Of Course the Young Are Leaning Left

Of Course the Young Are Leaning Left
(Marisa Wojcik/The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram via AP, File)
As progressive narratives and critical race theory infused ideas continue to leave collegiate campuses and permeate into the K-12 world, I am often asked why these dangerous, victim-centric, identity-laden ideas have seemingly captured the hearts and minds of so many middle and high school students. There are many partial answers to this, including overt activist educators and social media influencers, but a fundamental one is this: The decline of so many traditional institutions—religious organizations, marriage and the family, fraternal and communal groups—which previously helped structure so much of life, has created a void in the lives of many young Americans. Younger millennial and gen Z Americans have been socially dislocated as they come of age without these traditional structures, and this has in turn opened up space in their minds for narratives that feed on baseline feelings of victimization, inequality, identity, and harm.

Even with the promise of more connectedness with social media, recent years have seen a turn to a more individualist, polarized, and fragmented American society. Americans experience fewer social connections, lower levels of community engagement, greater isolation, and more loneliness. For sure, these tendencies are not universal, as certainly millions of Americans experience fulfilling ties, both personal and communal. But, as research over recent years has established, outside some of the country’s most religious communities, Americans’ social connections and community ties are in decline.

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