It is no secret that the Millennial Generation, or more officially referred to as "Generation Y", is very liberal. The reason why is also not a secret- Millennials grew up in the post-Reagan economic boom, where generally, attitudes were less cynical about issues such as defense and saving. Due to Millennials growing up under a robust and strong economy, they tend to be more willing to spend money on things such as welfare, because the economy they grew up in could sustain this. Millennials see money as expendable, especially growing up, thus, they strongly tend towards fiscally liberal policy.
Millennials grew up in an optimistic time. The Cold War had just ended, and the economy was soaring. Life was good. Millennials grew up under the umbrella of US resolve and stability, and because of this, Millennials hold fairly socially liberal views. The world was good for most, which was pretty cool, but they thought that it should be good for all. To achieve this, Millennials sought social equality in every possible instance, sometimes not calculating the social, economic, and political opportunity costs. Any injustice- perceived or not, needed to be corrected. The world had achieved a lot, and many millennials thought it was their time as a generation to "save everyone", that the world was ready for their new policies. Communism had fallen, a fallen enemy that only left the power and will of the United States to take over in the power vacuum. They saw the world as a safe, beautiful place, with everyone holding hands, together, in unity, as one world- multiculturalism.
Generation Z, however, is very different than the Millennials. Generally, the major turning point that separates the Millennials and Generation Z is the September 11th Attacks in 2001. Nine Eleven will go down in history as a major turning point in American culture and politics, as it marked a sharp snapback to reality- that the world was messed up and a dangerous place. Enemies were real, the world was not stable, as the strongest country in the world had just been attacked were all things revealed by the attacks. Because of this, Generation Z grew up under cynicism. The world is not a safe place, it is not a friendly place, it is hostile and if you don’t watch your back, you’ll be stabbed when you least expect it. To Generation Z, this offered many sharp contrasts to millennials. Social Justice does not matter as much as defense: Defense should be the most important thing. Multiculturalism was a sham- you need to watch who your enemies were and which allies may stab you in the back. It is interesting, however, Generation Z is actually quite liberal socially. While you still need to watch your back and never completely trust anybody, it is okay to come together, as the world in a group hug when a tragedy happens. Many values also carried over from the Millennial generation to Generation Z- as long as it wasn’t interfering with anyone or anything, they do not see a problem with more progressive social policies.
The 2008 Economic Recession is also a major turning point for Generation Z. Unlike the strong economy that the Millennials grew up under, Generation Z saw an economy where people struggled to make ends meet. This meant they learned the importance of saving. Unlike the economy which the millennials grew up under, where money was disposable, every last cent was important in the economy under which Generation Z grew up. Because of this, Generation Z tends to be fiscally conservative, preferring to save money, less willing to spend money on things that they deem not necessary, such as welfare.
It is no question that politics change from generation to generation. The change from the ultra-liberal Millennials to the libertarian Generation Z is one of the most interesting changes in politics between generations in recent times.