As a Second Amendment sort of guy, I worry that President Trump’s fundamental pragmatism has led him to abandon—or, at yesterday’s White House roundtable, to think of abandoning—his fellow Republicans over gun-control in the face of the media-promoted moral blackmail by teenage survivors of the Valentine’s Day massacre in Parkland, Florida. If so, the prospective flip-flop may owe something to the President’s being spooked by the same poll that so exercised Rush Limbaugh a few weeks ago and that purported to show Mr. Trump’s approval rating among the so-called “Millennials” is only 18 percent, as compared to 81 percent who disapprove.
I was surprised that Rush failed to mention the media celebrations of a similar poll two years ago. As of March, 2016, according to USA Today,
In a hypothetical Clinton v. Trump contest in November, voters under 35 would choose Clinton by a crushing 52%–19%, a preference that crosses demographic lines. Among whites, she’d be backed by nearly 2–1, 45%–26%. Among Hispanics, by more than 4–1, 61%–14%. Among Asian Americans, by 5–1, 60%–11%. Among African Americans, by 13–1, 67%–5%.
Writing about this result, Ariel Edwards-Levy of HuffPost crowed that “Young Voters Couldn’t Hate Donald Trump Much More Than They Already Do.” But that was a few months before he was elected with 41 percent of the white millennial vote.
The media, of course, had their own explanations for why this might have been—mostly to do with white racial resentments against minorities—but I wonder if it wasn’t more likely to be because white millennials are more susceptible than any other demographic to the bane of our political existence these days, virtue signaling. They come under all the pressures that the rest of us do to make socially acceptable responses when asked about their political views in addition to the more concentrated ones issuing from a largely radicalized teaching profession. You only had to look at the now-notorious CNN “Town Hall” on guns the other day to see how adept these particular youngsters have become at mimicking the media’s own ostentatious self-righteousness.
That event caused Bill McGurn to write in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journalof “Our Childish Gun Debate,” but he might have gone further. The media have made all our political “debates” equally childish, reflecting the childishness of the culture they have grown up in. Paradoxically, that culture, infected from top to bottom with childish fantasy and comic-book morality, is also what lies behind school shootings like the one in Parkland. That we all must expect to live henceforth not in the actually virtuous Republic envisioned by the Founders who wrote the Second Amendment but in a virtue-signaling world built as part of a larger effort to cater in all things to overgrown children suggests that we oldsters, like President Trump, will sooner or later have to make our peace with laws that take the babies’ guns away from them — and perhaps our own along with them.
And, speaking of young fantasists, The Washington Post reports that “One in four teens are sexting, a new study shows. Relax, researchers say, it’s mostly normal.” Whew! That’s all right then. Thanks, “researchers”!
“If we look at things like sexual behavior with teens, if it’s consensual and both teens wanted it and are okay with it, you are not going to see the negative psychological health. If it was nonconsensual or coerced, that is where you see the negative mental health problems, and we see the same thing with sexting,” study co-author Jeff Temple, a psychiatry professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch told CNN.
Well, what else would you expect a professor of psychiatry to have told CNN? School shootings are a mental health problem, all right, but it is the mental health of the culture, much more than that of a few individuals, which ought to concern us.