The Saudi Monarchy Catches Up With Its Millennials

Aug 30, 2019 | 09:00 GMT

This photo shows a scooter rider passing graffiti alluding to the Saudi Vision 2030 modernization program

A man rides a scooter past a street artist's graffiti alluding to Vision 2030, the ambitious modernization program for Saudi Arabia being put forward by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, on June 20, 2018, in Riyadh

(SEAN GALLUP/Getty Images)

If you subscribe to the official narrative, Saudi Arabia is evolving with the times. The monarchy, after all, has adjusted its stance on women's rights, broadened cultural experiences and softened taboos that would have once led to lethal consequences for those breaking them. Yet in many ways, the monarchy is just catching up with its younger generations of Saudis, rather than shepherding them into new mindsets. Members of those generations, especially the ones born after 1980 (including heir apparent Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, born in 1985), have shared experiences that have fundamentally shaped worldviews -- moving them out of alignment with the conservative clerics who, until recently, most defined the kingdom's moral and cultural compass....

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