Is the real battle young versus old?
And what does this tell us about the future of American values?
The usual image of the culture war is Red America vs. Blue America. Conservatives against liberals. Republicans against Democrats. Religious Right against secular America. But new divides are emerging in the American political landscape. Vast differences exist between young and old in America, according to the new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute. (Scroll down on the right for links to earlier posts about the poll.)
Is America the land of equal opportunity? No says two-thirds of young Americans (ages 18-29). One of the biggest problems in America, they say, is that everyone is not given an equal chance in life. But fewer than half of older Americans (65+) see things the same way.
Should homosexuals have the right to adopt children? Yes says two-thirds of young Americans. Only one-third of older Americans agree. Young Americans are also much more likely than their older counterparts to say their views about gay rights have become more favorable over time.
Who is good without organized religion? Young Americans are three times more likely than older Americans to claim no religious affiliation. The young are also much less likely to attend organized religious services.
What does this tell us about the future of American values?
Values change in a society through what social scientists call “intergenerational replacement.” This is a euphemistic way of saying that the old die and take their values with them and they are replaced by the young with their values.
If so, will the values of the young become the dominant values in America?
Today, tell us your own age range—and what you think about this age split … and our future.
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