Generation Contrarian

It’s no secret that in modern times each successive generation attempts to find its identity by rebelling against the values of the previous generation. Slowly at first, but beginning with Generation X society has become exponentially more liberal and provocative with each wave of youth. This phenomenon has radically increased in every direction, resulting in today’s youth opposing the views of those merely decades older at nearly every turn.

G.K. Chesterton predicted the plight of today’s youth in the following quote – ‘The fatal metaphor of progress, which means leaving things behind us, has utterly obscured the real idea of growth, which means leaving things inside us’. The gospel of ‘progress’ is preached at every turn, whether by those demanding diversity in every population, those who believe it’s a woman’s turn to be president, or those who champion a religion that was virtually nonexistent in the West. When pressed on why they hold these views, the answer usually directly references the past (‘these institutions were always predominantly white men / we have only had male presidents / it is our values which are truly wrong’). This doesn’t denote a conclusion reached through rationality but instead by following the maxim ‘change = good‘.

American author Edward Abbey once wrote ‘Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell‘. Those who idolize change above all else form their opinions around whatever is opposite the common belief. This is a trend which eventually results in a valueless society, where people form their opinions by what others believe rather than a sense of rationality or morality. This was foreshadowed by the rise of the Hipster movement, where everything well-liked was uncool. Hipsters feigned depth through contrarianism, operating under the mindset that by rejecting the commonly-held belief (the mainstream) they were more enlightened than others. As these people grew older and became more politically involved, this attitude followed, resulting in the birth of the Progressive Movement (more aptly described as the Change Party).

Those who worship change neglect to acknowledge that our society exists not in spite of the past, but because of it. Changing every aspect of society because one believes that change in and of itself is an improvement will eventually knock our society’s legs out from under it, causing it to crumble. Improvement is a worthy goal, but it should be pursued by building upon our foundations rather than tearing them down.