Ed Driscoll

Forget #OccupyWallStreet. Who's Up For Occupying Mom's Basement?

The “New Youth Normal?” It’s “Your Parents’ Basement,” the ZeroHedge Econoblog notes:

As Pew Research Center notes though, that fully 55% of those aged 18-24 (and 4% of 25-34 year olds) say young adults are having the toughest time in today’s economy. The day-to-day realities of economic hard times are somewhat shocking for a country supposedly so far up the developed spectrum as roughly a quarter of adults aged 18 to 34 (24%) say that, due to economic conditions, they have moved back in with their parents in recent years after living on their own. In the 25 to 29 age range a shocking 34% have moved back home with mom and pop (hardly likely to help with the huge shadow housing inventory overhang we discussed yesterday) Finding a job, saving for the future, paying for college, and buying a home are seen as dramatically harder for today’s young adults compared to their parent’s generation while Facebook saves the day as staying in touch with friends/family is the only stand out aspect of life that is ‘easier’ for today’s youth.


That’s long been the norm in socialist Old Europe, as this passage from Tom Wolfe’s epochal “Me Decade” article from 1976 highlights:

In 1971 I made a lecture tour of Italy, talking (at the request of my Italian hosts) about “contemporary American life.” Everywhere I went, from Turin to Palermo, Italian students were interested in just one question: Was it really true that young people in America, no older than themselves, actually left home, and lived communally according to their own rules and created their own dress styles and vocabulary and had free sex and took dope? They were talking, of course, about the hippie or psychedelic movement that had begun flowering about 1965. What fascinated them the most, however, was the first item on the list: that the hippies actually left home and lived communally according to their own rules.

To Italian students this seemed positively amazing. Several of the students I met lived wild enough lives during daylight hours. They were in radical organizations and had fought pitched battles with police, on the barricades, as it were. But by 8:30 P.M. they were back home, obediently washing their hands before dinner with Mom&Dad&Buddy&Sis&theMaidenAunt. Their counterparts in America, the New Left students of the late sixties, lived in communes that were much like the hippies’, except that the costumery tended to be semimilitary: the noncom officers’ shirts, combat boots, commando berets—worn in combination with blue jeans or a turtleneck jersey, however, to show that one was not a uniform freak.

That people so young could go off on their own, without taking jobs, and live a life completely of their own design—to Europeans it was astounding.


As Jonah Goldberg noted in a 2005 column titled, “Invasion of the America Snatchers,” if you “look very closely and study body language and speech, you may just discover that the liberals screeching at conservatives aren’t in fact Americans at all. They are Europeans taking on the form of Americans:”

The ideas, assumptions and prejudices held by the statistically typical Democratic voter, according to the Pew study, are quite simply, European. Europeans believe in a strong social welfare state, for rich and poor alike. Europeans are cynical. They look askance–these days–on patriotic sentiment (hence the rush to form a new European nation). The church pews of Europe would make a great hideout for bank robbers since they’re always empty. The United Nations is, in the typical European’s worldview, the last best hope for mankind. From the death penalty to gay marriage, the more similar you are to a typical European in your political and social outlook, the more likely you are to be a Democrat.

Presumably, they should welcome this latest bit of “unexpected” bad economic data.

Oh, and occupying mom’s basement? It’s officially #OWS approved, in case you’re wondering.

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