Thursday, January 8, 2015

THE GREATER GENERATION and its internal critics : if only

Contrasting the Boomer Generation (1941-1966*) to their parents' generation (The Greatest Generation), Leonard Steinhorn feels boomer efforts to bring the reputed Allied aims of WWII to actual fruition at home makes them fully worthy of being called The GREATER GENERATION.

It is a claim he carefully lays out and in my mind, proves up , in his 2006 book of that title.

If you are a boomer and fear for this planet's climate, I strongly urge you to read and re-read Steinhorn's book.

But, not unexpectedly, I wish Professor Steinhorn had written another book on this subject.

Basically, I want to see him answer this question :

Was the baby boom (the unexpected blip upwards in births from 1941-1966 against a century and a half of decline) caused by postmodernity, or did it itself cause postmodernity, or were the two simultaneous events (the coming of age of boomers and of postmodernity) mere coincidences in time?
My own personal view is that a combination of scientific successes in 1945 , both modern and postmodern (though not called that then), gave young would-be parents reason to hope for the future and to want to bring lots of kids into that bright future.

For a time these two contrary ways of viewing and dealing with physical reality fused as one in peoples' minds.

Gradually, though, they became separated and became soon were seen as so opposite that boomers, their parents and their own children had to choose definitely between one or the other.

Let me give one specific example : in 1960, Time Magazine's Person of the Year was "The American Scientist" and at that point in time, no one would ask, with deep dark suspicion , 'Hang on a minute, exactly what sort of scientist are they praising ?'

In 1960, on the left and on the right, all scientists were seen as being fused together in one big tribe.

But by the time of the rise of science-based environmental movements in the early 1970s, they stopped being so - separating out instead into modern and postmodern scientists, as I see it. But few others see it exactly as I do.

Instead, in 1980, Canadian sociologist Allan Schnaiberg usefully divided scientists into those involved in production (new ways to dig up deep deposited coal) versus those involved in studying the impact of all that new coal on the climate.

It is his terminology that has become the accepted way to describe this growing divide between scientists since the 1970s.

The boomers kids , in parallel, only seemed to be fused together as they moved from childhood to adulthood.

 But as the twin icons of their childhood (nuclear energy too cheap to meter, and Nature-made medicine) moved apart, so did they : forced to choose one or the other but no longer both.

This can produce some very odd results among we boomers with inherent weaknesses in logic and consistent reasoning.

We boomers are free to do much on this earth : change our nationality, our class, our ideology, our spouse, to some extent even our gender.

But we can't change our birthdate ---- and it seems to be in the DNA of all true conservatives to deny that simple fact.

Our birthdate - contrary to FOX NEWS - is not a lifestyle choice

Being a boomer simply isn't a lifestyle choice - it is simply an accident of life why you were born between 1941 and 1966 and so many others weren't.

So in Chapter Three of Steinhorn's book , entitled "The Revenge of the Luddites", he makes great sport of all those conservative who pour scorn on the boomers.

Now I have no kick against these particular conservative constantly pouring scorn on liberals , or 'left wing boomers', or 'other boomers', or 'we boomers'.

But upon "the boomers" - from the outside- when you yourself are a boomer ?

Because virtually all the conservatives** Dr Steinhorn cites in this chapter are themselves boomers-in-good-standing, by birth and from birth.

So conservative boomers : please criticize 'the boomers' all you want - but from the inside,  for God's sake , as you yourself were born in the boomer years too.

But why pretend you are not a boomer when a Google Search of your birthdate so quickly proves you dead wrong.

Is this bizarre behavior self-hatred/illogical or what ?

What is what it is, I think.

The conservative boomers still share something with left wing boomers I am afraid.

Both exhibit an unwillingness to accept boomers as being a group of individuals who experienced two conflicting ways of viewing reality as just one -- as children .

And that as adults, they came to understand that that can't possibly be so --- and in the process began dividing into two warring boomer camps....


** Andrew Sullivan born 1963, Sean Hannity 1961, Christopher Hitchens 1949, Doug Coupland 1961, George F Will 1941, Dinesh D'Souza 1961, Ann Coulter 1961, Bill O'Reilly 1949, David Brooks 1961, Peggy Noonan 1950, Roger Kimball 1953.

(Similarly,worldwide, the vast majority of the best known conservative writers are boomers.)

* Time Magazine in its January 1967 issue declaring the boomers "People of the Year" for 1966, but did not call them 'the under twenty year olds', as it should have done according to the supposed baby-boom experts of the day.

These experts all saw the baby boom as beginning in 1946, after the men returned home from overseas.

Instead Time consulted the facts, not the wannabe experts, and correctly saw the boom beginning in 1941 - hence the cover lauded 'the under 25 year olds'.

This cover article really did its homework and still reads well a half century later.

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