A boomer confesses

They are the Worst Generation:

A few years ago, an American author wrote a book about the men and women who endured the Depression and then fought in World War II. He testified to their courage, vision and resilience by calling his book The Greatest Generation. If anyone attempted to name their children — those born between about 1945 and 1965 — the so-called Baby-Boomers, they might consider calling them The Worst Generation.

It is now received wisdom that today’s young people may be the first generation in modern history to expect to be poorer than their parents.

Earlier this month, a report suggested the young will be 25 per cent worse off than their parents when they reach the age of 65 — the so-called ‘baby bust’ generation, having accumulated £400,000 less by the time they retire. This may not be entirely their parents’ fault. But we should certainly take a good share of the blame….

We had become not merely the luckiest but also the most selfish generation in history.

The remarkable thing is that this is coming from a British baby boomer, and the British boomers weren’t as ludicrously obnoxious as their American counterparts. Now, there is no need for the boomers to start complaining that Not All Boomers Are Like That. In the context of speaking about AN ENTIRE FREAKING GENERATION it is well understood by everyone that NOT EVERY INDIVIDUAL PERFECTLY FITS THE OBSERVED GENERATIONAL MODEL. But that doesn’t change the facts. That doesn’t change the experience of most Generation X and Y individuals with their parents and grandparents and the behavioral patterns that they have observed.

Speaking of grandparents, another thing I’ve noticed about Baby Boomers is that many of them, (again, not all), are almost nonexistent as far as their grandchildren are concerned. Far fewer of them behave in the hands-on, heavily involved, take-them-out-for-ice-cream-on-Saturday with their grandchildren manner that nearly all the grandparents of me and my friends did. They’re too busy going to Starbucks or shopping or playing tourist somewhere. I would pity the grandchildren of the baby boomers, if it weren’t for the likelihood that their grandparents would prove to be an awful influence on them.

But the evil solipsism of baby boomers can probably be seen most clearly in this quote from Slashdot concerning the student loan debacle. “In response to students burying their obligations in court during the 1970s, anti-default provisions were imposed to make it almost impossible to shed student loans in bankruptcy.” In other words, baby boomers took out student loans – in many cases to avoid Vietnam – defaulted on them, then passed a law to ensure that future generations would not be able to do the same. And their student loan debts were far smaller and far less onerous than the ones facing those who have graduated in the 2000s.

The most contemptible thing about the boomers is that they collectively never grew out of their absurd and childish narcissism. They never recovered from their sense of self-importance, and to the extent that they changed the world, they changed it for the worse. Now, I don’t believe the state of the world is entirely their fault, but I am certain that they will not be part of the solution… unless it involves Paxman’s suggestion of compulsory euthanasia.