Young, dumb and un-woke

Greg Smith, Opinions/Managing editor

Politicians, voters, and pundits seem to be constantly concerned with the “youth vote.” To me, this really makes no sense. While the number of young people may be statistically important in deciding an election, ideas and opinions that are only informed by social media hashtags and buzzwords are irrelevant and only dumb down our discourse. They’re unlikely to give us better government.

The way that young people’s opinions are formed in this country is horribly wrong. Youth are not taught to think critically and discuss ideas as much as they are to vilify those who they perceive as attacking outgroups. Meanwhile, staggering sums of money chase full mobilization of, let’s face it, flakey-at-best youth support for one issue or candidate or another. It’s as if these organizations like MoveOn are selling the Froot Loops of political thought. They’re not trying to get you to think or be convinced, all they want you to do is obey.

I really can’t see how any person with two brain cells to rub together can actually think that President Bill Clinton did not commit perjury. The case was pretty cut and dry. But when Clinton was impeached in 1998, MoveOn came onto the scene. Their basic premise was that it didn’t matter if he lied. Anyone who believed otherwise was stuck in the past. You like Clinton and his policies but don’t think it’s a good idea to leave him in office because such a thing would compromise the integrity of our institutions? What kind of backwards person would think something like that? Just move on.

We really are and should be better than this. We don’t need these political action groups brainwashing kids to believe that their opinion is morally superior and doesn’t need to be evaluated critically or supported by actual evidence.

What it basically comes down to is this: We are currently in a time where a great deal of people, particularly the young, believe that certain opinions are deeply evil and constitute a grave threat to public safety and well-being (*cough*Cory Booker [D-NJ]*cough*). It isn’t just in the halls of the US Senate, it can be seen when protesters get to be angry mobs and then the media tries to cover for them. On the internet, there has been a dramatic increase, in recent years, of what those of us in the business call the reductio a hitlerium. This is basically where after a period of time in an online argument, one party decides (correctly or not) that Hitler believed the same thing, so you are a Nazi. There can be absolutely no way you are not one.

Thankfully, people change, and so do their opinions. I probably have written things and will write things that, with the benefits of bygone years, I will cringe looking back on and need to avert my eyes, because I will realize their stupidity. Even though I know I’m not and never will be right about everything, I do my best to find where the other side is right and admit when I am wrong.


Not only does this make my arguments stronger, but it will eventually (hopefully) make the refined ideas I propose ones that can be used to make the world better. I’d like to use that to preface what I am about to say, which is, admittedly, harsh. If someone is not willing to concede the goodwill of their opponents, I don’t think that person is able to have their opinion changed, or if they can change, it could take a miracle. So when they’re wrong, they’ll stay wrong. Those people will, of course, hopefully change and be able to see why another person might disagree with them even if they still believe they’re right. But until then, I really want as few of them going to the polls as possible. Young people have bad judgement. We are bull-headed and stupid, and I am sometimes a prime example. If the youth allow themselves to be too consumed in their youthfulness, their opinions are not only irrelevant, but they are destructive.