"In The American Conservative’s 15th anniversary issue published earlier this year, managing editor Matt Purple wrote in a piece explaining the Millennial turn against hawkishness: “Most Millennials grew up during or at least with a faint memory of the 1990s, that pacific confettiscape of a decade with its consumerist it-goods and post-Cold War American dominance, its Nerf gun commercials blaring out of the TV, and little green stock market arrows beckoning ever upwards. Then came 9/11.”
His point was simple but illuminating. Millennials (full disclosure: this includes me) spent their formative years in an end-of-history mirage, Sublime’s “What I Got” wafting like “Brigadoon” mysteriously down from the Highlands. And with the Big Questions finally answered, our attention naturally turned towards products: Surge, Earthworm Jim, and the Aggro Crag. The terrorist attacks on 9/11, occurring during the beginning of my senior year of high school, felt like both a rude reintroduction to the horrors of history and my generation’s initiation into adulthood, all in the chaos of a single morning. We found ourselves as skeptical of the insular decade just passed, so comfortable in its own narcissistic myopia, as of the flamboyant missteps that followed."