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Figuring It Out About the Baby Boomers

A year and a half ago, I wrote the following about my contemporaries:

Now we have a new Congress. Will they be able to deliver for the American people? Part of the problem is that they’re not up there delivering for us, but for the special interest groups that put them there. But another part of the problem is that we’re basically choosing between two parts of the same generation of people. Ever since the early 1980’s, American politics have been dominated by Baby Boomers at the polls. The full effect was delayed by Ronald Reagan and the first George Bush, but ever since the Great Arkie took office in 1993, we have had Boomers in full power. The Boomers like to refer to their parents as "the greatest generation." Their performance in the last quarter century or so has borne that out. The Boomers have three trademarks that make them unsuited to leave anything but a mess as a legacy…

Now Victor Davis Hanson comes to a similar conclusion:

Sociologists have correctly diagnosed the perfect storm that created the “me” generation — sudden postwar affluence, sacrificing parents who did not wish us to suffer as they had in the Great Depression and World War II, and the rise of therapeutic education that encouraged self-indulgence.

Perhaps the greatest trademark of the 1960s cohort was self-congratulation. Baby boomers alone claimed to have brought about changes in civil rights, women’s liberation, and environmental awareness — as if these were not prior concerns of earlier generations.

We apparently created all of our wealth rather than having inherited our roads, schools, and bountiful infrastructure from someone else. And in our self-absorption, no one accepted that our notorious appetites created more problems than our supposed “caring” solved.

Our present problems were not really caused by an unpopular president, a spendthrift Congress, the neocon bogeymen, the greedy Saudis, shifty bankers, or corporate oilmen in black hats and handlebar moustaches — much less the anonymous “they.”

The fault of this age, dear baby boomers, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.


3 Replies to “Figuring It Out About the Baby Boomers”

  1. Don,

    I come across this in following a string, and, intentions thrown aside, I have to protest:

    Here’s your very commercial Hanson guy: ” Baby boomers alone claimed to have brought about changes in civil rights, women’s liberation, and environmental awareness — as if these were not prior concerns of earlier generations.”

    I have never met a baby boomer who made this claim. There may be one somewhere.

    There are not enough such people to make Hanson’s claim anything but an ugly and insulting fantasy.



    1. Evidently I’ve hit a nerve on the subject of the Boomers, whom, as you have figured out, I have trashed for a long time.

      I wouldn’t underestimate the self-congratuatory propensity of my contemporaries. I am sure there are Boomers who believe this, or at least make this an implicit assumption.

      Boomers like to think that they invented rock music–the signature of the generation–but a little investigation will show that many of the great rockers of the “first round” were born before 1946.

      I find it amusing that a man whose greatest achievement was bringing coin laundries to Japan would disparage someone as a “very commercial…guy”.

      As you would say, cheers…


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