Friday, May 25, 2007


Helots, Slaves, Serfs... that's all the young are, it seems, to Boomers in power. Once again the Onion nails it:

"Bush's New 'War Czar'

President Bush has appointed Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute as
"war czar." What will Lute's duties entail?

+Living high off the sweat and labor of the war serfs

Read the Onion.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

From the Latin Word for Slave...

Instead of the subtle oligarchy of dark business suits, Democratic Candidate for President John Edwards has come right out and said it, overtly revealing Boomers' oligarchical tendencies. As if the enslavement of the youth to pay for their narcissistic and self-serving programs, wars, and entitlements weren't enough, Boomers are now advocating mandatory enslavement for their Government programs. Said Edwards in N.H.
One of the things we ought to be thinking about is some level of mandatory service to our country, so that everybody in America -- not just the poor kids who get sent to war -- are serving this country.
We've heard about National Service before during Boomer-par-excellence Clinton's term. It's always couched in the kindest do-gooder terms of "service". But the word serve comes from the Latin word servus. And servus means slave.

Millenials and Gen-Xers do plenty of service, on their own, in small ways, in their communities. Voluntarily.

If they want slaves they may get Spartacus...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

What We Will Owe!

Congressman Ron Paul: "We are leaving a $60,000,000,000,000 obligation to the next generation."

So True

Came across this quote from P.J O'Rourke:
Social Security is a government program with a constituency made up of the old, the near old and those who hope or fear to grow old. After 215 years of trying, we have finally discovered a special interest that includes 100 percent of the population. Now we can vote ourselves rich.
which reminded us of Frederic Bastiat's great line:
Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.
It took the efficiencies and foresight of the politicians of the 20th Century to live at the expense of the future and one's descendents...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Slaying Sacred Cows

One of the distinctive marks of the Baby Boomers in their youth was their disdain for tradition. They readily broke with old taboos to forge ahead into a new Age of Aquarius. Although, as Tom Wolfe notes in The Great Relearning, the Boomers found out that some of those old taboos had been there for a reason and the hippies in Haight Ashbury soon found themselves suffering from many hygiene-related diseases.
In 1968, in San Francisco, I came across a curious footnote to the psychedelic movement. At the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic there were doctors who were treating diseases no living doctor had ever encountered before, diseases that had disappeared so long ago they had never even picked up Latin names, diseases such as the mange, the grunge, the itch, the twitch, the thrush, the scroff, the rot. And how was it that they had now returned? ... The hippies, as they became known, sought nothing less than to sweep aside all codes and restraints of the past and start out from zero... And now , in 1968, they were relearning... the laws of hygiene... by getting the mange, the grunge, the itch, the twitch, the thrush, the scroff, the rot.
Nonetheless, this aspect of the Baby Boomer psyche, may have its upside for those of us who follow. They may slay many sacred cows, clear the decks of false pieties and decaying intellectual assumptions.
Think of Jon Stewart on the Daily Show or Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report who are merciless in skewering the quasi-religious platitudes of modern politics.
The Onion is clearly a Gen-X phenomenon in its deep cynicism. May both work together in generational cooperation to unburden us from the civic institution worship of the 20th century.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Nick Carraway Heads Back to the Midwest?

At the end of The Great Gatsby and the materialistic and careless orgy of life out East, Nick Carraway comments about Tom and Daisy:
It was all very careless and confused. They were careless people, Tom and Daisy -they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made...
I shook hands with him; it seemed silly not to, for I felt suddenly as though I were talking to a child.
According to Strauss and Howe we are coming upon a "Generational Constellation", an alignment of Idealist, Reactive, and Civic generations similar to those aligned during the secular crisis of the Great Depression. And one cannot but think of some of the worst aspects of the Baby Boomers when confronted with Fitzgerald's words, realizing that Fitzgerald was of the Lost Generation, a generation reactive to the visionary spasms of their immediate elders, like Gen X to the Boomers.

Following the "Realignment of America" posted below, maybe many folks know what Carraway knew, like lost pets fleeing an earthquake: to head back to the heartland before the coming crash and smash-up that the Boomers will leave us to clean up...

After all, we noticed on the Drudgereport that we are in a new Gilded Age ...

UPDATE: Check out Lisa Bornstein in the Rocky Mountain News who writes: "Move along, you boomers, what have you truly done?"

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Racial Generation Gap

Reports Sam Roberts in the NY Times... New Demographic Racial Gap Emerges. Quoting Mark Mather of the Population Reference Bureau,
There’s a fairly large homogenous population 60 and older that may not be sympathetic to the needs of a diverse youthful population,” Dr. Mather said.
But older generations might not ignore the younger generations altogether since:
...older voters may be persuaded that their pensions and other benefits depend on the income and taxes generated by a better-educated work force.
They' will pay for, or agree to tax others to pay for, just the sort of education they deem fit, as long as it generates revenue for their retirement...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Reinventing Middle Age

Daphne Merkin in the New York Times asks fellow Boomers, "How old are you anyway?"
Behind all this busy reinvention of the wheel of life, of course, sheer dread lies in wait: the fear that we’re fast gaining upon that demarcation line where you stop being young...
Are you kidding? Approaching the end of youth? No wonder Miata's still sell... Yes, you're getting old. Actually, you got old. Grow up and stop worrying about being "hip".
Merkin continues with the typically self-absorbed and entitled Boomer trope that they "do everything their own way".
Fueled by an increasing fear and demonization of Old Age, ours is a generation bred on the notion of doing it our way, right up to our method of retirement. Given this curious and entitled perspective, middle age becomes a life raft that we can’t afford to fall off.
You can't afford your retirement? Neither can we! Is the unique Boomer way to retire the establishment of entitlement programs for themselves funded by deficits to be paid off by future generations? Curious and entitled indeed.

And of course we couldn't finish the article without some Sour Grapes!
Being young was never as great as it’s made out to be and being middle-aged is not as bad as all that.
Too bad for us who are now young when being young isn't as great as it once was... like in the 60s.
Boomers would be well served to take up mentoring, it's the only thing that will get them out of themselves and in service to others. They have been so good at slaying sacred cows, of calling into question assumptions and traditions, maybe they can provide leadership and direction, a paradigm shift, instead of dwelling on their crows feet...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Debt and Default are Inescapable Concepts

Gary North notes that we always owe debts -to our parents, to our children. He says:

Debt is inescapable. The question is this: Who owes you what, under which conditions? Find out now, before the debt comes due. Default is your enemy.
North then quotes David Walker, Comptroller General of the United States, in his appearance on 60 Minutes:

Walker says we have promised almost unlimited health care to senior citizens who never see the bills, and the government already is borrowing money to pay them. He says the system is unsustainable.
"It’s the number one fiscal challenge for the federal government, it’s the number one fiscal challenge for state governments and it’s the number one competitive challenge for American business. We’re gonna have to dramatically and fundamentally reform our health care system in installments over the next 20 years," Walker tells Kroft.
And if we don’t?
"And if we don’t, it could bankrupt America. . . ."
North continues:
We have therefore witnessed a massive creation of unfunded debt in the West. The magnitude of this unfunded liability is so large that the end is sure: default. The only question is the form this default will take.

I began with a statement: "Debt is an inescapable concept." To this, I now add a corollary: "Default is an inescapable concept."
We are a generation of slaves to the entitlement programs of our ancestors. Millenials and Generation X will be paying the bills when those who incurred the debt are pushing up daisies... or retired in Sedona.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Realignment of America

Michael Barone has a great article in the Wall Street Journal about new demographic trends:
They're fleeing hip Boston and San Francisco, and after eight decades of moving to Washington they're moving out. The domestic outflow from these metro areas is 3.9 million people, 650,000 a year. High housing costs, high taxes, a distaste in some cases for the burgeoning immigrant populations--these are driving many Americans elsewhere.
Young Boomers and Gen-Xers trying to stake out more livable and local communities?

Shushing the Baby Boomers?

A New York times article states that Barack Obama, self-identifying as a "post-boomer", says that it it time for the Baby-boomers to get over themselves.

Although it does have a nice quote from Joe Klein, author of Primary Colors that, "We baby boomers have been dreadful in the public arena." (hear! hear!), nonetheless the article is merely condescending to the youth who have to follow in their dreadful wake.

It provides no insight into a positive agenda that the younger generations might have different from the wild visions and grand strategies of the boomer prophets of utopia. The article even quotes former Clinton staffer Chris Lehane about the "BigIssues" facing us now:
But 2008 will represent a hinge moment in generational politics, not just because of the prominence of a post-boomer candidate but because this will be the first cycle when a whole new range of issues as big, if not bigger, than the big issues that defined the boomers will be front and center: Iraq, the war on terror, global warming, energy, technology and globalization.
Thanks Chris, but we're sick of the "big issues". We're content to run Google, volunteer locally and raise families, all the while paying for the visionary utopian catastrophes of the left and right, voted for and funded before we could even dissent while those who dreamed up those Big Issues indulge in a decadent retirement on our backs as well.

Monday, May 7, 2007

The Coming Entitlement Meltdown

There seems to be only one presidential candidate who is concerned about the enslavement of the youth to the fickle policies and spending of today's politicians. Says Congressman Ron Paul:
The politicians who get reelected by passing such incredibly shortsighted legislation will never have to answer to future generations saddled with huge federal deficits. Those generations are the real victims, as they cannot object to the debts being incurred today in their names.
Read the entire article: The Coming Entitlement Meltdown.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Sewing the Seeds of... An Interesting Civic Trend?

People coming together to learn, or relearn, traditional arts in a community setting. Such a venture as the Stitch Lounge brings together the generations Millenials through Boomers...

From the Christian Science Monitor: The iPod Generation in Stitches.

More broadly, sewing lounges and clubs offer people a social network and personal contact that many don't get in the high-tech age of IMing, online chat rooms, and blogging.

"I think young people are looking for new social outlets, and sewing certainly does that," says Sharon Wirth, who teaches an introductory sewing course at Iowa State University in Ames.

"We want people to find their own place in the sewing community," says [Hope] Meng [co-owner of the Stitch Lounge].
As we go global, we will also go local? High tech while looking back towards traditional roots...? Hopefully such ventures will lead to a rebirth of Civil Society that Alexis de Tocqueville noted was America's great strength.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Too hard on Boomers?

Some have commented that we might be too hard on the Boomers. While we have been focusing on some of their vices -the narcissism that comes with grandiose visions- we also want to acknowledge the vices of Generation X -cynicism- and the Millenials -contented group-think.

So let's look at a Boomer (a young Boomer to be sure) with a vision -maybe not the most personable guy in the world but someone looking to change the world for the better with a broad vision. Of course he'll need Xers to implement it... and Millenials to buy it.

The following quotes are from an interesting article in Washintonian magazine about Steve Case, founder of AOL. And may indicate a direction that Boomers can move as leaders in the society...

“You know, the healthcare system in this country is broken,” he said. “I’ve got a decade or two left to try to fix it.”

He [Case] began to think about creating a new America Online, but this time an online community devoted to healthcare, insurance issues, and “interactivity” that would disseminate information from top centers such as the Cleveland and Mayo clinics.

Case vows to change the experience his brother Dan [who died of cancer] had to endure: duplicative forms, lost medical records, long waits for tests, and confusion over the availability of new therapies. “I don’t want to just complain about the healthcare system,” says Case. “I want to do something to fix it.”

Starting Revolution might be challenging and fun, but will it restore his lost luster, to say nothing of that lost billion? No one who watched his success with AOL in the early days would bet against him. But few who saw his performance after the Time Warner merger would bet on him.