By the Conservative College Professor.
1. History: I recently asked a classroom full of Generation Z college students to name the last book they’d read. Their response was communicated in blank stares and silence. Not only did they fail to name a recent book they had read, but most of them failed to name any book they had read. Ever. One was scratching her head saying, “I think we read Tom Sawyer, like, in eighth grade.” And this is the problem. Young people don’t read. People who don’t read don’t know history. And, as the old adage states, those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. Young people embrace the ideals of communism because they don’t know about the horrors of communism. They haven’t read about Stalin or Mao or Chavez; they couldn’t find Venezuela or Cuba on a map; and they think Pol Pot is a kitchenware brand. If we could convince them to trade their cell phones for a book, they might recognize the repercussions of the ideologies they espouse.
2. Sound Bites: Life lived in front of little screens results in little thoughts. Young people absorb information in sound bites and they regurgitate information in sound bites. They chant slogans but they don’t know why. If you ask a question or challenge their perspective, they scream at you. They revert to superficial mantras. They are incapable of forming opinions, thinking for themselves, considering other viewpoints, or even understanding their own viewpoints. In short, they have no critical thinking skills. The result? A complete loss of what most of us call common sense, as well as total dependency on toxic groupthink. They’ve never had to read or write more than 280 characters at a time – why are we surprised that they can’t reason their way out of Marxism?
3. Big Tech: Many individuals of Generation Z have spent more of their lives with Big Tech than with their families. Big Tech is Big Brother, and Big Brother doesn’t lie. If Big Tech says that the President of the United States incited an insurrection, then the President of the United States incited an insurrection. If Big Tech censors conservatives, cancels Christians, silences doctors, and de-platforms presidents, it must be because conservatives, Christians, doctors, and presidents deserved it. Big Tech is the gospel, and the gospel is truth, and if you question the truth you will be erased. And they’ll preach acceptance and tolerance as they erase you.
4. Civility: Children who interact primarily with screens become adults who don’t know how to interact with humans. Along with common sense we’ve lost common decency. In basement bunkers behind the safety of computer screens American teens and twenty-somethings feel safe to degrade people in chat rooms, attack people on Facebook, and dox people on message boards. Their virtual words have no visible consequences. When those teens and twenty-somethings venture out of the basement their communication habits emerge with them. Spewing hatred is customary. Tantrums are virtuous. They don’t understand that their words are not virtual anymore. They don’t understand that there may be consequences to their actions.
5. Experts: For every expert who champions the human immune system, there’s one who declares that I must get vaccinated and triple-mask myself alone in my own home or I’ll die. For every example of how racist “anti-racism” is, there’s a catchy meme to illustrate how innocent “equity” is. Legitimate articles questioning man’s role in climate change are answered with pictures of sad polar bears. Crime statistics indicating police violence against blacks is a much smaller problem than urban black-on-black violence are parried by an idiot named LeBron James. Everyone may not be an expert, but everyone can cite an expert (or a meme, or a basketball player, or a basketball player who has become a meme).
6. Sensationalism. My dad remembers the Asian Flu pandemic in 1957. Over 100,000 Americans and several million people worldwide died. You know what? Dad said life went on pretty much like normal. No lockdowns. No quarantining healthy people. No hysteria. The pandemic was not sensationalized every minute of every hour on cable news, on social media, on every podcast, by every politician, celebrity, and medical “expert” in the country. We’re bombarded daily with crap that never would have made a newspaper before the internet: every Karen melting down in a grocery store, every “peaceful protest,” every arrest made by a white police officer of a black suspect, every argument on an airplane. My students are so riddled with anxiety that there are times they can’t function in a college classroom. The incessant barrage of violent, grotesque, and inane images has distorted reality so much that we’re now altering our reality to fit the distortion.
7. Body-Cams: Speaking of sensationalism, what is the deal with body-cams? Why is it that LeKaren James and the rest of the woke mob need to see footage of a white police officer saving a black woman’s life the same day it happens? I understand the need for transparency, but what good are these things doing? What benefit is there when the court of public opinion hands down a sentence before a trial has even begun, when an impartial jury becomes fantasy? Evidence (see Yokum, Ravishankar, and Coppock; 2017) indicates that body-cams are not effective in changing police behavior, perhaps because police behavior wasn’t so bad to begin with. You can’t reduce a problem that wasn’t statistically significant in the first place. But the Techno-Comms see a sensational body-cam video on Big Tech and the verdict is in – we already know that Big Tech is Truth.
8. Comfort: From automobiles and air conditioners to microwaves and cell phones, most technology exists to make life easier. Gen-Zers have cell phones, wireless connections, free room and board at Mom and Dad’s house, and a stimulus check from Uncle Joe – why would they need a job? Why would they care about future generations when they have everything they want right now? Sure, they’ll virtue-signal about climate change and reparations and they’ll pretend it’s for the kiddos, but they won’t sacrifice an ounce of personal comfort to accomplish those things. Why would they work for liberty when they can have comfortable dependence for free?
9. Community: Technology has hobbled community. I walk into my classroom and fifteen students sit at their desks with their noses in their cellphones. The other students in the room might as well not be. People dine together or walk together but don’t exist together. They’ll text you or chat you or message you but won’t talk to you. The sensational videos on social media and YouTube make it look like everyone is out to get everyone else. The visible church, once a bastion of community, support, and neighborliness, is dying. And when community dies, it becomes us versus them. And that’s what they want, that’s the goal of Marxism, of critical race theory, of identity politics – to divide us. Why do you think communism has always attacked Christianity? Because Christians cultivate community, and community cultivates resilience.
10. Causes: Leftists love causes – BLM, ANTIFA, transgenderism, climate change. And the passion for these causes is directly connected to the void left by community. Ben Shapiro said it well in one of his Young America’s Foundation lectures (I’m paraphrasing): people used to find meaning in God, in work, and in community. Now that God is dead, community is dying, and work is optional, people adopt various causes to fulfill the need to belong to something bigger than themselves. These causes have the appearance of community because they involve large numbers of people, but there’s a difference between a cause and a community. Community members are in it for each other. Members of a cause are in it for themselves. Once the cause du jour has succeeded or stalled or failed, it will be on to the next cause. Mouth-Breather AOC supported Biden because he was not Trump – he fit her cause. But now that Biden won’t condemn Israel, he’s made her blacklist. A community member will lift you up. A member of a cause will stab you in the back as soon as a better cause comes along.