Young Americans Face New Age of Feudalism

When America’s young overwhelmingly supported Senator Obama’s rise to power, they sensed that they were helping to bring in a new age of optimism and hope. They were right about the “new age” part. But it is turning out to be a new age of feudalism, and they themselves are becoming the new serfs.

Rather than seek new worlds to conquer, or even hope to retain the accomplishments of prior generations, contemporary young Americans seem destined to confront a world stamped by ever narrowing opportunity, class distinction, and societal stagnation… Tyler Cowen identifies a permanent upper class, essentially those who command machines and particularly the software that runs them, while the masses, something like 85 percent of the population, need to adjust to lower living standards, and a diet made up largely of beans and rice.

… the most potent apologists for shrinking the American dream come from the very left which, in the past, once championed broad-based economic growth and upward mobility. Instead, progressives increasingly favor their own version of a “rentership society,” albeit one more regulated than the conservative version, but also accepting , and even encouraging, the proletarianization of the American middle class… economic stagnation certainly seems to have had a negative effect on everything from marriage to fertility rates, which are at their lowest levels in a quarter century. Much like their Japanese counterparts, young Americans increasingly avoid both marriage and having children, according to a recent Pew Foundation study.

… The real issue here is … overcoming the economic, political and social factors that threaten to suffocate [American aspiration]. Similar challenges—the concentration of wealth of the Gilded Age, the Great Depression, war, and environmental angst—have periodically appeared and were eventually addressed through technological innovation, and critical political and social changes. _Kotkin

Joel Kotkin is not saying that future generations of Americans are necessarily doomed to serfdom. But he is saying that the economic, political, and social decks are stacked against them — to a large extent by government policies which they themselves helped to bring into effect, in their most naive moments. Kotkin himself seems to assume that the Millenial Generation will somehow find their feet and overcome the challenges.

But where will they find the internal guide maps telling them how to fight the top-down dysfunction? How will they produce the inner fortitude they need to push back against an apparently suicidal government, media, academia, and pop culture? Will they be able to see through the smokescreen to the privileged shadow wizards working the control levers?

The lesson for preppers is that everything is working toward their vindication. The policy of saving money and converting it into things of lasting value — things that can keep them alive and well in difficult times — appears to be a sound one, as long as the current ruling philosophy remains in effect across most of the US. The thing that many of the lazier preppers forget is to also convert themselves into someone of greater value, someone who can keep themselves and theirs alive and well.

Demographic trends of the US as a whole suggest that aside from particular regions, the US is losing its grit and its backbone — from the top down. If the US continues to follow its current path, it will no longer serve as the world’s lone, buzz kill, superpower. In that event, the current international order — such as it is — begins to unravel.

Robert D. Kaplan’s The Coming Anarchy appears more and more prescient.

Students of history have studied this phenomenon over and over again. The US millenials are too far removed from the zeitgeist that led to the writing of the US Constitution — they have never even been taught the basics. And they are not alone. They are being crowded aside by immigrating and more rapidly procreating newcomers and perennial outsiders who feel no reason to maintain the Bill of Rights or rule of law, unless they see immediate personal gain. The substrate of empire inevitably weakens until it is overwhelmed.

Millenials are unlikely to appreciate the historical importance of their reduced status. They are likely to appeal for redress from the same corrupt government whose policies are throwing them under the bus in the first place. Good luck with that.

HFTB. PFTW. Never too late for a dangerous childhood.

More: The NYT had an article on millenials recently concluding that living in desperate times may be “good for the little buggers.” Here’s a short excerpt and the link:

Today’s young adults born after 1980, known as Generation Y or the millennial generation… have been having a hard time. They are facing one of the worst job markets in decades. They are in debt. Many of them are unemployed. _NYT

The piece’s two female authors go on to suggest that hard times are making millenials better people. The NYT: Always at least 180 degrees of separation from reality.

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6 Responses to Young Americans Face New Age of Feudalism

  1. Abelard Lindsey says:

    Joel Kotkin is an early 60’s California liberal, both pro-growth as well as pro-government. He seems to be slowing Getting It over the last few years.

  2. I’d estimate that, having just hit the 30 year mark, that a large proportion–maybe not half of them, but one-quarter, anyway–of those I went to high school have boomeranged back home.

  3. James Bowery says:

    Its Africanization more than feudalism. Look at things like the Gini coefficient, corruption, de facto polygyny and political instability of Africa for the future of the US.

  4. swampie says:

    Daughter is a millennial. She decided to do the marriage/family bit. She did not complete college, but she has no student loans, either. She earns about the same amount in her job as one of her friends does on her job, but her friend has $100,000 in student loans to pay. Daughter and her husband will welcome child #4 next year.

    I told her that when her kids grow up, she’ll have plenty of time to get a degree if she so desires. I personally found the degree process to be a waste of time and money, frankly. My degree consisted of a lot of business and management theory that was outdated within a short period of time. Life-long learning is much more important than a few years in school. Many people think that a degree means that they will never again have to or need to read another book for knowledge EVER.

  5. Matt Musson says:

    I think Millinnials would do well to plan on an upcoming nuclear exchange in the Middle East (as we all should) and do anything to get into the domestic energy business.

  6. Ugh says:

    I found Kaplan’s article fascinating and frightening. It is happening in European suburbs and parts of the U.S. too – south Chicago, south LA, Detroit and other parts of Michigan and the whole nation of Mexico. You’re gonna need to live in walled cities with private security before 2030. Most college degrees will be worthless. Military service is probably a better preparation than college.

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