Kids These Days! (You’ll Understand When You’re Older)

If you are a Millennial with atypical opinions, like me, you have probably heard somewhere along the way, “Oh, you’re too young to understand.” Usually this is used when someone doesn’t have the facts or logic to win an argument, so instead they turn towards the arbitrary number of how many times they’ve orbited the sun.

Experience is a very important thing when making informed judgements. For instance, meeting an immigrant of Venezuela, who has first-hand experience of the wastelands created by socialism, has a very legitimate opinion when talking about the subject. However, sitting at home, watching soap operas and sitcoms several hours a day for 30 years in no way gives someone a more valid opinion on the important issues of today than someone else 30 years younger.

From my perspective, it also seems to be complemented by the fact that every human generation experiences a sense of “juvenoia,” which is a “fear or hostility directed by an older generation toward a younger one, or toward youth culture in general.”

According to a Time article that describes this term created by sociologist David Finkelhor, “Every generation believes that the generation before was too rigid and conservative—and the generation after too wild and out-of-control.” This easily translates into the belief that older generations are too stuck in their ways, and the younger generations are simply too inexperienced to see the world as you do.

While this argument could be made in the aggregate, it is completely ridiculous on the individual basis. The way to figure this out is to reverse roles. How offensive would it be if when I disagreed with someone older than me, instead of responding with facts and logic I simply said, “well, old people are more forgetful and often have Alzheimer’s and dementia; so only if you were 30 years younger you might be able to understand what I’m saying.” This would be horrible, wrong, and antithetical to thoughtful discussion.

Juvenoia has been a part of human thinking since recorded history. It will even affect us Millennials one day. After all have you heard the music that these kids listen to nowadays? Our music when we were kids, 10 years ago, was so much more sophisticated and meaningful. After all, look at how much better [irrelevant late 90s-early 2000’s band] is than [irrelevant band post-2010]. Kids these days!

For an interesting look at juvenoia, check out the video by the Youtube channel “Vsauce.” After watching it, I realized that some people will always use age against you. It is our job to respond in kind with even more logical and reason in our responses.

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