No Minister

Generational Toxicity

Over on the Bowalley Road blog Chris Trotter has really been letting the words flow wildly in relation to the news of the AUKUS pact that has been announced, with two articles in one week on the subject.

They’re the usual combination of themes one would expect from his Lefty age group: pro-China, anti-US, anti-nuclear, fears of a new Cold War, fears of NZ getting sucked back into another “Anglo Saxon Imperialist” world and so forth.

But it was actually this passage that intrigued me:

It is also quite possible that, by 2023, the United States will be embroiled in domestic strife bordering on civil-war. 

Followed by a lot of ignorant guff about the USA and the Republican Party. Now I’m not averse to the arguments about a possible second Civil War in the USA: it’s increasingly being discussed in non-fringe circles on both the American Left and Right. Even in popular culture I saw the “comedian” Sarah Silverman talking the other day about the nation splitting up because Democrat and Republican voters increasingly cannot stand dealing with eachother.

But there’s another aspect of this that should be taken account of: the growing war between the generations. Specifically between the Baby Boomers and … every other generation: Gen-X, Millennials and Gen-Z. Admittedly this more of a US thing than elsewhere: I don’t think NZ Baby Boomers ever fitted the label of being the “Me Generation” after Tom Wolfe’s famous 1976 article.

I’ve already covered some of this in two posts, Ok Boomer and Hand over the $35 trillion, you old fart, but a recent article by a Baby Boomer in the New York Post should be more of an eye-opener for Boomers, Millennials’ extreme hatred for Baby Boomers is totally unjustified:

Baby boomers who cried “Don’t Trust Anyone Over 30” during the Vietnam War should be scared to death of millennials. Because, at least among the Twitterati, they hate us — they really, really hate us.

Last week I took a beating from younger readers over an essay I wrote lamenting the decline of the “power lunch.” Although it only partly blamed the phenomenon on millennial habits — e.g., preferring avocado and kale to beef and baked potatoes — hundreds of thousands on Twitter either posted or retweeted such insults as “Old man yells at lunch table” (I’m 69), “What’s it like to be an antique?” and “We’re the ones doing the actual lunches while you’re having three-martini lunches.”

Millennials (and to some extent their Gen-X and Gen-Z brethren) hate their elders with a ferocity never before seen in our culture.

Generation gaps will always be with us. Historian Marc Wortman found a generational split over sending young men off to war way back in 1941. But unlike those of us who came of age in the 1960s-early 1970s, who merely disapproved of our elders’ “colonialist” wars and shag rugs, millennials (born between 1980-1994) can’t stand the air we boomers breathe.

Young hippies outdoors.

To some extent? This guy should go to some of the chat areas of Reddit and other non-FaceTwit Social Media.

He’ll quickly discover that Gen-Z are right up there on bringing the hate and Gen-X even more so given their proximity in time. Few things piss off X’rs more than being pegged as Boomers by being born in the 1960’s, as if we remember Woodstock and “Free Love”.

Unfortunately the article then delves into the reasons why and thus demonstrates even more how Boomers just don’t get it.

But if they spent more time studying actual history, which can’t easily be found on iPhones, they’d know that boomers were, and remain, the most socially and environmentally conscious generation America ever has ever known.

FFS. He thinks this is because of Greta Thunderhead and her influence on 16 year olds re Climate Charge.

Oh no, dear fellow, there’s a lot more to it than that. There’s only one sentence where he alludes to just one thing stemming from that wonderful “socially conscious” generation:

Maybe too much so — our universities’ overwhelmingly “progressive” agendas originated in the 1960s and have become more dominant ever since.

That’s because the Boomers who were the radical students of the late 60’s/early 70’s now dominate those universities as professors and administrators, and are hard at work teaching the next generations the same stuff, without any opposing arguments or ideas.

Being “the most socially and environmentally conscious generation America ever has ever known” isn’t an excuse or a defense, it’s an unwitting confession of guilt.

What this guy and the millions of Boomers like him miss is that this shite has now spread into every other part of the USA: the MSM, entertainment, government, bureaucracies and even corporates and the military.

I know of no American member of the younger generations who thinks that Social Security or Medicare/Medicaid will be there for them in their dotage of the late 21st century. Or a military that can actually win a war either. Not to mention housing costs, energy costs, career progression, jobs in general or the chance of getting married and raising a family because it’s so bloody expensive in more ways than just dollars.

What he also misses is that these younger generations, or at least a good chunk of them, might be objecting to having had these institutions trashed by the ideas of a generation that aggressively devalued the traditional things on which they rested, even as there are members of Gen-X/Millennial that have learned from their forebears and joined in with the trashing, as this guy points out:

As a college professor for over 35 years, I’ve gotten to know three generations of students: Gen X (born between 1965 and 1980), the Millennials (1981-1996), and now Gen Z (1997-2012). And because I teach rhetoric, I’ve read thousands of their papers, providing substantial insight into the way they think.

In general, however, I found that Millennials presented unique challenges. They were, as a group, the most entitled, judgmental, and arrogant of all the students I’ve taught, often basing an inflated sense of self-importance on scanty evidence.

Essentially, they are the “participation trophy” generation, the unwitting victims of countless artificial “self-esteem building” experiments by the education establishment, not to mention their own parents.

Ouch. But there is hope:

There is another generation of bright young people — Gen Z — following right on their heels and therein may lie our temporal salvation.

In comparison to their Millennial predecessors, my Gen Z students tend to be more open-minded, more interested in facts and logic, more inclined to question the status quo…

That partially explains the Fuck Joe Biden chants that have swept across college football stadiums in the last few weeks and even spread to the Yankees-Mets game in NYC of all places.

They also take a more nuanced view of history and are inherently distrustful of ideologues on either side. 

Let’s hope so, and that inheritances will add up to avoiding a different type of American Civil War.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 21, 2021 at 1:09 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Tom,

    I don’t know how old you, but you can’t be that different in age to me. My memories of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s was that there was a much greater gulf than exists today between the generations. That was even sharper in the US. After all, hundreds of thousands of young men were being conscripted to fight an unpopular war. The risk of death in a war you don’t support tends to cut a bit deeper than saving for a house.

    NZ certainly hasn’t had anything like the level of antagonistic street protest in the 21st century that existed in the 20th. The peak was the Springbok tour of 1981. I remember Muldoon’s speeches on that issue and the subsequent protests. That was certainly a generational divide, also town and country. Both Murray McCully and I are active in the demonstrations, though we were both careful not to be caught up in the violence, but we certainly saw it. Later I represented a number of demonstrators in court.

    The US demonstrations, both anti war and on civil rights, were on a scale of intensity and size that has not been matched this century. A whole host of domestic bombings also occurred.

    So, no I don’t buy the idea that the current distance between the generations was greater than before. In my view the 1960’s and early 1970’s were much more turbulent and more divisive.

    However I suspect, at least in the US the ideological gulf between those who are Republican and those who are Democrat might be sharper. But that is not primarily generational. I also can’t see how that could result in civil war. For instance in the South the contest is sharpest precisely because there is so much division within each state. Think Georgia.

    Wayne

    September 21, 2021 at 9:13 pm

    • Brilliant. Once again, for the umpteenth time, I find myself amazed at two things about Wayne Mapp:

      You really, really don’t read anything that’s put in front of you, including the links. FFS, the guy writing this is your age. Listen to what he has to say,
      Age is not the question, experience is. Your experience of life is very, very different to mine. As one of the other authors here, Psycho Milt once said, anybody who calls me a Boomer gets the two finger salute. 🙂

      Tom Hunter

      September 21, 2021 at 9:47 pm

  2. Tom … I do think the divide between Republicans and Democrats has lengthened exacerbated by the tensions in both parties with the Republicans split between ‘Trumpers’ and ‘true blue (red) Republicans and the ‘mainstream’ Democrats engaged in inter-tribal conflict with their Progressive caucus and their Democratic Socialist wing represented by the likes of Osacio-Cortez (NY) and Taiib (MI).

    Certainly as the Republican Party has moved to the right and become more US centric the Democrats have moved to the left.. Evidence of that is that Blue/Dog (centrist) Democrats in the House are reduced to rump status with just 19/222 members while the Progressive Caucus is now the largest faction with 95/222.

    But I don’t see that enmity translating into a shooting civil war although their are hot heads of both sides of the political divide who would argue for that step. The greatest force preventing such a happening is the US Constitution which, for all its imperfections, provides the bedrock for the United States as a functioning democracy.

    The Veteran

    September 22, 2021 at 11:42 am


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