said, you make some great points, but you might find your communication to be more effective if you consider these points.

      Thanks for sharing!