March 13, 2012

"If the Greatest Generation was so great, why did they bring up their children to be the Baby Boomers?

"Time for shoveling a little blame on these 'greatest' folk."

91 comments:

Scott M said...

I blame the Baby Boomers, my generation.

Pastafarian said...

Like all generations, the so-called Greatest Generation wanted their children to have things better than they had it.

Unfortunately, the Greatest Generation had children during a time of relative peace and prosperity; and so they were able to spoil the little bastards.

traditionalguy said...

Many of the WWII vets had post traumatic stress issues. They were not into parenting. Instead they trusted TV to teach the children about the world.

That worked until 1955 or so. But the world changed so fast because of Propaganda methods learned from Nazi brainwashing(renamed Madison Avenue) that no one was in charge anymore.


By about 1965, the Greatest Generation gave up and surrendered the field because they refused to fight their brain washed children.

mesquito said...

Because these words were written in the late 1950s, they help us see that the 1960s was not the result of a youth movement. It is best understood as an abdication of the elders, a renunciation of responsibility by the adults. The Bourgeois Era ended because its intellectual project crumbled. The guardians of Western culture determined that they were custodians of inhumanity. Barzun pictures for us the forward-thinking man of the late 1950s, wearing a suit, going to the tastefully decorated offices of the Ford or Rockefeller Foundations. "He may be a minor foundation official living rather comfortably off some dead tycoon, but he talks like Baudelaire."

This imaged foundation official circa 1957 tells the tale. The children and grandchildren of the old Bourgeois elite decided to throw their lot with the Bohemian project. We are to live as we wish, and the primary intellectual project these days is to beat down whatever remains of the old Bourgeois forms of sacred order. Repressive! Patriarchal! Logocentric!

Barzun is not happy about the change. By his reckoning, the modern bourgeois form of intellectual self-discipline and honesty "is a broom with which to clear the mind of cant." This tradition of reflection helps us avoid "trumpery art," "ideological drugs, "facile enthusiasms," and a simple-minded worship of science. Intellect encourages what Barzun calls "fineness" and "virtuosity." One does not just have opinions or commitments. One has a fabric of considered views that are woven from the threads of inherited traditions. They are nuanced, tenuous, and shaded with all manner of uncertainty, but even so, for the Bourgeois intellectual, considered views have the serious weight of truth, a weight that gives shape to one's sense of self.

And the Bohemian project? It retails itself as the royal road to self-discovery through the alchemy of self-expression. It promises a more "real," more authentic, and more individual existence. As Barzun suggests, the claims are hollow. The emerging Bohemian Era will be anti-intellectual: characterized by an externalized and collective sense of purpose (politics über alles) and an undifferentiated, amorphous inner life (the empire of desire).


http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2009/03/end-of-an-era

deborah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hoosier Daddy said...

This is easy. It was because the GG saw that for the first time their kids would have it a whole lot better than they did. Keep in mind the GG lived through the depression and WW 2 and now their kids were going to be growing up in the wildy prosperous post war America and were going to have opportunities that they never had.

In one respect, the Boomers were spoiled rotten by the generation that knew what real hardship was all about. The Boomers knew nothing of hardship and assumed the good times will always roll on. The GG showered them with all the goodies and benefits of a prosperous nation and the Boomers made sure that the government would keep that going.

And here we are tettering on the brink of national insolvency.

deborah said...

I 'blame' technology mass culture false consciousness.

We'll eventually become more dependent on and integrated with technology, which hopefully won't, but probably will overtake us.

See _What Technology Wants_ by Kevin Kelly

Jay said...

I still don't get this premise.

Who in the "greatest generation" wanted their children to go to Haight-Ashbury or become race/income obsessed?

Fen said...

Its the 3 Generations Rule.

1st Gen: creates wealth/empire
2nd Gen: works hard to maintain it all
3rd Gen: squanders it all on vice

phx said...

I always think of Bob Dole castigating Clinton's generation in debate "who never did anything real in their lives."

That was such a great line, I had to give him a lot of respect for that. You can't take away how they went to war and fought and died with bravery. And the economy sure roared its a$$ off after they came home from the war. They did great on defense and with the technological advances.

But there was a lot to be desired from the values they embraced after the war. That fantastic living standard itself was a double-edged sword. Like Kodak, a lot of them failed to understand or anticipate where the world was heading.

Scott M said...

It sounds like we're dwindling down to blaming, in a word, affluence. This has been the bane of societies since there have been societies.

Jay said...

So to carry Ann's logic further, if I did not want a gay child but him or her ended up gay, I'm a failure as a parent.

Interesting.

deborah said...

(that should be 'technology and mass culture false consciousness')

Steve Burri said...

The Greatest Generation, that overcame tremendous threats during WW II, was also the one that allowed the institution of FDR's massive government centered schemes.

Pogo said...

War is hell, is part of it.

There is the theory that a large number of The Greatest men died in the war, and did not pass on their greatness.

As in Germany, France and England following WW1.

The real answer is complex, of course.

Scott M said...

1st Gen: creates wealth/empire
2nd Gen: works hard to maintain it all
3rd Gen: squanders it all on vice


Curiously enough, this phenomena exists regardless of what your culture considers wealth. I'm using this very idea in a fictional work.

LordSomber said...

I tend to cut the Greatest Generation some slack.
Think of it this way: You can be the greatest parent in the world or the worst, but if your kid is hell-bent on rebelling, he will rebel regardless.

Revenant said...

I'm not concerned about them raising Baby Boomers. The Boomers aren't particularly bad all things considered.

I'm more annoyed about the WW2 generation foisting Johnson's "Great Society" programs on us and expanding the New Deal -- i.e., the stuff that will ultimately wind up crippling America.

shiloh said...

I blame Howdy Doody, Mr. Kangaroo and Saturday morning cartoons ...

and Obama!

MadisonMan said...

Regression to the Mean?

Mitch H. said...

The "Generation" is bollocks, and always has been. People are people, and they don't shake out into nice little collectives like age cohorts or classes or races. Talk of generations washes away locality, specificity, individuality into a despairing smear of lowest common denomination.

phx said...

There is the theory that a large number of The Greatest men died in the war, and did not pass on their greatness.

A lot of guys I've known who came back after fighting in the Pacific and at the Bulge would love to hear that theory.

Fen said...

Hoosier's got it. The values of the GG were taken for granted by the Boomers. And then the Boomers passed a watered-down morality to the next generation.

Steyn sums it up: "... a society in which middle-aged children of privilege testify before the most powerful figures in the land to demand state-enforced funding for their sex lives at a time when their government owes more money than anyone has ever owed in the history of the planet..."

phx said...

Respect to Mitch H - people are people. But there is a tenor of the times that can't be ignored, IMO. But it is stupid to speak of individuals as always holding certain traits that a group they belong to might generally hold.

Scott M said...

But it is stupid to speak of individuals as always holding certain traits that a group they belong to might generally hold.

You sound like such a Gen X'r.

rcommal said...

Let's not forget that the Boomers have only relatively recently begun to hit official retirement age. We have an awful lot of senior citizens with entitlement mentalities, too, and they are not Boomers, nor were they raised by boomers or even necessarily members of the Greatest Generation.

I just think this is a complicated topic.

***

Also, how come we can't blame (at least in part) the Greatest Generation for some of the behavior of [some of] their boomer offspring, but we sure can blame the Baby Boomers for some of the behavior of [some of] THEIR offspring?

There seems to be a bit of a disconnect, if not a double standard, at work here... .

phx said...

ScottM - See? Proving my point in a roundabout way. That's a little after my time.

rcommal said...

Oops, forgot to activate follow up option

MayBee said...

The "Generation" is bollocks, and always has been. People are people, and they don't shake out into nice little collectives like age cohorts or classes or races. Talk of generations washes away locality, specificity, individuality into a despairing smear of lowest common denomination.

Amen.
I guess my family is kind of stuck in a 1/2 generation rut. My parents weren't really boomers or greatest. I'm not really a boomer. I'm not really an X.
Now it seems like we've got a new "generation" every 10 years, just to make sure everyone gets slotted in somewhere.

There is one timeless truism, and it is this: young people think their parents did something wrong, and older people think the kids today are ruining everything.

Robert Cook said...

Who says they're "the greatest generation" anyway?
It's just the title of a book by Tom Brokaw.

Scott M said...

ScottM - See? Proving my point in a roundabout way. That's a little after my time.

If you open my statement in a debugger, the satire code is obvious :)

Scott M said...

It's just the title of a book by Tom Brokaw.

I specifically mentioned it as such in the other thread, touching this one off. My point was that it was going to take a "Bravest" generation to fix all the bullshit we're about to have dumped on us.

MayBee said...

"My kids used to be great, but they fell in with a bad generation."

shiloh said...

Conservatives always rant about entitlement ie poor folk beholden to govt. and then there are rich kids beholden/entitled to daddy's fortune er the koch boys.

Again, We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

America has always been a work in progress and if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. And survives despite itself as many down South are still fighting the Civil War.

and so it goes ...

Rialby said...

I can't say it any better than Friday

Rialby said...

(and Gannon)

LordSomber said...

"Also, how come we can't blame (at least in part) the Greatest Generation for some of the behavior of [some of] their boomer offspring, but we sure can blame the Baby Boomers for some of the behavior of [some of] THEIR offspring?"

Good point, but it's a different dynamic at work. (See my earlier comment.)

GG parents (and Silent Gen parents) would certainly chastise their misbehaving kids while growing up.

Baby Boomer and Gen X parents today are busy making excuses for their kids' misbehavior.

phx said...

I mean, I feel for those people, my parents, who grew up during the Depression and then fought WWII, but there were so thrilled to get to normal life in the 50s. They had no feeling for how bland and dull it was for those of us who had not gone through the Depression + World War that formed them. So we were formed in blandness, and we had developed such screwy longings. Add rock and roll, drugs, and an incomprehensible war with a draft, and... what do you expect? -
Althouse

That's pretty much on-point for me. Although I'm not all that critical of us boomers. We got our good baggage, we got our bad baggage.

C R Krieger said...

Some of us from those GG parents are not "Baby Boomers" and we would like to be absolved of this BB mess.  We came before 1945.   We have done our best.

Regards  —  Cliff

Robert Cook said...

"But the world changed so fast because of Propaganda methods learned from Nazi brainwashing...."

Actually, the Nazis learned their propaganda techniques from...us!
More particularly, from a book titled PROPAGANDA, published in 1928, by Edward Bernays, an American press agent and the "father" of American public relations. (Not insignificantly, he was a nephew of Sigmund Freud).

Joseph Goebbels was a great admirer of Bernays.

http://open.salon.com/blog/rw005g/2010/08/24/propaganda_part_i_bernays_and_goebbels

phx said...

...we would like to be absolved of this BB mess. We came before 1945. We have done our best.

Duly noted Cliff.
Guilty. Hang 'em.

deborah said...

I disagree, Mitch H. At the time of WWII there was a cohesiveness in America that yielded a high percentage of patriotic, duty-bound citizens.

shiloh said...

We didn't start the fire ...

ok, blame the parochial school system and the Baltimore catechism er the Irish! :-P

pre happy St. Paddy's Day! :)

btw, it's been all downhill since Eve forced Adam to eat the forbidden fruit!

rcommal said...

And the Bohemian project? It retails itself as the royal road to self-discovery through the alchemy of self-expression. It promises a more "real," more authentic, and more individual existence. As Barzun suggests, the claims are hollow. The emerging Bohemian Era will be anti-intellectual: characterized by an externalized and collective sense of purpose (politics über alles) and an undifferentiated, amorphous inner life (the empire of desire). [Bold emphasis added.]

My, oh, my. That bolded part makes me think of Hillary Clinton's 1969 commencement speach at Wellesley.

Am I the only one?

Fen said...

Its the values of people like Shiloh here that have taken us down this path. Hardly surprising he's so defensive in this thread. No wonder he wants to talk about the Koch Brothers instead.

Next week he'll be harping about Jews.

LarryK said...

One of the best, almost-completely forgotten novels of the 20th century is John dos Passos' "Midcentury," written in 1961, long after his socialist days. There's an essay near the end of the book about a sneering James Dean titled “The Sinister Adolescents," which foreshadows the counterculture that would emerge not long after the book was published. It also takes the WWII generation to task for their ungrateful, baby boom progeny. dos Passos blames the teenage boomers' resentment and uneasiness with American life on the subversion and loss of traditional institutions in the post-war era. For example:

“Why not resentful? There’s more to life; the kids knew it. Their fathers won a war but weren’t men enough to keep the peace, they let the politicians and pundits wheedle them into defeat; they let the goons pilfer their paychecks, too busy watching TV to resent oppression…"

In other words, so much fight was literally put into the War that when the servicemen came home, they didn't have the wherewithal to take on the remnants of the New Deal establishment, which had borne its way into American institutions and was rotting from within. Controversial, but plausible, especially coming from someone who spent the 20s and 30s as a leftist partisan.

John Stodder said...

There is the theory that a large number of The Greatest men died in the war, and did not pass on their greatness.

Yes, and of those who survived, many were traumatized to one degree or another, and, perhaps without realizing it, lost faith in the verities of civilization, leading to a kind of soft, suburban nihilism that was amplified by my generation.

That's what I think anyway. My parents, who were good people and worked hard to provide a good life for my siblings and me were, nonetheless, nihilists. They believed in nothing larger than a cocktail and the six o'clock news. They feared death inordinately and didn't take it well when it started riding up close to them.

I think one of the reasons the show "Mad Men" strikes such a chord with those who watch it is because it shows what Greatest-Generation parents were really like, and how confused their kids became as a result. I identify with Sally, their eldest daughter in the show who while being surrounded by all the comforts and security an upper-middle-class existence can provide is basically raising herself because her parents are both so self-involved and empty inside.

Another sort of interesting way of looking at the Baby-Boomers is to recognize that our cultural heroes in the movies, literature, music and politics were not, themselves, Baby-Boomers. They were older than us, sometimes by a lot. Lennon, McCartney, Dylan, Salinger, Vonnegut, Mailer, Kesey, the Kennedys, the Fondas, etc. None of them were baby-boomers. They were Pied Pipers for the Baby-Boomers.

shiloh said...

For my buddy Fen ...

After Shiloh, the South never smiled!

EDH said...

shiloh said...
I blame Howdy Doody, Mr. Kangaroo and Saturday morning cartoons ... and Obama!

That's Captain Kangaroo to you.

Flowers on the Wall

...Countin' flowers on the wall that don't bother me at all
Playin' solitare till dawn with a deck of fifty one
Smokin' cigarettes and watchin' Captain Kangaroo
Now don't tell me I've nothing to do

It's good to see you I must go I know I look a fright
Anyway my eyes are not accustomed to this light
And my shoes are not accustomed to this hard concrete
So I must go back to my room and make my day complete

Kirk Parker said...

I think you guys are all thinking too short-term. Don't just look at the GG, look at the misanthropic and anti-civilization stuff that started at least as early as Rousseau.

I see our situation as being similar to the parable of the "wheat and tares" (Matthew 13.24-30)--the seeds of our self-destruction have been growing from quite a long time, right along with our advances.

ricpic said...

The Greatest Generation elected and reelected and reelected and then reelected once more FDR, DESPITE the utter failure of every one of his administrations to end the depression, which in fact the machinations of his brain trust, Harvard and Yalies all, turned into the Great Depression. So much for the Greatest Generation's perspicacity.

Paddy O said...

Pogo is right to note the broad PTST in that generation that came not only from WWII but also the Depression.

I think this, along with a hyper alignment with authority figures and a sense of entitlement for the suffering of Depression and WWII, certainly led to a generation that went through some harrowing years, but then expected a whole lot from it.

However, it's also right to note that people are people. So, another huge difference is important, that of the media's concerns.

Each era has an archetype they want to celebrate. And then that archetype somehow becomes the symbol of that whole generation. The heroic and patriotic person was definitely what the media highlighted in WWII and before that the self-made man and the one who sacrificed for the sake of their family--the pioneer, the Western explorer.

We call it the Greatest Generation because we celebrate the heroes and patriots. But these were only a small fraction of society, then or now. That's why so many tales of WWII have a representative hero but also a whole lot of slackers, chickenshits, and selfish opportunists.

We have the same noble and innoble people in our generation, as did the Baby Boomers, but the media doesn't want the heroic or noble or great. So the Woodstock folks, the hippies, get to be the face of the Baby Boomers, the slackers the face of Gen X, and the unmotivated the face of today's generation.

People are people, but the media highlights different people in different eras... which works out to be yet another entitlement of the 1920s and 30s generations.

Roger J. said...

Lord, Shilo--, if it werent for non-squiturs, you'd have no sequiturs at all.

rcommal said...

Paddy O:

Very astute. And, I think, true.

cassandra lite said...

From 10 years ago:
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/002/868dphha.asp

John Stodder said...

The Greatest Generation elected and reelected and reelected and then reelected once more FDR,

No. Their parents did that. The Greatest Generation was too young to vote at least until 1940 and more likely 1944 if then. The Greatest Generation's presidents are Ike, JFK and Nixon.

MayBee said...

Good stuff, Paddy O.

ricpic said...

John Stodder said...

They [my parents] feared death inordinately and didn't take it well when it started riding up close to them.

And you will? Just wait, you smug bastard, just wait.

Seeing Red said...

The GG's parents went thru WWI, they went thru the Depression & WWII, it's understandable they wanted better and easier for their kids.

OTOH, I remember reading that the Boomers didn't feel tney could live up to the GG parents so they set out to destroy what the GG built.

shiloh said...

Roger J. regardless, as long as you're hangin' on my every word. And Lord shilo is a nice touch, but I don't think of myself as a god.

take care

Quaestor said...

Jay wrote:
So to carry Ann's logic further, if I did not want a gay child but him or her ended up gay, I'm a failure as a parent.

This is not an accurate distillation of Ann's post. Instead think of Boomers as an example of the Law of Unintended Consequences in action.

edutcher said...

The irony is that the Lefty Boomers (the ones we'really talking about) value intentions over all else, but they despised their parents, whose intentions were good.

Funny how that works out.

Fen said...

Its the values of people like Shiloh here that have taken us down this path

Fen, you know people like bathtub swabbie (and all his aliases) have no values. At this point, they're like the Communist Party in the Soviet Union in the 80s and 90s.

They just have a cynical attachment to power (in bathtub swabbie's case, vicarious) and are going through the motions.

And all bathtub swabbie knows about the South, he saw in old movies.

John Stodder said...

The Greatest Generation elected and reelected and reelected and then reelected once more FDR,

No. Their parents did that. The Greatest Generation was too young to vote at least until 1940 and more likely 1944 if then. The Greatest Generation's presidents are Ike, JFK and Nixon.


Sorry, ric's right. Plenty of 20-somethings served in WWII and went in the first wave, so many voted in '36 and they had no problem voting for HST in '48.

ricpic said...

In CookieWorld America is ALWAYS to blame. Even the Nazi's superb and quite sui generis achievements in propaganda can't catch a break. Stolen lock stock & barrel from those duplicitous Yanks according to the vilifier of all things Red White & Blue.

traditionalguy said...

The GG survived on guns and religion.

The GG in WWII got the benefit of the missing ingredients of good leadership and a media support operation.

As they said about old blood and guts Patton, " His guts, our blood." And Hollywood made the training films that turned the tide on why we fight.

The WWII events were a true winner take all race to make Leo Szilard's breakthrough our weapon before Hitler made it his weapon.

And most importantly, after June 22, 1941 the USSR and their fellow travelers in our higher education centers jumped into the game on our side. After autumn 1945 they shifted back to the goal of destroying us.

Bill said...

"The world's great civilizations have progressed through this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence back again into bondage."

Alexander Tyler (ca.1770)

I'd say we're somewhere between the 'e' and the 'n' on dependence.

Quaestor said...

John Stodder wrote:
The Greatest Generation's presidents are Ike, JFK and Nixon.

Good point. They also voted overwhelmingly for Eisenhower in 1952, firmly rejecting Adlai Stevenson, then repeated the exercise in 1956 by rejecting Stevenson even more firmly.

In 1952 one could surmise the GG voted for their old Supreme Commander because their survival in WWII was due in no small measure to his leadership, but in 1956 they knew Stevenson was just another academic twit (except in the yellow dog South, that is).

Roger J. said...

Shilo--I read comments for the most part including yours, except for Carol Herman's. And it wasnt Lord Shilo; it was Lord (comma) Shilo.

The non-sequiturs to which I was referring were the reference to the Koch brothers and the south fighting the civil war. But no matter--do carry on.

John Lynch said...

Typical Boomer trying to blame someone else.

I think the main fault of the parents of the Boomers was having so many Boomers. Youth culture took off simply because there were so many young people. The same thing can be observed in other countries undergoing rapid population growth.

So, no, the Boomers aren't getting out of it that easy. It's still their own fault.

carrie said...

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. The greatest generation wanted their kids to be on the other side of the fence and then they found out too late that the grass really wasn't greener there. . .

Scott M said...

The greatest generation wanted their kids to be on the other side of the fence and then they found out too late that the grass really wasn't greener there. . .

Correct. It's greener over the septic field. This is true no matter how you apply the analogy :)

John Stodder said...

Just wait, you smug bastard, just wait.

My point was, they didn't have any kind of spiritual structure to lend meaning to aging and dying. It was all about things being taken away, life being diminished and then broken.

When I watched my wife die at 46 from cancer, that taught me a lot that I hope I will retain when my time comes. I don't have a formal religious structure either, but I do have a sense that the arc of life, including death, is all part of the same gift.

As for your attitude -- just don't respond to people if you can't read them with adequate comprehension. It takes a minute to absorb what another person says. If you don't have a minute, or if you simply lack the capacity, just move on. Get into a pissing match with the other poo-flingers here and elsewhere. That's your level; know it and live it. A life of humility suits you much better than a life of pretending you know jack shit.

shiloh said...

Roger "party animal" J. goes out of his way to point out his comma lol.

I skip over Synova, Jay, spiderman, and most of my groupies. :D

And then there's confused Alex who qualifies for an, as yet to be determined, special category.

Robert Cook said...

"In CookieWorld America is ALWAYS to blame. Even the Nazi's superb and quite sui generis achievements in propaganda can't catch a break. Stolen lock stock & barrel from those duplicitous Yanks according to the vilifier of all things Red White & Blue."

Hey...facts is facts, bub!

rcommal said...

goes out of his way to point out his comma

But commas matter, devils and saints being in the details!

And you skip over SYNOVA?

Huh.

Roger J. said...

At this point, Shilo, you are flailing--up your game, man.

shiloh said...

Roger J. is commenting on my "supposed" flailing and thanx for your concern!

phx said...

My point was, they didn't have any kind of spiritual structure to lend meaning to aging and dying. It was all about things being taken away, life being diminished and then broken.

This seems very true to me. The original poster may disagree with me, but it also seems true that that diminishing of meaning in our lives is cultural, you could argue that it's an inheritance from the Enlightenment. But it's been full on display in the west, and going global, since WWII.

It's partly why I can't get so excited over "Obama or Romney", or even the collapse of the economy, or the US loss of power. The loss of meaning in our culture is much more catastrophic, IMO.

That's not to say everyone's missing out on a structure to lend meaning - I think I'm doing fine over here. But a lot of "spiritual structures" that we were/are dependent on are losing their integrity, very rapidly.

Robert Cook said...

"I think the main fault of the parents of the Boomers was having so many Boomers."

Hey, what to you expect? With men going off to war to die and coming back from war having not died, there was a lot of pre- and post-war fucking going on!

bagoh20 said...

As with most problems the people responsible are not the ones who will fix it, so lets get to work, shall we?

Create, build, hire, help, respect, enjoy, be free.

Maddad said...

Interesting observation. I was at a Civil War roundtable meeting the other night, the youngest person in the room by far (Generation X), and when conversation turned to politics the WWII vet to my right said, "It happened on our watch."

OK, he yelled it. He's pretty hard of hearing.

I'm also pretty sure he included me in his use of "our", even though my oldest is only 17.

Thorley Winston said...

I'm more annoyed about the WW2 generation foisting Johnson's "Great Society" programs on us and expanding the New Deal -- i.e., the stuff that will ultimately wind up crippling America.

Well put. For all of the focus on the “counter-culture” minority within the “Baby Boom” generation, the real challenges are fixing the problems created by the New Deal and Great Society programs which were created by the “Greatest Generation.”

Joe said...

I think the WWII generation, especially those who went to Europe, saw both extremes of civilization and consciously made a choice to knock down barriers and empower their children. The pendulum swung too far, but I'm sure glad that it swung.

Some here complain that this generation brought us the great society. Yes, but they also brought and end to open racism, lynchings, open sexism and laid the financial and engineering groundwork for what is modern America. For that I am very grateful.

(My father was too young to fight in WWII, but the father of my best friend growing up wasn't. He was a weatherman in the Sea Bees and said that the closest he got to action was when someone in the company was goofing around with a gun and shot themselves in the foot.

He was stern, but didn't sweat the small stuff as much as, for example, his mother and my grandmother, both of who were amazing women. Maybe he gave his kids too much room, but they all turned out okay.)

dreams said...

I feel good knowing that technically I'm not a baby boomer. 12/10/1944

Howard said...

You have got to be f-ing kidding me: Growing up in boomer-ville with depression-era parents was kid heaven.

Playing outside unsupervised from sunup to sundown. Playboy magazines in the trash. Dad's liquor cabinet. BB gun and bottlerocket fights. M-80's and cherrybombs. Stalking squirrels with a .22 rifle. Treeforts and tunnels in the vacant lot. Stingray bikes jumping over obstacles and riding up to the market for an ice cold RC cola paid for with bottle returns. Having cookouts and camping in the yard telling ghost stories. Multi-family trips with camping and skiing. Playing truth or dare and spin the bottle.

I really feel sorry for all you frightened weasels.

Joe said...

The Greatest Generation, that overcame tremendous threats during WW II, was also the one that allowed the institution of FDR's massive government centered schemes.

Read a book and do some math, dude. The so-called GG weren't in power. Those in power were mostly from two generations before that.

One could even argue that those who actually fought were, by-and-large, not those that created the great society. In the early 1960s, those that fought were mostly in their late 30s and 40s. They were voters, yes, and low level bureaucrats, but generally not the ones actually running the show.

You can thank the ex-soldiers for the 70s, shudder, and 80s, ahh.

Chuck66 said...

Haven't read through the posts, but here are a few thoughts...

...the Greatest Generation was very liberal. They are FDR babies.

....the 1950s was so wealthy and soft, that they spoiled their kids. The baby boomers never knew struggle and want. So they had to rebel against the richest society ever. Not unlike today, when rich white suburban kids go to left wing colleges and pick up "causes".

....we had free stuff from the gov't come of age in the 60s, but the bill didn't come until the 21st century.

....they had some real causes....civil rights in the south for example. Once they solved real problems (Jim Crow south, enviromental problems, real poverty), they needed to come up with new causes. Fake causes. Like killing nuclear power and changing the definition of marriage.

bagoh20 said...

I'm with ya, Howard. It was a fantastic time to be a kid: after child labor, and before the nanny generation of parents and their bored children.

Duncan said...

It wasn't their fault. They were educated before the progressive ed takeover of the mid to late '30s. We turned out bad because we were (on average) illiterate.

"Why Johnny Can't Read" was published in 1955.

rcocean said...
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rcocean said...

Larry K makes a good point. Think about it - why give the GG credit for "Living through the depression" or "fighting WW II". It wasn't an active choice on their part.

They were kids during the Great Depression and the vast majority were drafted during WW II. Their achievement was passive rather than active.

Later most went to work for Big corporations or the government and then retired with very good pensions, thank you very much.

As shown by Bob Dole, Ford, George Bush, Nixon and JFK they didn't really have any vision for America other than War abroad and Welfare at home.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

In a way it does seem like you have to greatly blame the parents of the baby boomers for the latter's mistakes. The way I see it, the baby boomers' big mistake was recklessness, which eventually caused them to disproportionately (compared with previous generations) get screwed-up.

Girls may tend to copy other young people when it comes to what sort of male to like. But where baby boomer girls more seemed to make mistakes was in fearing the wrong kind of sexual behavior, or in fearing the wrong kind of sexual behavior insufficiently. And when it comes to such fears, girls tend to be very conformist to their parents and to general adult opinion. In a lot of ways, girls (and boys) just aren't that good at distinguishing what is screwed-up from what is not, and so they largely have evolved to rely on parents or other generally-respected adult authority figures. Presumably baby-boomers were mostly the same way, unless encouraged to be otherwise by the adults.

In many ways, crazy tendencies protect people from getting screwed-up. But craziness can lead to fighting war like the enemy is a bunch of sodomizers after your ass when all they are doing is trying to kill you, which can lead to ineffective combat. On possibility is that the World War II experiences in the previous generation caused the males to disdain crazy tendencies excessively (instead of seeing their purpose when dealing with depravity), and that this disdain they encouraged in their children, to the latter's detriment.

I can imagine in the 60's boys wanted girls to think that it was normal coolness for girls to accept standard youth opinions about what is not screwed up--it's the same in every generation. It does seem from how the 60's are presented nowadays that there was more such clamour from boys then than subsequently. To a certain extent this can be explained by the size of their cohort giving the baby boomers more power of discourse. But mainly, probably, boys were just appropriating as their own opinions from adults that suited their own purposes, as happens with all generations, only it happened more then because, perhaps, many adult opinions more suited their purposes.

This blog is good at asking questions that are interesting and that thought can fairly easily find something to say about. It's like Althouse's brain actually tends to think about things not only according to how interesting they are, but also according to whether she thinks she might understand them. This is the right way of thinking about things, and makes her blog interesting to think about, since one knows that if there is some interesting question presented, the very fact it might be something she is trying to understand gives the reader a better chance of figuring out something about it than would be the case if the topics were random interesting topics, which topics very well could be excessively difficult for people to understand at this given time.