Skip to comments.Boomers can take credit for the 60s if they accept blame for the '70s and '80s.'
Posted on 01/09/2006 4:43:34 PM PST by tbird5
With the oldest of the Baby Boom generation now starting to turn 60, it seems inevitable that we will soon be inundated with books and TV specials assessing the impact of this huge cohort on American society. The Greater Generation, by American University professor Leonard Steinhorn, can be considered a very sympathetic brief for the defense. No doubt some opportunistic right-wing scribe is energetically pitching Regnery Press on the merits of prosecuting Boomers for their various crimes against humanity, even as some third party is pounding out an even-handed assessment. Hopefully at some point, Friends of the Forests will step in and remind everyone that a generation is an awfully large category to make meaningful generalizations about, and perhaps we should spare the trees. But for now, back to Leonard Steinhorn.
Readers will recall that it was Tom Brokaw's great good luck as a journalist, as a reporter of news, to uncover that back in the 1930s and 1940s, a large mass of young Americans had to suffer, a) the trials and deprivations of the Great Depression, then b) fight a terrible war a world war in the parlance of the timeagainst countries bent on global domination.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonmonthly.com ...
da,,what's the 60's?
We should be grateful we got past Y2K without a whole year about how the 60's were the begin all end all of everything.
Not even the 60s were The Sixties.
This is hogwash and inaccurate, to boot. Boomers were kids during the sixties. All of the changes cited were led by people like King, LBJ, and Nixon, and they were leading, for the most part, the greatest generation. At the edges, young people like me marched and broke some rules but the important decisions were made by the adults, as always.
Do these hippy wannabees realize that America had history PRIOR to the Baby Boom generation and since?
I am REELLY sick of the boomer-bashing articles and threads that are showing up.
Why is it the the MSM insists on portraying the boomers as a bunch of hippies, when they were more likely to be wearing olive drab and carrying an M-16?
The boomer generation has been split by demographers into two halves now, the so-called late boomers were BORN in the 1960s, so how can you be responsible for a decade that ends when you are 5 or 8 years old?
You can google "Generation Jones" to read about the "new" generation that behaves almost the opposite of the boomers. (Hint: highest age based demographic in support of GWB and R's in the last election.)
Also, many books have already been written on the horror of the classic boomer generation. David Horowitz's are among the best.
I personally cannot stand Tom Brokaw. However, the generation that he wrote about was the greatest generation since the days of our founding fathers.
Unfortunately, this does not not apply to the politicians of their time. They set us on the course of the " entitlement" culture, which has bankrupted our country on three separate occasions during my lifetime.
Personally, I would give up all retirement benefits due me, if my kids could have the opportunity to opt out of social security and medicare.
Why would any sane person want to take credit for the 60's?
If you remember the 60's...you weren't there...
Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social (and sometimes nostalgic) aspects that directly effects Generation Reagan / Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations (i.e. The Baby Boomers) are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.
Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details and previous articles.
Ever since I took some of the brown acid at woodstock man, I don't know WTF is going on man...
Its been a long strange trip, but I keep on truckin, and go with the groove ya know.............man....
Hell, after the '60s, the '70s and '80s are a blank. I got up one day in 1990 and found out I'd been married for 24 years and had two kids!
The short answer is because it was you who were wearing olive drab and carrying an M-16 and it was the members of the media who were the bunch of hippies.
Even more briefly, it depends on the meaning of "is"...
Hey, the 80s rocked and I'm appreciating the 70s more and more every day.
Actually, I think there were previous generations that had a lot to do with the cultural shifts of the 60's onward. The various Woody Guthries, Dr. Spocks, Leonard Bersteins, Timothy Learys, assorted "pinkos", etc. The couldn't complain about fascism, workers rights anymore, so they populated universities, added their voices to the civil rights struggle, harped on about Vietnam, influenced art and pop culture. I think the Boomers were very impressionable as well as spoiled (compared to previous generations, that is). I don't think that the 20-somethings and teens back in 1966 onward just decided to rebel on their own, but they got some encouragement and instruction.
Dr. Spock - THANK YOU!
Encouragement? Plenty. Instruction? Rather, *lack* of instruction; lack of discipline, lack of self-reliance w/o the self-indulgence, etc.
I am convinced ultimately this is all due to Dr. Spock. Sure we had pinkos and other idiots and jerks around, but none had the influence this 1 did. This ass helped the "greatest" gen (ha) "raise" (double ha) the "worst" gen.
Look around at your fellow Americans that range in age from 5 to 23, then make the case that they are responsible for the previous decade.
The 70's were crap. I don't remember much of the 70's, but what I remember of it was crap. Disco, ugly cars, disaster films, big hair and bad hygiene, awful political leadership (on both sides of the aisle) and more big government, the beginnings of political correctness, television with car chases, moralizing sitcoms, and the usual formulaic plots with sex interwoven into just about everything. There are some good things from the 70's, but you have to hold your nose when you're searching for them. It seems to me that the 70's could be described as the stagnation that resulted from 60's experimentation and was swept away by events in the early 80's. People finally began to start thinking again.
Take CREDIT for the 60s?
That's like taking "credit" for herpes.
Dr Spock's "Baby and Child Care" book is the best child care book ever written. I referred to his book everyday when my 5 children were small. He got nuts later.
Thats a classic man. A classic.
I agree with a lot of what you're saying. Certainly, the 70s left a bad taste in my mouth up until recently. But, was the last decades that the country was still fairly homogenous (that ended with hypenated Americans in the 80s). Excluding disco, some good music too. Personally, I think this decade is crap. I can't even think what to call it (the Zeros would be fitting).
The 70s were definitely a transitional period into open liberalism. Yeah, I know, it actually began in the 60s, but liberalism really didn't manifest itself till the 70s, with the open sex & drugs & whatnot. It was a pretty heady time, though, as you said, pretty awful.
I disagree, though, about the culture. Most of the movies & music were quite good. Even though -- in retrospect -- they were left-leaning, they had a certain intelligence & integrity. Compared to the garbage in the theaters now, they make me absolutely nostalgic.
I respectfully disagree. His principles of let the kid do what he wants fly in the face of common sense which has been carried out for centuries, and in nature, too. Letting kids beat on you and other people and back-talk you is bad. Isn't that what Spock was all about? And it's the same garbage we're seeing now in pet training. Never "negative", only positive. Never look at your dog wrong; never look at your kid w/angry eyes. And anyone who doesn't use the method is "cruel".
The most over-analyzed and over-rated generation ever.
Exactly. When the "Greatest Generation" directed a war, it was called "Vietnam." When the Boomers held a war it was "Iraq and Afghanistan." Which do you prefer?
The 70s may have been "crap," but the decade of the 70s like the 60s were of two distinct moods and attitudes -- day and night, especially culturally.
The early-to-mid 60s were "day"; bubblegum, naivety, and intellectual inertia.
The mid-60s to late 60s "night"; an unprecedented fireball of change -- decadance unleashed, and an explosion of awareness and introspection.
The early-to-mid-70s was a carryover of the mid-to-late 60s attitude...
By the mid-to-late 70s the fire had obviously burnt out -- in its ashes lie a more mellow, less serious, and more superficial attitude, with the "disco" days ('75-'80) epimomizing the mood swing.
IOW, 1965-1975 was part and parcel of the same "decade."
Bingo. The "'60s" culturally was actually the late '60s numerically.
And I'm tired of the '70s getting all the blame for what was really '60s garbage. Bell-bottoms (YUCK) came from the '60s, even if they lasted thru the '70s. Ugly colors came from the '60s, etc.
And the ME Generation was actually the Hippie Gen, despite them always pinning it on the '70s "Disco" people. (Don't diss disco; I like it and obviously millions did so it can't have been as bad as the fringe element makes it. But then, I like tons of music being genuinely eclectic.)
Especially the early, pre-disco 70's.
Allk I can say is that my father commented one time after watching vietnam TV coverage that he could not believe the guys he went to WWII with would want to do that again. but as I look back on that time I think the anti-war movement was the difference, and it was and is subversive.
Yep -- the radical '65-'70 is how our culture defines "the 60s." Early 60's was orderly, and beatnik mellow at it's "wildest."
"I'm tired of the '70s getting all the blame for what was really '60s garbage. Bell-bottoms (YUCK) came from the '60s, even if they lasted thru the '70s. Ugly colors came from the '60s, etc."
As though culture was hijacked through an LSD (Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds) haze of "marmalade dreams and lemonade pie."
But, that was a result of the "mind expansion" and obliterating ALL "tradition" paridigms. Some of it purposely subversive; some of it sincere.
"And the ME Generation was actually the Hippie Gen, despite them always pinning it on the '70s "Disco" people. (Don't diss disco; I like it and obviously millions did so it can't have been as bad as the fringe element makes it. But then, I like tons of music being genuinely eclectic.)"
Though disco music wasn't my thing at the time, I could appreciate it's expression of fun, catchiness of beat, style, and resurgence of personal hygiene :-)
I don't know about the late 60s/early 70s as being the "ME Generation" -- I perceived it as an age of "discovery" and "personal exploration" and extremes that at times got outta hand.
Read his book! Nothing liberal about it. This Baby and Child Care book is very conservative. He wrote it before he went nuts and then wrote another version that was very liberal. For any new mother, it is a must read and refernce book.
None of the leftists and countercultural icons you mentioned were baby boomers. Woody Guthrie, for instance, was in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Even the large majority of the New Left's leaders and the rock and folk music and movie star icons of the era were members of the "Silent Generation" born between 1928 and 1945.
The fact is that the cultural decline of America and the West predates the G.I. Generation. Its roots ultimately derive from the French Enlightenment of the 18th Century that led to the French Revolution of 1789, the first leftist revolution (based on radical egalitarianism, the core ideology of feminism, socialism, and "gay rights"), and the German universities of the late 18th and 19th Centuries, which spawned Marxism, nihilism, "higher" Biblical criticism, and other destructive anti-Christian and anti-Western philosophies.
The significance of the 1960s and the 1970s to America is that this was the era when these destructive philosophies penetrated beyond the elite universities, the Old Left, and the Northeastern WASP establishment into the general population.
My mother read it at the insistence of others when she had her 1st set of babies, 10 years after it 1st appeared, and it was all the rage. She tossed it aside as "trash" and I trust her judgement even as a 20-year-old.
So sad. A great book.
The '80's were great once we dumped Carter.
I still wonder how people did it for 1000s of years on their very own. ;-)
Good post and exactly right!
As I see it, there was a group of SHARP-elbowed opportunists who were determined to get ahead. While they convincED my whole class at Stanford to abandon our business roots and become "helpers", they went into corporations and have noW ended up in jail. Serves them right!
I am amongst the crowd that had two 50's and moved right into the 70's. Skipping the 60's altogether except for the head shaking.