Many millennials have a distaste for conservatism that is, let’s say, trumped only by their distaste for the de facto standard bearer of that philosophy. I think these feelings are misplaced. Millennials favor limited government intrusion in economic affairs more than any other generation. While our generations’ views on social issues skew heavily to the left, I believe most millennials can get behind the “live and let live” philosophy that is inherent to conservatism.
If you found yourself rolling on the floor laughing at the last statement, sadly, I can understand why.
It’s time for a new generation of conservatives and libertarians to stand up and show what true limited government is – a government that encourages our innovative thinking and the creative destruction that improves our lives, not one that regulates it out of existence; a government that gives us more freedom to invest our hard earned money in social causes that we believe in, not one that channels a big chunk of our paycheck into ineffective bureaucracy; a government that gives us both the freedom to choose who we marry, and the freedom to choose who we want to bake a cake for. Our generation is innovative and efficient. It shouldn’t be so hard to convince the generation of Tom’s Shoes and “social entrepreneurship” that we can do a better job of fighting poverty than the government; nor should it be so hard to convince this generation, which prides itself on individualism and self-expression, of the virtues of negative liberty – the foundational principle of constitutional conservatism.
There are a lot of things that the Republican Party is doing well, but communicating about poorly. They’re still talking to their base and using rhetoric that, rightly or wrongly, younger people associate with the “big government conservatism” of the Bush era and the religious right (or worse). It’s that rhetoric, not the policies, that young people don’t like. Rand Paul was simultaneously one of the most conservative candidates running for the GOP nomination in 2016 and the most popular with Democrats, especially younger ones. Donald Trump was the opposite of both those things. Don’t blame the GOP for speaking the language of its base – these voters matter too, and their voices deserve to be heard. But someone has to be looking forward to the future, and that’s what we hope to do.