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Gen Z more close-minded than parents, grandparents' generations: 'Young, illiberal progressives'

Gen Z
Unsplash/Sammie Vasquez

Generation Z is less open-minded and more intolerant than older generations, according to a recently released study by the left-leaning British media outlet Channel 4.

Defined as people aged 13-24, Gen Z were more likely to believe that people should be “canceled” for their views and held less acceptance of different opinions than older generations.

For its study, Channel 4 drew from a survey of 1,500 people, which was divided into cohorts of people aged 13-24 and people older than 25.

Channel 4 Chief Executive Alex Mahon noted in a speech on Tuesday about the study that it documented the rise of what she described as “young, illiberal progressives” (YIPs). 

“These are progressive people in that they support the freedoms won by earlier generations who changed social attitudes toward issues such as sexuality and equality. Indeed, they are significantly more progressive than their parents and even than millennials on some issues,” said Mahon.

“But, and it is a big but, young people could be said to be less liberal because they are less tolerant of the views of others than their parents and grandparents — surely a novelty.”

Mahon added that a “quarter of Gen Z say they ‘have very little tolerance for people with beliefs that they disagree with.’ They don’t believe in unrestrained free speech, with nearly half agreeing that ‘some people deserve to be canceled.’”

“There is an obvious paradox between this intolerance and their genuinely stated desires for everyone to have their rights and freedoms defended,” she added. “This is probably a completely rational response to the confusing online world we have, but is it either what they want for themselves or what we want for them?”

Channel 4’s research also found a generation gap on gender ideology, with 48% of Gen Z respondents saying there are only two genders, contrasted with 68% of those older than 25.

There was also disagreement on the source of Gen Z stress, with 50% of over-25 respondents believing that social media was “the top cause of stress,” but only 35% of Gen Z respondents agreed.

Despite some key generational differences, the research also found that three out of five Gen Z respondents considered their parents to be role models, while one-quarter considered at least one grandparent as a role model.

According to a 2021 survey of 1,000 adults in the United States by Rasmussen and The National Pulse, 72% of respondents believed that cancel culture had “gotten out of control.”

Additionally, the 2021 study found that 75% of respondents believed that “protecting free speech is more important than protecting people from speech that is offensive.”

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