- Norman Young
The Political Equivalent of Fast Food
Yesterday, McDonalds employees across the country decided to join the #MeToo movement by staging demonstrations against sexual harassment. They have accused the McDonalds corporation of "doing nothing" regarding allegations within the company. But, aside from mandating a nation-wide "Pence Rule" for fast-food employees, it's difficult to tell what could satisfy these political agitators. And, as the Washington Times observed, the Service Employee International Union (SEIU), which coordinated the event, is dealing with sexual harassment lawsuits of its own. We are witnessing the fruition of one of this millennium's great social experiments. At least since the year 2000 (and probably including the prior decade, as well) public universities throughout America have taught students that political activism is a moral imperative. After all, how can you have a right to complain about society if you have done nothing to change it? "Change" became the political slogan du jour for appealing to America's powerful belief in social progress. The fault for this phenomenon lies in the Baby Boomer generation, which grew up during the 1960s and 1970s and were carried along by social trends that swept the nation: Civil Rights and Sexual Revolution. If the kids were "on the right side of history" back then, Boomers reason, then perhaps young people will always be the key to social progress! The trouble with "progress," "change," and "activism," etc., is that those words lack content. When the prevailing social trends have intrinsic value (as the Civil Rights movement certainly did), change is wonderful. But when prevailing social trends are nefarious (or go too far), change can have negative consequences. It is a wonderful thing that the instincts of young Baby Boomers were justified by history, but that hardly means that the instincts of young people will always be correct.
Because of their fortuitous anecdotal experience, Baby Boomers are overwhelmingly willing to give their children the benefit of the doubt. The result has been to create the "fast food" equivalent of political activism. Everyone, everywhere, regardless of social status or personal accomplishments, can be an activist—and a cause has been pre-packaged for their convenience. It is high time we abandoned the Baby Boomers' misplaced faith in youth and progress. Young people should be taught to have a healthy skepticism of themselves and their own motives. No more participation trophies. Activism is not morality.