Two of every three young American adults (66 percent) say that older Americans have better moral values than they do, according to new polling released by the Pew Research Center. A similar number, 67 percent, say their elders are more respectful of others. And 68 percent attribute a stronger work ethic to more experienced generations.
"[W]here perceived generational differences exist today about moral values, work ethic and respect for others, today's young adults—by heavy margins—believe that these differences have arisen because their generation hasn't lived up to standards set by older adults," the Pew Research Center noted.
The results vary significantly with only one other value that Pew polled. Americans younger than 30 are widely regarded to be more tolerant of races and groups different from them. Relentless public campaigns for diversity and acceptance of racial minorities and alternative sexual lifestyles have largely succeeded.
Mere Orthodoxy blogger Matthew Lee Anderson struck a nerve earlier this year when he identified young evangelicals as another group desperately seeking social acceptance. In a twist on the Pew data, Anderson sees his fellow 20-something evangelicals lobbying for acceptance by denigrating their elders.
According to Anderson's reading of evangelical youth, they believe older evangelicals were seduced by the Religious Right and didn't do enough to fight poverty and racism. They were preoccupied with a narrow set of values, such as abstinence from alcohol and sex outside of marriage. These same rubes even bought Left Behind books and watched The Late Great Planet Earth.
If young evangelicals had reached these conclusions for principled reasons, then Anderson might not be so concerned. ...