As an aging Baby Boomer, class of 1957, I have frequently been appalled at the antics of many members of my huge age cohort. Back in the Sixties, and the birth of the truly puerile “youth culture”, one of the mantras was “Don’t Trust Anyone Over 30!” Today, for way too many Baby Boomers, it is evident that the young are viewed as cows to be milked until the last Boomer has had a funeral replete with golden moldies from the Sixties. Nick Gillespie of Reason gives us the grisly details:
Systematically and in all sorts of ways. Old people are doing everything possible to rob you of your money, your future, your dignity, and your freedom.
Here’s the irony, too (in a sort of Alanis Morissette sense): You’re getting hosed by the very same group that 45 years ago was bitching and moaning about “the generation gap” and how their parents just didn’t understand what really mattered in life.
Hence, many of the early pop anthems of the baby boomers -technically, those born between 1946 and 1964 but or all intents and purposes folks 55 years and older – focused on how stupid old people were (“don’t criticize what you can’t understand“) and how young people would rather croak themselves then end up like their parents (“I hope I die before I get old“). “We are stardust, we are golden,” sang Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young at Woodstock. “We got to get ourselves back to the garden.” Flash forward four or five decades, a couple of hundred pounds, the odd organ transplant, random arrests and jail stints, and the only garden David Crosby is getting back to is the Olive Garden with its unlimited pasta bowls and breadsticks. What small parts of American life and power the boomers don’t yet run they will soon enough.
Did you read that New York Times op-ed that called for a brand-spankin’ new military draft and national service plan? “Let’s Draft Our Kids,” by veteran (read: old, born in 1955) journalist Thomas Ricks, is symptomatic of the new vibe, a kind of reverse Logan’s Run scenario. In that godawful 1976 flick, when you turned 30, you were killed for the common good. Nowadays, it’s more like life begins at 30. Which is confusing because 40 is the new 30 and 50 is the new 40 and on and on. The important thing: Youth is no longer to be wasted on the young.
Ricks suggests letting high-school grads pick from either 18 months of military service or two years of civilian service, in return for free college tuition and subsidized health care and mortgages (libertarians, he notes, could opt out of service by forfeiting benefits though apparently not avoiding taxes). Beyond all the obviously great and good and wonderful things that come of forced labor, Ricks suggests that “having a draft might…make Americans think more carefully before going to war.” Sure it would. Just like it did in the past when we actually had a draft.
Expect this sort of plan to get more and more respectful hearings if unemployment stays high for another few weeks. Or as former hippies and punks get up there in years. Last year, during an appearance I had on Real Time with Bill Maher, the host and other guests (all of us well north of 30) thought mandatory service was a fine notion.
Go here to read the brilliant rest. In many ways government social policy since the New Deal has been a simple scam of robbing selected Peters to pay selected Pauls. Increasingly, as the years roll by, more and more old Pauls will be robbing fewer and fewer young Peters in a futile attempt to preserve benefits from the government that are unsustainable. Government policies, easy divorce, welfare payments for out of wedlock births, abortion on demand, etc., have been destructive of the basic social safety net, the family. Government is a poor substitute and does so by plundering the young for the old. Despicable.