Father John Kiley’s “Quiet Corner” column in the June 25 issue of Rhode Island Catholic helped me bring together a few thoughts that have been drifting in and out of my mind lately.
As somebody who works to develop and research public policy for a living — proposals like eliminating the sales tax and implementing school choice programs that bring private school within reach for all families — I’ve found my observations of the younger generation, the “Millennials,” discouraging.
On one hand, they seem to have replaced a full sense of pluralistic freedom with intolerance for views that differ substantively with their own. They insist on redefining marriage to include same-sex couples, for example, but think that business owners who do not wish to provide services for such ceremonies should have no choice — not just in their own communities, but anywhere across the country.
On the other hand, they find justification for this dogmatism in the narrative that they are at war with powerful, oppressive forces. As Father Kiley suggests, they have been enculturated with “an anti-establishment mood.” It’s what they were taught, and it’s been reinforced in countless television shows and movies.
These two hands fold together neatly. Without a full sense of history and the value of intellectual diversity, “the oppressor” is just a character in the latest HBO series. He is defined not by his actions — by actually oppressing people — but by certain political views that he might hold.