A reader writes:
There is one big thing that has been missing from the Millennial thread. I was born in 1979 so I'm sort of right in the middle between Gen X and the Millennials. The generation of Americans a little bit older than me had their formative years conditioned by the Cold War; who they were as Americans was defined in large part by opposition to the USSR. Being American meant being anti-communist.
Those Americans a little bit younger than me had their formative years defined by the "war on terror." I consider myself lucky that my most formative years were during a time of relative peace and lacked an easy enemy to tell us who we were. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and before 9-11 there was no real overarching boogeyman to define ourselves in opposition too. The Lewinsky scandal could only take root in such an interim. In a way, it was boring.
Millennials are the first post-Cold War generation and as such have not had their formative years influenced by a mixture of nationalism and anti-communism.
We need to get some distance from historical communism in order to understand the objective reality of capitalism better. The Millennial generation can see much more clearly than Cold War generations the multitude of ways in which capitalism diverges from and is counter to true democracy. This is a HUGE shift between how Millennial voters see the world and the generation that watches Fox News. To even question the virtue of capitalism is a new and important event and question it we do.
(Photo: A man walks by a sleeping 'Occupy Wall Street' protester in the financial district of Manhattan on October 9, 2012. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli today will release his annual report on employment and earnings in New York' City's financial industry, one of the worlds largest. While employment is still down thousands of positions since the economic crisis of 2008, DiNapoli has said that last year the sector employed 166,600 people in hedge funds, investment banks and securities trading firms. By Spencer Platt/Getty Images)