Washington Post opinion columnist Catherine Rampell seems to be confused about President Trump and his direction for the country after swooning in a post-adolescent crush for "all things French."
Somebody help me out. Washington Post contributor Catherine Rampell, who writes an opinion column dubbed “The Millennial View,” has me scratching my head in puzzlement. She recently wrote a column that we published in last week’s St. James section of RDN, titled “Don’t count on millennials to save the West.”
She opens up her piece proposing the question, “Will millennials save the West?” It’s kind of a general inquisition, that counters Western democracy as we know it versus her flirtation with the pinker shades of socialism and the greener shades of radical environmentalism. I wouldn’t expect any less from a Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton who grew up in South Florida; but as she’s quick to say, “the New York part.” I guess that means she’s not from Homestead.
She doesn’t mince words. In answer to her opening question, she says, “many commentators seem confident that the answer is yes—that young people’s left-leaning values will be a moderating influence on their insular, xenophobic, right-wing parents. But this complacency may be misplaced.”
She cites election day polls in Britain and France that show the youths in those countries to be more left-leaning, but also more illiberal (huh?) and more radical.
“These trends have been compared with those in the United States, where millennials are also supposed to be the last bulwark against undemocratic Trumpian values.”
Does anybody else get tired of seeing social scientists trying to transpose social cultures of other countries on top of the United States as though they were water and solvent? It’s more like oil and water. Scandinavia isn’t the U.S. Thousands of years of history that made those diverse, rich cultures what they are today are disregarded, as well as human diversity or the lack of it, and an ignorance of geographical scale and location is magically discarded for new millennial progressive thought—which is to say, “one world is enough for all of us,” to quote a famous Sting song.
Rampell gives a few reasons why European youth are becoming more extreme in their political beliefs by citing Stephane Wahnich, a political science professor at Universite Paris-Est Creteil.
“French youths have been increasingly drawn to extremes because they have little economic mobility and few job opportunities. Additionally, the bogeymen of generations past—Nazism, communism—seem less alarming to a cohort so far removed from World War II and the Cold War. Therefore, to vote for political parties that are ideologically close to these sensibilities poses fewer and fewer problems because many do not make the link.”
O.K., she’s connecting the dots between a poor economy, job growth and youth frustration, leading them to political extremes; but disconnecting with what is causing and has caused poor job growth. Namely, liberal policies. She is confused about who’s corner she’s standing in—liberal or conservative?
She is having trouble defining who the boogeyman is and once it’s identified, will she be able to find a safe space quick enough once she realizes the joke is on her and her generation?
This liberal love affair with France has got to stop, and here’s why.
In a previous column titled “Macron attempts a feat that Trump wouldn’t dare,” she rattles off the dismal economic record of France, but says it is not due to generous health care benefits or environmental protections, those sacred cows of the left. Um . . . I’m opposed to neither, but the reality is, they are a cost of doing business. Having conducted business many years in Europe, both those costs are so expansive, as to be prohibitive for many businesses—particularly small businesses.
She claims, “It’s that it’s virtually impossible, or at the very least prohibitively expensive to fire employees, which makes hiring employees unattractive, too.”
Well, welcome to unionville, Catherine! I have visited factories in France and Italy and I have seen this trend of short term (i.e. one-month, six-month to one year) contracts with my own eyes. These socialist European countries have allowed unions to choke their economy.
She says,”Macron has framed his agenda—which includes making it easier to ax workers, capping damages in unfair-dismissal cases and decentralizing collective bargaining—as both pro-business and pro-worker, given that it would grant additional opportunities to job-seekers.”
That’s sounding awfully “Trumpian” to me, Catherine—except she says—“it’s not hard to admire and perhaps envy Macron’s political impulses here.” Oh my, she’s blushing.
“In the face of divisive economic challenges, he is choosing (unlike Trump, is the inference) not to pander and scapegoat but to restructure and reinvent.”
And President Trump is not?
So who’s the boogeyman of your generation, Catherine? Until you have that figured out, I’m not counting on millennials to “save” the West or anything else.