McCarthy on conservatism and the post-Boomer generations


Must-read stuff this morning from Dan McCarthy at the The American Conservative.

Dan argues that the Gen X and the Millennial generations are not necessarily more liberal than their Boomer parents, but their conservatism has a much different inflection:

Right-wing boomers who see this as a sign that the kids are all liberals are missing the point. Someone like Congressman Amash is a cultural conservative in his own right — he’s strongly anti-abortion — but has a style radically different from the bloodsport that excites the boomers. This generational shift in tone and emphasis is apparent on the right even beyond the Ron Paul movement: the “crunchy cons” and Front Porch Republic also have notably different emphases from the culture warriors of the last four decades. They’re planting trees rather than picketing clinics.

This isn’t the first time such a shift has taken place: Russell Kirk was also more likely to be planting trees than picketing clinics, though no one had any doubt where he stood on abortion.

That means there is hope:

There is a tremendous opportunity here to advance a Burkean philosophy in place of boomer apocalypticism. Even if their “values” on the surface seem less conservative than those of their parents, these young men and women are better off for having rejected right-wing ideology. The insurmountable obstacle conservatism has faced among baby boomers is that they’re stuffed full of ideological presumption, much of it now right-wing rather than left. They can’t unlearn the mistaught lessons of the past — lessons like “bombing foreign countries is good because George McGovern was bad” or “regulation is bad because Jimmy Carter was bad.”

Read the whole thing.

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