Very interesting (but rather wrong) piece about the younger generations blaming the Boomers by Walter Russell Read by way of Monty at Ace. The comments are far more insightful.
Says Alex Scipio:
Sorry, Prof. Mead, but you have widely missed the mark.
When the 18-yr olds, the lead Boomers, were given the vote in 1972 and shortly began their careers in office, the Debt was $400B. For this America had purchased and/or conquered a continent, invented air and space travel, modern manufacturing, fertilizers and pharmaceuticals, invented and commercialized computers and telecommunications, and won every war we had tried to win.
The Boomers? Have invented nothing. Have discovered nothing.Have generated wealth only in bubbles based on intenet (also invented by their parents as ARPANet) fantasy.
Sure – Boomers are in everywhere pretending that they have anything good to say or any worthwhile thoughts. But take a look around. The world of the past 50 years is a steady decline of cultural and societal courtesy, manner, education, volunteering, education, exploration, education (did I say education?).
Even better, John Lynch concludes:
I’m Gen X, and I’ve been stuck listening to Boomer [folderol] my whole life.
Now the Boomers are all doom and gloom. That’s not because the world is really all that much worse off than it’s ever been. It’s just the impending death of the Boomer generation. They’ve mistaken their own decline for that of the nation and the world.
The Boomer generation has always thought that nothing happened until they arrived (see that beautiful piece of propaganda, Mad Men) and are equally convinced that nothing will happen once they are gone. All the environmental millennialism has its origin in the Boomers. From The Population Bomb to Global Warming they’ve persistently believed that not only are they a social force but a cosmic one as well.
The world will survive their passing. I’m already enjoying the lack of 60s music on the radio and the blessed silence about Woodstock and the Vietnam War. My generation has accomplished far more, with less noise, and we won our war.
History will not be kind.
A couple thoughts:
1. I blame the parents of these indulged brats. The WWII/Great Depression parents, in an attempt to shelter their children from all difficulty, brought up a bratty, superficial, spoiled generation.
2. Learn the lesson. Children today have even more wealth and good fortune (for a while) than the Boomers started out with. The OWS-ers are astonished and dismayed because their Boomer parents sold them the same tripe they believe about themselves. So these little snowflakes are upset that the world is not interested in their brand of special.
Discipline, hard work, responsibility, right and wrong, common sense, diligence, fidelity, and humility don’t go over big but they’re characteristics that win over the long-term.
Overindulgence makes for rotten grown-ups.
How much of the Barack Obama lovefest is rooted in Baby Boomer narcissism? That’s the question that occurred to me while contemplating why so many in the generation ahead of mine seemed so excited and irrationally so, about Barack Obama or even Hillary Clinton becoming president. The worship takes turns both comical and disturbing. The mindless devotion has undermined any notion of media fairness–maybe irreparably so. Yet they don’t care.
The quick answer: Boomers view Barack Obama as the symbolic fulfillment of an ideology put forth when they were conducting love-ins and peace protests (that weren’t very peaceful). Fighting for civil rights and equal rights and pacifism and free love, the radicals and idealists dreamed of a future where a person like Barack Obama exists. Their efforts resulted in a man like Barack Obama.
Barack Obama is the child of Kenyan socialist and sociologist who was a 17 year old teen-mother (soft treatment here)–an idealogue and an intellectual. He is biracial. His parents divorced. And he was raised, for a time, by a single mother. He received an elite education. He was schooled in the best institutions of higher learning.
In short, his success illustrates the rightness of the Left’s ideology. Barack Obama is a confirmation of the hippies’ hopes of change. Before the Boomers pass from this life into the next, they want to see the evidence of their rightness. Nothing would be better than a man like Barack Obama as president. The point is, it doesn’t have to be Barack Obama–the who doesn’t matter so much. It’s what he represents that matters. Barack Obama represents a physical manifestation of what the Boomers were talkin’ about when they were talkin’ ’bout my generation.
The only thing standing between the hope and changiness came from a Boomer herself, Hillary Clinton. Both candidates represent a struggle to overcome prejudice and discrimination. Both carry with them the symbolism of a generation’s dreams coming to fruition. This explains the outrage by the women following Hillary who were offended by the Obama campaign’s shameless sexism and misogyny. That the Left employs homophobic and misogynstic tactics doesn’t surprise conservatives. In fact, it was amusing to watch the identity politics crowd tie themselves into knots trying not to state the obvious.
Still, it is clear that for the Boomers, this fight feels as real as when they were 18, wide-eyed and hoping to change the world. For the next generation, the Generation X’ers, the angst and eagerness doesn’t feel as acute. In fact, in a world where, as Kenny Rogers sings, the best rapper is white and the best golfer is black, American culture feels pretty darn post-racial and post-gender. At least that seems true to anyone 45 and younger.
One reason Barack Obama receives little press scrutiny and in fact, loads of press-love, is because so many of these pundits cut their teeth on identity politics and dreamed an impossible dream. Well, this election it’s possible. Barack Obama’s rhetoric about this time and this place and he’s the dream, blah, blah, blah, means so much to them because it’s about them. Their marches mattered. Their free love is justified. Single parents can raise great kids. Education changes lives.
Of course the truth is far more nuanced. And while no one is claiming that sexism or racism is non-existent, it surely doesn’t define American culture these days. It’s interesting to note the generational differences. When charges of racism have been lobbed at Governor Palin she ignores them and goes after Obama as a peer. Joe Biden in contrast, looked perpetually pained interacting with Sarah Palin. It’s a generational thing that revealed that he saw a woman first and then a politician. Most younger people see both Palin and Obama as politicians who happen to be a white woman and a bi-racial man.
For Boomers, electing Barack Obama is about them, not him. They feel so invested not in the candidate, but in themselves. These politics are personal and pathologically so. Should Obama lose, his supporters lose a chance to manifest their dreams for a generation. They act as though the opportunity would never come again, but that’s patently absurd. The fact is, the hippies want to drive the multi-culti, equal rights, liberal car while they’re still young enough to enjoy it. Barak Obama is just one more hippie-to-yuppie acquisition. It’s all about them.