A column by David Brooks the other day intrigued me when he wrote about students he taught at Duke University last fall, calling them “Children of Polarization”:

Today’s college students, remember, were born around 1987. They were 2 or 3 when the Berlin Wall fell. They have come into political consciousness amid impeachment, jihad, polarization and Iraq. Many of them seem to have reacted to these hothouse clashes not by becoming embroiled in the zealotry but by quietly drifting away from that whole political mode.


For many students, the main axis of their politics is not between left and right but between idealism and realism. They have developed a suspicion of sweepingly idealistic political ventures, and are now a fascinating mixture of youthful hopefulness and antiutopian modesty.

This struck me as being a signature of an outer planet combination, and sure enough I found that in 1987 when these kids were born, Saturn and Uranus were conjunct in Sagittarius, linking the restriction and limitation of Saturn with the rebellious idealism of Uranus. The suspicion (Saturn) of sweeping idealism (Uranus) and the combination of hopefulness (Uranus) and modesty (Saturn) express the collision of these two planets which are very different in nature. Saturn seeks to build form and establish firm structures in society; it sets rules and boundaries and frowns on rebellion. Uranus, on the other hand, seeks to destroy the status quo – to break down barries and build a new order.

Brooks goes on to say, “If my Duke students are representative, then the U.S. is about to see a generation that is practical, anti-ideological, modest and centrist (maybe to a fault).” It sounds as though the hard line of Saturn in these Duke students has put a clamp on the recklessness individualism of Uranus, but it is will be just as easy for the Uranian influence to liberate the Saturn tendency to become too stuck in routine and rules. The conjunction fuses these two planets so they work together, unlike in the square between Saturn and Uranus in the charts of many baby boomers, creating the generation that flip-flopped between the idealism of the 1960s (Uranus) to the Yuppie lifestyle of making money and having showy things (Saturn) of the 1980s.

This group of young people born in 1987 also has an exact opposition from Chiron to the Saturn/Uranus conjunction. The opposition from Chiron to Saturn can be a painful one depending on the rest of the chart; Saturn tends to force a confrontation to generate the healing crisis of Chiron. The interaction of Chiron with Uranus is similarly difficult and tends to overload the nervous system.

The Uranus influence bestows a love of and affinity for technology; this is the first generation to grow up on the computer and replace face to face encounters with text messaging and MySpace. This generation has been termed Generation Next, and is not afraid to flout authority in true Uranian fashion. They wear tattoos, piercings, and overwhelmingly do not affiliate with any major religion. In the true spirit of Uranus, the planet of justice and social fairness, they overwhelmingly accept homosexuality and immigration and are generally socially liberal. At least now – as they age we are just as likely to see the Saturn influence take over as these young rebels begin to age.

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