In Defense of Millennials’ Wonky “New Idealism”

Edit: This post now also appears at PolicyMic, another great website dedicated to discussing issues facing the Millennial generation. Check it out here

New York Times columnist David Brooks is, like many of us, a wonk. But in addition to owning a love of studies and charts, data and fact, he’s someone who seems to understand the promise and the peril of idealism; someone who could pass F. Scott Fitzgerald’s test of a first-rate intellect. He’s the sort of person who may believe that an empirically-minded idealism is not only possible, but perhaps even preferable.

So it was with a little confusion that I read his recent column on what he sees as Millennials’ preferred method of change: wonky incrementalism, as opposed to the pure, uncut idealism of his youth [1]. He treats the “wonkster [2]” and the idealist as disparate, mutually exclusive individuals, star-crossed lovers that will never be one. In doing so, I think he overlooks the development of a “New Idealism” that can be found in the social entrepreneurship sector, and he devalues the deep wells of passion that keep wonks up through the night (to read Medicaid policy papers, usually).

Continue Reading at Project Millennial

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