Britain is becoming more illiberal and unpatriotic as today’s increasingly woke young people become voters. That’s according to Professor of Politics Eric Kaufmann, who has written about the worrying findings of his latest survey in the Telegraph.
What I term cultural socialism – the desire to engineer equal outcomes and protect minority identity groups from psychological harm – all too often takes priority for Gen-Z and Millennials over historic British values such as freedom of speech, objective truth and attachment to the nation’s historical accomplishments. Contrary to the fairy tales Conservative politicians tell themselves, these young people will not change their views as they pass through milestones like taking a job, owning a home, or having children. The woke revolution is cultural, not material.
Consider the findings of my recent Policy Exchange reports on the politics of young Britons and public opinion on culture war issues. Among survey respondents under 26, more were opposed to than supportive of the Vice-Chancellor of Sussex University’s defence of the academic freedom of gender-critical philosopher Kathleen Stock, who was hounded by a mob of campus trans activists. This age group is evenly divided between those who want J.K. Rowling dropped by her publisher and those who think she should stay, or between those who want Churchill’s statue to be removed or for it to remain in Parliament Square. By contrast, those over 50 support Rowling and Churchill by an overwhelming 85 to five margin.
Young people are influenced by social media, but schools play an important part in reinforcing woke beliefs. A clear majority of British schoolchildren are being indoctrinated with cultural socialist ideas. Among the 18-year-olds I sampled, 63% were taught or heard from an adult at school about at least one of ‘white privilege’, ‘unconscious bias’ or ‘systemic racism’ – three concepts derived from critical race theory. If we include radical feminist ideas such as ‘patriarchy’ or the idea of many genders, this rises to 78%. Those who have been taught more of these critical social justice (CSJ) ideas are more likely to favour political correctness as a way of protecting disadvantaged groups, rather than viewing PC as stifling free expression.