I indulge in a brief retrospective of the classic early 90s tv show, Quantum Leap.
The way people talk about baby boomers being the source of so many problems in our contemporary world, you’d think they were a generation that spanned over hundreds of years. In actuality, boomers are people that were born roughly between 1943 and 1960. That’s right, the boomer generation is comprised of people that were born during an 18 year timespan (give or take.) Yet millennials and my generation (Gen X) often malign them as being responsible for nearly every aspect of society’s decline. So the narrative goes, “Boomers inherited a wealthy white American utopia and grew up with every advantage, and they frivolously pissed it all away, along with their children’s future.” Not so fast, I’m here to tell you that boomers did not have it so easy, and many of the negative actions falsely attributed to them were really perpetrated by other generations (or at the very least..these actions and policies were not unique to boomers.) I should also add that some of these negative developments were implemented against the will of the majority of boomers (elites betraying the will of the people is nothing new, but it often gets lost down the historical memory hole how when things get implemented they may have been unpopular.) Here are some claims about boomers which I will address, one at a time:
1. Boomers had it easy growing up.
This one might seem true on its face, if all you did was watch the first few seasons of The Wonder Years on Netflix and completely ignored the fact that more than 2 million of them were drafted to go fight in the jungles of Vietnam. Nearly 60,000 US troops were killed in Vietnam and more than 150,000 were wounded and maimed…many of them boomers. Unlike the people who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, many young people that fought in Vietnam were forcibly conscripted to fight in a pointless war. Even for those that managed to avoid the draft, it was a real concern that they had to actively confront. Think about it for a second, while your millennial fatass is eating pizza, drinking some shitty energy drink and playing Call of Duty, this is what many “boomer cucks” were doing at the same age. US involvement in The Vietnam War was initiated and subsequently sustained under the administrations of Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon (none of whom were boomers.)
2. Boomers spent us into debt and sold us out to globalization
One could say this is true, but it is nothing unique to the boomer generation. The first boomer president wasn’t until Bill Clinton in 1992, well after our national debt had already become massive and well after “debt culture” had become the norm in American society. National Debt greatly increased during the Reagan era (Reagan was about 70 years old when he took office in 1981.) Boomers only recently entered retirement age a few years ago, so all that Medicare and Social Security money that has been going to elderly people for the last 40 years has not been going to boomers. The rest of the money has gone to the military, largely in relation to commitments leftover from foreign conflicts and entanglements dating back well before the boomers’ ascendance to power, including many they did not even support being involved in in the first place. It’s correct that Clinton signed NAFTA and promoted other globalist free trade initiatives, however these same policies were supported by Reagan, the first president Bush, and Nixon, none of whom were boomers. In fact, the boomer left, independents and right wing working class overwhelmingly opposed NAFTA and other similar deals. This was one of the reasons for the success of Ross Perot’s candidacy,(whom many working class boomers voted for.) Most of these types of policies were imposed on Americans by elites against their will and politicians who betrayed their trust, just as they are today. The millennial criticism of boomers as having spent them into debt is somewhat bizarre, given that millennials want the government to spend even more money on even more frivolous endeavors. They enthusiastically supported Obama, who added nearly 8 trillion to the national debt (which they will someday have to pay,) and even he was only offering them a fraction of what they wanted. Millennials seem to be just fine with outsourcing jobs, importing cheap labor and foreign competition. Boomers may have used shortsighted thinking to make and save money, but millennials seem to be willing to sacrifice their current education and job prospects just to virtue signal about how “inclusive” they are or whatever.
3. Boomers are responsible for our problems in The Middle East
There’s no question that boomers have exacerbated many of our problems in the middle east, with the war in Iraq, Afghanistan in particular but also through stubborn and persistent meddling in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and various Arab civil wars. It was Eisenhower and Churchill that chose to overthrow Iran’s democratically elected leader in 1953 and install the Shah, which ultimately laid the groundwork for Iran to become the enemy of ours it is today. Our support in the 1980s for mujihadeen fighters in Iran in the 1980s (including Bin Laden) helped create the Afghanistan of the Taliban. The Soviet Union deserves some blame for the situation in Afghanistan as well, but not baby boomers. US material support and aid for Israel in the 1973 “Yom Kippur” war, and support for Israel in general has also played a large role. The list of pre-boomer interventions goes on and on…US troops stationed in Lebanon, US support for Saddam and Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, Gulf War I, etc. Boomers were not directly responsible for any of these decisions. Boomers were ultimately responsible for the Iraq War and the current war in Afghanistan (and perhaps the uprisings in Egypt and Libya) since they technically were/are in power, but to an extent these wars were misguided attempts to cleanup the messes left by previous generations’ interventions. Boomers do seem to be guilty of being overly attached to supporting Israel though and have forgotten the merits of non-interventionism now that there asses aren’t the ones on the line. I guess there’s no getting around that.
4. Boomers are responsible for mass immigration
The most significant contribution to mass third world immigration to the US was the 1965 Immigration Act. Not a single boomer was involved in the passage of this bill, and none were even old enough to be serving in any branch of government in this period of time. Remember in 1986 when the US gave amnesty to millions of illegal aliens? Well, that wasn’t boomers either. That was Ronald Reagan. It’s also important to remember that boomer voters have attempted to curtail mass immigration, but these were overruled by the courts. Remember Prop 187? SB1070 and a multitude of other laws which were gutted by the courts? What about forced desegregation busing in the 1970s, you know that thing that made your schools “diverse?” Boomers along with just about everyone else overwhelmingly opposed it:
According to Wikipedia:
In a Gallup poll taken in the early 1970s, very low percentages of whites (4 percent) and blacks (9 percent) supported busing outside of local neighborhoods. A 1978 study by the RAND Corporation set out to find why whites were opposed to busing and concluded that it was not because they held racist attitudes, but because they believed it destroyed neighborhood schools and camaraderie and increased discipline problems. It is said that busing eroded the community pride and support that neighborhoods had for their local schools. After busing, 60 percent of Boston parents, both black and white, reported more discipline problems in schools. In the 1968, 1972, and 1976 presidential elections, candidates opposed to busing were elected each time, and Congress voted repeatedly to end court-mandated busing.
It would appear that some boomers in recent years have given up on the idea of restricting immigration, but this is probably because they feel it’s too late to do much at this point after having seen their country radically transformed throughout their lifetime. Many of them have reached a point in life where both financially and physically they are isolated from a lot of the negative effects of mass third world immigration and diversity. It’s a mistake to blame them for the associated policies though, which were largely set in motion long before boomers were put in charge of the wheel, and the attempts they made to resist were thwarted by judicial and corporate forces they had no control over.
Millennials and the younger generation (whatever you want to call it) pride themselves in having accumulated a wealth of useless knowledge of the intricacies of elaborate video game worlds and Harry Potter trivia, how to get the most out of Snapchat, etc, yet how many of them even know how to change a tire on their car or install an electrical outlet? I myself am guilty of some of this. When I was a kid I used to laugh when my dad would get frustrated when I would beat him so easily at Tecmo Bowl for Nintendo by using the same Bo Jackson running play over and over. 30 years later that “skill” seems as worthless as ever. Yet my boomer dad, on his own managed to build a 3 bedroom cabin in the middle of the woods with fully functioning plumbing, heat and electricity…like it was nothing. Meanwhile when I attempted to fix my own toilet once when it was running, the project quickly and farcically denigrated into the equivalent of a Peter Sellers skit. I ended up having to call someone.
If the boomers are guilty of something it is being overly idealistic, and in particular their error has been in gambling away their abundance of idealism by doubling down on the bad ideas handed down to them. Many boomers are not guilty of this though, and were never on board with a lot of this crap. My dad actually used to say to me “Life’s a bitch, and then you die.” Hardly the kind of naive idealism you would expect. Many of them were simply taken along for a ride, (the way many millennials are now with Trump’s betrayals.) Ironically, Trump is a boomer and articulated during the campaign many of the ideas that working class boomers have always wanted to see realized (protectionism, less military intervention, reduced immigration, etc.) Yet, like George W. Bush and Dan Quayle, Trump is a “Fortunate Son,” so his commitment to these issues was always going to be questionable. He still has plenty of time to redeem himself, but as a cynical Generation X dude, I personally have zero expectation that he will, nor do I care. I’ll be at the dying mall drinking an Orange Julius and playing Cruis’n USA in the arcade while it still exists.