This spring surveys suggested that young people are ambivalent towards freedom of speech. Especially so when it comes to statements that might be offensive towards religions and minorities. (Link»)
Now, similar signals are reaching us when it comes to democracy as such.
In a paper published by Roberto Stefan Foa of the University of Melbourne and Yascha Mounk of Harvard shows that the proportion of people who support “having a strong leader who does not have to bother with parliament or elections” has risen across the world over the past 25 years, in many cases considerably.
And there seems to be a clear trend among young people:
Foa and Mounk’s research shows that millennials have become less attached to the importance of voting. In 1995, only 16% of 16 to 24-year-old Americans believed that democracy was a bad way to run the country. By 2011, that share had increased to 24%.
Figures for Europe are approximately 7% in 1995 and 13% in 2011-12.
Another chart, based on the same research, shows a systematic decline in the percentage of people who think that it is essential to live in a democracy, depending on what decade they were born in.
It shows that those born in the 1930s believe in democracy much more than those born in the 1980s. Some 72% of those born in the 1930s in America think democracy is absolutely essential. So do 55% of the same cohort in the Netherlands.
But the millennial generation (those born since 1980) has grown much more indifferent. For example, only one in three Dutch millennials says the same; in the United States, that number is slightly lower, around 30%.
Young people also seem to be less interested in politics than older generations.
So, is there something »wrong« with young people? Or is it politics and democracy that is failing?
See all the charts here » World Economic Forum: Millennials are rapidly losing interest in democracy »