In an interview with The Daily Caller after speaking at the National Conservative Student Conference, Jonah Goldberg, author of “Liberal Fascism” and “The Tyranny of Clichés,” discussed youth participation in politics.
Goldberg offered strong words for the way that politics is presented to young people through the “Rock the Vote idiocy that is passed off as some sort of serious movement.”
“The cult of youth politics in this country, generally speaking from the left, is that young people simply because the are eager and they are passionate they must also be right. That is not a democratic understanding of politics,” he said. “That is not a civilized understanding of politics. Barbarians are enthusiastic and excited.”
Goldberg added: “The way we approach youth politics generally in this country is we simply say forget informing your passion with reason and just be passionate. If it feels good do it, if you want to stick it to the man, do it. Be rebellious because being youthful is about being rebellious and we don’t say ‘rebellious against what?’ ‘Rebellious to what end?'”
The conservative author criticized the cultural environment that young people are exposed, saying, “[Young people] are taught from a very young age that to have a full youthful experience you have to live out certain stereotypes and cliches, you have to act as if you are auditioning for some really crappy made for TV movie where young people argue with their parents and they have a sit in in the cafeteria and they do all of these exciting things and they get in a drum circle and they have paper mache puppets and its all so very exciting and rebellious and authentic when its none of those things, its play acting … part of your youthful educational experience is to pretend to be a friggin’ anti-war hippy from 1968.”
“At the earliest age they are spoon fed this idea that your self esteem is the ultimate arbiter of what is right and good,” he said, “and that if it hurts your feelings then it must be wrong, well if something hurts your feeling and it’s true then that’s your problem. The theatricality of protest politics appeals to young people and then as they get older and more serious and more mature, they grow out of it.”