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The Cheapest Generation (theatlantic.com)
94 points by _s on Nov 5, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 147 comments

Back of the envelope calculations put the cost of car ownership around $7,000 per year. I'd have to earn an extra $10,000 before tax to cover that. That pays for a lot of "overpriced Apple products" that we millenials are constantly blamed for overspending on. And my electronics are a business expense.

I can't see the use case for a car. I live in the Plateau Mont-Royal neighborhood of montreal. Everything I need is literally a five minute walk away in any direction. A bike gets me downtown about as fast as a car does in summer, the metro can often cross town faster, and taxis are a minute's call away. You can pay for a lot of taxis with the money saved not buying a car.

Meanwhile, if I had had the cost of running a car, I would have gone bankrupt on several occasions while bootstrapping my business. For no tangible benefit. Now that I've got financial stability, I still can't see why I would want one. If I car to drive myself, there are communauto stations all around me (Montreal equivalent of Zipcar).

If I moved to the suburbs, things would be different, but I have no intent of moving to the suburbs.

"Back of the envelope calculations put the cost of car ownership around $7,000 per year."

You could buy a ten-year-old used car every year, plus insurance, for $2,000 or less [1] (assuming insurance is mostly the same as in the US). When it breaks down, buy a new one and sell the old one for parts or junk.

Owning a car provides courses of action you wouldn't consider without it. There's an extra level of planning involved if you have to try to find a car first, or take a train or airplane; if you have a car, the first step to any medium-length trip is to jump in the car, rather than to try to work out the logistics of how you'd get there.

[1] http://montreal.en.craigslist.ca/search/cta?query=&zoomToPos...

Ok, but what's the total annual cost then? I don't commute, so I guess it would depend on how much I drove – what's a ballpark gas estimate? Don't forget to add the cost of my time for buying + selling – how long would it take to make a good purchase/sale? (serious questions, I don't know the answers because I have had no interest in a car).

My parents own a car, so I know what its like to live in a place with one. Doesn't feel substantially different from what I've got now. As the other comment said, there's a very well developed transport network where I am, including public cars. You could say not every place is like this, but I chose to live here in lieu of a place where this lifestyle isn't possible.

It depends strongly on the gas mileage for the car, of course, but my first assumption would be that for most people the cost of public transit is about the same as gas. My daily commute, for example (which I know you don't have, but most people do) is about 50 miles. On days I don't work from home, my choice is between a commuter train which costs $22 round trip, commuting on the long-distance train ($28 round trip), or driving, which costs about $10-15 in gas, depending on the current price of gas. I mostly take the train, because driving into Washington, DC isn't fun; I'm certainly not trying to convince you to run out and buy a car, just responding to the assertion that it would cost $7000 a year extra to keep one.

I lived in the DC metro for two years without a car, before purchasing this one, and having lived both ways, I personally strongly prefer having a car. Without one, I had to structure my life around not having a car. Going to the computer store (Microcenter) to pick up a new video card on a whim was something that would take the bulk of the day without a car (two or three metro lines depending on route). If the store half a mile from my house didn't have something, I had to either plan a trip on a bus to another one (and what if that one didn't, either? So I spent a lot of time trying to figure out in advance online if they did), or just go without. I don't much like shopping for groceries, but I got to do it three or four times a week anyway, because I couldn't carry enough 2L bottles to last longer than a few days, etc... without a car, a lot of my life was concerned with inventory and transportation, in a way that I don't even think about with a car, since I can pop out to any kind of store and be back in 20 minutes.

I see. We may have different use cases. I wasn't exaggerating when I said everything is literally five minutes away in my neighborhood. I usually get groceries several times per week, on my walk home from somewhere. Occasionally I take a somewhat longer walk to a cheap grocery store for certain items, but no planning required. I don't drink pop or juice, so no 2L bottles.

Apple store and protein powder describe the two items I can't get within this 5 minute radius. And transit is $4.80 round trip with a pass and takes me anywhere in town quickly. Metro gets you anywhere, so no planning or routes required. Taxi downtown is $12-$15 if for some reason I'm in a rush.

> There's an extra level of planning involved if you have to try to find a car first, or take a train or airplane

Note that this not really true of countries with good transportation networks. Granted that the U.S. doesn't have one, but that's exactly one of the things people want to fix....

I pay $75/mo for Zipcar. On the rare occasion that I "need a car", I can just jump into one, adjust the seats and go. Annual cost: $900. 0 for gas or insurance. And if anything, I actually use it much less than that on average.

>> I can't see the use case for a car. I live in the Plateau Mont-Royal neighborhood of montreal. Everything I need is literally a five minute walk away in any direction. A bike gets me downtown about as fast as a car does in summer, the metro can often cross town faster, and taxis are a minute's call away. You can pay for a lot of taxis with the money saved not buying a car.

Congrats you're in the top 0.01% of US/Canada.

You have to love the media: "The boomers voted themselves healthcare on their kids backs, made their kids go into crushing debt for education, put basic housing out of reach for them and look to be financing their retirement via them. How come those darn kids aren't buying cars?"

Boomers didn't enact Medicare or Social Security. Basic housing is still very much in reach; nobody is entitled to live in McMansions in high-value neighborhoods. But "basic housing" is certainly available and FHA loans should cover their purchase.

It reminds me of how kids used to work for the parents on a farm or factory to help support their family. Maybe the burden has just been moved, assuming the quote has any validity.

Eventually the kids got a farm out of it.

Gen Y here.

I think they answered their question halfway through. Total student debt in the US is currently about $1,134,752,535,374.00 and increasing at a rate of about $2,853.88 per second.

The article title is linkbait -- any generation that spends that amount of money isn't "cheap" (I think the word "exploited" is probably more appropriate).

I make a lot more than a lot of GenY, and have less student loan debt, and it is a MAJOR part of my budget. I don't see how someone with an average salary and average student loan debt could get a loan for a car or for a house.

This is one thing I think a lot of young people here (Denmark) don't really realize about their advantages. Yeah, the taxes are higher, but they have no student loans to pay off. (Not to mention: they can start a business without worrying about healthcare premiums.)

How long will it be a major part of your budget? Someone with a typical state university student debt load making a typical SV software engineer salary can be out of debt in 5 years without much discomfort.

Probably around that long. Perhaps less if things go well.

I'm not sure which letter applies to me, but I'm still under 30. Whenever I think about a car, I think about where I'd park it (either on the street and risk nature damage, or fork some extra cash every month for a parking spot), the cost of gas (more cash), the nightmare that is driving in the city center, finding a place to park it (usually, involving even more cash), maintenance (cash) and the cost to the environment. And what would I get for that? Reducing my commute 15 minutes, and being designated driver at the weekends. Small, electric cars would solve some of those problems, but car makers insist we don't want them.

I really think they are asking the wrong question - instead of "why aren't 'millenials' buying cars?", they should ask "why would millenials buy a car on the first place?".

"why would millenials buy a car on the first place?".

That's exactly it. It's not the status symbol it used to be, because it should've never been one in the first place. You can't work on cars much anymore, and it's clear that the car-centric planning we've gone with was a terrible fucking idea and has been setting us up for much sadness.

You don't understand status symbols. The less practical and more of a pain-in-the-ass something is, the better its potential as a status symbol.

Yachts aren't status symbols among the rich because of their immense practicality & utility.

That might be true for the upper class, but for middle and lower classes the biggest status symbol currently is a shiny new smartphone with much utility.

I'm not sure which letter applies to me

The commonly accepted cutoff is 1981/1982. So, anyone 31 or younger is GenY.

I'm a Millenial and I enjoy owning a car, but I definitely don't care about it as an indicator of social status the way older generations did.

I would much rather own a self-driving pod with a comfortable couch where I could work or relax without thinking about driving. Or even enjoying the view! Driving is fun, but for day-to-day stuff, I'd much rather get online as soon as possible to get my work done.

I tend to think of time in a car as time wasted, unless I just happen to be in the mood to drive.

Driving is fun, but for day-to-day stuff, I'd much rather get online as soon as possible

this statement makes me recoil. If I need anything, it is to be online less, and driving enforces that, if only for a little while.

I used to have that view, but now I don't own a car, and I take device-free walks instead, which I think I actually prefer. I like looking at architecture, trees changing color, birds, whatever, while taking a 30-min walk somewhere. It feels less hectic than when I'd drive.

Oh, I'm not saying I need driving to disconnect. Just reacting in general to the notion of getting back online asap.

Ah, my point wasn't that I want to be online a lot. My point was that I want to get online and get my work done. That way I can log off sooner and go do other stuff I enjoy doing.

Since when does "not taking loans out for shit you can't afford" equate to cheap?

Since it started hurting profit margins.

Remember, being efficient pretty much negates the opportunity for someone to make a buck off of you.

When "frugal", "thrifty" and "prudent" became dirty words.

I like "austere". It sounds much more elegant but is actually much dirtier.

Speaking as a member of Generation X, having a computer and getting on the Internet early made ownership of a car far less interesting. I did have a motorcycle for a while and occasionally I find myself thinking about a car, but it's an awful lot of money for something I don't really enjoy using.

You said it. It just isn't enjoyable to own a car anymore. With all the added crap on-top there is no reason for my simplicity craving brain (even if it isn't true, we simplify to a point of making the process of simplifying complex) to desire the perceived complexities and costs of owning a new car.

That being said, I do own one. It's not new (10 years old now), it's 'cheap' to run (4-cylinder), and is purely for utility (4x4 for snow) as I live in a rural community. Even then, I take the bus between communities to commute to work.

At least regarding homes, their prices have skyrocketed beyond inflation in many heavily populated urban areas. This is of course because of the increasing populations in major cities and the limited land available near the city center. It's an extra powerful factor that drives housing prices up on top of inflation.

Housing has become a major, major expense in many cities, so much so that getting into a nice neighborhood in a good location often requires two considerable incomes. This is true even in less popular cities like Houston. For instance, this is the neighborhood west of the university I attended: http://search.har.com/engine/doSearch.cfm?ZIP_CODE=77005&CLA.... I remember driving through that neighborhood when I first started college; I had no idea these were million dollar homes of the elite.

Regarding cars, I own one, but I don't enjoy driving in traffic, and traffic is far, far worse today than it was in the 70s or 80s. Commutes are worse than they've ever been. I'd love to go for a drive along a winding country road, but I don't much care to fight traffic on a congested highway with construction and accidents impeding any sort of sane traffic flow. I actually just rent an apartment near the office I work in and walk to work. Driving for me is mainly to visit friends and get groceries.

I had the option of getting my dad's old car for free, recently. It works fine, looks nice and is about 9 years old, but I decided not take it (so he's giving it to his troubled sister).

I live in a suburb of NYC (Floral Park) where it might be useful sometimes, but its just not worth it just considering the cost of monthly insurance. I take the bus/subway everywhere and can take many taxis a month before a car makes more sense.

The obvious dual to "the cheapest generation" is "the poorest generation". College is twice as expensive, and there are half as many jobs.

And they are worse paid in comparison to before. And the generation is probably far more educated.

“We just think nobody truly understands them yet.”

I don't think that's true. I think that auto manufacturers don't want to accept that millennials don't associate cars with freedom, independence, maturity, and sex in the same way that cars were viewed by previous generations.

At most they're a way to get from point A to B for most millennials, at worst (if you're a car maker) they're viewed as dirty machines that the world would be better without.

>>“We just think nobody truly understands them yet.”

>I don't think that's true.

What they actually meant to say was:

"We just think nobody has figured out to convince them to buy crap they don't need like they did their parents. We're working on it, hard."

It's always weird to hear other GenY say this. At least for me, growing up cars were exactly all of those things.

Maybe it's because they were nearly ubiquitous in the middle-class part of suburban Houston I grew up in, but even though lots of people hard cars, I somehow didn't really associate any status with them. Someone always had a car, and if you didn't, someone would pick you up. Nobody except rich kids owned their own cars, so you weren't driving anything particularly interesting anyway, just your mom's station wagon. As long as one person in your circle of friends had use of a car for the day/evening, they could pick everyone up, and it served the utilitarian purpose of covering the long-ass distances between stuff, which were impractical to bike or walk (and of course there was no public transport).

Sure, cars weren't status symbols to me or my friends, and I didn't meant to say they were. I said cars were everything my comment's parent listed- notice that comment didn't list "status symbol".

If I want the "freedom feeling" of the open road and the wind in my hair, I'll get a moped or motorcycle, and ride it in some backwoods location where joyriding doesn't actually mean getting hit by an irritated commuter.

Oh, it wasn't "freedom of open spaces", it was "freedom of travel". A large part of being a teenager is "discovery". As a young teenager, my range was effectively limited to where I could pedal. The "freedom" was the world I discovered once I gained access to four wheels. The beach, San Francisco, San Jose, the mountains, and even simply staying out late (I hated biking home at night)

It's good to know I'm not the only one who feels this way. I really hate having my travel restricted by bus stops and time tables.

I'm a Gen X'er and I totally think this way. I'm not sure how many X/Y'ers pay attention but I know some of us also lay a lot of blame on the car markers for shaping our cities into the car focused messes they are today.

One possible explanation for why Gen Y and younger aren't interested in buying cars is that the smartphone has replaced what the car once was: The primary tool for social interaction & experiencing the world.

I've always seen it from a highly pragmatic perspective as a mere method of transport.

It's an intriguing idea and there's probably something to it, but what kind of shitty journalism is this?

> Needless to say, the Great Recession is responsible for some of the decline.

Yep, but somehow that's a boring assumption that doesn't gel with the authors' thinking so they just brush it aside completely.

> First, gas prices more than doubled, which made car-sharing alluring.

Because the cost of a car-share is somehow independent of gas prices? Really? (Gas prices may make people less likely to drive everywhere, making a car less of a useful purchase, making car-sharing more alluring – I'll grant them that.)

Then it continues with three examples of the "sharing economy", because obviously three examples is enough to declare a trend.


> Because the cost of a car-share is somehow independent of gas prices? Really?

Zip car rentals include gas.

But the rental price includes the price of gas. If gas prices tripled tomorrow, Zipcar would have to raise their rates.

It's a bit more decoupled for the customer, but it has the same impact overall.

If gas prices are expected to be continuously high, you will try to structure your life in a way that can minimize car usage (say, living in an urban area). That can make not even owning a car at all a viable option.

If you're such a person, and do happen to occasionally need a car for something, that makes you much more likely to be a ZipCar customer. Zipcar doesn't make new customers by having driving be practical, they make new customers by having driving be impractical enough to be (almost entirely) avoided.

Thread with more than 200 comments discussing this 2012 article from a year ago:


Our government not only doesn't care about us, it schemes to make things worse.

This is the main issue for me, I think about it a lot as it seems to me that we're starting to see the beggining a major change in how people view and respond to government.

For me, the main (only?) problem with democracy is that it requires citizens to pay attention and get involved. Voting is the bare minimum. Taxpayers have to be the watchdog over public spending (it's their money), monitor the ethical behaviour of elected officials and, ideally, be involved in their favorite party to keep political careerism low and avoid electing corrupt/for sale candidates.

Banks can only get as big as regulators allow them to. So it's people that need to force the regulator into action on their behalf, instead of just complaining about getting screwed over by a bank rescue due to incompetence or criminal behaviou.

Whining won't help, only serious participation can save us from an increasingly shitty life imposed by low IQ and/or unethical politicians.

Such faith in the democratic process, when all the evidence points to a corrupt dysfunctional system.

Occupy Wall Street did a bit more than your minimum of voting. what happened as a result? Nothing. Obama promised big changes including closing of Guantanamo. Has that happened?

Voting validates the corrupt system.

Sistematic protests are fundamental, but hardly all that's necessary.

I saw a guy defending a thesis that makes sense to me: register for a party and become politically active within your own possibilities, e.g. participating in local assemblies, voting for candidates, etc. Change has to come from within.

Obviously, you can't do anything by yourself. You'd need taxpayers to rally up for a massive participation in political parties; that's why it's so hard.

But anyway, I'd be happy to know some alternatives to this.

When the author wrote this article yesterday:


Had he forgotten about co-writing this trenderrific, millenials-as-failed-commodity dreck last year?

I wonder if the slower car sales have anything to do with the quality of the cars? Modern cars are a triumph of engineering and marketing over fun. Over damped throttles, layers upon layers of "safety" computer systems , auto gearboxes to cheat the emissions tests , wide tyres and a lack of feel and fun.

This article is older than the Cheapest Generation.

Here are some scattered observations and opinions as somebody in this generation. I'm basically just dumping gut feelings here--don't expect a lot of well-written explanations.

There is not a lot worth buying that is long-lasting. Most everything feels mass-produced and cheap, and the things that aren't are pretty obviously marketed at people trying to buck that trend. I don't want to pay 10x more for something without getting that increase in quality, and the fact is that I won't get it.

There is no reason to trust the banks. They're a bunch of fucking crooks, and the smaller the bank (or credit union) the less room they have to be crooks.

Credit rating is bogeyman. Ever since I was old enough to spend money I was told to worry about my credit rating, and to take out credit cards, and do all that other stuff. These messages occurred at about the same time we saw everyone getting hammered over credit-card debt, and heard the Republicans chest-beating over sound fiscal policy. It's plainly obvious that you aren't expected to actually be fiscally sound--otherwise why would they keep flooding you with credit invitations?

Cars are expensive and limited in utility. Insurance rates are high despite companies never actually helping you when you need it, gas is expensive as hell and is clearly being gamed in the commodities market, and commuting is bullshit as white-collar work becomes either redundant or distributed.

Our parents set our city planning up for failure. I live in the fourth-largest and sprawliest metropolitan area in North America (Houston). Every decent improvement is blocked by some greedy Boomer sonovabitch whose business or view would be mildly inconvenienced by the impact of construction. We have food deserts, and suburbs actively designed to discourage walking.

Our government doesn't care about us. Nobody in my generation believes that Social Security or Mediwhatever will still be around to support us in our old age. Nobody believes that our vote matters, that the politicians sitting in office will kowtow to anybody who won't pay for a fucking dinner or make a fucking donation.

Our government not only doesn't care about us, it schemes to make things worse. Because the Boomers and Generation X are still considered important, their views and more importantly fears are turned into policy. This gives us the TSA, crazy FDA regs, patent trolling, and all sorts of barriers to progress.

Our companies don't care about us. Congratulations, we're all contract workers now. Pensions? Hah. Healthcare? Cheapest we can justify. Vacation? Go fuck yourself you needy snowflake. No loyalty, nada, and they expect that they can reach you on the phone or email at all times.

We don't believe in advertising. We've had so much marketed to us for so long so pervasively that we genuinely do not respond to advertising. It's a developed blind spot, and with the social tools we have available we see no need to be advertised to--we know what we want, and can just search for it.

We don't believe in the police. Police are pretty obviously not policing neighborhoods and aren't on the beat--they're chaotic actors who get involved and always always always make things worse. The news is filled with stories of DAs fucking over little guys, of state troopers harassing innocent drivers to raise a buck, of SWAT teams kicking in homes and shooting dogs.

We don't believe in the news. It's become easier than ever to find different coverage on the same stories, and to spot patterns in news-speak. Every talking head sounds the same, and the news is always obviously slanted to one side or the other. There is no journalistic integrity anymore, there is nothing in the mainstream news we can trust.

We believe in each other. The sheer amount of fakeness delivered through ads and bullshit mass media has made us very interested in "real" things, in hanging out with our friends, in starting families. It's not that we're self-centered--it's that so much of the rest of the world is presented through some exploitative nostalgia that we hold it suspect.

>Our parents set our city planning up for failure.

The primary reason for anti-walkability is to keep "riff-raff" out of the nice suburbs. The white flight from the cities in the 60s and 70s was a huge event in American urban planning and those whites who wound up in the suburbs don't want any of that inner-city stuff they got away from downtown from mucking up their suburb. It's horrible but it's the truth. It's one of those awful little secrets of the polite suburbs, like why people get divorced, that everybody knows about but nobody wants to talk about.

Why do people get divorced??

Some of the anonymized acecdotes I've heard second hand with regards to why the well-adjusted suburban upper-middle class gets divorced is that it's often due to the wife getting paranoid about getting ace'd out of the financial picture in favor of the children in her old age. Another reason is because the old man gets utterly infatuated with a younger lady and he throws his brain out the window. Alcoholism can also be a factor.

I always thought it came down to one of two reasons (or both).

- Money and the lack of properly managing it.

- Diminishing interest as a relationship matures as well as a lack of open communication that's needed to keep a healthy relationship. Part of that is also due to not communicating well enough before getting married so one knows exactly who they are marrying ("love is blind"). That generally leads to one spouse to eventually cheat on the other or passively give up on the relationship.

s/matures/ages. Interest shouldn't diminish in a mature relationship.

For the same reason dating couples breakup: because something changes, externally or internally, that makes staying together less desirable than splitting up. I've been married for 3+ years, and been with my spouse for almost 10. We have a child. There is, to put it lightly, momentum that keeps us together along with societal pressures (a dad married to the mom is superior to the dad divorced from the mom, all other things equal.)

I'm not posting to comment on whether this pressure is good or bad, but merely to point out it exists. We live in a culture that celebrates weddings and proposals and scandalizes divorce (look at any tabloid for copious examples), but has little to say about the tenure between.

The trend of dating long term, co-habitation, and finally "tying the knot" late in the relationship is an interestingly recent development in America. I'm curious to see how the data on US divorce evolves as this trend matures. Most of my peers (I'm late Gen X) and Millenials I know are following this pattern.

I suspect it is a direct reaction to generations raised in divorced households, but I have no proof of this.

EDIT: small clarification.

This and schools. There are no non-racist solutions to this.

I like a lot of what you say, especially about cars and urban development (http://jseliger.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/why-would-you-want-...), but I will note a couple other things:

Police... always always always make things worse

They don't always make things worse, as I discovered when a random guy pounded on my door in the middle of the night and threatened to kill me: http://jseliger.wordpress.com/2010/06/21/guy-pounds-on-my-do... . Cops are also caught in a nasty place because of drug laws, which leads me to my next point.

Nobody believes that our vote matters, that the politicians sitting in office will kowtow to anybody...

This is a self-fulfilling prophecy: if you don't vote because you don't believe your vote matters, and others do, then their vote matters and politicians will pander to them, not you. Old people vote en mass; that's a major reason we've having fiscal problems related to Medicare and why those are going to worsen as time goes on. Don't like it? Vote! Convince others to vote. Every election is a potential revolution, which is why we have them.

I voted today, albeit for a mayoral candidate who, according to the polls, is supposed to lose. I've never voted for the two major political parties in presidential elections.

WRT voting more generally, see Bryan Caplan's The Myth of the Rational Voter.

Sorry, I'm going to disagree here. My generation worked our asses off getting Obama elected, and was really the driving force behind his election (to my shame). Yet, as soon as he's in office, all his promises to us, all his soothing words, all his assurances of change, were out the window. Other than some lame alternative to single-payer health insurance, and (only after major prodding) some gay rights advances, he's become George Bush II.

So what's the morale of this story? Choose better next time? He sure had me and a lot of my very smart friends fooled. Vote? As a generation, we not only voted, we pounded on doors, argued with family, gave major money, made up the team that built his fundraising website, which basically carried the election, on so on. Vote third-party? Well, they're politicians, too. Subject to the same motivations and personality types. Who's to say they won't turn out exactly the same?

And yes, there are good cops and bad cops, but mostly (if you spent time around them, as I have in a professional capacity), you'll find that they're highly trained to think of themselves and their own safety and needs first and are mostly indifferent to the population they are supposed to serve. Unlike quite a few lawyers (at least initially), they are rarely driven by any concept of justice, but rather by power, excitement, camaraderie, and steady pay. Justice and service rank a very distant fifth and sixth after those four.

By the way, if those cops hadn't found the drunk guy outside your house (could have happened easy enough, he could have easily collapsed inside his own apartment or behind the bushes and quietly passed out), it's quite possible that they would have just assumed you were the crazy person and hauled you off to jail for filing a false police report and on suspicion of being mentally ill.

> Sorry, I'm going to disagree here. My generation worked our asses off getting Obama elected, and was really the driving force behind his election (to my shame). Yet, as soon as he's in office, all his promises to us, all his soothing words, all his assurances of change, were out the window. Other than some lame alternative to single-payer health insurance, and (only after major prodding) some gay rights advances, he's become George Bush II.

I noticed this during the two-year campaign. People would ascribe views and assertions to him that simply weren't true. He always took moderate to conservative positions on things. As far as I can tell, he's done or tried to do just about everything he said he would.

My advice would be to pay attention to what candidates are actually saying and not rely on second-hand takes from blogs and poorly-sourced news reports. That's what I did, and nothing surprised me. I knew Obama would be a modest improvement over the status quo, and that's what I got. He was the best of a lot of bad options.

And stop skipping non-Presidential elections.

First, up to now, I never skipped non-Presidential elections. And for the record, and to assuage the concern of commenters elsewhere, I do still vote in local elections (and did yesterday, even).

Second, I did pay close attention to what the candidates were actually saying. See my comment below for an excerpt from Obama's formal 2008 platform on civil liberties, which he explained repeatedly throughout the campaign (and has now broken repeatedly).

My mistake was 1) trusting a politician 2) voting for a politician without a lengthy voting record. So there was no way to quantitatively verify many of his promises.

> See my comment below for an excerpt from Obama's formal 2008 platform on civil liberties, which he explained repeatedly throughout the campaign (and has now broken repeatedly).

"Below" is meaningless in a comment thread where posts swap places constantly. Can you be more specific?

While he did run as a centrist technocrat, Senator Obama had indeed made some nicer mouth-noises about civil liberties.

Yeah, apart from the general aura of "change", the only really concrete things I remember were health-care reform, and closing Guantanamo. At least one of the two did happen, sort of.

> He sure had me and a lot of my very smart friends fooled.

When I first heard that Obama's campaign slogan was "hope and change", I assumed it was a joke. I'm still vaguely ashamed that that happened in a modern country.

I would never, ever vote for someone whose campaign message is "you're too stupid for my platform to have any planks in it". (Full disclosure: as a resident of california, that stance on voting didn't really have the potential to cost me anything. I'm pretty sure I'd feel the same anywhere.)

Not quite sure what you're saying, but if you're claiming that Obama ran without a specific platform, you're wrong. For example, below is an excerpt from his platform on civil liberties. These weren't vague promises (although he made a lot of those, too). They were specific promises, and he's now broken most of them.


Reclaiming Our Constitution and Our Liberties

As we combat terrorism, we must not sacrifice the American values we are fighting to protect. In recent years, we've seen an Administration put forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand. The Democratic Party rejects this dichotomy. We will restore our constitutional traditions, and recover our nation's founding commitment to liberty under law.

We support constitutional protections and judicial oversight on any surveillance program involving Americans. We will review the current Administration's warrantless wiretapping program. We reject illegal wiretapping of American citizens, wherever they live.

We reject the use of national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. We reject the tracking of citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. We reject torture. We reject sweeping claims of "inherent" presidential power. We will revisit the Patriot Act and overturn unconstitutional executive decisions issued during the past eight years. We will not use signing statements to nullify or undermine duly enacted law. And we will ensure that law-abiding Americans of any origin, including Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans, do not become the scapegoats of national security fears.

We believe that our Constitution, our courts, our institutions, and our traditions work.

In its operations overseas, while claiming to spread freedom throughout the world, the current Administration has tragically helped give rise to a new generation of potential adversaries who threaten to make America less secure. We will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools to hunt down and take out terrorists without undermining our Constitution, our freedom, and our privacy.

To build a freer and safer world, we will lead in ways that reflect the decency and aspirations of the American people. We will not ship away prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far-off countries, or detain without trial or charge prisoners who can and should be brought to justice for their crimes, or maintain a network of secret prisons to jail people beyond the reach of the law. We will respect the time-honored principle of habeas corpus, the seven century-old right of individuals to challenge the terms of their own detention that was recently reaffirmed by our Supreme Court. We will close the detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, the location of so many of the worst constitutional abuses in recent years. With these necessary changes, the attention of the world will be directed where it belongs: on what terrorists have done to us, not on how we treat suspects.


Our Constitution is not a nuisance. It is the foundation of our democracy. It makes freedom and self-governance possible, and helps to protect our security. The Democratic Party will restore our Constitution to its proper place in our government and return our Nation to our best traditions–including our commitment to government by law.

I'm saying that I take the campaign slogan "hope and change" as a direct insult. It is such an egregiously pie-in-the-sky slogan that, in my mind, anyone proposing it should have instantly become a laughingstock, just as if they'd proposed the slogan "we're for good things, but against bad things".

Looking over https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._presidential_camp... , there seem to be a few standard types:

1. A statement of some sort of policy goal ("Peace and Prosperity"; "Defeat the new deal and its reckless spending")

2. The candidate's name (incredibly common)

3. An achievement ("He kept us out of war"; "Four more years of the full dinner pail")

4. An attack on the other guy ("Roosevelt for ex-president"; "Are you better off than you were four years ago?")

5. Meaningless fluff ("Building a bridge to the twenty-first century"; "A time for greatness")

Some slogans can fit into multiple categories to varying degrees; "Roosevelt for ex-president" is a substance-free attack, while "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" is making a fairly identifiable complaint.

"Hope and change", obviously, goes in category five. But it's phrased as if it were in category one. The meaningless fluff is usually along the lines of "U-S-A! U-S-A!" (or "The candidate is great!"), which is hard to find offensive. I parse "hope and change" as something like an intentional bait-and-switch, except that it's a one-phase process ("we'll tell them something meaningless, but they'll think we have a plan!") instead of a two-phase process ("we'll tell them we have a plan, and then later we'll tell them we were never going to use that plan").

Exactly. Once you're in office your audience changes. Instead of hearing directly from voters, you're hearing directly from very important people.

Think of all the people you meet when you are president and you interact daily. You meet with hardly any of them before becoming president. That dramatic change in people you talk with daily completely changes your worldview in a way that is incompatible with the American people.

I don't know about you, but I think the President and other elected official should be legally obligated to spend more time with real people at the bottom of the ladder. The president should spend 1% of his time hearing from the 1% and 99% of his time hearing from the 99%. Instead it's currently the opposite.

I'd love to see some investigative journalism done with respect to the demographic makeup of the people a future presidential hopeful spends his day and the demographic make up of the people with whom the president spends his day.

As much as I empathize with you in feeling that our vote is useless in the presidential elections, I would like to remind you that our votes still matter in local elections. I'm sick of people telling me they don't vote because our president hasn't made enough changes in our corporate-driven, polarized, two party system. I am just as disappointed in our government as you are, however, I know that when I vote for a mayor, I am voting for someone who actually can/will make visible changes in my community. Additionally, every ballot contains various propositions and bills, where I am able to vote directly on various tax increases, local law modifications, etc. These are important issues, and I encourage all of my friends to register, if only for these reasons.

I did (and do) vote in local elections. I even voted in our local election two days ago. I agree that local voting is still important, even if I disagree with some posters here who say that local voting has more of an impact on our daily lives than our national government.

The President is the wrong place to focus IMO. My local government is both empowered enough and unencumbered enough that it can achieve things, and as the voterbase is smaller we agree on more and campaigning is easier.

I refuse to give up on voting entirely, but I've focused more on local issues because things actually happen. Hooray, Federalism.

The lesson is to keep voting and look at Congress next instead of focusing on the presidential election. It's possible to fix things; state government in California has gotten a lot better recently due to redistricting and primary reform.

Why vote in someone that doesn't represent you interests?

Because you should think about other people, not just yourself. You have the option of voting for someone who won't shut the government down and to some people that matters quite a lot.

>Vote! Convince others to vote. Every election is a potential revolution, which is why we have them.

How'd that work when you brought in Obama?

Until America adopts a preferential voting system it'll be stuck with a two party system, and neither party will be "revolutionary". They'll be ever-so-slightly off center in whichever direction they hope to pick up votes.


The real test of our generation is going to be whether or not we succeed in bringing government back down to more manageable local levels, a sort of backlash against federalism.

The majority of issues we have could and should be solved locally, for proper values of "locally". The technology we have today could then be used to federate these communities on larger issues without giving over autonomy.

You're kind of misusing the term federalism, I think. It generally applies in the US to moving power back from the federal government to the states, which actually seems to be in keeping with what you are advocating.

(it's strongest advocates in US politics have been people who are bitter about the federal government enacting the Civil Rights Act and stuff like that, so... have fun with your new friends)

Federalism has many meanings, but the basic concept is an association of equals or near-equals who make decisions by established protocols. While the US Federal Government was established in a time when communication could take weeks, by the mid-ninteenth century, communication was near-instantaneous, and many political thinkers tried to convince people that they could give up such a high level of representation in favor of mutual decision making based on systematic federalism. This was the beginning of the anarchist political movement, but it was widely dismissed by socialists in favor of traditional power hierarchies. Perhaps today with our even better communications infrastructure, we might be able to revisit some of these ideas of a more distributed power structure.

The loudest advocates in the US for federalism have been the nutty and frankly rather mean far right-wingers but it's worth mentioning that Noam Chomskyesque anarcho-syndicalism also involves some similar levels of decentralization.

The why and the how matter a lot in making that happen.

Power is so entrenched in the US that it's unlikely anyone will make significant changes from political office any time soon, but we can already see distributed power structures springing up in local neighborhoods that are underserved by their government. Detroit is a good example right now. People don't expect any help from the government, so they take care of things on their own and utilize community space to do it. When things get bad, people really have no choice but to be more self-sufficient and community's oriented.

Late Gen X here.

If these feelings are widespread amongst Gen Y, that actually makes me optimistic for the future. Thanks for writing it up.

30 year old, borderline Y here. OP's points #4, 5, 9, 10 and 12 really nail it for me. I think I've driven, maybe, 6 months out of my life. Bikes, carpools and the bus have so far worked out. From the Oregon Coast to Southwest Idaho... I've never wanted to own a car or even really drive for that matter. I'm glad there might be more people like me out there.

Full disclosure: I wouldn't mind an '83 cutty, however.

I enjoy driving. I don't enjoy sitting in traffic or mindlessly plodding along a freeway alone in a steel box. I bought a car that I enjoy driving, but I'm also actively looking for a house in a location that means I don't have to drive to work. That's the ideal for me: a car for doing auto-x or HPDE or road trips or whatever, but not having to drive to work or the store or the bar or…

Edit: Gen Y here (24). I also agree with most of sentiments that OP has.

Gen Y here. OP nailed it. I live in Sydney Australia and its exactly how I feel.

Gen Y Hobart Australia here. I also think he mostly nailed it, but I trust Australian police officers. The few occasions I've dealt with them they've been level-headed and very friendly.

This last election has been demoralizing as fuck though. I stayed up to date on all the news and policies. I tried to talk around people I knew who were voting Liberal. I had 0 effect. Next time around I may just not bother.

And the mainstream news is a pile of shit but that's a much longer rant.

Gen Y here and yes the OP nails it, but I wonder what's left for us second and third worlders. Things are much worse here, you truly can't trust the authorities at all.

The situation is, short version, 10x worse than any point made by OP. The only exception would be the sprawl: there is some here, but not the madness I have seen over there in the USA. Still public transportation even in the best case is a complete disaster so there's that.

Owning a car is a luxury, and owning real estate basically impossible for any Y Gen without wealthy parents or some previous financial advantage. Credit is a joke and don't even dream you will be able to save enough for even a studio apartment. Square meter prices dwarf any but the highest paychecks.

I know, I was gonna say: wise beyond their years.

Anyway, whatever: http://gizmodo.com/5851062/generation-x-is-sick-of-your-bull...

He's spot on.

Congratulations. You've worked up a pretty good set of bullet points for why our generation is full of firey nonstop rock-shattering MOTHER-GODDAMN-FUCKING RAGE when it comes to most every institution we lay eyes on.

EDIT: This comment is very low-content; please stop upvoting it out of plain agreement.

Do you understand now why I didn't vote in the last election? It wasn't apathy; it was rage and contempt for the institution. Voting idealistically has gotten us less than zero as a generation.

Dude, I voted for the Socialist and Green Parties last election. The two-party system is not an excuse for throwing away what tiny democratic voice we have.

I realize you're probably purposely trying to be disrespectful, but in case it's by accident, I'll point out that prefacing your comment with "dude", when you're talking to someone you don't know, is what many men do when they're trying to belittle another man who's a verbal opponent. It's sort of like using the informal "you" to adult strangers in languages that have a polite and informal form of personal pronouns.

Second, I'm glad you feel your vote is productive. I personally feel like our system is fundamentally flawed and irreparably skewed toward the two-party system, and see little point in voting for a third-party. You can disagree with me, and I may be wrong here (in which case I'll change my position), but please, let's try to keep the conversation civil. We might even share fundamental motivations here.

And someone has gone through and systematically downvoted all my recent comments. Was that your response to my request for civility?

Same age bracket, same sentiment in my peer group. Even in Alberta where health-care and other social nets exist, and un-(or under)-employment is rare, much is the same. We've seen ads for cars and suits and fertilizer for so long that we're immune to any of it. Our parents lived in such a radically different time in terms of the economy, technology, societal norms, that we can't relate to each other, even though we'd like to. We "young folk" share a collective skepticism, so we advertise products and services to each other when we find something that works or makes sense to us. We don't care about crashing markets and fiscal cliffs because we don't have years of retirement savings. We don't buy newspapers or watch the evening news; News is received through twitter, facebook, or real conversations, if and when there is any news. It's not that we don't want to pay for things. We just don't want what you're selling, or the format it comes in, or the commitments that come with it.

> in starting families

the only part you lost me on. everyone i know considers the world far too precarious to start a family.

considers the world far too precarious to start a family

By virtually every metric, the world is a much safer, healthier place than it used to be: http://www.amazon.com/The-Better-Angels-Our-Nature/dp/014312... .

Safer? Yes. Healthier? Yes. Stable? No. Between income/job volatility and lack of proper social safety nets (at least in the US), its a dangerous gamble to start a family unless you're in the right situation.

Inequality has grown over the last 30 years, so I would disagree.

I'd love to start a family, but my partner and I won't be able to afford it any time in the foreseeable future due to student loans.

Agreed, and since I'm paying my loans, can't save for a downpayment for a house (which is cheaper than renting).

I share a lot of the sentiment here, but I also think our generation is conditioned from a decade of hearing about all the newsworthy corner cases.

As an example: cops don't always make it worse, 95+% of the time they are helpful and create better outcomes for society. That said, all we've heard for the last ten years are the news stories that you mentioned - so we think of them as a negative force.

I think this same problem applies, in some capacity, to all the institutions listed here. That said, every single one of these institutions needs a massive overhaul to be a functioning member of the future (except cops, I really think you're wrong on that, they may need new priorities from the government -- but their organizational structure and methods seem to work pretty well).

I'll answer this directly before going home.

The problem is that departments are too underfunded to maintain a large presence (the beat cop chilling on your street in your neighborhoods substation), and the construction of cities (especially suburbs) is such that they cruise around in cop cars most of the day, except when they're actually engaged in an incident.

That means that, to the normal person, the sudden appearance of a cop is that of an alien "other"--and I would suspect a similar sense of detachment from their side of the fence.

This also means that when they get involved, they have to use standardized practices, which over time snowball into the impersonal human-crushing machinery we have today.

While it might work for society at large, for the percentage of folks who get caught in the gears it can be pretty terrible--especially because the cops (by which I also include prosecuting attorneys, judges, and the other apparatchik of the judicial and executive branch) have no reason to be lenient or reasonable. They simply dispense the law, as written.

The cases where the cops aren't bad news bears? Those, I suggest, are the exception rather then the rule--modern policing is quite reactionary in nature.

> * 95+% of the time they are helpful and create better outcomes for society.*

That's "one 9." If you are black, that service level is practically a guarantee you will experience a catastrophic failure.

The irony is your parent calls out a lack of trust in the news, and yet doesn't seem to recognize the places the news has shaped his/her other opinions.

I'm in my mid 20s and this is exactly how I feel.

I'm in my 30s and this is exactly how I feel.

I turned 40 last year and this is exactly how I feel. So if more and more of the population feels this way, at what point does it become a movement. Is that even possible? When does the reboot happen?

There's a line in the live version I have of Alice's Restaurant that your comment reminds me of. It comes after the usual:

And if three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in, singin’ a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out? They may think it’s an organization. And can you imagine 50 people a day, I said 50 people a day walking in, singin’ a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out? Then, friends, they may think it’s a movement.

He says something along the lines of "And most of them would be too young to know what a movement was."

Impossible to say; we've never been in a situation like this before.

Traditionally, a "reboot" happens when things get bad enough that people feel - rationally - that the risks and costs involved with attempting to force a solution are worth it. Part of the risk is the risk that others won't help, so once a real movement gets started it tends to be somewhat explosive.

However, thanks mostly to technology, things have gotten better on an absolute level even as inequalities have gotten larger. "A rising tide floats all boat" isn't true, but it's not entirely false either. Today, there's no real risk of starving to death in the USA, not for 99% of the population.

Time will tell if relative differences are enough. The situation is quite unprecedented.

I think step 1 should be "reduce the influence of money on electoral outcomes." That would significantly lower the bar to putting pragmatic and thoughtful humans into positions of power without leaving them chained to the well-funded interests that helped put them there.

The problem is, I don't really know HOW to do that.

I think everyone feels most of these, or at least says they do. If anything, all the head nodding in this thread is a nice example of a Dunning-Kruger effect.

can you elaborate?

> We don't believe in the news.

I'm 30. I still have faith in mainstream journalism, but not that what comes out of the 24-hour news cycle. That's rubbish.

However, there is still a corps of journalists that risk their lives (war-torn area coverage) and their careers (govt threatening arrest) to get the news out. They also happen to belong to some major news outlets.

I have faith in their abilities to sort out what can be printed and what cannot. They are able to find nuance in reporting both major and minor world events that the average citizen of the world cannot. These individuals are consummate professionals whose fidelity to ethical journalism is vibrant and strong. It would be mistake to count them out.

I raise this contention because of the noticeable rise of alternative news sources. Some of us disenchanted with mainstream news flock to these news outlets, that, while being exclusively online, do not have a large editorial presence. It's much easier for self-styled journalists to publish articles that reach into questionable territory, sometimes raising allegations against individuals, corporations or governments that may in the end not be true. Without an editorial board, we all lose.

Anyway. Every news source has a "slant". Some more so than others and I firmly believe that the "others" have it in spades. But that's just me.

I'm saving this forever. Thank you for distilling my thoughts and feelings so well.

That should be a TED talk

Nah, I forgot to bitch about healthcare too. :)

Anyways, without a better sampling of what my peers believe, it could well be just me being grumpy. I hope that my points reflect reality, but without numbers that's just supposition.

Early 20's, and every single one of those points resonated heavily with me. I don't think its just you being grumpy.

Rationally questioning your own views first? Obviously that's a rare quality in the population or we wouldn't be in the messes you outlined above.

I wish I could buy you a beer for this. Well put.

team up with Survata to gather data and publish a blog

> I live in the fourth-largest and sprawliest metropolitan area in > North America (Houston).

Looking just at the US, Wikipedia[1] says that the fourth largest metropolitan area is DC/Baltimore. Not sure about the sprawliest.

Houston proper is the fourth largest city by population,[2] although that distinction really ought to belong to Brooklyn.[3]



[3]http://www.brooklynpaper.com/assets/photos/33/41/33_41_welco... (cue "Welcome Back" by John Sebastian)

>We don't believe in advertising.

Count the number of highly-ranked stories on Hacker News that want you to buy and/or finance their products.

Best. Rant. Ever.


If you get more than 100 upvotes here, you should put this "campaign" on Kickstarter!

Wonderful insights.

There is not a lot worth buying that is long-lasting. Agreed. The economy went from making perennial goods to making consumable-like goods with planned obsolescence. Although it's more convenient to have subscriber-like clients than it is to have one-time buyers, in the end it's worse than having close to no clients at all. Cars and houses can be made long-lasting.

There is no reason to trust the banks. Yet, a lot of millennials fell for housing bubble and I bet they'll fall for other ones just as likely. In this regard there isn't some kind of inherited wisdom developed in our generation, unfortunately.

Credit rating is bogeyman. That's just American specific phenomenon, regardless how much resemblance carries globally the traits of millennial generation.

Cars are expensive and limited in utility. Cars always have been appreciated more in U.S., otherwise the utilitarian attitude toward cars was also shared by older generations outside America.

Our parents set our city planning up for failure. Yeah, the planning that would "actively discourage walking" is a trait that I've usually noticed in low demographic density areas, like Australia or Iceland. Other than touristic walking tracks, there aren't actually pedestrian access to get around much outside the city centers. That's therefore not so much because our parents' planning as it is a reflection of local population's habits.

Our government doesn't care about us. I am not sure if this is a trait not shared by previous generations in their prime. I hear that times were perceived rough in their days too, although it may be for different reasons. Older generations blame the government for not catering their needs enough as well.

Our government not only doesn't care about us, it schemes to make things worse. That's how a corrupted system feels like, and it doesn't take to be in a given generation for that.

Our companies don't care about us. I would say "yes, this may be something new", but I suspect that in the '30s, in America's Great Depression with the economy achieving overproduction and unemployment hitting high rates, the people felt the same. But, if we're about to compare our generation with only the last two before, then it may be true - nowadays it's worse.

We don't believe in advertising. That's tough. I don't think there ever existed an attitude for some commercial product like I've seen to be for Apple products, at least back a few years ago. Apple products may have brought some innovation, but so did other products that didn't enjoyed that much hype around them. What set apart Apple products was their commercial promotion. That, was like no other! And it caught, it caught big!

We don't believe in the police. You only notice that if you are in some disadvantaged social category, and it have been like this since the societies themselves. The novelty in this is that in America of our time the disadvantaged social category is becoming dominant.

We don't believe in the news. It's not so much as the older generations were more gullible as it is that the traditional news channels were often the only news they had. Access to some alternative media channels or the peer-to-peer sharing of information (news included) was very limited, unlike today. It's not a generation trait, it is being empowered by technological advancement.

We believe in each other. I am not sure about that. It's true that "the sheer amount of fakeness" made us more reticent to the known actors like traditional media, traditional advertising, and to traditional political play, but the stakes are high and the public belief is a high-sought currency. Influential bloggers, the ones that have an influence to trade are courted by whoever is interested, we all know that! Need to say more?

epic rant, well-written and enough truth that it rings

> Most everything feels mass-produced and cheap

That's because most everything that you use other people want to use as well. Companies will manufacture them en mass. That's why they're cheap. That's a good thing.

Perhaps you should solder your next keyboard yourself?

I have a pair of logitech speakers that I bought 8 years ago (mass produced, of course) that sound great. And they were pretty cheap at the time.

What point are you making? Perhaps do some research before you buy a product.

> There is no reason to trust the banks.

Yes, you should read the contracts that you sign.

Beyond this, what do you mean? Trust the banks with what?

> Credit rating is bogeyman.

Try getting a large loan for a business or for a home or a car with poor credit.

You can get credit cards easily because the risk is lower (it's relatively small amounts of capital at risk and it's for a shorter term than a 30 year mortgage) and the reward is higher for the credit lending agent.

> Cars are expensive and limited in utility.


> Our parents set our city planning up for failure.

Yes, according to what you would deem a success in city planning at this moment in time.

> Our government doesn't care about us.

Social Security and Medicare/aid were never meant to be retirement plans.

I also don't know what this means beyond the healthcare/SS aspect? The government is people. They maintain the roads and infrastructure, don't they?

It's not perfect, but then again, if you're on HN you most likely live a life better than 99% of people in the world.

> Our companies don't care about us.

Sure, why would they? Social welfare is a role for the government to fill.

> Congratulations, we're all contract workers now.

Sounds good to me.

> We don't believe in advertising.

Sure, most commercials and billboards are pretty stupid, but define advertising. Advertising encompasses a lot of things that you probably find ok.

How do you hear about the products and services that you're searching for? From friends? How did they hear about it?

> We don't believe in the police.

Perhaps because the stories where the police do their job professionally don't get reported?

> We don't believe in the news.

You shouldn't absolutely believe in any news mainstream or not. The idea, however, that you are being actively lied to by journalists is just absurd. Journalists mainstream or not have biases and agendas.

Critical thinking is required to form a legitimate opinion regardless if the media is mainstream or not.

I really don't get the derision of mainstream media. It has a role, just as blogs and independent media does.

> We believe in each other

Agreed. But I hardly think this is unique to our generation. Rather, this is a human trait.

Your whole rant comes off as entitled. You haven't really said anything of value. Just hackneyed sentiments that you can see any day on reddit or on Facebook.

>Your whole rant comes off as entitled. You haven't really said anything of value. Just hackneyed sentiments that you can see any day on reddit or on Facebook.

You seem to be suffering from the same curse here. Every counter-point you make is no less evident of your own privilege. You've taken many of his points and flat out denied or stated it's his fault—solely from your own perspective.

You seemingly like to blame the people who feel like victims instead of discovering WHY they feel like victims, I suppose that is a product of our society though eh? Is it not enough that this is how he feels? You're telling him that his feelings are wrong; funny thing about feelings, they don't go away because you're told they're wrong.

I think this rebuttal adds some perspective, asks some additional questions and certainly doesn't cast blame. I think it makes a clear point in the end. That point, your feelings/thoughts are not new or special and is more hyperbole than thoughtful comment. It's a tough world out there snowflake. If you see victimization in not wanting to own a car or house, then you have some big surprises coming.

>It's a tough world out there snowflake.

Well, no, it's not. Sorry, but we're not hunter-gatherers anymore. The last time I had to kill a lion with my own hands and weapons to prevent it eating one of my family's flock of sheep like my Biblical-age ancestors was... well, never.

In terms of sheer material productivity and ease, we are all snowflakes now. The problem is that our culture somehow refuses to acknowledge that and thus constructs elaborate systems designed mostly to compel us into non-stop status competitions every day. Lacking struggle against nature, we've been made to struggle against each-other because it's somehow traumatic, horrifying, and wrong to actually do away with struggle altogether.

Sheltered, entitled and delayed adulthood. You give every indication of all three in these short comments. I suggest you put down the sociology book, forget your dreams of having the next (insert app clone) and get job at the nearest Wal-Mart. Life happens differently and faster when your opportunities are limited.

Would you care to elaborate on your assessment, or do you just want to bash people who want to live in a better world?

I think my assessment was dead on, get some life experience and some perspective. As for your original comments, I offer the same advice. Maybe pick one of the points you complain about and try to fix it.

>> We don't believe in the police.

>Perhaps because the stories where the police do their job professionally don't get reported?

Perhaps it's because of our own interactions with the police.

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