My millennial generation is a strange machine. Some years ago, the New York Times described us as having “a sense of entitlement, a tendency to overshare on social media, and frankness verging on insubordination.” This probably isn’t an altogether untrue characterisation. Everyone’s up in arms about something, anything. But it would seem that millennial progressives are not the only ones with a shortage of things to complain about.
My progressive brethren lament their rising student debts, others protest the specious systemic inequalities pitted against them, and others still are yet to overcome the intellectual hurdle required to deal with trigger warnings.
Yes, the cultural elites have peddled their jaundiced, socialist snake oil that we are being systematically short-changed – hoodwinked, cheated, swindled, and deceived. They are branded ‘snowflakes’ and the ‘victim brigade,’ and rightly so. They thrive on offence as though it were their life-blood.
And, certainly, the progressive Left have advertised their wares as gold, and millennials have largely bought into the lie and received their fair share of (usually white, male) gilt. They have drunk deeply from the neo-Marxist moonshine that pits abstract groups against each other in order to manufacture a narrative of historical oppression.
All the while, millennial conservatives shake their heads contemptuously, all the while licking their wounds from the political thrashings we received in 2017. Disaffected with the calibre of debate on public policy (or lack thereof), and frustrated by the political intrigues and bullying of the Left, the millennial, conservative camp has characteristically been a cheerless place. The heavy fog of defeatism has settled upon us.
Even our current Prime Minister has made it clear that there is no place for conservatives in the Liberal Party, and has so wedged us between the rock of our convictions, and the hard place of being supposedly ‘divisive’ within the Party. In times like these, it is not difficult to sympathise with the views of so many friends in the Liberal Party who have given up, whose battles to change Australia for the better now stop at the ballot box.
But it is here that I offer both a gentle rebuke and encouragement to my conservative peers. There is no participation trophy in the real world of consequences – that much is true. Conservative though we may be, if our losses from last year do not prompt us to even greater efforts in the present, then both you and I are part of the problem.
“Knowledge alone can never be wisdom; wisdom is the correct and active use of knowledge” is a rather good philosophy to live by – simply knowing the political terrain is not enough. To effect real change, we must traverse it; we must work the ground; we must sow and harvest, and not just reap the benefits of great articles, of informative conferences, or political networking functions. The profoundly conservative principle of greater self-responsibility ought to apply all the more to us. The beauty of conservative principles is that its fruits often ripen in the shadow of adversity, and are watered by a hardworking generation’s blood, sweat, and tears.
Chance a look over the parapet of our cloistered conservatism, and you will find that across our nation, young men and women are increasingly saying ‘No’ to political correctness, whether by ballot paper, pen, or campaign. They are in our universities, our workplaces, our churches and community organisations, our rugby teams and kids clubs. At the heart of the political process is grassroots action – what Edmund Burke christened ‘the little platoon we belong to in society … the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections … the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country, and to mankind.”
Something is astir in the air, and the winds of change, of reform, are blowing. This article may very well be prophetic, and I sincerely hope that it is. Join a party, be the conservative voice, change the tide of battle. Believe me, there has never been a better time to be young, restless, and right-wing.
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