Are the Young Blasé about Politics?

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Jan 2, 2018 23:39
Today I read an article with a few unclear points, so I wonder if you could help me. Thank you in advance!

The topic is about whether youth today have a nonchalant attitude towards politics.

1) Periodically policy wonks will explain to young people why they’re wrong to feel aggrieved, because they’ve never had it so good. Most recently, the Resolution Foundation showed that millennials will inherit more than anyone before them. The fact that 35% of them will inherit nothing, and the average age for this windfall will be 61 – an excellent time to start a family, if you’re Charlie Chaplin* – was neither here nor there*.

Q1.1 What is this allusion to Charlie Chaplin about?
Q1.2 As far as I know, “is neither here nor there” means “is an irrelevant point.” My interpretation for the use here is that the writer meant “the foundation overlooked the fact…” or “the foundation avoided mentioning.” I don’t know if I understand it correctly.


2) The conclusion was that they didn’t: a bit of flim-flam survey data suggested US youth were in favour of volunteering, but their voting record was clear. Only 10 million of a possible 46 million young Americans had voted in the 2014 midterms, ergo* they no longer took pride in their democratic agency.

Q2. As far as I know, “ergo” means “therefore” but sounds more formal. However, in the above sentence “Only 10 million…, ergo…,” the use of “ergo” is confusing to me, as I don’t see how the second clause is the consequence of the first.


3) Yet the wellspring of so many failed predictions was the widespread acceptance of a nonsensical precept*: the young don’t vote because they’re different from the rest of us. Blame the internet, consumer culture, sausage-factory* secondary education, celebrities, the marketisation of tertiary education…

Q3.1 To me, the word “precept” sounds a bit off, because the next sentence is a fact or an opinion, not ““a statement about how people should behave.” What would you make of it?
Q3.2 What’s the story behind the expression “sausage-factory?”


4) Had this been rejected at the outset for making no human sense, other explanations for their “inertia” may have been sought: maybe they weren’t voting because nothing on offer inspired them. Maybe the problem was not that they had given up on government, but that their hopes for it were so high they couldn’t be contained by the narrow limits of the post-crash* consensus on “realism”.

Q4 I infer from the writer’s spelling that s/he might be British, but I still wonder about one thing – quotation marks. It seems to me that the form of American quotation marks is “”, while the form of the British counterpart is ‘ ’. Does this mean Brits also use “”?


5) Having raised his Glastonbury singing army, Corbyn will probably not be enough to contain its energy*, and nor would he want to be. If there’s an election in 2018 – I find it impossible to imagine Theresa May staggering on for another 12 months – party-political campaigning may be occupation* enough.

Q5: How should I understand the expressions “someone contains an institution’s energy" and “be occupation enough?”

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