The French philosopher Michel Onfray penned these lines in his last book, which was entitled Décadence: “Islam manifests what Nietzsche called ‘great health’: there are young soldiers ready to die for it. What are the values of our civilization? Supermarket and e-commerce, trivial consumerism and egotistical narcissism, vulgar hedonism or scooters for adults?” Onfray perfectly described the alienation of the Western millennials, the generation born between 1980 and 1995, the new Western adults.
Bernie Sanders, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and Jeremy Corbyn, the three stars of the Western radical left, have many things in common. No doubt the jackets, inspired by a certain socialist “authenticity”: too wide for the Vermont senator, Maoist for the former French minister, and hipster for the Labour leader. But above all, the three political agitators enjoy the support of the electorate that was born and lived when the ideological leftist myths of the three crippled. They are the “snowflakes,” as Bret Easton Ellis labelled the millennials.
They are the beloved children of the Western liberal and democratic globalization. But they are a very paradoxical generation. A Reason-Rupe poll showed that the majority of US millennials have a more favorable view of socialism than capitalism. Another Gallup poll speaks of 70 percent of those millennials who are ready to vote for a “socialist president,” having learned all about conservatism from comedians such as Jon Stewart. After Sanders, the millennial chose the French left-wing candidate, Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Then in the UK, it was the turn of Jeremy Corbyn.
As the Telegraph’s journalist Allister Heath observed, in Eastern Europe, young people dreamed of the capitalist and democratic Western revolution. Today, the millennials of Iran dream of Western liberalism. And the millennials of Venezuela are desperately trying to flee their failed socialist economy. In the free West, ours millennials are attracted by Corbyn’s socialist and pro-Jihad utopia, in which the Labour leader flirts with all the anti-Western political groups, from Hamas to Hezbollah.
The Wall Street Journal ironically asked: “Is communism cool? Ask a millennial.” Millennials are one of the luckiest generations in history. They grew up in a world where economic and political freedoms were the rules rather than the exceptions. They are the children of Francis Fukuyama’s “end of history,” an era of optimism and post-ideological liberalism. Yet a survey by the Memorial for the victims of communism has found that barely half the millennials believe that communism is “a problem.” A quarter of the millennial expresses favorable views of Lenin and Mao. An example of this millennial debacle is the head of the UK student union (seven million members), Malia Bouattia, class 1987, a girl of Algerian origins, a fanatical pro-Corbyn activist who denounces “the Zionists” in the universities she represents.
A generation that hates risk. Personal, first of all. As a report by the Urban Institute demonstrated, millennial women have children at a slower pace than any generation in US history. A generation that 40 percent of which, as the Pew Forum revealed, would limit freedom of expression in the name of “diversity.” And they are crushing free speech in American universities through “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings.” A generation against economic risk (changing home, work, and contracting mortgages) and in favor of massive redistribution of wealth.
Present life is all that matters for them, a pleasant and comfortable life. In 1986, the Canadian filmmaker Denis Arcand produced the movie Le Déclin de l’empire americain, in which a university professor says: “The symptoms of the fall of the empire can be seen everywhere: the civilian population who despises their institutions, the collapse of the birth rate, the reluctance of males to join the army, the steady decrease in hours of work, the proliferation of officials, the élite degeneration. What we are experiencing is a general process of disintegration of existence.” He talked about the baby boomers, but the same could be said of the millennials.
It is the paradox of a generation, whose wealth and personal liberty are the fruits of post-1989 Western democratic capitalism, but who are now politically entrusting themselves to the most totalitarian politicians. They are snowflakes for which the word “socialism,” after all, has a good sound. Their cultural weakness, in which “the West” has no more meaning, is one of the reasons why we are not able to defeat Muslim supremacism. Our millennials don’t reproduce, don’t want to serve in the army, and don’t believe in their own civilization, but despise it as a legacy of colonialism, slavery and imperialism. They are doomed.
A generation, in fact, that the Jihadists are very easily massacring. On 13nd November 2015, a commando of French Muslim millennials butchered 90 non-Muslim millennials at the concert hall Le Bataclan. They had the same age and nationality, and just a few miles separated their worlds. But their worldview could not have been more different. The first millennials chanted “Allahu akbar” while they slaughtered young and girls. One year later, the French liberal millennials returned to the Bataclan to chant with Sting “Inshallah.” Two years later, another Muslim British millennial took the lives of many millennials in Manchester, during the concert of Ariana Grande. A few days later, a concert was hold to remember the victims. It didn’t look like a concert against terrorism, but like one for the victims of cancer. Puerile.
Giulio Meotti, cultural editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author. He is the author of three books: A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel’s Victims of Terrorism (Encounter Books); J’Accuse: the Vatican Against Israel (Mantua Books), and La fine dell’Europa, about the Christian and demographic decline in Europe. He is a columnist at Arutz Sheva and his writings have appeared in publications including the Wall Street Journal, FrontPage, Commentary, and The Geller Report.