Where Has All the Fervor Gone?
Posted on Aug 3, 2011
In case you haven’t noticed, Americans between the ages of 15 and 30 are remarkably undisturbed by the extent to which corporations and their bought-and-paid-for politicians dominate nearly every aspect of their lives. At least that’s how it appears, given the decline in youth protest and civil disobedience over the last 30 years.
So what happened? Bruce E. Levine, a clinical psychologist and author of the book “Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite,” takes an informed stab at explaining, beginning with student loan debt, which is expected to top $1 trillion by December—an amount greater than any other U.S. consumer debt, including credit cards. —ARK
Traditionally, young people have energized democratic movements. So it is a major coup for the ruling elite to have created societal institutions that have subdued young Americans and broken their spirit of resistance to domination.
Young Americans—even more so than older Americans—appear to have acquiesced to the idea that the corporatocracy can completely screw them and that they are helpless to do anything about it. A 2010 Gallup poll asked Americans “Do you think the Social Security system will be able to pay you a benefit when you retire?” Among 18- to 34-years-olds, 76 percent of them said no. Yet despite their lack of confidence in the availability of Social Security for them, few have demanded it be shored up by more fairly payroll-taxing the wealthy; most appear resigned to having more money deducted from their paychecks for Social Security, even though they don’t believe it will be around to benefit them.
How exactly has American society subdued young Americans?
Flickr / Duke Yearlook
Students protest in 1968 against Duke University’s affiliation with Dow Chemical Co., which produced napalm used in the Vietnam War.