What Can We Really Blame the Boomers For?

So far as I'm aware, none of the big leaders of the Greatest Generation was a member of the Greatest Generation.  Sure, the Greatest did the grunt work — but was Patton one of them?  Was Churchill, or Eisenhower, or MacArthur, or Roosevelt?  The Greatest Generation's chief work during the Great Depression was the suffering required, many times as dependents, to harden them for World War 2.  No great accomplishments were made by them until then, and almost no notable philosophy.  The great films we know from their period, such as It's a Wonderful LifeThe Wizard of Oz, and Gone with the Wind, were made (mostly) by men significantly older than them — men who did the grunt work in the '20s and the '30s, and many of whom, in the case at least of Frank Capra and Michael Curtiz, were born in Europe in the 1800s.  The Greatest read Hemingway and Faulkner but were neither Hemingway nor Faulkner.  Walt Disney, born in 1901, barely made "the cut."

We owe the Greatest a great debt.  But beyond World War 2 and the '50s, we got little out of them except a brake on the nut-job political theories of their children — who derided the Greatest as we in turn deride the Boomers.  These children, the Boomers, accomplished little really heroic for us — but then again, who were the leaders of the Boomers?  They get too much blame for what appears to be a case of bad parenting.  We all know that easy times produce weak children, but beyond this, who was really writing, thinking, and shaping the thoughts of Americans during the so-called Boomer years?

I submit a theory: that it was in many ways the members of the Greatest Generation.  And I submit a second theory beyond this: that what America had achieved, to that point, was as high as we were ever going to get.  Our technology would improve — but our fighting spirit?  Our culture?  Our sense of beauty?  Our sense of national cohesion, or civic know-how?  In many aspects of life, there was largely nowhere left to go but down.  We're in a better position to accomplish things today because there are more terrible things about America to destroy.  We may have more heroes than the Boomers simply because we've got more villains.  We can bring back beautiful things because, currently, there are too many popular ugly things.  The dumber the ruling philosophy, the more brilliant the rebellious intellectuals.

What Millennials fail to see about the Boomers is that they've shaped us in too many ways to count.  Their influence on us is so ubiquitous that it's invisible, like the air we breathe and forget.  We were raised on their films.  We heard their music in our cribs.  We heard their hare-brained theories in our classrooms and read their best books.  Millennials were hired by, newsed by, preached at, and all-around run by these people we're throwing under the bus just now, and we're doing it because we like to pretend we're not like them.  We refuse to recognize that if the Boomers are grime, they're the fertilizer we grew out of and that each so-called generation is just that — a generation, springing from the earthy soil of loves, hates, circumstances, and beliefs of the people who came before us.  In many ways, we're still they.  We will never know exactly how much.  The chain of life is passed on — never, beyond the first spark, started — and our very life force is the same one carried by our ancestors in ancient Rome, or Britain, or Greece, or Gaul.  We have inherited things from them we never imagined.  We will be passing many of these things on to our children.

(The social justice warriors, so far from being an original movement, are actually carrying on the traditions of our ancestors.  I don't even mean the hippies here, the closest thing we've got to the SJW.  I mean that each and every one of our generations, since maybe about the 1600s, has had a chance to free some oppressed group, and they did such a good job of it that now it's hard to find the oppressed.  SJW's can't free blacks, so instead they're trying to enthrone them.  They can't raise up the defectives, so they try to debase the rest of us.  They ran out of good minorities to liberate, so they searched the fringes for outcasts and threw in their lots with the hijabis and the transgenders (?!).  However much they claim to hate us, the SJWs are simply Westerners who ran out of things to Western — traditionalists who, every day, desperate to hang on to their patrimony, make up new causes of oppression so they can smash them.)

Young men have accomplished many great things.  But far more have been done for us by middle-aged-to-old men, and the best things, most of the time, have been passed to us from dead men.  I have nobody to worship, yet, in my generation.  We simply haven't had the time.  If Tommy Robinson is an indication, we may be getting them now.  There will never be a Millennial I can revere as a father, or a grandfather, or a forefather.  But there will be men who take the best things of our fathers and turn them into something new.  They'll make them come alive again, in the full splendor and beauty of peak manhood.  I believe that this is a possibility for every generation — but only if we're ready, first, to worship the greats who came before us, and second, not to pretend we're too much better than our parents.

One great mark of maturity is waking up one day and realizing that your parents, in many ways, were right all along, or at least excusable.  Aside from the few of us who had really terrible parents, a permanent misunderstanding between parent and child, enough to drive a real and hostile wedge between generations, enough to try to discard everything that ever came before us, enough to pretend we're both spotless and original, enough to consider ok boomer an acceptable response to a social, economic, or political suggestion — this generational divide, I believe, is a sign you're either a jackass or still a teenager.

There is a counterpoint to this whole essay.  The idea that "your generation" is your age group was championed by Boomers — and the left-wing Boomers at that.  The Greatest Generation wasn't just the young men of World War 2, but the old ones, working in concert with one another, arguing with one another, leaders and followers together, without which neither would have been successful.  There's always an element of youth that breaks from the old, but there are far more youths who work with them.  A generation in my view is every active man in a particular period.  For historical purposes, the too young are out with the too old.  The people who move are the people who define.  To bring age into the matter only confuses things — a tactic employed by leftists to break the gullible, their main targets, from the experienced.  The Boomers have programmed us this way — and have lived long enough to see it turned against them.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays on Letters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.

So far as I'm aware, none of the big leaders of the Greatest Generation was a member of the Greatest Generation.  Sure, the Greatest did the grunt work — but was Patton one of them?  Was Churchill, or Eisenhower, or MacArthur, or Roosevelt?  The Greatest Generation's chief work during the Great Depression was the suffering required, many times as dependents, to harden them for World War 2.  No great accomplishments were made by them until then, and almost no notable philosophy.  The great films we know from their period, such as It's a Wonderful LifeThe Wizard of Oz, and Gone with the Wind, were made (mostly) by men significantly older than them — men who did the grunt work in the '20s and the '30s, and many of whom, in the case at least of Frank Capra and Michael Curtiz, were born in Europe in the 1800s.  The Greatest read Hemingway and Faulkner but were neither Hemingway nor Faulkner.  Walt Disney, born in 1901, barely made "the cut."

We owe the Greatest a great debt.  But beyond World War 2 and the '50s, we got little out of them except a brake on the nut-job political theories of their children — who derided the Greatest as we in turn deride the Boomers.  These children, the Boomers, accomplished little really heroic for us — but then again, who were the leaders of the Boomers?  They get too much blame for what appears to be a case of bad parenting.  We all know that easy times produce weak children, but beyond this, who was really writing, thinking, and shaping the thoughts of Americans during the so-called Boomer years?

I submit a theory: that it was in many ways the members of the Greatest Generation.  And I submit a second theory beyond this: that what America had achieved, to that point, was as high as we were ever going to get.  Our technology would improve — but our fighting spirit?  Our culture?  Our sense of beauty?  Our sense of national cohesion, or civic know-how?  In many aspects of life, there was largely nowhere left to go but down.  We're in a better position to accomplish things today because there are more terrible things about America to destroy.  We may have more heroes than the Boomers simply because we've got more villains.  We can bring back beautiful things because, currently, there are too many popular ugly things.  The dumber the ruling philosophy, the more brilliant the rebellious intellectuals.

What Millennials fail to see about the Boomers is that they've shaped us in too many ways to count.  Their influence on us is so ubiquitous that it's invisible, like the air we breathe and forget.  We were raised on their films.  We heard their music in our cribs.  We heard their hare-brained theories in our classrooms and read their best books.  Millennials were hired by, newsed by, preached at, and all-around run by these people we're throwing under the bus just now, and we're doing it because we like to pretend we're not like them.  We refuse to recognize that if the Boomers are grime, they're the fertilizer we grew out of and that each so-called generation is just that — a generation, springing from the earthy soil of loves, hates, circumstances, and beliefs of the people who came before us.  In many ways, we're still they.  We will never know exactly how much.  The chain of life is passed on — never, beyond the first spark, started — and our very life force is the same one carried by our ancestors in ancient Rome, or Britain, or Greece, or Gaul.  We have inherited things from them we never imagined.  We will be passing many of these things on to our children.

(The social justice warriors, so far from being an original movement, are actually carrying on the traditions of our ancestors.  I don't even mean the hippies here, the closest thing we've got to the SJW.  I mean that each and every one of our generations, since maybe about the 1600s, has had a chance to free some oppressed group, and they did such a good job of it that now it's hard to find the oppressed.  SJW's can't free blacks, so instead they're trying to enthrone them.  They can't raise up the defectives, so they try to debase the rest of us.  They ran out of good minorities to liberate, so they searched the fringes for outcasts and threw in their lots with the hijabis and the transgenders (?!).  However much they claim to hate us, the SJWs are simply Westerners who ran out of things to Western — traditionalists who, every day, desperate to hang on to their patrimony, make up new causes of oppression so they can smash them.)

Young men have accomplished many great things.  But far more have been done for us by middle-aged-to-old men, and the best things, most of the time, have been passed to us from dead men.  I have nobody to worship, yet, in my generation.  We simply haven't had the time.  If Tommy Robinson is an indication, we may be getting them now.  There will never be a Millennial I can revere as a father, or a grandfather, or a forefather.  But there will be men who take the best things of our fathers and turn them into something new.  They'll make them come alive again, in the full splendor and beauty of peak manhood.  I believe that this is a possibility for every generation — but only if we're ready, first, to worship the greats who came before us, and second, not to pretend we're too much better than our parents.

One great mark of maturity is waking up one day and realizing that your parents, in many ways, were right all along, or at least excusable.  Aside from the few of us who had really terrible parents, a permanent misunderstanding between parent and child, enough to drive a real and hostile wedge between generations, enough to try to discard everything that ever came before us, enough to pretend we're both spotless and original, enough to consider ok boomer an acceptable response to a social, economic, or political suggestion — this generational divide, I believe, is a sign you're either a jackass or still a teenager.

There is a counterpoint to this whole essay.  The idea that "your generation" is your age group was championed by Boomers — and the left-wing Boomers at that.  The Greatest Generation wasn't just the young men of World War 2, but the old ones, working in concert with one another, arguing with one another, leaders and followers together, without which neither would have been successful.  There's always an element of youth that breaks from the old, but there are far more youths who work with them.  A generation in my view is every active man in a particular period.  For historical purposes, the too young are out with the too old.  The people who move are the people who define.  To bring age into the matter only confuses things — a tactic employed by leftists to break the gullible, their main targets, from the experienced.  The Boomers have programmed us this way — and have lived long enough to see it turned against them.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays on Letters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.