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August 2014 Brief: Volume 21, Number 23

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Millennials Are Psychotic. Hopefully It Is Curable!


by Deborah Thornton



The “Millennials,” those currently 18 to 29 (born between 1985 and 1996), are amazingly psychotic, neurotic, and confused – and don’t even realize it. According to a July 10 poll by, 66 percent believe “government is inefficient and wasteful.”[1] They think government, especially the federal government, abuses its power and supports cronyism. This is good news, as in 2009 less than half (42 percent) held these opinions. Specifically, three-fourths think that former Mayor Bloomberg was wrong for trying to regulate the sizes of soda sold. Huge majorities of them (60 plus percent) want government out of their personal choices on trans-fats, marriage, abortion, e-cigarettes, gambling, marijuana, and drinking. As someone who is over 50, I think most of the Millennials’ choices on all of those issues are wrong – nevertheless, I agree with them that individuals, not the government, should make those decisions. The fact that Millennials recognize that we need to keep government out of our private lives is a good thing.


Millennials also favor private Social Security accounts and think that cutting the size of government, cutting government spending, and cutting taxes would “help the economy.” They overwhelmingly say that the budget deficit and national debt are “major” problems.[2] Importantly, they want lower taxes. This fiscal conservatism is continued in their opinion that they want to be financially rewarded for their own personal achievement and think wealth should be distributed to people based on their achievement, not be allocated by government.


Yet these same young people think that government is basically their overly indulgent parent, and while letting them do exactly as they want, when they want, government should:


• Guarantee every citizen a place to sleep and enough to eat,
• Raise their “allowance” to a minimum of $10.10 per hour,
• Spend more on teaching them to work,
• Ensure that they are paid enough to live on in doing that work,
• Guarantee everyone’s health care,
• Guarantee everyone a college education, and
• Spend more to help the poor.[3]


The real poor here are these poor young people, who are – based on these responses – incapable of coherent and consistent thought and analysis of their needs, wants, and desires. They apparently do not recognize that the government they know is inefficient, crony driven, and potentially abusive is not the one they should rely on to take care of themselves or everyone else. Further, only 16 percent of them can actually define “socialism,” the form of government they are advocating with these policies.[4]


In summary, government should stay out of their personal “choices,” yet ensure they have everything they could ever want or imagine they need to indulge in these choices. As 62 percent also consider themselves socially liberal, I imagine that means they want government out of their relationships, pregnancies, drugs, gambling, and liquor because they (or their friends) want to be able to choose to do drugs, drink too much, lose their money, have sex with and marry someone of the same gender, and have a government-paid abortion. Yet they want government to make sure they’re comfortable while doing all of these things and fix all of their bad decisions.


The Obamacare disaster, IRS scandal, internet spying, and multiple policy failures of the last six years – a time when these young people have become more politically aware – have apparently had some positive impact on their attitudes. They recognize that government is inefficient and wasteful. They recognize the cronyism and do not like it. Reason-Rupe survey reports that while 64 percent voted for Barack Obama for President in 2012 significantly fewer would do so today. Unfortunately 32 percent still identify themselves as Democrats, and only 16 percent consider themselves Republicans. The majority still intend to vote for Democrats in the 2014 elections and Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, or Joe Biden in the 2016 Presidential election, though these people define cronyism.


It’s amazing. We have managed to raise an entire generation which has little or no understanding about their responsibility for themselves, their lives, and their choices and the results of those choices. They appear to have little connection with reality, whether protected from it by their parents or by the nanny state government – both of whom they want to take care of them, but also want out of their personal life.


The loss of contact with reality and an inability to think rationally is the definition of psychosis. According to the American Heritage Science Dictionary, a psychotic person often behaves inappropriately and is incapable of normal social functioning.[5] Reviewing the results of this survey leads to the conclusion that we have raised a generation of psychotics. However, the illness is not incurable! The cure process includes education, close monitoring of symptoms, stress management, and a strong, supportive environment. Some of the recommended treatments include teaching realistic thinking, better time management and organization, and goal setting. Support groups and talking with someone who has had similar problems also helps.[6]


We as parents should make sure they get the help they need. That help should start with education, with setting them down and teaching them a few facts of life about government and politicians. Then we should closely monitor and encourage them as they come to grips with becoming real adults and taking their place in the world without government support. The results of this survey show all is not lost, that they are curable, and that if we will only do our job they will, eventually, get it.


[1] “Millennials Think Government Is Inefficient, Abuses Its Power, and Supports Cronyism,”, July 10, 2014, <> accessed on July 12, 2014.
[2] “Millennials, The Politically Unclaimed Generation,” The Reasons-Rupe Spring 2014 Millennial Survey, July 10, 2014, p. 5, <> accessed on July 12, 2014.
[3] “Millennials Think Government Is Inefficient, Abuses Its Power, and Supports Cronyism.”
[4] “Millennials, The Politically Unclaimed Generation,” p. 6.
[5] “Psychosis,” American Heritage Science Dictionary, <> accessed on July 12, 2014.
[6] “Treatment,”, July 12, 2014, <> accessed on July 12, 2014.


Deborah D. Thornton is a Research Analyst with Public Interest Institute, Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Contact her at


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