Reagan’s Children Released
By: Hans Zeiger
This week my second book is available from Broadman and Holman Publishers of Nashville. It’s called Reagan’s Children: Taking Back the City on the Hill. With it I take a risk. My thesis is controversial; it suggests hope. Some there are among conservatives whose brand of conservatism thrives on pessimism. They feed on rantings about everything from immigration to Ted Kennedy to the character of the rising generation.
Well, whatever merits there may be in complaints over Mexican border hoppers and Chappaquiddick bridge hoppers, the rising generation offers more reasons for optimism than its alternative. There is a generation shift taking place in our moment, and we would be fools to miss out.
The late Sixties, as pessimistic conservatives are well aware, was the time of the last great generation shift. Since that time, an elite of Left-wing radicals has dominated the key posts of higher education, the media, mainline churches, and many government bureaucracies. Only now is another generation shift like that one taking place, only this shift is also unlike the Sixties.
It is like the Sixties because it is a generation shift of seismic proportions. It will change the course of this nation intensely. The numbers of the so-called Millennial Generation roughly parallel those of the Baby Boom Generation. The 30 million Millennials born when Ronald Reagan was president-now graduating from high school and college,–emerging in the work world, fighting on the ground in Iraq-are a completely different and in many ways opposite sort of generation from our parents’.
What I call Reagan’s Children are unlike the Baby Boomers because we are reacting to the Sixties rather than embracing its excesses. Reagan’s Children are not a homogenous blob, but we are not a divided generation like the Vietnam Generation. We are highly committed to the restoration of community; we are well-connected with friends and associates on the internet and in our daily lives. We work together to build solutions, and we find value in enduring truths that we have been told do not exist. Relativism is an insufficient explanation for the adventure of living before us. While many in our generation have yet to embrace truth fully, there is a recovery in the offing; reality is the keyword of our time.
Ours is the most aborted generation and yet the most pro-life. Teen sex is on the decline. Home-schooling is on the rise. Whether one visits a state university or a private Christian college, he will find a cohort clean-cut, ambitious, and remarkably respectable.
I decided to write Reagan’s Children: Taking Back the City on the Hill after President Reagan died about two years ago. It was clear at that time that young people, many too young to remember the Great Communicator as president, had yet been effected deeply by his legacy. Not only did Reagan profoundly shape the nation we’ve come to know, his example as a leader continues to stand out as the best of his generation. That generation has been called the “Greatest Generation.” And Reagan was the greatest of that generation.
When we speak of greatness, we do not mean that an entire generation is great. Humanity is sinful, and every generation has failures and mediocrities. But leadership-that quality rare among men and pivotal in the story of a generation-is a thing badly needed today. The Sixties generation ages, Generation X makes its independent contribution to the course of human events, and Reagan’s Children ride what some would call the long-last swing of a pendulum to the right. It is not just a political conservatism we see in the rising generation, though; it is a moral commitment to what T.S. Eliot called “the permanent things.” It points out the pulse of Providence, which is the highest sort of leadership.
We witness now an emerging vanguard. If God would save a nation he would raise leaders. We must leave behind the shame of hippies and druggies, and seek again the “city on a hill.”
As retirement age nears for the Boomers, it is the decisive age for Reagan’s Children, and a transition is upon us. It is a movement worth joining. Americans of all ages can take part, by parenting, praying, writing, teaching, learning, discipling. Reagan’s Children who would be in the vanguard must seek especially careers that will impact the way Americans think. We must win the war of ideas.
I cannot know at this stage whether my book will make any difference in our generation. It becomes clear to me, however, that there are leaders in our generation, and they, by God’s grace, will make the difference.
Hans Zeiger is author of Reagan’s Children: Taking Back the City on the Hill, and he blogs at www.reaganchildren.com. He is also a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance (www.thenma.org)