Skip to comments.Baby Boomers Owe Young People an Apology--Conceits of the Horrid Generation
Posted on 12/17/2007 5:43:31 AM PST by SJackson
Baby Boomers Owe Young People an Apology
By Dennis Prager
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, December 04, 2007
We live in the age of group apologies. I would like to add one. The baby boomer generation needs to apologize to America, especially its young generation, for many sins. Here is a partial list:
First and perhaps foremost, we apologize for robbing many of you of a childhood.
We baby boomers were allowed perhaps the most innocent childhoods known to history. We grew up without material want, in one of the most decent places in world history, with media that preserved our sexual and other innocence, in schools that generally taught us well, and we were allowed childhood play from boy-girl play to rough and tumble boy-boy play to monkey bars and ringalievio. Our generation has deprived you of all these things. And while we were aware of the threat of a nuclear war with the Soviet Union, few of us believed that we were threatened with death anywhere near the amount we have scared you about death from secondhand smoke, global warming and heterosexual AIDS, to mention just a few of the exaggerated death scares we have inflicted on you.
Our generation came up with two truly foolish slogans that also ended up robbing you of childhood.
One was, "Never trust anyone over 30." Our infantile attitude toward adult authority has inflicted great harm on you. Because of it, many baby boomers decided not to become adults, and this has had disastrous consequences in your lives. It deprived you of one of the greatest needs in your life -- adults. That in turn deprived you of something as important as love -- parental and other adult authority. With little parental authority, you were left with little personal security, few guardrails and a diminished sense of order in life. And we transferred this denial of authority to virtually all authority figures, from teachers to police.
The other slogan whose awful consequences we baby boomers bequeathed to you was, "Make love, not war." Our parents had liberated the world from immeasurably cruel and murderous regimes in Germany and Japan -- solely thanks to waging war. But instead of concluding that war could do great moral good, we sang ourselves silly with such inane lyrics as "Give peace a chance," as if that deals in any way with the world's most monstrous evils. So we taught you to make love and not war. And we succeeded.
We made you anti-war and almost completely sexualized your lives. We told you that having sex was terrific or at least to be expected, even in early teens, and that your only concerns should be avoiding sexually transmitted diseases and getting pregnant. And if you did get pregnant, we made sure that you could extinguish the life you were carrying as effortlessly and guiltlessly as possible.
We started teaching you about sexuality and homosexuality in early grade school and we taught you how to put condoms on bananas. It is true that we did not grow up learning about these things at such young ages -- certainly our schools never taught us about these things -- but we chalked that up to the preposterous, if not reactionary, values of the 1950s and early 1960s. We had contempt for our parents believing that "Father Knows Best" and "Leave It to Beaver" and "Superman" -- with the show's motto of "truth, justice, and the American way" -- were good things for young people to be exposed to. So we replaced these shows with MTV's mind-numbing parade of three-second images and sex-drenched shows for teenagers. Sorry.
We also made you weak. We did everything possible to ensure that you suffered no pain. Sometimes we changed game scores if a team was winning by too large a margin; we abolished dodgeball lest anyone suffer early removal from the game; and we gave trophies to all of you who played on baseball teams, no matter how awfully you or your team played so that none of you missed getting a trophy while members of another team did. Much of this was thanks to the self-esteem-without-having-to-earn-it movement, which in our generation's almost infinite lack of wisdom we inflicted upon you. Sorry for that, too.
We also apologize for coming close to ruining so many of your schools and universities. Despite the unprecedented sums of money we had America spend on education, most of you got an education quite inferior to the one we got at a fraction of the cost. But we thought of our teachers as fools (they were, after all, over 30) who just concentrated on reading, writing and arithmetic (and history, music and art). We were sure we knew better and we therefore concentrated on sexual issues, and teaching you about peace, global warming and the horrors of smoking. The fact that few high school graduates can identify Mozart, let alone were ever exposed to his music, is far less significant to many baby boomers than your knowledge of the alleged perils of secondhand smoke. Most of you cannot identify Stalin either, and we are sorry for that, too. But, hey, we did make sure you saw Al Gore's film.
And a real apology to those of you hooked on drugs. While your choice to do drugs is your responsibility, it was our generation that romanticized them and made them cool. "Mind expanding" we called them. But it turns out that they don't expand minds, they destroy them. Sorry.
And, young women, we apologize especially to you. Many of us baby boomers bought into the feminist idea that getting married and making a family with a man were far less fulfilling than career success and that marriage itself is "sexist" and "patriarchal." So, to those of you women who have career success and didn't get married, we sincerely apologize. Turns out that most careers aren't as fulfilling as we promised.
So we really blew it, and what's really amazing is that few of us have changed our minds. Most people get wiser as they get older. But not those of us baby boomers who still believe these things. Of course, many of us never bought into these awful ideas that have so hurt you and our country, and some of us have grown up. But many of us still talk, think, dress and curse the same as we did in the '60s and '70s. And we're still fighting what we consider the real Axis of Evil: American racism, sexism and imperialism.
But for those of us who know the damage baby boomers as a whole did to you, a heartfelt apology.
Conceits of the Horrid Generation
By Jason Maoz
JewishPress.com | Monday, December 17, 2007
Dennis Prager, the sometimes controversial, always thought-provoking radio host and syndicated columnist, wrote a column last week on the legacy the baby boom generation has bequeathed to younger Americans.
We live in the age of group apologies, wrote Prager. I would like to add one. The baby boomer generation needs to apologize to America, especially its young generation, for many sins.
One of those sins, according to Prager, is the mindless pacifism espoused by Sixties-era liberals and leftists and passed down to their ideological heirs a pacifism neatly summarized by the popular 1960s slogan Make love, not war.
Our parents, Prager continued, had liberated the world from immeasurably cruel and murderous regimes in Germany and Japan solely thanks to waging war. But instead of concluding that war could do great moral good, we sang ourselves silly with such inane lyrics as Give peace a chance, as if that deals in any way with the worlds most monstrous evils. So we taught you to make love and not war. And we succeeded.
The column struck a chord because this writer has long viewed baby boomers as the most overindulged, overrated, self-infatuated and self-destructive generation America has produced to date. (Full disclosure: this writer is also very much a part of that horrid generation.)
Many things about the boomers merit disdain, perhaps none more than the baseless claim repeated so often its been virtually inscribed as historical fact that antiwar boomers basically shut down the Vietnam War.
Of course, even if one accepts the premise that the antiwar movement ended Americas involvement in Vietnam, the fact is that most of the more intelligent opponents of that war, and certainly just about all of those with the means and influence to do something about it elected officials, journalists, financial contributors to political parties were born well before 1946, the start of the baby boom era.
But the reality is that antiwar activists of whatever age were in no way responsible for ending the war.
All the major public opinion polls of that era, from the first stirrings of antiwar sentiment in 1965 to the mass demonstrations four and five years later, showed that the majority of Americans remained more or less supportive of their governments policy in Southeast Asia.
The peace candidate Eugene McCarthys near victory in the 1968 New Hampshire primary was fueled in great measure by voters who felt the Johnson administration was not being aggressive enough in its prosecution of the war.
Many of those McCarthy voters actually went on to support the third-party candidacy of the Vietnam hawk George Wallace in the November general election.
As late as 1972 a full eight years after the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, four years after the Tet offensive, three years after revelation of the My Lai massacre and two years after the National Guard shootings at Kent State the Democratic presidential nominee, George McGovern, running on an unambiguous vow to stop the war, suffered a loss of cataclysmic proportions to President Richard Nixon.
By then, of course, the antiwar movement itself had largely petered out as the Nixon administration implemented a series of troop withdrawals and the draft gave way to an all-volunteer armed forces.
Rather than give credit to the antiwar movement for stopping the war, its at least as valid to suggest that the turmoil created by the movement served further to paralyze U.S. policy makers, whose aims in Vietnam were never very clear to begin with.
After all, the war in Vietnam, at least in terms of Americans fighting and dying, lasted three times as long as the Korean conflict of the 1950s a war that, by way of comparison, elicited minimal backlash on the home front.
Speaking of the baby boom generation, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw is out with a new book, Boom!, a follow-up of sorts to his mega-seller The Greatest Generation, which chronicled a generation that, unlike its boomer offspring, actually did end a war, defeating Germany and Japan in World War II.
Boom! makes for interesting reading, but for a more substantial and sobering look at boomers and what they wrought, see Peter Collier and David Horowitzs Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts About the Sixties.
The socialist/picko, like the Clintons for example, are the ones who should be remiss over their beliefs and hunger for power.
I am sick and tired of the Boomer bashing. MOST of us have worked hard our entire lives. MIllIONS of us volunteered to serve in the military in Vietnam AND after, who do you think it was who manned the defenses that brought down the Soviet Union during the Cold War? Who do you think fought Desert Storm? Who do you think LEADS the current military? WE didn’t put in place the “Great Society” or Medicaid. WE didn’t put the judges on the Supreme Court that decided “Rowe”. WE weren’t the ones in Power in DC that bungled bothe Korea and Vietnam. We weren’t the ones who broke the piggy bank that was the “Greatest Generation” (Welfare, Medicare and Social Security).
Sorry but I have NOTHING TO APPOLOGIZE FOR.
Or APOLOGIZE for either. Deep breath.
I kind of feel that way too.
This 'boomer' owes you squat.
We also made a pathway for women to work in jobs other than secretary or teacher, even though many of us started in those positions and had to work like hell to move into professional jobs in the business world.
The worst thing we did was to spoil our kids even worse than our parents, since we end up with whiners like this who take their opportunities for granted since their expectations are now higher because of us.
Lose the attitude and make changes if you want a different world. And remember that the "other" baby boomers did not have the new media to present their views.
They named the wrong people “baby”.
Maybe not, but we knew these problems existed, and, when our turn came, we did not fix them for our children. In fact, in many cases listed above, we only made them worse.
Conservatives are supposed to value the individual and reject collectivism, yet so many fall for this line that people are to be classified according to their birthdate. There are good and bad in every so called generation, and collective guilt is no more a valid concept than are other forms of collectivism.
Get a Job...,,
I have NOTHING TO APOLOGIZE FOR.
I totally agree with you
I read this as a rhetorical method to point up the generational changes without placing blame for the current failings on the younger.
By couching it this way it tells them what they can change and filter for their kids.
My kids filter the media their kids see relentlessly. Others might if they absorb this sort of broad view.
All this focus on generations is a lazy and prejudicial way of looking at things.
Yes, but the boomers that made their “Long March” up into the control of academia and government bureaucracies have done a fine job screwing things up.
The rest of us were too busy working and doing what we thought right.
The question is, why did the Greatest Generation spoil their kids so badly? - PING!
But you didn't get any attention from the media class like the hippies, which must mean you didn't exist.
Assigning generational guilt is the sign of a lazy thinker, Prager, and makes you look the fool.
We knew the problems existed, but the WWII generation wouldn’t let us fix them.
Wow man, anyone here know where I can score some weed? My bursitis is acting up bit, think it was all that protest sign waving I did at the peace rally in ‘69. Now don’t you feel better?
Not all Boomers are socialist, but there are many, many socialist Boomers!
I submit my "Pendulum Effect" theory: The Greatest Generation lived the depression; they had "nothing". So when the War was won and the '50's boomed, they went way too far in making sure their kids had "everything". [Again, I am not a psychologist, I just play one on FR.]
We were kind, thoughtful, concerned, helpful and polite. I see none of these qualities in many of the self serving young people today.
They would sooner run you over than step around you, that is, if they see you at all.
Excellent article by Prager. Makes us aware of what we have lost.
Hey, all you freeping Baby Boomers...don't sweat this nonsense. Those of us with any kind of brain know where to lay the blame for our country's ills. Without all of you, we'd be in a far bigger mess.
Generation X, smart guy. Baby Boomers fought and bailed out of Vietnam (through protesting). The War generation may have robbed us with Social Security, et al. , but the boomers have gone after the "patriarchy' with great lust.Oh, and who said Welfare, Medicare and SS cant ever be changed? Just not under Baby Boomer watch, is all... Pampered and selfish .IMO.
For one thing, I was 10 years old when all the hippie stuff reached its peak.
Secondly, I voted for Reagan twice. I'm really a member of Generation Reagan.
Thirdly, collective guilt by class is a leftist concept.
Finally, if we are going to go leftist and label a whole "worst" generation, I think the woe is me whining of the vocal partisans of "Generation X" give that unhappy breed a leg up on being the worst.
“It was the boomers who took down the Soviet empire, kids.”
Nonsense. Reagan was a boomer? Reagan succeeded over the opposition of the left wing boomers.
Hmmmmm, maybe! I would think the age stats on "who voted for the 1994 Republican Congress" (first Repub Congress in 40 years), would help answer that (unless it crossed generations).
The "Greatest Generation" should really be called "the Statist Generation"
Nonsense. Reagan was a boomer? Reagan succeeded over the opposition of the left wing boomers.
Oh, it was Reagan who stood watch on the Rhine night after night for decades just to keep the Russian bear in check? Silly me, I always though that it was the troops of the all volunteer Army (nearly every one a 'boomer') who sacrificed public sector careers to serve.
Sorry about those computers. I don’t know what we were thinking.
The greatest success of the Left has been achieving tolerance for their insanity.
Yes we have lost but who stole it? Who voted for Roosevelt 4 times?
I blame leftists, not boomers.
You don’t have to apologize for the music, though.
Well, I ain’t agonna apologize for any of that stuff, because I didn’t “do” any of it, and in fact opposed it and voted against those who supported it.
I do not except the appology. The generation is just to horrid.
WE didnt put in place the Great Society or Medicaid. WE didnt put the judges on the Supreme Court that decided Roe. WE werent the ones in power in DC that bungled both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. We werent the ones who broke the piggy bank. That was the Greatest Generation (Welfare, Medicare and Social Security).
The “Greatest Generation” should really be called “the Statist Generation”
If we’re playing “pin the tail on the donkey” here, then the generation that mindlessly supported FDR and his works are the ones that should carry the can - the parents of the “Greatest Generation”, folks born in the 19th Century, essentially.
The Clintons may be Boomers, but so is Duncan Hunter, who was born in 1948.
Leftists and those in the middle (of all ages) who didn’t see it happening.
Ah, finally, somebody who's been paying attention and gets it. Kudos, Mr. B.
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