THE INDICTMENT AGAINST the Baby Boom generation is . . .
. . . familiar, way oversimplified, and only partly fair. In brief: [The] Boomers' parents were the "Greatest Generation," a coinage by Tom Brokaw that looks as if it will stick. Toughened by growing up through the Great Depression, the GGs heeded dthe call and saved the world in 1941-45. Then they returned home to build a prosperous society. They forthrightly addressed the nation's biggest flaw (race relations), and defeated Communism on their way out the door.
The GGs' children, the Boomers, were "bred in at least modest comfort," as the Port Huron Statement of 1962, the founding document of Students for a Democratic Society, startlingly concedes. They ducked the challenge of Vietnam -- so much smaller than the military challenge their parents so triumphantly met. They made alienation fashionable and turned self-indulgence (sex, drugs, rock and roll, cappuccino makers, real estate, and so on) into a religion.
Their initial suspicion of the Pentagon and two presidents, Johnson and Nixon, spread like kudzu into a general cynicism about all established institutions (Congress, churches, the media, you name it). This reflexive and crippling cynicism is now shared across the political spectrum. The Boomers ran up huge public and private debts, whose consequences are just beginning to play out. In the world that the Boomers will pass along to their children, America is widely held in contempt, prosperity looks to more and more people like a mirage, and things are generally going to hell.
(Michael Kinsley, "The Least We Can Do," Atlantic, October 2010)
Mr. Kinsley is a smart guy and the article is worth a read. He is properly ashamed of his Boomer generation -- from which Unca D long ago resigned -- and he sees the impending debt crisis for what it is. At the same time Mr. Kinsley is blind to President Obama's role in the debt crisis and Mr. Kinsley's solution to the problem is a laugher.