Boomers, Failed Idealism, and the Triumph of the Ruling Class
At one point, Baby Boomers were all about bucking the system and speaking truth to power. However, now that most of the clout inside the major institutions is held by members of that generation, they are making sure it stays that way through heavy-handed enforcement of leftwing groupthink. Examples we’re seeing today include the persecution of Trump, cancel culture, wokeness, Big Tech censorship, the most irregular presidential election in history, and double standards in the justice system that clearly favor Democrats over Republicans. And not only that, but trust in long standing institutions have collapsed across the board. From Forbes and posted on July 5th, one article said:
Only 27% of Americans have a great deal of confidence in 14 major American institutions on average, a record low since 1979 and a 5% drop from 2021, according to a poll conducted by Gallup, which found sharp declines in trust for the three branches of the federal government, the presidency, the Supreme Court and Congress.
Basically, the idealism of the Sixties turned out to be a bust. It’s also ironic that in the Sixties, there was widespread rebellion against the uniformity and authoritarianism of the Fifties’ establishment — yet now the new establishment is even worse. When Baby Boomers came of age and rose into positions of power, they found it intoxicating. And since so many Boomers were saturated in liberalism, they either knowingly or unknowingly carried out Antonio Gramsci’s (the Italian communist) call to arms to implement socialism/Marxism by “marching through the institutions” when it failed to ignite a proletarian revolution predicted by Marxian theory. Rather than overturning the social order from below, Gramsci took aim at changing society from above through a cultural revolution.
The 1983 movie “The Big Chill” perfectly captured the failure of the Sixties where a group of University of Michigan students got together for a reunion of sorts at the funeral of one of their college friends. It was a lamentation of how upon graduation, they all sold out and essentially joined the very establishment against which they were rebelling. The death of their friend can be seen as a metaphor for that failed idealism. What turned out to be one of the best lines of the movie was when Glenn Close’s character said, “I hate to think it was all a fad” as she reminisced on their dreams of revolution, realizing they were never accomplished.
In his seminal book The Closing of the American Mind, Allan Bloom was the first to identify the Left’s first big takeover of a major American institution: higher education. In the work he describes how the faculty of Cornell University capitulated to the radical students demands for various changes such as the standard curriculum because they had already been inculcated into the new liberal ethos that emerged out of the Sixties. It’s been that way in universities and colleges ever since then, but even more so today. Boomers simultaneously captured the mainstream media, with the big bang event being the toppling of Nixon by Woodward and Bernstein who lit the fuse on the Watergate scandal. Since then, the media has been addicted to the idea of taking down Republican presidents, but never Democrats. For Hollywood, one could probably point to Jane Fonda as the birth of pervasive liberalism in the entertainment industry, when she went to North Vietnam and donned a military outfit and helmet while sitting on an enemy tank. Ever since, Hollywood has been dominated by leftists and whenever given the opportunity, virtue-signal their liberal bona fides.
Most recently, in the wake of the George Floyd death in Minneapolis along with Obama’s tenure as president, other major institutions dominated by Baby Boomers have come out of the liberal closet. Here’s a partial list: IRS, DOJ, FBI, the Armed Forces and most surprisingly, Big Business. You can also throw in Big Tech, although they are also populated by large numbers of GenX and Millennials like Mark Zuckerberg.
Whether they realize it or not, today’s Democrat Party requires a ruling class to guide and implement its tenets, just like other historical communist and socialist regimes. These tenets include egalitarianism and “social justice,” eternal talking points for the authoritarianism they disguise. Authoritarianism is inherent to Marxist ideology, with Lenin even calling it the dictatorship of the proletariat — simply another way of describing a new ruling class. In the pursuit of the above-mentioned tenets, Lenin and his believers overthrew Czarist Russia and implemented one of the most murderous regimes of the 20th century.
Where Marx and his theory went wrong was claiming the state would wither away, leaving a perfectly just and equal society where the workers control the means of production in the aftermath. The proletariat was just another name for the working classes in Marx’s time. The iron fist of Stalin’s deadly rule showed exactly how misguided Marx was when it came to putting theory into practice. And one would be hard-pressed to find one country born into Marxist ideology where the ruling class has voluntarily surrendered power. Forcing equality through the power of the state is a paradox that can never be solved because when it’s carried to its logical conclusion, it can only end up at one place: totalitarianism.
The problem with leftist thinking in general, is that perfect equality and justice is an impossibility, as all societies in human history have required a hierarchy of authority to maintain public order. It’s just a question how stringent that hierarchy of authority is put into practice that determines the degree of freedom for any given country. There will always be an inherent internal contradiction to Marxist/Communist/Socialist/Democrat dogma that can never be reconciled. The American Left is totally blind to it.
Returning to the idealism of the Sixties and the Baby Boomers, it’s easy to connect the dots as to where it all went wrong, resulting in a leftist ruling class running every institution — leftists who most certainly won't be walking away from their jobs anytime soon. Rather, they are tightening their grip in a desperate attempt to hold onto power, prestige, and money at all costs — the Boomers unknowingly created a new establishment much worse than the previous one they rebelled against fifty plus years ago. To paraphrase, one of the greatest rock groups, The Who, captured the danger and irony of any revolution when they wrote, “Meet the new boss, worse than the old boss” in their song “Won't Get Fooled Again”.