Newt Gingrich’s remarks at a New Hampshire debate crystallized something about baby-boomers, more specifically, activist baby-boomers.
Newt said, “My father was in fact serving in Vietnam in the Me-Kong delta at the time he (Congressman Paul) is referring to. I think I have a pretty good idea of what it’s like as a family to worry about your family getting killed.”
This is from an ideologically activist baby-boomer. His activism is of the “Right”. It is militaristic, full of braggadocio about United States military power and the use of force. At a previous foreign policy debate he mentioned that his father was a life-long infantryman which caused Newt to realize that National Security was so important that he should… study it. So he got a PhD and was in graduate school during the Vietnam War, which his sort described at the time as a crusade against Communism, a vital National Security issue I would imagine.
What makes all of this exemplary of baby boomer activism, which we usually associate with the left (for example the Democratic Convention in Chicago, Berkeley protestors, etc.) is the underlying assumption that the GI Generation will always be there. Newt’s Dad will be fighting the Commies so he can study policy. Forever. Conversely, on the left, the economic engines (GM, HP, IBM) and civilizational pillars (marriage, civil liberties, work) will always be there but we can liberate our sexual desires among this economic plenty and seek a more just allocation of the economic fruits and the pleasures it can buy.
The sort of left of the baby boomers, progressives, are trying to make the world one big pre-school playground where everything is equal and fair, and everyone is a great artist and really good at playing with sand… literally retarding any progression at all… and then the sort of right wing opposition to them, self-labeled conservatives, who have little awareness of anything cultural or essential that they want to conserve, just want to make sure that everyone doesn’t sin. So they pass laws outlawing sin, imagining that this will make everyone go to some sort of bland bourgeois heaven, a cul de sac in the clouds that backs onto an absolutely divine golf course.
Because they both assume that what their daddies built will endure to under gird and fund their a priori ideological missions, both are intellectually static, and stasis is death.
The GI generation is almost completely gone and the institutions and prosperity they built are crumbling. Will any Boomer grow up and lead the rebuilding?Probably not, they are so obsessed with their fathers’ legacies –either in awe of or hateful of them, that they are currently paralyzed in infantile inaction –just look and the Super Committee.