Something big is going on in America, but few are yet aware of it. It is a generational shift comparable to that of the infamous ’60s, and it will involve as much revolt and upheaval. In this case, revolution is desperately needed, for the previous revolution has almost destroyed the country. The new revolution will repair the country.
Yet 2006 will not be the beginning of the revolution – it has already been gathering steam now for several years. But it will, I predict, commence the vigorous public discussion of that revolution, much as it became clear sometime early or middle of the 1960s that a revolution was then taking place.
The main characters in the unfolding story are the Reagan Babies.
Reagan Babies are at the forefront of the rising generation. Those of us born between 1981 and 1989, the Reagan years, are on the cutting edge of what has variously been called the Millennial Generation or Generation Next or Generation Y. Reagan Babies are fascinating at the present moment because they are the emerging future leaders of America, now in high school and college and just joining the workforce and on the military frontlines of Iraq and Afghanistan. But beyond the present, the intellectual and political and cultural vanguard of our generation will hail from among the Reagan Babies. And it is decisively, revolutionarily, conservative.
Spiritually, Reagan Babies are interested in God and a return to more traditional patterns of faith. According to a UCLA study released in October, three out of four college students claim to be “searching for some meaning/purpose in life,” and two thirds say they derive guidance and direction from their faith, and two thirds pray. There hasn’t been a generation-wide Christian revival, but I am convinced that God is preparing our generation for such a revival.
“I think the generation today is open, they’re searching and they’re looking. They know there’s more to life than just what you see,” said Meredith Peterson, a volunteer for the 2006 Passion Conference which is expected to draw 18,000 students and young people to Nashville this week for prayer and worship. Young Christians are moving into the most influential places in our culture, and they are uniting together in the battle for hearts and minds. Evangelical Christian colleges have the fastest growing student bodies in higher education. Homeschoolers, most of them Christians, are ambitious and well-prepared for the world.
Morally, Reagan Babies are cautious and responsible. Teen pregnancy is down; teen abortion is down; teen drug use is down; youth volunteerism is up; manners and mores are coming back into fashion. Once, we were the most aborted generation, and now we are the most pro-life generation of Americans. Three in five young Americans support a complete ban or partial restrictions on abortion, according to a 2004 Zogby poll.
On campus, where the hippie Left has long thought their battle to be won, the growing conservatism of young Americans translates into activism. Conservatives are no longer silent in the classroom, popular Affirmative Action bake sales and conservative campus newspapers have confounded professors, and a well-funded network of “subversive” foundations and support networks is in place, ranging from Young Americas Foundation to the Intercollegiate Studies Institute to the Leadership Institute, and from College Republicans to pro-life and Christian student groups. Brendan Steinhauser, author of “The Conservative Revolution: How to Win the Battle on College Campuses,” calls the surge of activism “the new counter-culture on America’s campuses.”
In November, Christopher Flickinger, a recent graduate of the Ohio University Scripps School of Journalism, launched the Network of College Conservatives. Flickinger’s mission is “to educate, inform, expose and counter the liberal bias on college campuses throughout America.” So far, students at around 220 colleges have signed up to be part of the Network. As Flickinger told FoxNews.com, “Hopefully, we’ll bring this quiet revolution to a loud, boisterous battle.”
So, 2006 is looking to be the year when the quiet revolution becomes loud.