Pete Davidson was recently on Hot Ones before the release of his new movie The King of Staten Island and had some interesting thoughts about millennials and cancel culture. Here is the link to the interview, to summarize Sean Evans asked Davidson about deleting his social media and why he no longer performed at colleges. He explains that millennials latch on to any cause that is just and feel they should immediately react, even if they haven’t checked another source or even thought twice, if something is labeled as politically incorrect they immediately “put you on blast”
We’ve all known this, but what Davidson said next was so interesting- somewhere in their mind they feel they are actually doing something good, standing up and providing justice. Looking objectively, it’s hard to imagine someone who is degrading and humiliating a person they grew up with has good intentions. As a thought experiment just imagine the mindset that what Trump has done today, truly is threatening your existence and way of life. Today is highlighted here because the liberal(and conservative when they aren’t in office) news cycle is only made of world ending stories that seem to be forgotten the next day with the next story. This is a hellish way to live, albeit a self maintained one. If you are living in this mindset, you really believe a trump voter is ultimately an enemy that needs to be silenced and removed from discussion. (If this attitude was reversed and the right treated any group this way we would scream RACISM! )
Why is this political cultural war the hill so many millennials are willing to die on? You don’t see this passion applied to anything else in most of their lives. When was the last time you were so passionate about something you would confront someone over it publicly, or be willing to sacrifice a real human relationship? Why are the culture wars the deepest meaning in our lives? Perhaps philosophy can take us in the right direction.
“God is dead” – Nietzche
While Nietzche has been used as a Christian boogie man due to that line, the context is always removed. He was not some radical atheist trying to whip out the church, he was actually extremely disturbed that he discovered what would be the end of religion. Both religious and non religious people best take note of his message. His specific argument for god not existing is unimportant for this article, lets focus instead on the fallout that he predicted. Essentially he believed the concept of God was invented like the wheel to move heavy objects, humans need meaning and the ultimate piece to that puzzle was God. Therefore if the world is at a place where the majority of people don’t really believe in God, those are people who are now facing a massive existential crisis of meaning. He was not saying there isn’t meaning or you couldn’t find it, but now we all have to find a new solution. A new meaning for our lives, and new overarching goal or “team”. His ultimate fear- what would we put in its place? Religions are mostly based in ethics and values, what if something gave us meaning that was based in violence or hatred?
Even if religion or believing in God is not your thing, it is still beneficial to think about God. While those on the left might cringe, consider the fact that the Left uses aversions to religion as a tactic in the same way the Right uses religion to attract voters. This is the core of identity politics, and if you find yourself constantly attacking religion itself(bashing anything labeled religious before hearing anything else), you’ve been played by the same forces that we ridicule the right for- blind certainty about their side. When we throw the baby out with the bath water and automatically fight anything resembling the right, we are like fighting roosters, so angry and threatened we attack everything in front of us. The worst part, our democratic owners throw the “fighting roosters”(us) in the ring against our friends and family, and we attack with fury. In the same way we chastise a working class voter who “goes against their own interest” by voting Repulican, we should chastise “open-minded” liberals for being social justice warriors. We are constantly cutting out and excluding people, actively shrinking our own tent! This is not a winning political strategy!
What if we thought as strategically as the Republicans who swooped the working class from us in the 70’s? Perhaps we would see that we have younger generations who are struggling, that their anger is being used and abused by the Democratic party. We all need the community that religions provide to their practitioners. We all need a bigger purpose, there is a vacuum in our lives, whatever you do, don’t fill it with social media news. This is how we start as open minded and politically ambitious, then look up at 45-50 and see that the democrats culture wars didn’t change a thing in our actual lives. We didn’t get healthcare, didn’t enact climate change legislation, didn’t raise taxes on the wealthy, and we didn’t lower the cost of college. All we did was cultivate a hatred for the town we grew up in and the people from there that occupy our Facebook feed. As we bicker with Republican voters, we are all sinking together as the working class.
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