Why Don't We Have an Anti-establishment Party?

I'm totally envious of Europe, and I think two American generations can fix it for me. Gen X (born ~1961 to ~1981) is a thoroughly anti-authority generation. Millennial (born ~1982 to ~2002) is a completely anti-institutional generation.

It's time for these great generations to get together and form an anti-establishment movement. Maybe even a party.

Check this out:

A new poll surveying young Americans' political attitudes released by Harvard University's Institute of Politics Tuesday found millennials have less trust in government than ever before.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/poll-millenials-have-historically-low-levels-of-trust-in-government-2014-4#ixzz32lyajNI8

To an anti-authority, liberty-loving Gen Xer, that's the most beautiful paragraph in the history of polling literature. As Pete Townsend said, "the kids are alright!"

Not that the Millennial folk will listen to me, but I gotta say they're 100% right in distrusting government. The US government, their state government, their school board. Every level of government is a trough that big corporations fill for the satisfaction of the elected swine. Government's like a big pig farm.

Last night, I took my son Patrick to Ballpark Village on our way home from Fast Eddie's Bon Air.  It was his 21st birthday. BPV is an awesome place, but it was bought with taxpayer dollars--and without taxpayer input. In other words, Fox Sports Midwest and the DeWitt family stole Missouri's ATM card and PIN and withdrew 19 million of your tax dollars to build an amazing sports and drink palace.

The DeWitts (and others) get the profits; you get the costs. Wonderful.

That's an example of why Millennials think government is the cousin of lies. And that's why America needs an anti-establishment movement, if not an anti-establishment party.

This movement or party, or both, will have a very narrow focus: reducing government activity to a few, necessary tasks. Kinda like Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution.

The party will ignore the "issues" establishment uses to keep us divided. Stuff like gay rights and public prayer. Those are important issues, but the establishment uses them to keep us fighting about minutiae while it steals our power and freedom. So we won't play their game.

We won't field our own candidates. Instead, we'll cast negative votes in both establishment parties to deny them their traditional constituencies. Negative votes might include voting for third party candidates or skipping offices where the choice is more of an echo.

Most importantly, we'll use our personal power to influence public officials. We won't harass and protest; we'll smile and converse. We'll lobby like paid lobbyists, even though we're just people.

We've learned our lesson. Yelling at politicians only makes them stronger. We're not doing that anymore. Now, we're talking. And smiling. And connecting.

Look, Gen X and Millennials together are an overwhelming force. We both hate the establishment. Let's get together and destroy it, shall we?

Lets Get Together

This Is Why I Feel Sorry For Millennials

Doctor Viktor Frankl was a neurologist and psychologist psychiatrist in Vienna, Austria. He founded the third branch of Viennese psychological therapies, logotherapy. But his life changed drastically when Austria capitulated to the National Socialists. Viktor-Frankl

The Nazis interned Frankl. He spent time in four concentration camps, including Auschwitz and Dachau. For three years, his captors made him dig ditches for railroads and water pipes, and fed him a slice of bread an ounce or so of soup a day. The Nazis destroyed the only copy of a manuscript he’d worked on for years. The Nazis killed his mother, his father, his brother, and his beloved wife Tilly. They beat him repeatedly. They forced him to sleep on a bed of boards six feet by eight feet with nine other prisoners and only two blankets.

To any reasonable person, Frankl lost everything but his life. He lived at the whim of evil people bent on exhausting his usefulness before feeding him to an oven. Frankl, though, didn’t see it that way.

He refused to concede that others controlled him. Sure, they limited his physical movement, they deprived him of his property, they killed his family, they dictated his activity. But he retained the most important aspects of humanness.

Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation. You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you will feel and do about what happens to you.

Viktor E. Frankl. Man's Search for Meaning (Kindle Locations 28-29). Kindle Edition.

Viktor Frankl survived the death camps by miracles and attitude. He went on to become one of the most acclaimed psychiatrists and humanitarians of the 20th century. His story and his teachings inspired millions of people around the world to turn their lives around.

What did Viktor Frankl have that America’s young people today lack?

It wasn’t intelligence or opportunity or caring parents or great schools. It wasn’t physical strength or stamina or great networks of powerful people.

What Frankl understood that young Americans don’t is something far more important than any of those things.

Frankl had a powerful internal locus of control. He believed that, no matter what cards life dealt him, he was responsible for his attitude and actions. Not someone else, him.

A 2004 study shows that Americans have lost their internal locus of control, and that’s sad. It’s depressing. And it’s part of the reason young people vote for authoritarian government.

The study by Jean Twinge, Liqing Zhang, and Charles Im found that American college students of 2002 had more external locus of control than 80% of their 1960 counterparts. The authors describe locus of control this way:

People who believe they are in control of their destinies have an internal locus of control (“internals”). Those who believe that luck and powerful others determine their fate have an external locus of control (“externals”) (Twinge, et al, 2004).

Believing that luck and powerful others determine your life has a terrible effect. According to the study:

The results are consistent with an alienation model positing increases in cynicism, individualism, and the self-serving bias. The implications are almost uniformly negative, as externality is correlated with poor school achievement, helplessness, ineffective stress management, decreased self-control, and depression [emphasis added].

Externality ultimately leads to a feeling or belief that one’s life has no meaning. It’s nihilism run amok. It leads to suicide of the mind, soul, and body.

When people ask “how could the German people give into Hitler’s maniacal schemes?” they get answers about the Treaty of Versailles, hyperinflation, and German culture. Those aren’t the right answers. The answer is, at least in part, Germans in the 1930s had a powerful external locus of control. They’d been told and believed that their plight was not a result of their doing but the work of “powerful others.”

Logically, the Germans looked around to find who these “others” were. And they found the Jews. They also found a “powerful other” named Adolf Hitler who promised to punish their tormentors and unite the scattered tribes of Germany into a master race that would rule the world forever.

What the world needs—what young people, in particular, need—is a dose of Frankl’s logotherapy. The whole of America needs that. I need it. I read Frankl’s short masterpiece, Man's Search for Meaning three times in the past week. It’s a very quick read—you can read it in a day.

Pick up a copy . Read it. Buy three copies, and give two away.

If America is to survive, it will need a cultural attitude shift. That begins with you. And the attitude must be forward, not backward, looking. It must involve action—positive action toward that which gives you meaning.

Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.

Viktor E. Frankl. Man's Search for Meaning (Kindle Locations 854-855). Kindle Edition.

How do we shift this locus of control from the outside to the inside? How do we help young people accept that they, not “powerful others," decide who they will become?

I don’t have all the answers, but I know the wrong answer. If you feel compelled to simply blame teachers and schools, government and RINOs, Democrats and television, then you’re lost in an external locus of control.

Frankl exhorted Americans to balance the Statue of Liberty on the east coast with a Statue of Responsibility on the west coast. We who sit around blaming others might be correct in assigning blame, but we’re only reinforcing the deleterious attitude that we are powerless to change our lives and, thereby, our world. It’s irresponsible to point to others and expect them to fix it for us.

That’s a sobering revelation for some, but it should also be an inspiring thought. YOU HAVE THE POWER. It’s all within us.

Here’s the link to the 2004 study by Twinge, et al.

This Is The Infographic That The Whole Republican Party Is Freaking Out About

The 3 million McCain voter who didn't vote for Romney didn't stay and they didn't vote third party. They died. To survive, the GOP needs to stop being afraid of Millennials and tell them truth: they can move out of mom and dad’s house, they can drop out of school, they can quit their dead-end job with the idiot supervisor. But they can’t get away from government and debt.

Read More

Dear Conservatives: We Are Already Losing 2016

If you need to blame someone for our election losses, blame me. blame-me

I Let You Down

I could have done more. I could have spoken up sooner. I could have been more honest with you about the mistakes we made and the opportunities we ignored. I could have worked harder on what I saw as the most important work we could do.

I let you down. I focused on petty issues of the day, too, instead of working on a different future.

It’s Time To Look Ahead

But it’s Sunday morning. Obama’s been re-elected. The debt is growing as fast as ever. People lose personal power every day.

It’s time to stop blaming bogeymen for the 2012 election and start building a coalition for victory in 2014 and 2016.

Young Voters Matter

Between 2008 and 2012, 9.8 million Americans died. The vast majority were over 65, voted in every major election, and voted Republican over 60 percent of the time.

They were replaced by 16.8 million young people who reached voting age. These new Millennials are much less likely to register and vote, but the ones who do cast votes for Republicans less than 40 percent of the time.

If we do nothing between now and the next presidential election, six million Republican voters will die and 7.2 million kids will become Democrats.  The next election will be over long before November 8, 2016.

We Have Hope

Several surveys late in 2012 found that younger Millennials—between 17 and 21 years old—are far more fiscally conservative than old Millennials. On social issues, especially same-sex marriage, they remain liberal.

As young workers struggle to find meaningful jobs, as their debt burden continues to swell, as the world becomes more dangerous, expect this trend to continue.

If we are serous about restoring the balance of power away from central authorities and toward the people, we have to stop fighting the last election and start helping young adults.

Here’s What You Can Do Now

I’ll write more about this over the next week, but here are four things you can do right now to help win future elections.

Stop:

  • Blaming the election on vote fraud
  • Talking about social issues unless they obviously tie to economic issues
  • Hanging around in conservative echo chambers
  • Talking about secession, nullification, and disrupting the Electoral College vote

Start:

  • Helping young people find jobs
  • Treating young adults like adults
  • Explaining the virtues of being free to choose
  • Subtly explaining the failure of planned economies

That may not seem like much, but it is. Especially the Stops. If we don’t stop turning off potential allies, we’ll continue to lose election after election.

Build On These 4 Pillars

That doesn’t mean we change what we believe. It means we advance the ideas that don’t turn people off. We have many such ideas like:

  • A strong economy
  • A smaller government
  • A safer world
  • A sustainable immigration policy

We can build Big Ideas from these four pillars. We can take on the other problems later.

Please check back here tomorrow to find out how our passions are making us sound ridiculous.

What Scrooge Teaches Millennials

This is the fourth in a series. If you haven’t, please read part 1, part 2, and part 3 Because so many school systems have driven great English literature out of students’ hands and minds, it’s possible that some kids never read Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.  If you’ve never read this classic, please do so now.  You need it.

Scrooge_Marley

Back?  Good. Fascinating stuff, isn’t it?  And so much more accessible than David Copperfield, which was my introduction to Dickens.

So now you know that Scrooge was a miser who treated the whole world and all of its inhabitants with a cruel contempt.  Scrooge loved money and nothing else.

But during the course of the story, a series of spirits massage Scrooge’s conscience. They begin with his own happy youth, when Scrooge still enjoyed the presence of other people.  They proceed through Scrooges present and into his future.

Somewhere along the way, Scrooge changes.  He has a conversion. He learns to love others as himself.

If I were a Millennial—those born between 1983 and about 2002—I’d ask myself, “why?”

The spirits didn’t argue politics or morality with Scrooge.  They didn’t tell him his taxes were too low, and they didn’t send bureaucrats to audit his books and extract fines.

Instead, they made it personal.  They showed him his real life—past, present, and future—in living color and 3D.  They simply held up a mirror and provided him clear evidence of what his future would be if remained on the path he’d taken.

Scrooge reformed because he knew a lonely, unhappy death awaited him. He knew that people would mock his memory.

Millennials should take a hard look at our national debt. Not just where it stands, but the direction it’s going.

Look at the amount of debt that Gen X, Boomers, and WWII have saddled you with.  It’s about $50,000 and going up every day.

What did you get for that money?  Not a damn thing, really.  Most of that debt went to pay for people who are already retired. In other words, your grandparents are borrowing money, spending it, and passing the bill onto you.

I know you’re a generous group. You want to help. You believe in this country, and you’re willing to sacrifice to make it stronger.

We all are.  That’s a common trait of Americans.

But how much can you bear?  How much of a debt burden can your generation really handle?

On top of Washington’s $15 trillion in debt and $60 trillion in unfunded liabilities, most states hold hundreds of billions or more in combined debt and future pension obligations.  Those aren’t your pensions, but the pensions of people in older generations.

Well, you weren’t asking for all that debt. Now you’re stuck with it.

Again, how much more can you and our society handle? And does it really help anyone for the government to make promises it can’t keep?

Scrooge looked at “Christmas Yet To Come” and saw his horrible death. Unless he changed.

When I look at America’s future, I see the same.

The spirits gave Scrooge the chance to reform, and he took it.

Will you?

Peering Into the Future from the Past

Check this out:

As far as the market drop and the comeback of the market, I'd just like to pass along the following information. I stand in the Ten-Year Treasury-Note pit in the Chicago Board of Trade. The name of the room I trade in is the Financial Room. We trade the commodities that represent most of our national debt. When the gov., sells debt, the buyers of that debt have to hedge somewhere. They hedge with us.

This room is the center of the universe as far as our national debt is concerned and it will become increasingly more visible as the crisis approaches. (If you’ve ever seen CNBC during the day, they cut to the CBOT floor with a reporter named, Rick Santelli. Behind Rick, you can see a trading floor; that’s the Financial Floor of the CBOT.)

That’s from James Goulding’s blog from August 2003. (The blog has been reduced to a static web page. Scroll down to see this entry in its entirety.)

I love reading people’s predictions years later. Most prognosticators miss by a mile. A few land in the ball park.  A handful scare the begeezes out of me.

Do you find it peculiar that Mr. Goulding mentioned the significance of national debt and introduced Rick Santelli so long before the two converged to inspire the Tea Party? I do.

James Goulding is a big fan of two other prognosticators who freak me out: William Strauss and Neil Howe who wrote The Fourth Turning among other works. 

Here’s a quote from that book:

A spark will ignite a new mood. Today, the same spark would flame briefly but then extinguish, its last flicker merely confirming and deepening the Unraveling-era mind-set. This time, though, it will catalyze a Crisis. In retrospect, the spark might seem as ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as trivial as a Tea Party [bold mine].

The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy - What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America's Next Rendezvous with Destiny

fourth-turning0001Of course, Howe and Strauss did not predict the emergence of the Tea Party movement when they wrote in 1997. Did they? 

It’s eerie, nonetheless. Why that term? Why in that syntax?

We can’t really predict the future, but we can arm ourselves with a lot of information about the possible courses history might take and the dangers and trade-offs we face.

Strauss and Howe believe that we live though a 20-year period of Crisis every 80 to 100 years.  The last such period ended in 1945 with the end of WWII. It had begun in 1929 with the stock market crash.  The next one was between about 2005 and 2013.

And here we are.

Back to Goulding:

The point is this; the market (the DOW) is behaving [in August 2003] like the market of the 20s. However, I noticed something recently. When I advance the chart of the twenties in time, by 14 months, the similarities of this latest rally we are having (August 2003) are startling. 9/11 may have escalated the pace of the impending Spark. (The Spark wasn’t expected until 2009) It may have advanced to 2007.

Or 2008.

In this crisis, I try to make myself useful.  I am guided by these words, again from The Fourth Turning:

“Now once more the belt is tight and we summon the proper expression of horror as we look back at our wasted youth,” F. Scott Fitzgerald said after the crash that hit his peers at the cusp of what should have been their highest-earning years. “A generation with no second acts,” he called his Lost peers—but they proved him wrong. They ended their frenzy and settled down, thus helping to unjangle the American mood. Where their Missionary predecessors had entered midlife believing in vast crusades, the post-Crash Lost skipped the moralisms and returned directly to the basics of life. “What is moral is what you feel good after,” declared Ernest Hemingway, “what is immoral is what you feel bad after.” “Everything depends on the use to which it is put,” explained Reinhold Niebuhr on behalf of a generation that did useful things regardless of faith—a role the Missionaries chose not to play.

Howe, Neil; Strauss, William (2009-01-16). The Fourth Turning (Kindle Locations 5978-5984). Three Rivers Press. Kindle Edition.

The modern day Lost we call Gen X, the Missionary, Boomers.  Next up were the GI whose modern version we call Millennial.

I hope I’ve learned well the lessons of history. We have a tough row to hoe. We can whine and complain, or we can shoulder the work.

Given a choice, I’d prefer more income, better markets, and a quiet life. But the cycles of history have decided otherwise.

What do you think?

What’s Your FICA Score?

Your FICO score is a number between 380 and 820 (or something like that) that banks use to determine your credit worthiness.  The higher your FICO score, the better. But that’s not what I’m talking about here.

I’m talking about your FICA score.

bi_weekly_stub

Your FICA score is the minimum payment on your federal loan.

You didn’t know you had a federal loan?  You do.

If you’re 18 years old, you owe the federal government about $46,000.  That’s before your take out your first student loan. 

You can see your FICA score on your very first pay stub. 

The good news:  you should earn enough in your lifetime to pay off this $48,000 loan that my generation and my dad’s took out on your behalf.

The bad news: we keep borrowing more against your loan.  You’ll never be able to earn money as fast as we can borrow it.

Your best bet? Here’s two rules for getting out of other people’s debt:

1.  Don’t trust anyone who tells you that you’ll be better off deeper in government debt.

2.  Don’t trust people born before 1982, since we’re the ones using identity theft to live richer lives and leave you poor.

And look at your FICA score every payday.  It’ll remind you of Rules 1 and 2 above.

Don’t Look for Quick Fixes

According to a book by historians Neil Howe and William Strauss, history follows a fairly predictable pattern, rotating in cycles equal to a long human life. The book, The Fourth Turning, was written in 1997. Read it.

If Howe and Strauss are right—and so far, they’re dead on—then we recently entered a Fourth Turning in the current saeculum which they named “millennium.”

What is a Fourth Turning?

The Fourth Turning is a Crisis, a decisive era of secular upheaval, when the values regime propels the replacement of the old civic order with a new one.

We’re not talking about an election cycle; we’re talking about an entirely reformulated society.

So far, America has experienced three significant turnings.  (Four, really, but the first was long before the Revolution.)

The Revolution, when the colonies declared independence from Great Britain and formed a democratic republic under the Constitution.

The Civil War, when we established the impossibility of secession and ended slavery.

The Depression-WWII, when we effectively abolished Constitutional government and re-ordered the entire world for increased security.

With the exception of the Civil War, each of these saecula lasted the length of a long human life—80 to 100 years.  That’s also about four generations.

Fourth Turnings—Crisis turnings—begin not because of chronology, but because of generational attitudes.  Fourth Turnings begin when the Boom children from the last Crisis reach Elderhood.

Think Bill  Clinton as elder statesman.

Behind that Boom generation is a generation of Nomads—the Gen Xers in this saecula.  My generation.  Reality Bites people.  Wild risk-takers. Generals George Patton and George Washington were the Generation Xers of their days.  So was Francis Marion.

Next, ready to do battle, is a Hero generation. These were the foot soldiers and Marines and sailors of WWII.  They’re also the kids fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq today. They’re the Millennials whom we too easily dismiss. But they’ll receive our ticker-tape parades someday. They’ll be the next Greatest Generation, if Howe and Strauss are correct.

Those born after about 2002?  They’re the next generation of artists.  The last generation of Artists were the Silent Generation who came of age just after WWII. They were too young to fight, but too old for Vietnam.  This generation is great at following orders.  It is the only American generation never to produce a President.  (We skipped from the GI generation of George H.W. Bush to the Boomers with Bill Clinton, George W., and Obama.)

So the stars—and the players—seemed aligned for a Fourth Turning: 20 to 25 years of total upheaval and, possibly,  total war. Those who think the worst is over, as I’ve said repeatedly, have another thought coming.  The debt problem that caused the 2008 crisis was not solved; it was papered over and compounded. February’s deficit was 40 percent bigger than the entire deficit for 2007.  The March deficit will be larger still.

I know some people believe that we can end the crisis with a single election—2010.  That’s beyond wishful thinking.  It’s irresponsible thinking.  Our troubles go deeper than an election cycle.  Or even two.

That doesn’t mean we don’t start now, though.  In fact, the Tea Party movement was really a recognition of the Crisis, though I didn’t know it at the time.  (Maybe some of you did.)

With spiraling debt, rising international tensions, Japan melting down, and public sector unions demanding the power to take even more away from the producers, we’re just beginning a long generation of turmoil.

Read The Fourth Turning this week.  Learn your role and the risks we face.  Then, we might as well get started.

 

Friday Happy Hour for March 11, 2011

Every senior generation decries the banal idiocy of its junior generations. Remember how critical Boomers were of Generation X? 

Turns out Gen X was one of the most productive generations in a long while.  Then Gen Y just went off and fought two wars for us.

Historian Neil Howe points us to today’s Happy Hour:  a Millennial elected to Michigan’s state assembly last November. 

http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&isUI=1

As Howe points out:

Many positive Millennial (born 1982-200?) traits (positive attitude, results-orientation, teamworking, close to family and community) are all reflected here

Cheers