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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Young, liberal and depressed: Doomers are not OK

Liberals are the most depressed among the growing number of sad teenagers, writes Matthew Yglesias on Slow Boring. Teenage girls are sadder than boys, the CDC reports, and young liberals are sadder than conservatives, according to a 2021 paper on The Politics of Depression. Politics outweighs gender, according to the survey, Yglesias notes. "Liberal boys are more depressed than conservative girls."

. . . some of the left-inflected pushback has essentially argued that maybe teens aren’t depressed because of phones but because, in Taylor Lorenz’s words, “we’re living in a late stage capitalist hellscape during an ongoing deadly pandemic w record wealth inequality, 0 social safety net/job security, as climate change cooks the world.”

The politics of depression authors seem to believe that "liberal teens are depressed because they correctly perceive injustice in the world," writes Yglesias. They see "growing conservative political climate" which is now "hegemonic."

He asks: Really?

"The inflection point for liberal adolescent depression" was 2012, when Barack Obama was president, notes New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg. The trend "also shows up in Britain, Canada and Australia."

"Technology, not politics, was what changed in all these countries around 2012," she writes. "That was the year that Facebook bought Instagram and the word 'selfie' entered the popular lexicon."

When Muslim students at Macalester complained about an art exhibition by an Iranian-American feminist, "progressive" students claimed the art would cause "harm," writes Jill Filipovic. She warns of "tremendously negative long-term consequences" to young people whose "default position is victimization." While the language of "harm" may "give a person some short-term power in progressive spaces, it’s pretty bad for most people’s long-term ability to regulate their emotions, to manage inevitable adversity, and to navigate a complicated world," Filipovic writes.

Doomer culture is a dead end, writes Noah Smith, who points to a Substack called OK Doomer for catastrophizers.

. . . I worry about a culture of negativity on the political Left — and yes, that includes the center-left of which I count myself a part. Acknowledging any amount of progress on any problem is often seen as encouraging complacency. But failing to acknowledge any progress eventually backfires, turning into helpless doomerism — if nothing ever gets better, why try?

Like Filipovic, Smith warns that negative thinking is very bad for mental health.

208 views5 comments


Mar 05, 2023

First, for teens, the number of left of center teens is much greater than right of center teens. Look at the voting habits of 20/20. And a significant portion of liberal teens are non-whites that do not have a conservative counterpart.

The article is written as if every teen is white and that teens are split 50/50 liberal versus conservative.


Mar 05, 2023

Anyone who sees the "growing conservative political climate" as "hegemonic" is blind to the left's massive success in capturing major institutions: entertainment (to include sports), academia, media, the bureaucracy, etc. The power they wield is extremely difficult to counteract.

Mar 07, 2023
Replying to

“The power they wield is extremely difficult to counteract.”

You sound like the Christians are being tossed to the lions again, or being boiled alive.


Mar 05, 2023

Perhaps a bit cruel, but isn't this natural selection in action?


Mar 04, 2023

When are you see is negativity and world ending stuff and all the bad stuff in the world, of course you are going to be depressed. When you keep on saying the world is racist/sexist and that the world is going to end in X years, how can you be positive? The US had a black president, a black female vice-president, a female speaker of the house and a woman who was thisclose to being president all in the last 10 years but this country is still racist/sexist according to them; when would it not be racist/sexist according to them?

Conservatives are also more likely to have be in a religious community or any community for that matter; plus they…

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