After the Boomers Are Gone, the Bloodshed Begins
The Boomer Age is drawing to its close. When one speaks of this group, it tends to mostly focus on white Boomers (not that others are outside the group, but to such a great extent, it really does mean those of mostly European background, if for no other reason than they have been the largest demographic group). When that age does end, we will see an ever dwindling European demographic majority in many Western nations (Canada and the USA are almost certainly the first, soon followed by a variety of European nations). That significant point of majority will be fading, as the numbers precipitously drop until below 50%. The question looming then is, what is next? Will it be the glorious Brave New World of harmonious multiculturalism or an uneasy balkanization that trends ever more to tribalism and violence? Based on existing evidence and studies, I believe that it will be closer to the latter.
A major demographic shift is impacting most Western nations, some more than others. This shift will lead to a far more multicultural/ethnic scenario, with those of European background as the minority within the next few decades. At first blush, many will say this is not a problem, holding out the wonders of civic nationalism and existing relative stability and prosperity with an already highly mixed demographic. The problem here is that this position doesn't really hold water in the long term, as can be demonstrated by existing nations who have not been able to sustain a similar state of peaceful existence and by studies that point in the same direction.
In the case of historical examples, we can point to places such as South Africa, Brazil, and the Rwandan and Yugoslavian debacles of the 1990s as a counterpoint to the belief in a multicultural paradise, as each has had great disharmony and violence between the different ethnicities who live there. The balkanization of Yugoslavia is a likely outcome facing a large number of Western nations — something that has been the case throughout history. (Even those of much more similar ethnocultural background have had difficulties assimilating and living together, such as the Irish and Italians who first arrived in the New World with significant tensions and clashes with the already existing citizens of North America.) Another case in point in history is the former Soviet Union's policy of population transfer, which was meant to break down nationalist sentiment but created various degrees of disharmony throughout its former "empire" (notably in Ukraine).
As far as studies that support this same concern, one can simply refer to Robert Putnam's article, later a book, "Bowling Alone," which denotes that the more a nation's ethnocultural homogeneity dissipates, the more its social capital and cohesion erode. A liberal academic and former member of the Carter administration, Putnam was reticent about revealing his findings, as they did not align with what he had hoped for. After waiting a decade, he finally did publish his findings, compounded and made more egregious by the additional years of data that just more fully affirmed what he dreaded in the first place. More recently, a working paper called "The Nature of Conflict," written by Cemal E. Arbatli, Quamrul H. Ashraf, and Oded Galor (names that hardly ring out as typically WASP in origin), further entrenches much of what Putnam asserted (as does, to a great extent, renowned military historian Martin van Creveld, who has gone so far as to argue that mass immigration is invasion — i.e., effectively another type of warfare). Others who have made similar claims, based on these and other studies (notably Mark Steyn and Douglas Murray), have similarly argued that a fully multicultural Western world will not end well and that any negative aspects will assuredly show themselves once the Baby-Boomer generation has disappeared. (Note: Any such conflict cannot be seen as a "white versus nonwhite" scenario. There will almost certainly be multiple intersections that may lead to conflict, such as was seen during the L.A. riots of 1992 and Ferguson, Missouri 2014, where black curiously attacked Asian, especially Korean, residents, to their ultimate chagrin. In addition, we are just as likely to see at least some alliances among those of closer cultures or concepts of what ideals should exist for a civil society — example: those of European background aligning with those of Far East Asian ethnicity.)
I want to stress that what is to come may not be as bad, or, if one gets more dramatic, horrific as it could be. The title of this article was meant to be provocative, not necessarily prophetic. Undoubtedly, though, there will be varying degrees of stress (social and economic) and disharmony, depending on the nation or region of a nation. As mentioned before, there will almost certainly be some positive outcomes, alliances, and assimilation and integration, but the question is, to what extent and how much will in-group preference end up overriding any such positive outcomes? Although I truly hope we do not see anything like a Yugoslavia or Rwanda scenario, we must be realistic and be prepared for any eventuality, especially when there have been strong historical, anecdotal examples, as well as academic studies that suggest we are headed for at least some turbulence once the Boomers are gone.
Cam's a married father of three. Born and raised in Canada, he currently lives on the left coast of Canada, notorious for its milder winters and liberal thinking. He's a university-educated educator, blogger, former generally indifferent employee within the financial sector, and failed musician. A Christian of what has usually been termed politically conservative leanings, he prefers to be labeled a realist at this time, mostly for lack of a better term, as too often conservatives have been little more than slow-motion liberals.