I reckon that many reading this blog are children of Baby Boomers. That’s one of the reasons the Boomers are such an easy target here.
The Boomers have problems of their own, such as the the Social Security bill finally coming due. But what about their children?
Baby Boomer children have grown up and become hipsters, video game junkies, plain ol’ junkies (oops, that’s so Gen-X), etc. The “normal” Baby Boomer kid lived at home until he was 27 or thereabouts – if he wasn’t kicked out first – only to pay rent so he could surf the same porn he was watching in Mommy’s basement. Bonus points for a gratuitous grad degree to avoid work for as long as possible.
Only now are we finally seeing the rest come out of the wood work: the quiet ones who’ve been working and been productive this whole time, too busy to care about elections that never seem to really change anything. As we’ve matured, though, we’ve realized that we can’t ignore problems even if we’re doing reasonably well wealth-wise, in an otherwise uncertain world.
On the one side, we have talk from the hopelessly lost with leftover Boomer sentiment about “rights”, entitlements, and equality. Decades after effecting these changes into law, and we’re still not happy, so maybe we just need more of the same, the thinking goes.
On the other, you have politicians like Ron Paul and movements like the Tea Party gaining support, because those aforementioned working folks realized they need to pick a side in this battle, and are more interested in a consequentialist society than a throw-your-head-in-the-sand type of place.
The working, taxpaying folks have seen how the rest of our generation turned out, when they were given equal footing in policy-making and votes. Do what’s comfortable, do what feels good, watch the right TV programs. The Boomers couldn’t care less as long as their Social Security checks cash and the pretend wealth they built up from the 1970s to now still counts enough to keep them from working past 65.
Meanwhile, the productive among us want to stem the insanity so we can move on from that cancerous attitude. In other words, some of us have realized we want to live a good life. That requires breaking free from a crowd that always wants (“needs”) something from you, and then taking that freedom from the mob and doing something productive, difficult though it may be.
All this counters the noise from the new generation of nitwits (read: majority) who realize they have a smaller space with which to stick their heads in the sand, but want to proceed ass-up anyway.
“More is better”, a gift from the Boomers, has turned to bitterness as more of their children mature and peek out from the dense fog that was their pointless youth. A realization that life isn’t as simple as “push some paper, collect electronic money, find a house that isn’t a crack den” is long overdue, but it’s happening. An added bonus: it’s coming at a time when it doesn’t have to; it’s happening organically as people come to terms with how society should be run – instead of just watching it run itself into the ground.
Much like Tyler Durden, though, part of us still struggles with the idea of giving up the comforts we know. Nice, plush suburban lawns; sheltered upbringing with lots of free time – who would want to give that up? We were born after a great economic expansion made life easy, so why shouldn’t we take advantage? There’s the temptation to try and prolong this fantasy world into perpetuity, but it’s finally becoming obvious that sheltering oneself from reality can’t last forever.
Reality is now knocking on the door: “Hello, world without oil, easy food, or easy sex. I thought you’d never arrive; and to be honest, I could do without you.” As a generation, we have an important choice before us: either allow the unpleasant visitor in now, or wait until he barges down the door later.
How many of us will be prepared to face a life without a safety net? It’s too early to tell, so all you can hope is to be prepared, and even embrace, the end of a life without culture, responsibility, or purpose. It’ll be messy for a while, but it’ll happen.
And while difficult, it’s a worthwhile vision. After seeing short-sightedness in the form of building metropolis-suburb-shopping mall-metropolis, and an entire society based around one non-renewable energy source, it’s time to shove the mistakes of the Boomers aside.