The rising youff

Along with toothache, the prospect for the West seems to have changed, slightly, with the European elections. I was surprised, not only by the media-reported shift to the “Far Right.” (This is media-speak for what is to the right of the Far Left.) In little country after little country (e.g. Germany, France, Italy) the composition of this “rightwing wave” has not-so-subtly altered, from past waves. The children who had (most recently) been voting Green, have now found another way to abandon the decaying socialist internationale; but also, to abandon traditional “conservative” allegiances (called “liberal” on the European mainland).

They don’t go to church any more, these “youff” — even to get married — and a worn, cynicized, observer might wonder if they have anywhere else to go, besides the occasional clown demonstration. They have opinions, to be sure, but these do not fluctuate within conventional categories. The semi-interesting thing is that the “youff vote” is politically expressed in trends of the TikTok culture. Party loyalty is replaced by personal “follows,” to the electronic acharyas, which crackle and go poof in the night.

More generally, the loyalty to institutions, whether of left or right, has evaporated with commitment to any church, let alone The Church. For this “agnosticism” is not a conscious choice, to abandon all the instruments of order. Rather, the “youff” are of a generation that has been raised post-institutionally, where even the institutions they have passed through are of no sentimental value. “History” — the near and the far, the local and the universal — has almost ceased to exist as background of daily life. An old-fashioned libertarian might think they have all become free agents. This old-fashioned Tory thinks they are lost in space.

The exploitation of “youff,” by the bureaucrats, in default control of society’s various agencies, has also become more cynical. They cling to power as an alternative to extinction. The “youff” no longer have inherited the experience that once moderated these agencies. They (and we, through them) have become the perfect victims, of tyranny.


SIR LARRY SIEDENTOP, R.I.P. — “It’s the decline in the teaching of history and the knowledge of history that’s especially dangerous in the West at the moment, because there aren’t that many churchgoers any more, and philosophy as a secular discipline has professionalized itself in a way that doesn’t ask many of the basic traditional questions. And so there’s a kind of void when it comes to asking those fundamental questions. And I think the most important thing the churches can do at the moment is re-introduce them. Questions like: are we free? Should we be free?”