The Persistence of the Old Regime

An interesting article in the New York Times argues that there is a “generation gap” when it comes to people’s attitudes towards immigration. The article tells of studies that show that people 45 years or older are much more likely to have anti-immigrant views, while younger people are more likely to have a positive view of immigrants. As the article puts it:

    Boomers and their parents … spent their formative years away from the cities, where newer immigrants tended to gather — unlike today’s young people who have become more involved with immigrants, through college, or by moving to urban areas.

    “It’s hard for them to share each others’ views on what’s going on,” said William H. Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution. “These older people grew up in largely white suburbs or largely segregated neighborhoods. Young people have grown up in an interracial culture.”

This dovetails with my own observations. I saw anti-immigrant demonstrations when I lived in Southern California, and the people who came to them were mostly old people. Arizona has a large population of retired people. These are the people who elected the Republican legislators who are turning the place into an apartheid police state. These are the same kind of people who support the Tea Party movement. They are angrily lashing out at an America that no longer fits their prejudices.

I grew up in an all-white suburb, and since I have no fond memories of the place, I have no sympathy for people who want to cling to that way of life. We have a generation of Americans who want to spend the final years of their lives pissing all over the rest of us.

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