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Are Youth Becoming More Conservative?
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February 24, 2012, 03:58 AM
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Here`s a 2010 article by Aviel Magnezi from YNet News of Israel about how "Israeli youth" are moving right. Although much of this is driven by the huge, subsidized fertility of the ultra-Orthodox in Israel, I suspect it reflects global trends, which in other countries tend to be masked by growing demographic diversity. (You`ll notice that this Israeli article simply doesn`t bother to define Arab youth in Israel as Israeli, which would be a massive faux pas in other countries.)
Recent studies show that the Israeli youth is no less patriotic than the adult population, is significantly more right-wing, and is highly motivated to enlist to the IDF`s combat units. ...

March 2009 saw a record in the number of recruits eligible for combat service requesting to enlist to combat units, which stood at 73%. This record was broken in November, and stood at 73.7%. March 2010 saw a new record: 76% of recruits with high medical profiles asked to serve in combat units. "This trend of attraction to the combat units is well felt in the field, and reflects a significant decline in the dropout rate during training," a senior officer told Ynet. 
Along with this increase in combat motivation comes a rise in nationalism. For example, a recent poll showed that 46% of Jewish high school students in Israel object to granting equal rights to Arabs.

... Sagy believes that the mandatory military recruitment indoctrinates the youth to "see the justness in our side alone. This leads the youth to become more patriotic later on and to identify with the Israeli side." As a result, Sagy says, the Israeli youth does not see the other side, and holds extreme views, "under the patronage of the education system, the schoolbooks, the media and the social atmosphere. This is why youths here are different from their counterparts, who, in western countries, can allow themselves to hold more pluralistic views." 
... Several weeks ago a poll conducted by the Smith Institute for Ynet showed that the dominant right-wing bloc in the Israeli society remains strong. According to the survey, while 35% of Israelis over the age of 30 said they would vote for right-wing parties, this number almost doubled for youths up to the age of 29, and stood at 61%.

Support for the Likud party rose from 18% to 25%, while support of the religious and ultra-Orthodox parties among the youth was also significantly high. "This is the Israeli existence… the public is moving Right," the survey said.

Professor Almog explains: "The Israeli youth is not more right-wing than its counterparts around the globe, but is simply more realistic." He said this is due to the fact that it is more involved and has a deeper political understanding than youth in other Western countries. "In Israel it is hard to avoid the news, and involvement is forced on you. The youth looks at the leadership in the Arab world and sees no moderation. It sees the incitement, and opposes it. The Israeli youth is simply more skeptical and holds a more angry perception of the other side."

Professor Ephraim Yaar a sociology and social psychology expert at Tel Aviv University who specializes in the Israeli society said, "The election results show that the youth is becoming more nationalistic, this is the spirit of the times. It is expressed in the voting booths – but not just there. Signs of nationalism can bee seen in various different fields among the youth here. This trend has been in existence for a long time, and has gained steam in the past decade."

The change, he said, stems among other things from the consistent growth of the religious and ultra-Orthodox population, but "is also part of another trend – the Israeli youth is very conformist, so when the public moves to the Right, the Israeli youth moves with it."

 

Perhaps the most unexpected social change in my lifetime has been the decline of the generation gap that dominated the 1960s. In retrospect, the generation gap of the 1960s looks like it was caused in large part by a lack of diversity, especially by the assimilation of the huge Catholic population, 40 years after the immigration cutoff, into the American mainstream as permanently symbolized by the election and martyrdom of John F. Kennedy. 

To get organized, people need to be in opposition to somebody, so at the peak of American homogeneity and put-a-man-on-the-moon triumph, the generations divided up into opposing camps.

Judging by what`s been a hit movie in recent years, I suspect that youth in America are becoming more conformist and authoritarian, too. It`s okay to be against evil corporations, like in Avatar, but the U.S. military and even cops are usually portrayed much more positively than in the 1970s. And in Avatar, the 10-foot tall blue people are good because they are traditional and live according to the ways passed down by their elders. Traditionalism = Diversitism.