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European Millennials Are Not Like Their American Counterparts

Niall Ferguson
 

By Niall Ferguson (Original source The Atlantic)

“In public perception, age is often related to political views. “Not to be a republican at 20 is proof of want of heart; to be one at 30 is proof of want of head,” the 19th-century French monarchist François Guizot is supposed to have said. King Louis Philippe’s prime minister was swept from power by the 1848 revolution, presumably by a combination of republican under-30s and older Frenchmen who had lost their heads. Since then, Guizot’s famous one-liner has often been updated.

There is indeed some evidence that people become more conservative with age, as an individual’s views evolve with one’s lifestyle and needs. However, most research suggests that one’s political outlook is formed at an early age, shaped by major economic and political events. In the United States, economic insecurity has pushed Millennials (born from 1981 to 1996) and Gen Zers (born after 1996) to the left on nearly every policy issue, economic and cultural alike. Young Americans want their country to become more “European,” favoring tuition-free education, single-payer health care, and an increased role for the state in the economy. Older Americans are the ones who tend to be attracted to Donald Trump’s populist cocktail of immigration restriction, protectionism, and easy money.”

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