Popular Mechanics published an article titled “What’s So Scary about the Future Anyway?” Why are people so afraid of the future, especially the young? Let’s look at a few reasons.
Clit-lit, short for climate literature, is the mostly young adult fiction genre that puts young adults protagonists in a world wracked by various climate disasters or shortages. Running out of water, fuel, space, land due to oceans rising, breathable air, food – you name it, there are several novels on the premise. These books are all aimed at the young to scare them into thinking the world is ending unless we all go all out on environmentalist agendas, though it may not even be enough, they say. This results in many teens being conditioned to hate their elders and embracing religiously infused environmentalism, which liberals want, but also fearing for the future.
When a plurality of kids polled think the world will end in their lifetimes, the political indoctrination reinforced by doom and gloom message fiction has worked. And it contributes to a culture of hysteria by the youngest members who think there is no future.
We’re All Oppressed
This messaging takes several forms. One is indoctrination from K-12 to colleges to the media that everything bad is only explainable by some group oppressing you. Forget the Illuminati and condemn the patriarchy. Ignore various ancient Jewish conspiracies and blame cis-gender oppression instead. You don’t have to be responsible for your own actions, you aren’t to blame for your bad circumstances, and you become permanently angry and ready to be whipped into a frenzy to rip apart the targets the leaders put before you.
And of course the solution is a big nanny state to rescue you from your oppressors, punish them, lift you up in the name of equity and control everything to keep the helpless victim groups safe. What if open racism is now unacceptable? Never mind, we know they’re all subconsciously biased and really are against you and so we’re just as right about those sneaky oppressors. (Read about the flaws in the Implicit Association Test to understand this issue, compounded by problems in acting based on the IAT.)
And there are plenty of scapegoats available without blaming specific demographic groups. Evil corporations are the main protagonists in many young adult novels and adult fiction works as well, even if it means letting billions die in a fictional pandemic or insinuating that business executives would knowingly let many die from poisoned water to have a little bit bigger bonus. This type of evil villain was seen in early James Bond films, so it isn’t new. Instead, the only variability is how complex the scheme is and how horrible the results.
And when you think there are large portions of the population that hate you even if they seem nice to you and that’s aside from the evil corporations exploiting you, of course you think the world is horrible and only getting worse.
All Bad News All the Time
There is a long time joke that “if it bleeds, it leads”. This is why car crashes, accidents and other horrors tend to be the headline news in any era. The need to compete with other sources of news and entertainment for attention led to the common practice of putting the camera on the screaming, crying neighbors. The audience reflexively looks up in response to the panicked or anguished cries. Excellent practice for audience engagement and terrible for the psyche. Make this a large portion of the news program, especially the only part they listen to, and every disaster seemed horrible, while the routine practice makes these disasters seem routine themselves.
The 24x7x365 news cycle on TV moved onto the internet and amplified the demand for content. No one wants to invest a lot of money into investigative journalism, and pleasant human interest stories lose out to cute cat videos. The logical solution is rehashing the same stories over and over again. It manifests in interviewing the same dozen victims or their family members at weekly and monthly intervals. It shows up in recycling the same bad stories in full when any slight change in the situation occurs.
The competition with other channels also results in deliberate inflation of any issue into a catastrophe. A bill to alter Medicare funding is described as killing old women. Debates on immigration law or its enforcement die with screams of “you hate brown people” and "racist".
The strict competition for attention rewards sound bites, and the hysterical hyperbole that fits in 15 seconds wins over the longer, calmer and rational explanation. The reflexive name-calling by the left fits the media’s requirements, so a politician throwing out a string of insults about –ist and –phobic gets our attention while reinforcing with the public the “you’re all really oppressed” narrative. And it reinforces the climate of fear.