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Boomer attack


I'd been anticipating stuff like this to start showing up as the next order of business in the generational turning will be to vilify the boomers.


Haven't read the book but have seen this and a couple of reviews. From what I can tell he blasts with a shotgun and about 40 percent of what he alleges is on target- a fair amount wildly off.


First, the boomer generation was never liberal in its fundamental nature- a most favored early sub-cohort was captured by the (GI and Silent Gen) left and threw a big hissy fit over VN- but the majority were just caught in the big social upheaval and while they may have misbehaved personally (because young people will when permitted) they were never very political and generally reverted to a pretty conservative and misanthropic view as the decades passed.


Second, he alleges that the boomers have always voted themselves "entitlements". Of course for better or worse the entitlement structure we now have is 100% the work of the GI Gen (now near extinct) and if you ever wanted any proof of the validity of the Strauss/Howe gen cycle thesis it is staring you right in the face, right there- while it is simply 100% true, few can even think of blaming a Great Generation who "deserved it."


As William Strauss  commented, the genesis of their theory was that when he was working on entitlement reform he found that intergenerational views were pretty well set and mostly founded on cultural legends, not any sort of fact, so there had to be something there.


Anyway, it more than likely is true that the Boomer's "gift" to our nation of two profoundly flawed Presidents- WJC and GWB- wasn't enough and we had to deliver DJT- also of the super influential front end boomer cohort- who is a festering pustulence of everything evil in the Boomer id- perfect for a turbulent and explosive turning.


BTW, and FWIW, as far as the recriminations against  boomer character go, in Gen Cycle Theory it is fore-ordained that the 3rd generation in the cycle of 4 gets all the goodies up front and ends up holding the old maid in the end. In the reigning philosophies of the periods, we were supposed to be Consumers" and we were, supposed to be "investors" in The Ownership Society" etc. etc.


BTW, I won't bother to make the point but I do 100% agree with his assessment of BHO's relationship to all this if you happen to read it.


Keep in mind that I've always been critical of my generational cohort and am in no way defending "us", merely making some sober observations.

5 Replies

Can't open

As an irony, WaPo wants too big a slice of my "fixed retirement income" to subscribe to their on-line service.


Have heard about the book:


From observation and experience I'd put the % of fellow boomers who were involved in actual policy formation at no higher level than any other.  Probably considerably less than this X'er gang that is driving policy discussions today.


The biggest crime the comprehensive boomer cohort committed was reliably showing up for work. The 30 years of astronomical post-War growth created a massive employee, as opposed to proprietary, landscape.  The various complexes chose to build the future that way. Higher ed and public institutions became geared to fill corporate ranks, government became huge in order to facilitate all of that. As a result massive amounts of financial resources were directed towards compensation. Which made for financial growth which was inherently inflationary. All with no guns held to any heads.


The longing for the past is for something that can't be duplicated so the answer policy becomes consolidation and contraction and sitting on assets at the top. Simply showing up for work by the masses doesn't yield the same benefits it did in that fairly narrow window in time. Government gets the messy job of filling voids and cleaning up the aftermath of the carnage. 


And 50 year old Jr. sees it all, reflects on that and declares that he'd like it to be like it was for Grandpa.


Re: Can't open..sorry. Wrong paper

The Gobe is the same. 5 articles in a month and then hit the pay wall.


There is no shortage of reviews and commentary on this book. Google will load you up with them.


Probably becomes a bit of a handbook for addled and frustrated Xers.  Will be able to identify enough anecdotal characters to match each general complaint that it becomes fingertip quality. 

Re: Can't open..sorry. Wrong paper

Yes, I think what you say is spot on. We see some of that reflex in a couple of regulars here- not that there aren't plenty of valid criticisms to be found, but that they tend to cluster into that generational urban legend space.


BTW, I've done a pretty good job all my life of ignoring Hannity (appears to be about as bright as he looks but has a couple of pieces of schtick that seem to be money in the bank).


Anyway, in the Koppel interview I was struck by how hostility for "the special snowflakes" is apparently one of those nuggets that work on the 3 million folks who watch him nightly.


I'm serene in the belief that the millennials are the next Great Generation. No generation understands the others and this is no exception- I'm sure it makes some crusty boomers and silents feel better about themselves by being disdainful of "these kids these days" (and get off my lawn).


But what it requires to be a Great Generation is a degree of social cohesion on the order of the GIs- can't be 100% but need to be near70 or above. A lot of ways to go from there- what matters is a consensus and willingness to commit to a direction.


BTW, also awed by how the very worst of the Boomers- guys like Trump and Bannon- float to the top at this moment like the fat on a rendering tank. They, and their funders, want to short circuit the natural tendencies of the generational turnings. But guys like that, and their funders, also think they aren't going to be worm food someday and spend their lives building bigger barns to store their bumper harvest in.


At least I know better than that.


It's going to be the kids' world and there's no point in plotting to rule from the grave*.


*a common failing of farm families as well- as the neoliberal farm order creates the illusion that there's a degree of immortality to be bought.

Re: Can't open..sorry. Wrong paper

Maybe just because I've got a little DNA tied up in 3 (6 actually with the s-I-l's) absolutely spectacular highly engaged in making life better millennials. I agree wholeheartedly with that assessment.


Possibly as much as anything because of the prominence of women in that demo. I get a chuckle out of so many of the old boomer feminist crowd that try to straighten this new generation of "peoplist" young women out on everything.  Hillary flopped big time over condescension as much as anything.



The female half of this cohort is going to be a bone to be chewed.  Close relative who works in a struggling school in a small, struggling farm/processing community tells me there is hope.... because "the girls get it.".