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Arts and Culture

Fred Branfman on ‘The Making of an Elder Culture’

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Posted on Nov 27, 2009
bookcover

By Fred Branfman

(Page 2)

Before too quickly dismissing what Ernest Callenbach terms Roszak’s “call to arms for the aging but increasingly assertive boomers who will transform America and the world,” however, it is worth taking the time to consider his argument. For his call comes with a new twist: the real-life demographics and economics that may now make many counterculture ideals not mere hopes but necessities for survival. Few may presently wish to see America scale down and pull back, and prioritize welfare over warfare, but they may find they have little choice if they wish to avoid calamities beyond our present imagining.

Roszak embeds his vision in one incontestable fact: As 77 million baby boomers turn 65 between 2011 and 2030 and live far longer than Americans ever have and birthrates continue to decline, seniors will constitute an unprecedentedly high portion of the population. What he calls the “longevity revolution” will see tens of millions of boomers live into their 80s, 90s or beyond. (The 2008 Social Security trustees’ report puts male life expectancy at 82, female at 84, for those who reach 65 in 2010.)

As they age, baby-boom seniors are likely to find themselves needing increasing health care and living assistance to survive—whether in family homes, cooperative senior housing arrangements or nursing homes.

 

book cover

 

The Making of an Elder Culture: Reflections on the Future of America’s Most Audacious Generation

 

By Theodore Roszak

 

New Society Publishers, 320 pages

 

Buy the book

Members of a shrinking younger generation facing increasing unemployment and decreasing incomes, however, will find it difficult to keep their parents and grandparents alive on their own. Increasing numbers, especially women, are already shifting from raising kids to caring for aging parents, often for far longer than their parents spent raising them. Conservatives will claim that it is the job of families, not government, to take care of their seniors. But many families will find it impossible to care for both their children and parents without societal help.

Even under today’s probably unrealistic economic growth rate projections, the problems are daunting.

Social Security, which had 100 workers per beneficiary at its inception, has today a 3-to-1 ratio, which will become 2-to-1 by 2030. Its trustees estimate that $4.3 trillion in revenues will be necessary to keep it solvent. Medicare is in even worse shape, as its trustees recently reported: “The projected exhaustion of the HI [Hospital Insurance] Trust Fund within the next eight years is an urgent concern.” Roszak also notes that many boomers failed to save and/or have suffered major losses in retirement income as a result of the collapse of the Internet and housing bubbles or cancellation of promised company pensions. They will be hard-pressed to afford $50,000 a year for living in a nursing homes or even to survive on their Social Security payments. While keeping the present Social Security and Medicare systems solvent is relatively simple, the combination of all likely future senior needs will place unprecedented pressure on the rest of society.

And this is true even in the unlikely event that America’s economy grows as expected, e.g. at the 2 percent “intermediate” annual GNP growth rate upon which Social Security trustees base their current projections.

The U.S. economy could stay stagnant or even shrink as current policy bails out but fails to reform America’s deeply corrupt financial institutions, which continue the practices that nearly destroyed the world economy in 2008; as it fails to develop a national economic strategy to ensure that U.S.-owned companies lead in the renewable energy and other cutting-edge industries of the future; as U.S. creditors reduce their lending and, as recently reported, seek alternatives to the dollar standard; and as the U.S. continues to spend money it can no longer afford on war and its worldwide military structure. The Obama administration’s borrowing may restore some short-term growth, but what will happen when these sky-high debts become due and America cannot repay them?

Whatever America’s future level of economic distress, it is clear that the nation will have to make hard choices it has never faced before. Medicare provides a clear example of what is involved. As Roszak notes, “true, billions of dollars flow into Medicare every year, but none of it is paid out to seniors. ... The Medicare program should be seen as an income-transfer program that passes billions into the hands of the country’s richest class: physicians, health-care entrepreneurs, and drug and insurance companies and their investors.”

When Medicare growth is capped, and “waste and fraud” is addressed, the basic choice will be stark: maintain existing services to seniors by cutting health provider income, or maintain their income by cutting services and increasing the senior death rate. Similar choices will have to be made in many other sectors of our economy and society, affecting not only seniors but all those in need.


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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, May 8, 2010 at 11:57 am Link to this comment

What Roszak proposes is radical because it goes against the kind of culture that has been developing at least since 1980. In fact it is a counter culture revolution against all those good things that were earned from the New Deal. So we must fight to regain what has been lost, unseat the power centers that have developed to insure our present course to total destruction of the safety net, good paying jobs, and social freedoms we still retain. A daunting task.

Report this

By DHFabian, December 4, 2009 at 8:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Americans are silly.  The “Boomers” is purely a media invention.  There’s as much diversity in that generation as any other.  The one thing Boomers had first: scrutiny/exploitation by mass media.

Want radical? My great-grandparents started the 20th century with their lives swept up in anarchy, revolution and dramatic social change. The modern labor movement took root. My great-grandmother fought for women’s sufferage. Want radical again?  That would be my grandparent’s generation, with the upheavals of the ‘30s, increased consideration of embracing socialism, etc. My grandmother fought for fair wages. I come from a long line of union workers. Both generations brought about tremendous social changes.

Now it’s time for those in their 20s to make their mark. Will they rise up to meet the challenges?  Only time will tell. But railing against the Boomer myth is a pointless distraction.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, December 1, 2009 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

Ah, yes, Xntrk, I am a scrappy cuss and very good at it.  It is years of practice. 
Nuts?  Maybe, but maybe not. It might be your opinion but it is not your call. 
Nevertheless, I offered you a hand all the way, and you are snarling instead of
meeting halfway. Perhaps you thrill in the heightened emotion of acrimony.  Okay. 
Your choice.  But if you have vented enough, my hand is still out.

Report this

By Xntrk, December 1, 2009 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, “Step back from our rancorous…”? Add Nuts to your list of insults. When people are unable to converse without insults, why bother?

If I feel a need to argue with arrogant asses, there is a large selection to choose from.

Just take a number…

Notes from Shenonymous…
<<Xntrk, what brain disease did you say you had?

>>Speaking of chauvinist pigs, Xntrk, Women were welcomed into the workforce
as more then waitresses, whores, teachers, and nurses, because of the Vietnam
War and the Draft. So glad you included whores in your list of occupations.
Did you have one of these in your family too?  In your comment to Anarcissie
you forgot to include that one.

>>Well if I am an over-educated ass, then I will be the best over-educated ass I
can be!  I was calling you the chauvinist pig.  Women can easily be
chauvinists pigs in their haste to judge others. The measure of empathy is a
personal thing.  There are a score plus more of people who would disagree
with your assessment of me!  There was no denigration of Europe on my part.
Maybe happy I’m an American, I am hardly a nationalist, maybe only in your
mind since you seem to be out gunning for me.  I hardly think Xntrk, not being
a “recognized” occupation even if as old as the cave, whores can sign up for
unemployment in this “recession.”  But supposethey could try.  Do men still
have money for whores?  Yeah, but not for new shoes for their children.  Not
knowing any whores and not being one myself, and that is not debatable in
case you thought you might try, I have no idea if it is “hard work” or not.  I
would guess it was depending on the brute who is being “serviced?”  Are you
a lower class being?  They do have programs where you could pull yourself
up by your pantyhose.  And insulting is a skill of the street. So ah ams a street
fighter.  Belittling is a pastime, without naming names, just ask all the other
Truthdiggers.  Always in my case, though, I wait until I’ve been called a name.
Since you are sensitive to the class of women (or men) who are whores, and
since you think you might have been one with yo’ late husband, perhaps you
could go apply for unemployment benefits.  So glad you raised, which is it six
or seven? kids who turned out well, but which is not unique by the way, having
raised some myself, and who also are productive members of society, and there
are many other women who post on Truthdig who have done the same thing.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, December 1, 2009 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment

Bon jour to you too, johannes

What a lovely way to start a comment.  I often say Good Morning on my TD
comments, but you are the only one to say it also!  It is so refined. 

For some unfathomable reason I have to ask myself why do I feel that being
truly civilized is greatly missing from the commenters on TD?  I’ll tell you why I
feel that way today.  For ten years the UN has been calling on the world to stop
violence against women.  This year they called on men to stop other men from
being savages by taking the responsibility to teach all the males from infancy
upward to adulthood why it ought not to happen and to stop it.  The
commenters on TD were completely mute!  Not one TD man even bothered to
show up at the article published on TD, until today, six days after the article
appeared.  It showed me the smallness of the male mentality that posts on TD. 
The obviously one empathetic male who showed up gave a kind of parting
comment that since it took 3000 years for this male disposition towards
women, it might take another 3000 years for it to be evaporated (my verbal
interpretation).  I was immediately horrified to think that for another 3000
years women will continue to be battered, raped, defiled in untold ways.  It is
nauseating to say the least.  I do have to ask the rhetorical question why
mentally healthy men do not do more to stop this dishonorable disgraceful
behavior. 

As a postscript to my comment here, it has been longer than 3000 years the
abasement of women has been the norm, it has been as long as the species
has been around.  The misogynist syndrome that too many men appear to have
is ancient, women have been in bondage since pre-Mahabharata time about
9,500 years ago.  But Space images taken by NASA reveal a mysterious ancient
bridge in the Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka. The recently discovered
bridge currently named as Ram Setu (Adam’s Bridge) is made of chain of shoals,
c.18 mi (30 km) long.  The bridge’s unique curvature and composition by age
reveals that it is man made. The legends as well as Archeological studies reveal
that the first signs of human inhabitants in Sri Lanka date back to the a
primitive age, about 1,750,000 years ago and the bridge’s age is also almost
equivalent.  This information is a crucial aspect for an insight into the ancient
epic RAMAYANA, which was supposed to have taken place in treta yuga (more
than 1,700,000 years ago)...... For all tense and purposes we could say women
have been treated as less than slaves for nearly 2 million years.

What do you do to stop violence against women?

Not such a lovely way to end my reply to your most friendly latest comment,
johannes, and for that I apologize.  I will take more time later to respond more
fittingly to your felicitous email about your culture.  I feel honored you take the
time to tell me these things.
_________________
Uh, yes, annonimity…, and who is teaching the teachers to teach the kids? 
Putting hope into yourself and conducting your own life with integrity is the
real salvation.  Then if you really get screwed, it is because you did it to
yourself!  It is a stupid thing to blame a generation for the ills of society as
there are so many who do not fit the narrow description within the timeframe
of the so-called generation.  Old age was not restricted to babyboomers, all
generations face the death that occurs in old age, and all generations as they
age become more conservative and self-involved.  I surmise it is because they
recognize that too often progressivism is pissing in the wind.

Report this

By annonimity-is-my-friend, December 1, 2009 at 9:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

if we put our hopes in baby boomers I think we are screwed…
the near coming of death does not bring good thoughts or illumination generally. it brings fear, stress…
if this wasn’t enough, old people have had their brains washed, structured from lots and lots of years of mass media, school, university, parental teachings, fighting to win their money.
so I don’t think they are precisely who should be focused.
if there is a chance anywhere, it is in the education of kids, younger generations.

Report this

By johannes, December 1, 2009 at 5:24 am Link to this comment

Bon jour Shenonymous,

Yes living in France is not bad, but how older how more home sick, but that home you left is not excisting anymore.

In the Netherlands the old politicians with their social idèes are gone, now very bright inteligent egoîst have taken their place, the big money dans, but their is an new thinking rising, more to the right but maby more equal thinking, we will see.

The Frisian where living from the coast of Denmark, say Jutland, than north germany this are the Ost Frisians, than the province Friesland, and than the province North Holland is West Friesland, Tolkien has token the Frisians as his Hobbits, The Governeur of New Amsterdam came from a little city in Friesland, Pieter Stuyvesant, most Dutch are from Frisian origine, well its a small tribu but with a nice history they where great seamen, more as half of the island and continent where found or say discovered by Dutch seamen, and the Englisch planted some years lather their flag.

Our health system is very good, but you have to watch all the time the people who come an sit on the wrong places, to make money, and don’t have the capacety to bring the whole system forward, our systems are from socialist founding gone to liberal grabing, their is to much lobbying from the Pharmaindustries to much mony to by made say corruption, its the same with Europe to great to many bureaucrates, everybody for him self and the rest in the shit, I do not think that it will stay long to gether, The Dutch the France the Iries have voted against it, their is not a real hart in this stupid money burning institution.

We from our age group are loosing every day nice humans, mostly very creative singers writers well all kinds, and that makes you sat, their is not real new quality coming to replace this people, its of the new creativity is coming from an other planet, but maby it is me and my old Banjo as we say here, and we are not taken lessons out of our bloody history, look your new President how he is tangled in the spiders web.

Well as I say before from the branch to the tree like a bird.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, November 30, 2009 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment

slamming, spamming, flaming, and bashing guess jollies have to be enjoyed in
many perverted ways.  Broad brushstroking target groups is like saturation
bombing in stead of being precise.  Does go towards making one sound
profoundly knowledgeable.  One has to remember that during the period of
1945 to 1964 there were people born who were behind the proverbial eight
ball.  But the next group up to the early 80s, the Generation Xers are the ones
called slackers, whiners, maybe could be called the Baby Doomers and
inheritors of the 70s Vietnam War years.  Gen X men made much less in wages
than their fathers back in the 70s, like 12% less, and hardly able to keep up
with inflation, however household income rose progressively because more and
more women entered the workplace contributing to the family income.  The
Gen X also saw the advent of grunge, latchkey kids, and often called the post-
peak boomers.  The boomers are getting a bad rap as they had a work ethic
and little patience with the lazy.

This country is in love with identifying the term “generations” to groups of
people born in certain decaded eras, i.e., the Lost Generation especially
expatriates like Hemingway, et al, the Silent Generation of the Great Depression
years who saw life as dismal as it could be.  Baby Boomers came along and
reacted as counterculturists when gender equality, racial equality, and
guardianship of the environment were also born.  What the Gen Ys and Zs will
do anyone’s guess is as good as anybody else’s.  Mind junk as
generationalizing is, that is how people are forced into pigeon-holes for the
vacuous and idle purpose of facile and glib judgment.

Stereotyping is a nasty practice using wide brushes designed to make the
painters feel good.

Henry L. Mencken had a catechism, but I am irreverent of the irreverent
Mencken enough to modify it a bit: 
Question:  If you find so much that is unworthy of reverence in the United
States, then why do you live here?
Answer:  Zoos are a place where others take care of the animals and I’m lazy?

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By Amon Drool, November 30, 2009 at 8:56 pm Link to this comment

anar…ok..cool.  u know i didn’t even bother reading branfman’s review.  i guess u had the felt need to respond to branfman/rozak excess with some of your own.  and good to hear u view the generation thing as basically mind junk.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 30, 2009 at 7:33 pm Link to this comment

Amon Drool, November 30 at 5:44 am:
‘anarcissie:
... how can someone of your intelligence apply such a broad brush to any generation? ...’

Roszak and his fan Branfman started out with the broad brush, bringing up Boomers at all, so what could I do but snatch it away from them and beat them with it?  Why should I be the only one to miss out on ritual Boomer-slamming?

Actually, though, as to Reagan and the Boomers, I am not the first to notice that there was a certain harmony between a lot of them and Reagan, to which I have already alluded.  According to the characteristics attributed to the Boomers by such as Roszak, they ought to have all been ardent Welfarists at least, if not raging socialists, anarchists and communists, so a 50-50 split demonstrates a considerable shift to the Right from their glory days, does it not?

But I concede that the whole generation thing is basically mind junk.  I have to enjoy some vices.

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By Morgan, November 30, 2009 at 4:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Shenonymous says:
“As one of these who have been called a lot of names on this forum, I do not feel the hopes of my youth have failed as I reflect now in my more mature age.  I think I have actually exceeded my hopes. And there is still a lot of time left.  If there happens to occur a more socially just, environmentally sane, and nonmaterialsistic and peaceful America it will not live and breathe on the actions or even non-actions of the baby boomers of the 40s.”

I think the key to your entertaining writing is in your heart.  I think you deftly expose it a little bit in the cited passage.  Rave on!

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, November 30, 2009 at 4:08 pm Link to this comment

Sorry to have to make this second post right after my last one but I have to get
on with non-electronic life (real life).

Well if I am an over-educated ass, then I will be the best over-educated ass I
can be!  I was calling you the chauvinist pig.  Women can easily be
chauvinists pigs in their haste to judge others. The measure of empathy is a
personal thing.  There are a score plus more of people who would disagree
with your assessment of me!  There was no denigration of Europe on my part. 
Maybe happy I’m an American, I am hardly a nationalist, maybe only in your
mind since you seem to be out gunning for me.  I hardly think Xntrk, not being
a “recognized” occupation even if as old as the cave, whores can sign up for
unemployment in this “recession.”  But supposethey could try.  Do men still
have money for whores?  Yeah, but not for new shoes for their children.  Not
knowing any whores and not being one myself, and that is not debatable in
case you thought you might try, I have no idea if it is “hard work” or not.  I
would guess it was depending on the brute who is being “serviced?”  Are you
a lower class being?
  They do have programs where you could pull yourself
up by your pantyhose.  And insulting is a skill of the street. So ah ams a street
fighter.  Belittling is a pastime, without naming names, just ask all the other
Truthdiggers.  Always in my case, though, I wait until I’ve been called a name. 
Since you are sensitive to the class of women (or men) who are whores, and
since you think you might have been one with yo’ late husband, perhaps you
could go apply for unemployment benefits.  So glad you raised, which is it six
or seven? kids who turned out well, but which is not unique by the way, having
raised some myself, and who also are productive members of society, and there
are many other women who post on Truthdig who have done the same thing. 

Perhaps you and I could also step back from our mutual somewhat bitter
interaction and start with a less rancorous discussion, say about the
circumstances of the American elder?  and whether or not Roszak as
interpreted by Branfman is close to the truth of the “boomer” seniors?  As one
of these who have been called a lot of names on this forum, I do not feel the
hopes of my youth have failed as I reflect now in my more mature age.  I think I
have actually exceeded my hopes. And there is still a lot of time left.  If there
happens to occur a more socially just, environmentally sane, and
nonmaterialsistic and peaceful America it will not live and breathe on the
actions or even non-actions of the baby boomers of the 40s.  It will be because
those born before and those born after also had some say and behavior in the
downward slope of society.  Things are cyclic anyway and humans have a habit
of kicking and screaming when on the bottom of the sine wave and yipiee when
on the top.  Patience is a virtue that very few demand babies (not boomers per
se and that happen in any age group) have.  Shall we go on from here, Xntrk?

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, November 30, 2009 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment

johannes, I looked it up since I had not known of it before you said you were
Frisian.  I now learned some history of the Netherlands.  The province of
Friesland is not very big, 1,297 square miles, but then Holland is not so big
either.  I also learned that Hindelopen has its own unique dialect, has about
900 inhabitants, and is the smallest town in the world that published its own
dictionary.  Although you now reside in France, and have a vineyard there, how
wonderful, does that mean you are a French citizen? Do you make your own
wine or do you send your grapes to a winery elsewhere?  This is just innocent
curiosity.  Don’t answer if you don’t want to. 

My background is bland American of good Italian (ah yes some Calabrian in the
mix) and Greek stock (for whatever that might mean, probably not too much
but maybe a taste for good music? food? not unique to Italian/Greeks though),
born a mid-era baby boomer and raised in Pennsylvania, no longer there for a
few decades, but up through high school there and had what I think been given
a top notch pre-college education as well as a love of learning by people who
had a high regard for it.  I speak excellent English, often better than the
English.  Critical thinking is my academic game, but the literary, visual and
performing arts and philosophy weigh heavily in my education.  Enough of an
autobiography, I thought it might a friendly gesture to tell you a small bit
about myself in order to put a human face on this otherwise electronic ghost.  It
really isn’t for anybody else, but this is how you and I communicate so they will
have to suffer our brief spell of penpal-ing. 

In its provincialism, self-rule or autonomy is the basis of the frisian cultural
identity.  I think democracy in its purest form works best at this level of
governance.  The larger a governing unit gets, the more representational it
tends to need if only to accommodate all the issues on a timely basis.  There
are those, however, who think superlarge populations don’t work as a
democracy (I agree) but does with the representational democratic form. 

Drug use and crime is also similar to their incidence found in all modern
industrialized countries.  Dutch euthanasia is notorious in the rest of the world
reaching upwards of 2700 a year.  There is much controversy about the moral
of this practice. 

It does not appear that Friesland has any different attitude towards care for
their elders than the rest of Holland.  The following site seems to have some
value:
http://www.freeseniorcitizenssolutions.com/long-term-care.html
is a site that is a free resource for Baby Boomers and Senior Citizens regarding
Medicare, Medicaid, Medigap policies, Discounts for Senior Citizens and other
essential information for independent living.


The Dutch have had a two-tiered health care model for a long time.  They have
a government-funded socialized medicine model and an individual-funded
insurance model. While the model had effectively provided universal health
care coverage, there were a number of challenges that were confronting long-
term sustainability, but these problems were not specified which would be
pertinent if it is to used as a model.  In 2004, the Dutch began an evolutionary
health care reform process that consisted of moving from the highly socialized,
two-tiered system to that of a regulated, free market health care model. This
paradigm shift has been reviewed in several publications, with many
suggesting that the United States might consider adopting many of their
concepts.  I haven’t heard about this paradigm so I wonder what Congress’s
thoughts are about it.

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By Xntrk, November 30, 2009 at 2:23 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous said:
Speaking of chauvinist pigs, Xntrk, Women were welcomed into the workforce
as more then waitresses, whores, teachers, and nurses, because of the Vietnam
War and the Draft. So glad you included whores in your list of occupations.
Did you have one of these in your family too?  In your comment to Anarcissie
you forgot to include that one.

Earlier, she remarked: I can’t say I ever felt part of the “privileged” class and had to be a nose-to-the-grindstone worker bee to have the career I have.  Scholarships and student loans gave me the way to “make it” all the way to post graduate school.

First, I did not call you a chauvinist pig” I called you a ‘chauvinist’, referring to your nationalistic posts concerning the exceptionalism of the US, and denigrating Europe and the experiences of Europeans. Is that not chauvinistic?

As to the use of whore, is that not the oldest profession? or do you assume making money on your back is not work? As for my antecedents, the closest to a whore I am aware of, would be my Dad.

I have to assume your post graduate education includes the study of insulting lower class beings while holding your nose and lifting your skirts to avoid contamination.

I freely admit I am lacking in ‘couth’ and spent more time in the School of Hard Knocks than pursuing a Post Graduate Degree. My schooling rewards survival as well as awarding pieces of paper for studying arcane subjects. I also spent my working years actually producing things by designing many machines that built this country and created jobs. The same jobs we are now shipping overseas because it is so low-class to get our hands dirty anymore.

I also managed to raise and educate six or seven kids, my own and others, who are now hard-working productive members of society. Oh, my late husband thought I was pretty good in bed too, so maybe I really am a whore.

Better that then an over-educated ass!

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By garth, November 30, 2009 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

This article started out promisingly to be thought provoking.  I read about half of it and then scrolled down to the comments.  The comments seemed to have advanced away from the topic, so I returned to the article. 

It became a political argument with a bulleted, or was it a numberical list.
[Aside]
I grow old,
I grow old,
I Shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Do I dare eat a peach?

Studs Terkel gave the best description of this new age. He said there used to be 6 ages of man.  Now it is three:  Young, old, and Gee you’re looking great.

If I could just get my fingers and thumbs under whatever it is that seems to be holding us down, I’d gladly give it one last one, two, three, heave.

If anyone out there can give proof that there is an afterlife and that Justice, Truth, Life, in fact, mean anything more that what you see, I’d be happy to read it.

It the meantime, the pre-baby-boomers are still inspired to perform unexpected measures of courage and unselflessness.

The rules of governance seem to be better equipt depending on the size of the population.  Metinks Capitalism might’ve have worked well in the U.S. with a population below 90 million, but now it is moribund. 

Now, might be the time to adapt, but first arm everyone.

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By delvecc44, November 30, 2009 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment

I would personally like to thank the baber boomer generation for, despite thinking of their kids as proptoys, leaving them with a corrupt educational system, a crumbling infrastructure and, most notebly, abolishing the defined benefit pension. I have a book I’m writing called “The Dieing Off of an Abomination: Disposal of America’s Most Full of Shit Generation”. I’ll gladly e-mail it to any Yuppy-Boomer Asshole that dislikes the title.

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By johannes, November 30, 2009 at 6:56 am Link to this comment

To Shenonymous,

Very interesting this Andaman book, I have lots of books about languages, but this looking from an other angel.

I am from the Frisian tribe, the Frisians where one of the first to enter the south of the Britis island and much Frisian words are still to be found in the daily language, later came the Angels and the Saxs.
In the Netherlands in the province of Frisia the first language in school is Frisian, second Dutch.

The problem of mistreatment of woman is in Europe the same, whe try to do our best to help this humans, but the problem is, where the social controle by famelie or living groups is not enymore their its growing, in our multi colored society, some groups are almost not passing in our social system, I don’t like to generalice or point to a group or color, but we have lots of black children without an father, an friend of us an old Jezuiet speeks about erra’re huma’num the error of their ways.

Salutation.

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By Anarcissie, November 30, 2009 at 6:43 am Link to this comment

A: ‘I think we have to attribute the rise in employment to the thirst of old-time capitalists to hire more people and keep that surplus labor value thing working and growing.’

ardee, November 30 at 7:52 am:
‘I believe the rise in two paycheck families is due to increasing economic pressure on the family, creating more so-called latch-key kids and less real family life. I wonder at your painting of our rapacious entrepreneurs as so munificent and well intentioned.’

I have no idea what you’re talking about.  I said nothing at all about anyone being munificent and well intentioned.

Traditional capitalists make money by putting people to work and taking some of the value of their work (“surplus labor value” in Marxian terms) for themselves.  Therefore, in general, the more people they put to work the more money or wealth they obtain.  For this reason traditional capitalists are motivated to employ more people if they can do so while maintaining or increasing profits.

There was more economic pressure on persons and families at the beginning of the period we’re considering than at the middle or the end, so I don’t think we can attribute the increasing proportion of women working outside the home to that.  The peak of median wages was, as I recall, around 1970, so if female industrial employment was due to economic pressure on the family it should have been at a minimum at that time.

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By Anarcissie, November 30, 2009 at 6:42 am Link to this comment

A: ‘I think we have to attribute the rise in employment to the thirst of old-time capitalists to hire more people and keep that surplus labor value thing working and growing.’

ardee, November 30 at 7:52 am:
‘I believe the rise in two paycheck families is due to increasing economic pressure on the family, creating more so-called latch-key kids and less real family life. I wonder at your painting of our rapacious entrepreneurs as so munificent and well intentioned.’

I have no idea what you’re talking about.  I said nothing at all about anyone being munificent and well intentioned.

Traditional capitalists make money by putting people to work and taking some of the value of their work (“surplus labor value” in Marxian terms) for themselves.  Therefore, in general, the more people they put to work the more money or wealth they obtain.  For this reason traditional capitalists are motivated to employ more people if they think they can do so while maintaining or increasing profits.

There was more economic pressure on persons and families at the beginning of the period we’re considering than at the middle or the end, so I don’t think we can attribute the increasing proportion of women working outside the home to that.  The peak of median wages was, as I recall, around 1970, so if female industrial employment was due to economic pressure on the family it should have been at a minimum at that time.

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By omygodnotagain, November 30, 2009 at 6:12 am Link to this comment

Xntrk
I did not say the entry into the workplace was due to the pill, I alluded to the credit taken by the young Boomer generation for civil rights, sexual revolution and other civil rights changes which were due largely in part to other factors.
The point I was making was the so called sexual revolution when women were able to define themselves outside of the traditional values of the time. It was set in place by the Pill. The fear women had prior to the The Pill was getting pregnant, it limited their ability to act freely in the way men did, the Pill changed that, it was not some idealistic Boomers wanting to change the world.
As regards working, the Pill gave women the freedom to control their biology, in hand with increased education opportunities, and a Capitalism that needed to expand and grow it welcomed women working. According to the October edition of Time 41 years ago 1/3 of workers were women, today half are. That is not to say there were glass ceilings and resistance, and that a campaign for equal pay was necessary… but to attribute to a “inspirational"generation with an overated opinion of itself it was not…

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By Shenonymous, November 30, 2009 at 6:04 am Link to this comment

Speaking of chauvinist pigs, Xntrk, Women were welcomed into the workforce
as more then waitresses, whores, teachers, and nurses, because of the Vietnam
War and the Draft.
So glad you included whores in your list of occupations. 
Did you have one of these in your family too?  In your comment to Anarcissie
you forgot to include that one. 

English is almost always the second language for non-English speaking people
of the world who have a second language.  No one said it was the first
language but I will say it is the highest ranking one.  You misunderstood
possibly because of that extra helping of hubris that wells up in your rather
frozen brain that affects your thinking skills.  lingua franca means any language
that is widely used as a means of communication among speakers of other
languages.  Given that more people migrate to the United States than any other
country in the world, and given that these millions of people need to learn
English, by default English ascends to be the major language of the world not
just the second language for untold millions more.  However, the most used
reference on the top ten languages in the world is found at
http://www.andaman.org/BOOK/reprints/weber/rep-weber.htm
where English outflanks French by 14 points.  To understand what that means
and its significance, why I guess you will have to check it out for yourself.

ardee, I believe, gives the best explanation of how and why women began to
saturate the workplace.  Two income families became the survival mode
because of the rise in the cost of living and wages falling behind.  WWII that
had an enormous need for workers in armament and other war industry related
factories as well as other manufacturing jobs and put women in those jobs that
men who were off to war normally would have filled.  The increase in all
production increased the need in all areas of the job market.  Once women
were recognized as the excellent workers they were for commercial purposes,
and women themselves realized the increased liberation that came with having
a job outside the home, there was no stopping them. That doesn’t mean that
they were given equal pay, which is another reason they were exploited often
into slave wages as the employers found themselves the perfect marionette. 
but that is changing now, isn’t it.  The day of the patsy is dead…almost.

johannes is right but it is not only the Middle Easterners that treated women
like domesticated animals, hardly any culture can be left out.  It might even be
safe to say none.

I am glad we are past whatever bad feelings that had crept into our comments,
johannes.  I think that says a lot about the both of us to be able to get beyond
first bad impressions.  The bit of history you brought into your last post is
much appreciated.  I’m afraid that women have not yet achieved the kind of
equality you might think, however.  The United Nations (as can be seen on
another Truthdig article) has issued a call once again, the 10th time in ten
years on the Elimination of Violence Against Women.  I don’t know about
Europe and the rest of the world, but the number of women’s shelters for
battered women in the United States is staggering.  There are 1500 such safe
harbors.  This major announcement got token notice in the news.  But what I
found most incredible and shocking is the number of men who boast
themselves to be evolved Homo Sapiens on Truthdig and not one of them
bothered to show up at that article to make a comment.  It is hypocrisy like that
that will impede human evolution.  And women as a species will continue to
have to “take” care of things themselves.  And mind you, they will.

Nonetheless, johannes, I look forward to further discussion with you.  You
bring highlights of European life that I normally would not have privilege to.

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By johannes, November 30, 2009 at 4:51 am Link to this comment

In the old ages when the nations where on their great migration routes from the blacksee to west of Europe,whe spoke about tribu’s not men and their wife and children, woman where equal then as now, but what is equal, the erra’tisch way of thinking we have about emancipation is fals, their are lots of pseudo or ersatz emancipated woman, weighing in gold and sex, but thats nothing to do with emancipation, it will simply say free and equal, and that can any body be, if he learns to handel this freedom.


What whe see is not always the truth, what whe read is not always tru, so often behind the scène every thing is completely differend, and this is for every feeling freedom and equality the same.


A woman is always in an dominante position, in comparison with men, first they are woman, they are or can by mothers, they have the aura of fragility, but are mostley stronger from will.


Shernonymous I know some woman and have knowen some from Calabre the south of Itali, the whole society is driving on them, but out of sight, I know famelies in Sicilia who come strait from the Vikings of France Normandie, Nice story The Haute de ville famelie, Robert with his 7 sons who created his kingdom in Sicilia, their woman where always equal in everything even battle.


By the Byzantines the woman where in very high consideration, as by most old tribu’s, slowly the religions have changed the way of looking to woman and also their place in society, they made and created an kind of domestic animal out of woman, its a long story, and very dark, thats why whe don’t like woman wear the Moslim slave clothes, in our countrys

salutation

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By ardee, November 30, 2009 at 3:52 am Link to this comment

I think we have to attribute the rise in employment to the thirst of old-time capitalists to hire more people and keep that surplus labor value thing working and growing.

I believe the rise in two paycheck families is due to increasing economic pressure on the family, creating more so-called latch-key kids and less real family life. I wonder at your painting of our rapacious entrepreneurs as so munificent and well intentioned.

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By Amon Drool, November 30, 2009 at 1:44 am Link to this comment

peterjkraus…belatedly, i’ll join in with johannes and thank u for your post.


anarcissie…first, if u look at a demographic breakdown by age of the 1980 presidential election, you’ll find that the boomer vote was pretty much split between reagan and carter.  the older generations were the difference makers in that election… not the boomers.

second, how can someone of your intelligence apply such a broad brush to any generation?  haven’t u lived long enuf to realize most generations are mixed bags?  u characterize boomer youth as being self-absorbed and self-indulgent.  u mean wanting to have a good time and not wanting to die in a needless war are indications of an obsession with self?  weren’t u ever young?
i suppose you’ll respond with something like:  ‘the problem is is that the boomers continued their obsession with self throughout their lives.’  well, some did and some didn’t…just like any other generation. your descent on this thread into purplegirl ranting is quite unbecoming. oh shit, you’ve turned me into a scold ...

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By Xntrk, November 29, 2009 at 10:05 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie,
Sorry if you misunderstood what I tried to say. I wasn’t talking about women working outside the home - you are right, they always have. Rather I was referring to the roadblocks to getting any job that was worth taking, without a degree. I know my Mother, Step-Mom, and Grandmother all worked - but they did some pretty crummy jobs to put food on the table, and they often rotated in and out of the workforce depending on circumstances at home.

Grandma helped organize the Garment Workers in Denver during the teens, she also drove the chuck wagon and was the cook while my Grandpa ran a haying crew in the summers when the kids were out of school. Neither of those jobs were a ‘career’. Both my Mom and Step-Mom were waitresses. My Mom did work at Boeing during WW2, but she quit because the money was better waiting tables. By then she was single, so money mattered a lot! When she remarried, she quit working except during the Longshoreman’s strike in 1946, when things were tight. My Step-Mom got a Civil Service job, and gained some experience and skills. When she retired, she was the Chief Financial Officer at a small privately owned corporation.

My dad’s talent was marrying bright, attractive, women who loved him enough to be the primary bread winner. Not bad work if you can get it. He did have lots of abilities - but he was a lousy business man. He bankrupted seven companies in his efforts to be an entrepreneur.

I was talking about the artificial barriers that kept women from getting good, well paid jobs [unless they were Teachers or Nurses and then, their pay was not great]. Those barriers dropped during a war because the corporations needed people with a high school or better education, and most of the young men were in the army. That created an opening, and women took advantage of it. After WW2, the barriers went back up, After Vietnam society and laws had changed - altho we both know there are still real barriers that prevent many Women and Minorities from getting the promotions etc.

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By Anarcissie, November 29, 2009 at 7:20 pm Link to this comment

Xntrk, November 29 at 8:42 pm:
’... omygodnotagain, The entry of women into the work force was not a result of the pill, or Capitalism’s eagerness for more workers [unless they are/were underpaid, unorganized, and deportable].

Women were welcomed into the workforce as more then waitresses, whores, teachers, and nurses, because of the Vietnam War and the Draft. ...’

If you look at a graph of the percentage of women working outside the home you will see almost a straight line of increase from about 1920 until nearly the present, with the exception of a dogleg during World War 2 when the figure jumped up for the war, jumped down at the end of the war, and then resumed its steady ascent.  I don’t think Vietnam caused much of a ripple.  I think we have to attribute the rise in employment to the thirst of old-time capitalists to hire more people and keep that surplus labor value thing working and growing.

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By G.L.Horton, November 29, 2009 at 7:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ve written a play about elder activists—the Raging Grannies.
Unfortunately, although there are plenty of excellent actors in the Social Security
age range, almost all the small theatres that produce new plays are run by recent
MFA grads.  They don’t KNOW many old actors, and really can’t get excited about
a script whose appeal is to the “Blue hairs”—the very people they started their  
cutting edge theatre to get away from.

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By Shenonymous, November 29, 2009 at 5:07 pm Link to this comment

Xntrk, what brain disease did you say you had?

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By Xntrk, November 29, 2009 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment

Reading the comments is far more enlightening than reading the article.

Shenonymous, your screen name may actually be a synonym for Chauvinism. Such a lack of empathy, either cross-generational, or Country to Country. You make me very proud not to be a boomer. FYI, English is NOT the first language of a majority of the World’s people. Nor is fluency, or the lack there of, an indication of intelligence.

omygodnotagain, The entry of women into the work force was not a result of the pill, or Capitalism’s eagerness for more workers [unless they are/were underpaid, unorganized, and deportable].

Women were welcomed into the workforce as more then waitresses, whores, teachers, and nurses, because of the Vietnam War and the Draft. When the young men got drafted, Corporations like Boeing and Lockheed suddenly welcomed women as both Machinists, and Engineers, and Rivet Buckers. Until then, those jobs were reserved for men only. I was one of the first women working in Engineering at Boeing since WW2. I met one of the last WW2 female Engineers when I first went to work as one. Talk about Tough!

What that did was put men and women into direct competition for the good jobs after the war ended. Corporations gleefully went to work raising prices and lowering wages until we [the workforce] woke up to discover that it took two people, working full time, to support a family. I am still trying to figure out how having to work full time while also caring for a husband and children, can be described as ‘Liberation’. That is the same as calling the Blacks ‘Free’ during Jim Crow and Segregation!.


People say the Boomers were ‘Feminists’. Not that I noticed: they were too busy screwing around, getting stoned, and playing 1800 farm wife, to do the heavy lifting. Betty Friedan, et al, were my generation - the poor kids who were too young to remember the Depression, and too young to fight in WW2. Instead, we got to raise ourselves because our Fathers were in the military, and our Moms were working. No wonder we wanted more then a house in the suburbs, we were raised on war movies and great books!

The Pill did have a huge effect however. No longer were women trapped having too many kids, and unable to easily prevent a pregnancy. While the Boomers were busy having fun. “Turning on and tuning out”, we went back to school. Next, we dumped our first husbands, and started trying to make a difference.

By the way, I am becoming more Radical as I grow older. I have much less to lose. I don’t think the local cops want to arrest Granny for protesting or writing letters to the editor.

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By Shenonymous, November 29, 2009 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment

Clash - Your comments are poignant and meaningful.  There is that element of
chance I do believe in our birth.  Which of the millions of sperm impregnates
the ovum is not without randomness and not by our request.  Fortune smiled,
or not, that it became you or me.  Yes, once we find ourselves in this world,
and once past the time of nurture and influence by family and acquaintances,
our personal responsibility kicks in.  But as you say, our perceptions are already
“colored” in a manner of speaking.  Frequently but not as a rule, epiphanies, or
insight into the nature of existence, happen.  Nietzsche had some definite
notions about that but not too many read his illuminations.  Once we realize
the world around us is as you said inherently flawed, the world that includes all
those who we had thought had integrity and love, we become jaded and
melancholy.  Some find healthy ways to transcend the knowledge of their
mortality.  Some do not.  Some accept it with cynicism, such as I do.  Yet I too
will dance to the music of life (I give credit to my Italian and Greek genes) and
will until I can dance no more, neither doing anything to hasten that end nor
worrying about it.  I express and relieve my cynicism in a variety of creative
ways, which many artists do.  Music, poetry, art, philosophy and loving my
family and friends, and actually loving the world I found myself in, vast and
void as it is.  I don’t know if ultimately it is futile.  Much is unjust in this world,
so pessimism seems justified that it can get better to the point where women
for instance will not suffer at the hands of brutal men, or children as a concept
will become valued everywhere because they are the future of the earth, not
only its inheritors, or pessimism that men will come to respect one another
instead of trying to best each other and take what is not theirs. 

The Kristofferson lyrics seems to have a keen view of the way it is.  The “way
back home” is an emotional metaphor for the labyrinth that life is for each of
us.

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By Shenonymous, November 29, 2009 at 3:56 pm Link to this comment

omygodnotagain —  If the financial sector is as it is characterized by Schumpeter,
what can be done?  If Boomers’s attitude is the cause in principle and in practice
of this morally wrong conduct, then we have to assign some fault to their parents
who allowed this aberration of moral behavior to develop.  Nevertheless, and in
spite of who is to blame, if they are the sociopaths you suggest then it is
demanded of those who escaped the disease to correct the deviation from
integrity.  How shall we do that?  What can we do about it?  Are we to be passive
casualties of their actions?

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By omygodnotagain, November 29, 2009 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous,
Thank you for your reflections. The financial sector was characterized by the well known economist, Joseph Schumpeter as a ‘parasite’, it bleeds the necessary capital from inventive, innovative entrepreneurs and from successful businesses to grow or sustain. A recent example is Simmons Mattress, the financial gurus loaded a successful company that had operated for over 100 years with so much debt it went under. What was this debt accrued for, so the gurus could make vast profits for themselves. This had not happened with earlier generations of financial managers. It comes from the Boomers attitude regarding their self importance and self absorption.
Anarcissie, thank you for elaborating on the my earlier post.
Apologies for typos I write on a PDA.

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By johannes, November 29, 2009 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment

To Shenonymous, thank you for your written feelings, that you wash one of the flowering side, that feeling I had all along, why you can be quick snappish, thats what make woman so of great value for our society, you know in that moment even the most well-bred an civilized person, gifs a flash of here real ego, makes them vulnerable and lovely.

A very good example for this wath I are writing now is the life of Flannery O’Conners, how complicated an human, and specialy woman can by.

My mother wash a scholar in German literature and history, I have most of her old books but most are written in Gothic characters, its like all the old great minds they don’t want to anything with this modern times their are to much money changers in our world, somz people like to build an history around them but on the end the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

Yes we are living happely, but we see the black clouds forming, we keep it going and fight for our freedom of thinking and mutual love and kindness.

Yours Johannes

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By Clash, November 29, 2009 at 11:55 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous:
Is human existence really futile and is pessimism justified? Quite the philosophical challenge so early in the morning.
I know that my understanding of why this the culture
seems to disregard the fact that we are all responsible for our own moral judgments is very limited, but I will see if I can communicate it any way. We were born into or placed if you like into our receptive lives by chance and for lack of a better word lottery. I did not ask to be here, once here circumstance took over, parents, family then external forces and experience shaped our ability’s and our perceptions of our selves and others. Those perceptions are that which guides us to act upon each circumstance, but since our perception of the world around us is inherently flawed these actions are then perceived by others who have the same inherent difficulty. That is to say they must for their own understanding label our act just or unjust, moral or immoral, good or evil, america hater or patriot and so on.  Since all of these words can only be defined by those who use them and that they only exist at the moment of the circumstance, we must look beyond others and our culture for our own useful reasons for existence. For my part life is enough and I will continue to dance to the music I create until I can no longer dance.

(I will leave you with this since it is my opinion the author quoted the the wrong lyrics for this article.)

“He’s a walking contradiction,
Partly truth and partly fiction,
Taking every wrong direction,
On his lonely way back home.”

Sunday morning Sidewalk
Kris Kristofferson

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By Shenonymous, November 29, 2009 at 8:58 am Link to this comment

johannes, I take your posts in earnest.  I appreciate your use of various
languages.  There is a certain subliminal abstract understanding that happens
when several languages are used to negotiate life. 

I would agree that there is a residual sadness in my psyche about the human
condition and that no doubt it shows up in my comments.  As humans become
more conscious of their world and the vastness of the universe, I think the
absurdity of human existence, all existence for that matter, is realized.  At the
least I have become more aware of the futility of the struggle for ever more
material beyond what is needed for blissful survival and for honest and genuine
friendship, let alone close relationship with lasting integrity, that I have become
ever more cynical.  The quality of survival seems to have gone excessive
interested in quantity.  How humans treat each other because of their need for
more and more acquisition or mitigating psychological ego satisfaction seems
to defy any natural inclination to survive or authentic interaction.  We develop
morals within cultures but culture to culture those morals are not the same. 
We imagine there is a set of morals called universal but yet we do not as a
human race define those universals, or ideal morals, so that every one in the
world has at least a basic sensibility to those morals that we can use as the
yardstick to measure our own cultures morals.  Is human existence really futile
and isn’t my pessimism justified?  I do not see much evidence that the basic
uselessness of human existence is not the reality. 

Being compared to Chekhov’s spirit is a complement as I think he was tuned
into the pointlessness life becomes for humans.  I have that view.  It is my
belief that if we humans are to have a meaningful life, we are responsible on
our own, by ourselves, to discover what that is and then to live it.  I cannot say I
have made that discovery though I do conduct my life as if I do and take
responsibility for it.  I have little patience with those who do not. I try to adapt
as well as I can to all situations good and bad, taking life as it is as much as I
am able to determine it is. 

From your various comments it appears to me you are essentially a happy
individual, who loves his family and tries to make the best of life.  That gives
me, a complete stranger, some comfort to count you among the few who have
a contented life.  By the way, johannes, I am not a sir, but a lady (although
some including you might not agree that I am a lady in the definitive sense of
refinement, even though I am).  Thank you for telling me about your
background and giving a glance at the people in the south of France.  It was
not boring in the least.  I former colleague of mine retired from the university
and bought a house in the south of France where he and his wife are living
happily every after enjoying the wine and cheeses, and marvelous bread.  If
only the rest of the world could live happily ever after.  Sigh.

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By Anarcissie, November 29, 2009 at 8:39 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous—my ideas about economics are to be taken with plenty of skepticism.  Actually, anyone’s ideas about economics are to be taken with skepticism, because in spite of all the numbers, graphs, formulas, partial differentials, and Nobel prizes, economics is about value and value is about how humans think and feel, something that is far from all figured out.  That is why economists can’t predict anything, although after something happens many talking heads will bob up on television and tell you why it had to happen.

I think you are correct in saying that things would not have been much different under a more liberal administration.  In fact, there has not been much difference in actual policy between the major parties.  Historically, since they are supposed to represent the lower orders, Democrats have in fact been quite fond of easy money, and few of them bothered to criticize Bubbles Greenspan even after the bust of the dot-com boom, a series of events which flowed naturally from Greenspan’s depression of interest rates, in turn part of the delusional economics which began with Reagan.

Where I found Branfman and Roszak to be absurd is their characterization of the Boomers as people interested in community, social welfare, and general uplift.  The spirit of the Boomers was and is one of narcissistic self-absorption and self-indulgence.  When they were twenty, they were outraged that someone wanted to send them to war; when they were forty, they were outraged that someone wanted them to pay taxes.  Reagan, with his simple-minded stories about doing your own thing, appealed to them mightily.  I am not criticizing Boomers for most of this; many narcissistic, self-indulgent people have been highly creative or at least interesting.  But I do think we should be calling a spade a spade, if not a shovel.  Boomers did not care about anyone but themselves, and they impoverished the world of their children.  As the Boomers get old, they will now become outraged that someone expects them to retire, accept a peripheral role in life, and eventually die.  They will demand great payoffs to compensate for these insults.  Demanding payoffs is not revolution, nor will it produce one.  In any case, I don’t see any reason why succeeding generations will want to give it to them.

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By Shenonymous, November 29, 2009 at 6:41 am Link to this comment

I always appreciate your explanations Anarcissie.  They are clear and concise. 
Regarding the world of economics I am a babe in the woods.  I am learning
more about economics than I ever wanted to but it seems that if I want to
understand what is going on not only in America, but the world since America
is a big part of the global economy, I am behooved to learn about it.  I would
say that if Obama wants to get reelected he had better have this financial crisis
solved and on to the bigger problem of jobs (I don’t really know if it is a bigger
problem but more an equal problem).  I understand the transition from a
product based economy, a mercantile economy where America produced more
goods, to one where services particularly Wall Street services has transcended
the hierarchy of mercantile economic finance.  Outsourcing and free trade is
being blamed for the reduction in mercantilism in the US.  There are less
goods around and imports have become ever gigantic than in the past.  Seems
like this country needs to start producing and exporting more if it wants to
survive.  More jobs would be regained.

The rentier culture created by the Reaganites and sustained by the Bushes, by
all accounts seems to be the foundation on which the current economic
insanity rests.  Boomers just happened to be the public at the time.  If there
had been any other ideologic Washington administration, say the liberals, then
the boomers would be characterized differently.  But then they would be
criticized by the Right as self-indulgent in other ways, such as the social
programs that would have been funded, and other things such as not
protecting this country better because of a poorly manned military.

I seriously doubt that the huge debts we now see or the deindustrialization,
and lower wages would have been much different under a more liberal
presidency.  I don’t have much faith in Democrats to be economically
responsible and definitely don’t trust the Republicans who speak with forked
tongue always.  I just wonder if there isn’t some other undercurrent at work
such as people’s nature to so easily be taken advantage of because of their
ignorance and conditioning to be high consumers whether they are poor or
not.

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By johannes, November 29, 2009 at 4:03 am Link to this comment

To Shenonymous,

To give more background to my some times disturbing thinking, I have lived in Wales a part of the U.K. old tribu own language and owness so more ways of thinking, nice people geth slowly free now own language in all schools.

Than France, where I live old people speak the old language, its one of the languages who wash spoken in different varieties over the whole of Europe, you know that Dante spoke and wrote in Provenciâl.

Here in the south with the spirits of the Catharen and people killed by the Inquisition still going around, the oldest language is still spoken the Basque, in lots of places in the Pijranèse vallys you find rests of old languages, rest from the old people who passed the Vandals, or the Gotes, by this all is always and kind of feeling une Amê, an soul, that hangs about this all.

All the old historys, their must by an kernel of truth in them, but the old people toke to secrecy, still if you are not one of the choosen one most doors keep closed, I am stopping their so much to tel, but maby you find me already an old bore.

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By liecatcher, November 29, 2009 at 3:52 am Link to this comment

Fred Branfman on ‘The Making of an Elder Culture’
Posted on Nov 27, 2009

Hey Fred Branfman:

Your article brought out the good, the bad, & the
stupid.

An example of the good is by ChaoticGood.

He kept his message short & accurate.

Once people accept the fact that, as he said: “Big
money rules absolutely.” the rest is moot.

The only thing I’m going to add is not recognizing
that Reagan was a trojan horse

allowed the Bush Crime Family to bring the NEW WORLD
ORDER:ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT

to the point of no return.


By ChaoticGood, November 27 at 8:02 pm #
America has simply become a corporatocracy.  Big
money rules absolutely.  Any hope of making America a
better place can only take place in one of two ways.

The first one is big government, rules, taxation and
socialism.

The other way is to changes the accounting rules so
all corporations die with their founders and all
risks are absorbed by the corporation and not
absorbed by taxpayers.

Now we have capitalism for the poor and socialism for
the rich and we must reverse that situation.

Do we have the will to change the corporate
environment so that the corporations are more
responsive to the general population instead of the
narrow interests of shareholders alone.

That is the question…

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By johannes, November 28, 2009 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment

To Shenonymous,

I am living 33 years in France now, and a famelie eatings in the weekend is very hard work but very agreable as wel.

In this latest 33 years I am stil reading for pleasere in Englisch, daily I am living in the Frence and Dutch language, I am an viticulture that is a wine grower and maker, in our house are daily spoken 5 or 6 languages, but it is never the Babylonic confusion of tongues, if we find the correct word not to quick, we crèate something you no, a butterfly comes a smetherling, or vlinder or papillion or a wel their some others spoken here

What my conclusion is that I did found in your writing more as their was written down, a deep down satness and an enormes vulcan of knowing so you must be an scholar, who is not that happy with his world, no not world but the humans who misform everything in this world.

I spoke about you like a bird, your mind is to quick so you oversee sometimes words who are importend for the other but you find them not relevent, nothing happens without reason, Tsjechov came up in my mind, he is spirit is living every where in you in my, its like with moral evey body has an moral, but you cannot have ethics this is something wath us in a daily way embrace, you can listen to it or not.

Wel dear sir this a part of what i have collected in my thinking.

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By Anarcissie, November 28, 2009 at 9:54 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous—the phenomena omygodnotagain appears to be referring to is the difference between producers and rentiers, and the transition from industrial capitalism to finance capitalism.  Finance capitalists at first facilitate the movement of capital for the benefit of industrial capitalists, but in later stages actual production of goods becomes unimportant: money just make more money without doing anything else for those who are in a position to control it.  Needless to say this must eventually result in there being less goods around and a subsequent collapse or correction of some sort.  In the recent real estate and credit collapse, the government acted to prop up finance capital, so the rectification has been put off and will be harsher when it occurs.

The connection to Boomer culture is, I suppose, exemplified by Reagan and his legacy—a culture of stupidity, huge debts, deindustrialization, lowered wages and expectations, militarism everywhere, and fatuous self-indulgence for those who floated to the top.  These people are suddenly going to change their minds now?

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By Shift, November 28, 2009 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

Today we live in a time of insufficient idealism.  Our dreamers have been marginalized.  Absent them, who will show us paths?  Commercialism has sucked the air out of the room and only the voices of money and power are heard.  So it is good to hear an idealistic voice emerge from the muck of hard capitalism and the drumbeat of marching morons.  Idealism is a spark and hopefully a happy contagion will emerge in flames.

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By Shenonymous, November 28, 2009 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

omygodnotagain, others have voiced their dislike for my tone in the past.  It
concerns me not.  Thank you for providing more background to your
comments.  It allows for a higher quality discussion. 

Wall Street is really not an actual place or even a creative entity of any sort.  Like
a greenhouse, it produces a situation where plants an grow, but it does not
produce the plants nor does it nourish them.  Wall Street is an environment that
produces something contrary to what Creamer thinks.  It provides the place,
the ambiance where buying and selling financial products and commodities
takes place.  The New York Stock Exchange is a synonym for Wall Street.  It is a
virtual market place for the exchange of financial goods. On the floor of the
NYSE one is aware of Wall Street, but one cannot put a tangible finger on it.  It
is like walking around a campus of a university and asking where is the
university?

Not being an economics major, matters of high finance make my eyes roll, the
world of finance is a separate world from the one I usually live in.  Nevertheless
I do have skills in philosophy and logic.  It seems the disparity between the
salaries of financial executives and ordinary people is not quite a
commensurate comparison.  The group known as “ordinary people” in America
really is an amalgamate of a multitude of people with incommensurate
backgrounds, a menagerie so to speak, and it is a fallacy to speak of “the
people” in certain contexts.  The horde known as the so-called prodigies of
wealth from Wall Street work with a thing called money.  They are the money
changers of the world, they and their equivalents in other countries.  Income
structures are different when talking about “the people” as a whole entity, and
the Wall Street managers.  Managers are paid in the very stuff they work with. 
People in general do not work with money but are paid with it.  I.e., people who
work in lumberyards do not get paid in lumber.

Seems there is much more to be said about all of this but there is too much in
your comment to me to deal with properly in one post so this will have to be
continued later as I think you are not fully correct in your assessment of the
education situation.  But real life responsibilities take priority.

And certainly, johannes, take all the time you need.  I look forward to reading
your further comments.  As far as your claim about my being like a bird, please
show evidence where I “flit” around.  I think perhaps you are simply not able to
follow discussion that well and miss nuances others who have a better
command of the language do not.  Such is the beauty of our language and
worthwhile to learn.  Where English falls short in one way, it extends
expectations in others.  We must not forget it is the lingua franca of the world.

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By johannes, November 28, 2009 at 8:21 am Link to this comment

To Shenonymous, sorry but to day I have to cook for our famelie and friends thats twelve in all, lot of work, but meanwhile I am thinking for my answer to you, I have to be very cautious to bring over in words my feelings.

Johannes

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By Shenonymous, November 27, 2009 at 7:24 pm Link to this comment

I imagine it is quite late there in Holland, johannes.  We shall both of us calm
our discussion, and withdraw our rancor.  I do know of Chekhov if that is who
you mean, and his Uncle Vanya.  He was a physician first and treated people
who were poor for free.  Which of his plays or more than 201 novellas and
stories are your favorites?  Uncle Vanya, the play, is not one of mine.  It is
mainly a drama preoccupied with an unproductive life, and superficial
relationships en passant, even the marriage of the professor to the much
younger Yelena.  The only fictional upper class Russians that I ever found
intriguing belonged to Tolstoy’s War and Peace, and the characters in
Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago.  At least both Bezukhov and Zhivago tenaciously
survive their struggle through an intellectual odyssey to find some meaning in
life. 

Apropos to conditions in American today, Chekhov also knew the horrid effects
of poor health care for the people.  His short story the Peasants records some
of that squalor.

In short, I cannot tell what is your purpose in bringing Chekhov’s work into this
discussion.  It was a diversion to be sure but how it relates escapes me.

“In historical events great men - so-called - are but labels serving to give a
name to the event, and like labels they have the least possible connection with
the event itself. Every action of theirs, that seems to them an act of their own
free will, is in an historical sense not free at all, but in bondage to the whole
course of previous history, and predestined from all eternity.” (from War and
Peace)

I think Obama is well aware of the stranglehold history has on his presidency
and the momentous actions he must take on a dozen conspicuously
consequential matters.  He is deliberate and takes his time whether or not he is
criticized.  That same history will tell if he made good or bad judgments.

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By johannes, November 27, 2009 at 4:50 pm Link to this comment

To Shenonymous, postscript.

To geth you in an ( milder) libezality tone of seeing things, I would like to asked your attention for the Russian writer Anton Tsjechov, and well special his oeuvre Uncle Wanja.

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By DHFabian, November 27, 2009 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment

Actually, yes, the crack epidemic would have happened without the counter culture.  Such drugs as cocaine (in any form), amphetamines and heroin, commonly referred to as “death drugs”, came into use well before the 1960s, and their use was strongly discouraged in the counter culture.  There was very, very little use of such drugs among “hippies.”

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By omygodnotagain, November 27, 2009 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment

Shenomymous
It is not rhetorical, check out a recent article by Robert Creamer in the Huffington Post that gives the stastistics, 41% of current profits are made by Wall Street, as opposed to 16% in the 1980s. Wall Seet as Camer notes mostly produces othing. The income divide comparing workers salaries as a percentage of their executives salaries has been documented in articles, ad naseum it is now around 300% higher for executives.
I did a documentary on the Brown v Board of Education before and after, it was the Black Churches and tneir brave ministers who fought for equality, along with Thurigood Marshal and the NAACP.
I find your tone offensive, and as a matter of record, school budgets are determined by property taxes and there is no correlation between results and money spent. In Camden NJ with additional funds pumped in by the States, now at around $11,000 per student test results are still far lower than blue collar school districts with budgets in the region of $7000.
Standards have fallen, not just here but in the UK and other countries. A few years ago (you can Google it) there was a controversy when the final exam at one university was the actual paper given in 1972 to get into University. This is partly a result of democracy.. the virtue in democracy is equality, which to make happen necessitate a levelling, and an appeal to mediocracy.

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By johannes, November 27, 2009 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment

To Shernnymous,

About your architectuur, go en have a look in your great inner city’s Chigago, Indianapolis, Detroit, and others on the place of the nice American home architectuur buildings you will find great very roomy parkings, they killed lots of nice innercity’s,
even small villages the hart wash broken out, to build outside one of your lovely bying paradyses the malls.

And I have not put your American architectuur down, I said that their wash not so much culture to be found, not thinking on your marvelous museums, and wonders of nature, one thing I never will forget is that on I a day it wash an jour de féte, and I wash by an uncle in colorado and somewhere their wash an very old graveyard with old stones and small gates around it, an the young brought flowers to this old graves, and for me thats culture.

But I like the US still very much, I have still famelie living their, very very old emigrants, the first came to New York, before 1730, the latest passed Elis island in 1905 he his wife and doughter

You are difficult to discuteren with, you jump as a bird from branch to branch, but how it is is it, tomorow
I will look the sites up you have given me, thank you, it is here now midnight and I go to bed, goodnight.

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By Shenonymous, November 27, 2009 at 4:08 pm Link to this comment

Not meaning to minimize what you said omygodnotagain but what you said did
not give any references. And I’ll tell you why I think that is important. The
example you gave of Black churches is rhetorical in substance as well as your
opinion of the effects of the birth control pill on the so-called advancement of
women.  What new paradigm for war are you not describing?  There is no
analysis given about the lessening of income equality.  It is one thing to make
dogmatic statements and to offer personal opinions if qualified as such and
another to offer them as some kind of gospel without any certification or a way
for readers to certify. 

Unlike too many others I do not take anyone’s personal view as the optical view.

Being in academia for a couple of decades I do not agree that this culture is
less educated.  Teachers beat their butts providing the most extensive
education that 19th century students wouldn’t even have dreamed of.  Added to
that former culture’s curriculum are the courses required for the electronic
age, special education for not exactly normal kids, etc.  Modern schools have
less commitment to merit because of the incessant teach-to-the-test
philosophy that was instigated and mandated by the no child left behind edict
for national education.  Compulsory attendance has gone down the tubes as
well because careless parents do not enforce or extol the virtues of schooling. 
The lack of gppd teachers due to declining budgets that deters people entering
the teaching profession has led to less competitive selection of teachers and
that means teaching strategies are bland and uninteresting because the
teachers themselves are uninteresting.  Morals education mainly has been left
to the churches and since each religion has their own version of morality, kids
who intermix, and they do intermix if not in person, then definitely on
lamebrain twitter, and half-baked face book, blackberry truncated
vocabularies, are wondering what the f!  Who is to say any one of them are
right?  Confusion about what is or is not right is the rule.

Also the empty minded television fare that is now offered for the teenage
audience is an abomination and if any morals did exist in this culture it is the
age of the corportocracy that has infested the immature brains of our
upcoming youth that depletes their ability to make judgments of integrity.  I
am not a prude and I believe consenting adults can consent to a myriad of
things, but it seems there are some limits that humans owe each other if they
choose to live in a society.  That is why a secular morality needs to be made
comprehensively manifest so that we all know what is acceptable and what is
not acceptable in this culture.  The blurring of morality is partly to blame, not
baby boomers.

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By omygodnotagain, November 27, 2009 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment

DH
It is not futile, this book is what is being discussed. The counterculture of the 60s is romanticised and glamorized, it has had a deep cultural impact, would the crack epidemic of the 80s that decimated Black communities, created rampant violence happened without the drug culture of the 60/70s.
We laughed at Woogy Allen sneezing away $200 of coke in Annie Hall, but it wasn’t funny when it destroyed lives and communities. In matters of sex Freud, Kinsey and others were made Oracles, only to discover they are now discredited with rampant herpes and venereal warts as a legacy.
Serious thinking through issues was replaced by vapid slogans, and a celebrity culture. What rock stars think is important… real thinkers are ignored.
This comes from the concerted attack on academic curriculum, out went the canon, in came Hunter Thompson.
40 years after the Civil Rights Movement, 50 years aftet Brown v Board of Education, neighborhoods are more segregated than ever. The slogans sounded good, pity about the work needed to make them a reality.

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By ChaoticGood, November 27, 2009 at 4:02 pm Link to this comment

America has simply become a corporatocracy.  Big money rules absolutely.  Any hope of making America a better place can only take place in one of two ways. 

The first one is big government, rules, taxation and socialism. 

The other way is to changes the accounting rules so all corporations die with their founders and all risks are absorbed by the corporation and not absorbed by taxpayers.

Now we have capitalism for the poor and socialism for the rich and we must reverse that situation.

Do we have the will to change the corporate environment so that the corporations are more responsive to the general population instead of the narrow interests of shareholders alone.

That is the question…

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By DHFabian, November 27, 2009 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment

I see that what makes this discussion futile is those who never learned the difference between the cartoonish media portrayal of the counter-culture and the reality.

Most boomers weren’t of the counter-culture, and most of the counter-culture did NOT sell out. Sorry.  Check the election stats to see how much opposition there was to Reagan, old Bush, etc. We did not vote for them. We never supported the self-centered conservative ideology.

I think the generational resentment we sometimes see if because boomers did take a stand, did march in the streets, did even get killed for their dissent. They effected some real, if often temporary,  change. Today’s youth seem more like deer in the headlights.

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By omygodnotagain, November 27, 2009 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

Shenoymous
No-one is claiming all the Baby Boomers are the same, but to quote ‘they will be known by their fruit”, most BBs gave the reins of power, to crass, shallow materialistic element, while patting themselves on the back for changes they had little to do with For example
The civil rights movement began in Black Churches, they were people with traditional morality addressing the inconsistencies in the countries stated beliefs.
Tne sexual revolution was a result of a scientific breakthrough The Pill, it was inevitable that women would grasp the new freedoms, the entry of women into the workplace was due to 1) getting married later, educational opportunities and the expansion of higher education, as well as 2) the Capitalistic system needing to create more productive and profitable consumers.
Were there fewer wars in the Boomer years, no we created new paradyms for war, was there greater income equality no there is less, and it was endorsed by the Boomer gratify me now credo. Our culture is less civil, cruder, more poorly educated..

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By Shenonymous, November 27, 2009 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

Sorry for the weird double post within the same post?  Oh well, it doesn’t hurt to
repeat it even though it does look like a stuttering of a sort.  Not all baby boomers
were potheads and not all are responsible for the ills of the nation.  It is so
glamorous to say they were though.

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By calibpatriot, November 27, 2009 at 2:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I consider the baby-boom generation to be THE failed generation.  They are the end result of over pampering and spoiling by their parents, who over reacted due to their experience of growing up during the great-depression.

When the Boomers arrived into their late teens and early adulthood they were highly critical of their parents for being overmaterialistic but as they grew older they themselves have become the most materialistic and self-absorbed generation ever.

Interestingly, I’ve observed that many of their off-spring appear to have been turned off by the extreme materialism flaunted by the boomers.  I believe that relying upon the boomer generation for establishing real reform to our system is a lost cause but I have hope in their off-spring doing that.

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By Shenonymous, November 27, 2009 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

baby boomers still are the center of the universe,” perhaps, but they are
still mortal.  As a boomer myself, far from overweight, I can’t say I ever felt
part of the “privileged” class and had to be a nose-to-the-grindstone worker
bee to have the career I have.  Scholarships and student loans gave me the way
to “make it” all the way to post graduate school.  I knew lots of students in my
situation.  I was not one of the ones to usher in nor sustain Reagan, and moved
to left of center at the beginning of my voting life.  So there cannot be one
brushstroke for all of those born Post WWII.  It is all too easy to sweep everyone
into one basket so you can sound demographically sophisticated.  Fallacies are
abundant.

Contrary to Roszak and his interpretation of Ivan Ilyich, far as I have seen, as
people age they become more conservative because they subconsciously know
they are mortal and want to keep life constant in the little life they have left. 
Change is anathema to the old.  I have watched my parents and relatives age
and that is exactly what happened.  What once were energetic progressive
liberal minds slowly transform and begin to freeze in their fears of change. 
baby boomers still are the center of the universe,” perhaps, but they are
still mortal.  As a boomer myself, far from overweight, I can’t say I ever felt
part of the “privileged” class and had to be a nose to the grindstone worker bee
to have the career I have.  Scholarships and student loans gave me the way to
“make it” all the way to post graduate school.  I knew lots of students in my
situation.  I was not one of the ones to usher in nor sustain Reagan, and moved
to left of center at the beginning of my voting experiences.  So there cannot be
one brushstroke for all of those born Post WWII.  It is all too easy to sweep
everyone into one basket so you can sound demographically sophisticated. 

Contrary to Roszak and his interpretation of Ivan Ilyich, far as I can tell, as
people age they become more conservative because they subconsciously know
they are mortal and want to keep life constant.  Change is anathema to the old. 
I have watched my parents and relatives age and that is exactly what
happened.  What once were energetic progressive liberal minds slowly
transform and begin to freeze in their fears of change.

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By omygodnotagain, November 27, 2009 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

PurpleGirl
I am a late Boomer, but I agree and acknowledge your justifiable resentment. I watch as the dreams of the 60s and 70s turned to disco, hedonism, coke and quick money. It was never very deep to start with, the 60s were about avoiding military service, getting laid and avoiding responsibility. I did work in Silicon Valley in the 80s, the granola culture merely transitioned to the materialistic decaf soy latte, as they drove their gas guzzling SUVs. Boomers were a fraud, I am ashamed to be associated with them.
They are self centered, shiftless lot, and they will demand every service under the sun as their right and to hell with everyone else. Please work for rationed healthcare so they can pass from this earth without messing up this country anymore than they have already done.

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By gerard, November 27, 2009 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment

1.  There’s far too much in this review to make for reasoned comment. I wish it had been cut in two so it could be more easily absorbed and thought about.
2.  Again, an article based on differences between generations, though, thankfully, it emphasizes the possibility of cooperation and the encouragement of a common purpose. We need to remember, however, that everything runs together in life and the idea of “a generation” is merely a term of convenience, not an actuality.
3.  Quote: “If a socially just and democratic America that has helped preserve the biosphere its young will need for life itself does emerge, it will be largely because baby boomers did rise to the challenges of their time and redeem the dreams of their youth.”  Pretty barbaric English!  However, in simple language it makes sense:  It will take both “baby boomers” and their present sons and daughters to unite and rise to the challenges of our times and fulfill the dreams of both generations.”  Or words to that effect.  In short,  It’s “united we rise; divided we fall”—as always.

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By John K, November 27, 2009 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

Ahh, yes, the baby boomers still are the center of the universe.  Who knew?

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By Anarcissie, November 27, 2009 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

I don’t think Boomers did anything very much except vote for Reagan.  The people who caused all the trouble and did all the business in the 1960s—like Mario Savio, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, all the Civil Rights leaders and martyrs whose names you have forgotten, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the capitalists and dog traders of the era, etc. etc.—were older than Boomers; the Boomers were just around to be exploited by their elders, which was easy because they were and are kind of dumb, self-absorbed, not really aware of what’s going on around them.  After playing hippie or radical or druggie for awhile they went back to school, got jobs, and, as I said, voted for Reagan.  Now, having helped screw up the U.S. and the world, many of them seem to be wanting a payoff from subsequent generations, whom they never did much for.  I doubt if they’ll get it, because the time to build for that payoff was the last 40 years, and instead we see what we see:  Reagan, an economy based on hot air, a descent into plutocracy, endless imperial war, and ever-expanding domestic surveillance and repression.

Roszak is fun as an alternate-universe fantasist, however.  What if the Boomers had been radicals?

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By Shenonymous, November 27, 2009 at 11:41 am Link to this comment

You are not the only one who has grandchildren, so no biggie for anybody. 
Millions of us have them and love them.  Also spouses in America are loved as
well in spite of the divorce rate of 45.8%, it is 38.3% in the Netherlands.  for
both our countries the US has 54.2%, Holland,  61.7% that don’t get divorced. 
You are not unique johannes.  When you attack without much substance, it is
the substance not the grammar that I counterattack.  Apparently you don’t
have command of the language enough to be able to make that distinction.  I
don’t believe you are that much older than me.  And age has very little to do
with it.  I could not care less about your love life.  It is quite irrelevant to
anything on this forum.  So try again yourself.  You apparently do not have an
education in architecture as there are more incredible buildings in American
than you might even imagine.  If America has an eclectic architecture it is
because its citizenry are made up of people from everywhere in the world with
many and various aesthetics. 

For a bibliography of literature on American architecture visit:
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/ENVI/ArchHist.html

I realize it might be above your head. So just for a photo smattering of the
architecture of 19th century, see:
http://www.american-architecture.info/USA/USA-FAV-1885.htm

or books, for instance: Architecture in the United States
by Dell Upton

or A Concise History of American Architecture
 By Leland M. Roth

Maybe you should have had more than just a “look around?”  Try our museums
for American art as well, the Smithsonian and the Whitney will give a no-
nothing a taste.

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By johannes, November 27, 2009 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

To Shenonymous,

As I thout you would do, to attack me on my bad grammatical mastery, and second on numbers.

A problem rest an problem even if it is an big problem.

I know maby your country longer as you are living, I visited the US in the 60 ties afther my highschool, visited my famelie and had a look around, nice big but not much culture, and as I went for classic building and art, I had to go to the big city’s so, nice people polite and very helpful, all ready in that time they laid more worth on value an money, art wash always valued on its price not on its real artistic radiation, I know it is changed for the bether later on.

Well in short I am writing bad Englisch, but i don’t lett F… anybody my country for not real good reasen, so try again.

 

Don’t worry to much for my love live,
I am grandfather, and I am happely married over 53 year, so that is not to bad, and I love my wife still very much.

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By ron kovic, November 27, 2009 at 9:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A brilliant and beautifully writen essay that needs to be read by everyone! Truly inspiring!

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By Shenonymous, November 27, 2009 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

johannes, I seemed to have rubbed your European fur the wrong way, That
inability to think beyond your own opinion possibly explains why you hardly
make any sense. 

It would do no good to argue with you whose welfare system is better. 
Holland, a small and mostly homogenous society of 16 million until the
Islamists crashed your dikes, is incomparable like 5% to the United States whose
population is over 308 million.  I don’t think you can comprehend the
difference between those numbers with respect to differences in populations
and their respective philosophies of life.  Those left of center politics in this
country do care about the poor and aged, some more radically than others, and
those who care beyond their own skin do exist in throngs but there is also that
contingent who do not, and hence the battle ensues, civilly most of the time
through political referendum.  How dare you say I have not the slightest notion
of decency, when you show not even the slightest notion of understanding
anything beyond your own sentimentality.

Your kind of writing in English says you ought not to even try until you gain a
command of the language and understand beliefs conceptually.  You commit
the fallacy of accusing all “in my country” when you don’t have a real clue
about this population.  There are many more who came out of the late 60s and
70s just like me who are just as concerned about others well-being and act to
make things better as those who don’t.  And just that caring part of the
American population is 10 times as many as there totally are Dutch. 
Nothing is ever as simplistic as you make it out to be.  Unless you are unable to
get your own head out of sexuality, I suggest you stop focusing on the fucking
part, as you seem to be stuttering on it,  and focus more on the reality of
morals.

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By dhfabian, November 27, 2009 at 9:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Purple girl, you just aren’t getting it. You’re angry at a ghost. You fell for the media “boomer” creation, not the reality. No generation is all this-or-that.

You probably aren’t aware of the degree to which progressive ideas and work have censored out of the mainstream media since the Reagan administration.  The mainstream wanted a new toy, and Reagan delivered. His message was “greed is good.” A minority, backed by Big Business, changed our own perceptions of what America was and is.  It was as if the nation were drunk.  But through it all, progressives carried on, doing the work of peace and social justice that they knew needed to be done. 

Now, go check the election stats.  You will see that there was plenty of opposition to Reagan, and very strong opposition to the “Republican Revolution” and everything it stood for. Just because Progressives were pushed out of the spotlight, and progressive ideas were censored out of the mainstream media, doesn’t that they ceased to exist! 

And who sold you the fantasy that those over 65 live in wealthy comfort???  Good grief. The ‘80s were the start of the extreme economic disparities we see today.  That’s when jobs started disappearing, when wages began to deteriorate, unions were crushed out, public welfare funds were raided, and so on. 2010 will be yet another year when there is no Social Security c.o.l.a. Medicare is a basic human need and should be available to everyone, but remember that by the time people qualify today, many have lost their insurance, had to sell everything they had of value, and had to use up their retirement savings to cover their health care costs.

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By johannes, November 27, 2009 at 8:58 am Link to this comment

To peterjkraus,


Thank you Sir, from the bottem of an old Fiower Power Hippie hart from Amsterdam.

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By johannes, November 27, 2009 at 8:49 am Link to this comment

To Shenonymous,

Differens in meaning: moral——ethical,
              fucking—make love.

What for some is a welfare state is for an other just very normal, we like it if our poor and old people can live on an decent level, not like a tramp.

In your country is reigning an false kind of patriotism build on an base of false proudly thinking.

Further more an big problem is for your country people like you, who have not the slightest notion of decency, in their kind and way of writing.

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By peterjkraus, November 27, 2009 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

Here’s a taste of know-nothingness: “..the Up and Comers realize the Old stereotype of the Hippies was about right- shiftless and lazy with absolutely no real morals. Your Parents ‘The Greatest Generation’ Were right about you all along.”

Amazing, the chuzpe of people who have no idea of what they’re talking about (even If they Capitalize every Damn thing they Write).

Without many of us who stood up for our rights, today’s younger crowd would still be living the joys of the Fifties: Joe McCarthy’s commie hunts, the Reader’s Digest God and Country bullshit, women in kitchens and men in bars.

So come off it. Sure, lots and lots of ex-enlightened youth turned into corner office assholes, so-called Christians and bank fraudsters. But lots of us didn’t. Many of us have lived what we learned and subsequently preached, and we have lived good lives full of compassion for our fellow living creatures.

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By ricktard, November 27, 2009 at 8:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

i want nothing more than grandpa showing up to fix our collective mess.

let’s support the movement any way we can. i, for one, think they can pull it off.

here’s hoping.

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By mef, November 27, 2009 at 8:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Baby Boomers will save us!
Sure—just as they ended U.S. militarism and
imperialism once and for all, starting under Johnson;
just as they established a fair and environmentally
sane economy, as evidenced by their MacMansions and SUV
fleets; just as they now continue to show the great
unwashed where the real issues lie, by their perennial
navel-gazing.

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By Shenonymous, November 27, 2009 at 8:08 am Link to this comment

While I don’t disagree with either ardee or Purple Girl, it seems morals are
created as we go along and they are alway vague and exists as just feelings.  As
a people, we often show confusion when issues of morals rear their ugly heads. 
There doesn’t seem to be any consensus.  Humans, at least American humans
do not have a so-called set of morals.  They are unspoken if they are at all. 
And I would guess they do exist on some level as we seem to find thievery,
murder, and fucking your neighbor’s wife, or husband, as wrong.  But when
morals get into the stickier wickets of taking care of society’s less fortunate,
which most of the poor are, less fortunate, which can be defined as those
whose opportunities have just not been there for some reason or another,
maybe ethnicity, maybe gender, maybe simply behind the eight-ball because
parents were, or even mental problems which most of the street people have,
then morals are not defined as clearly. 

How does a society like America develop a cognitive set of morals that are now
unsaid but heads nod, or rather twirl, whenever encountered?  Instead of letting
the media hucksters or self-serving politicians or quasi-politicians make those
definitions, or let any particular religion give voice to their idiosyncratic set of
morals since those are often not consistent with each other among the various
400 religions that exist?  How indeed to start saying explicitly what it is we as a
society believe to be moral?  Do we create a specific set of commandments
that can then be taught in schools since they are not taught at home?  What is
the solution to caring for the aged in this country, screw Europe because
Europe has a completely different social structure and while they may have a
venerable moral here and there their attitudes may not apply to Americans and
their diverse population and religiousity. Or is it inherently impossible?  If so,
then ought we not to just shut up?

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By johannes, November 27, 2009 at 7:58 am Link to this comment

To Ardee, good for you you have an rectum, nice word play.

Ye YE YE we think in my small country that freedom is that if you are ill or old have money to live, and that the money chould be partage equaly, well as good as possible.

Its the same for healthcare, thats wy people who come in and not respect our social rules, are seen as social criminals.

You cannot trow people on the street like an old dog, afther an live of working and sorrows, thats not donne.

Wel and about money for the army, we have a nice fine army, good young people who should only fight to defend their homocountry, no they have to fight for the great freedomfighters country, the USA, against people who are not our enemys.

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By Purple Girl, November 27, 2009 at 7:19 am Link to this comment

These Newbie Medicare Recipients had better not over estimate the amount of tolerance left in those of US younger have for them and their BS.
Esp those of US directly behind them. Oh we remember how the Boomers lead the way down this primrose path to destruction.We remember the Trailer debut in the ‘80’s. Empty Promises of Ending the ‘Good Ol’ Boys’ system- until of course they got their corner offices and high back leather chairs. When they were handed the mantle of the ‘Establishment’. We living in the rubble of that transition of power now. Heckova Job Boomers!
Don’t Tell me, you got your nest eggs out of those risky investments just in the nick of time too. Sheer Luck, of course.
The Audacity of the people who have been voting with Repugs who have been hell bent on destroying Medicare and social Security since the ‘80’s are now demanding any tax cuts they’ve demanded not be taken from medicare! Screw you that’s exactly what you did to your granny and parents.
You can tell a Newbie just by their medicare concerns- Doc visits and hospital stays. Apparently long term care hasn’t entered their peripheral vision yet. Near sightedness? Too young for Cataracts?
Boomers would be wise to sit down and shut up after driving our country into a ditch, on numerous fronts, during their 20 yr reign of unbridled Self Gratification.
Boomers had better hope we don’t do to them what They have been advocating, and providing, for the Elderly for the last few decades.
Somehow Social Conscience wasn’t ingrained in the Boomers cohort group, it was just an advertising slogan. Who scoffed at the Gray Panthers not so long ago? Seemed they were Ready to Save the Whales but not the Seniors in their Social movements. Now it has become fuck the Whales, don’t take away my viagra coverage on Part D.
Heres a Hint Boomers the Up and Comers realize the Old stereotype of the Hippies was about right- shiftless and lazy with absolutely no real morals. Your Parents ‘The Greatest Generation’ Were right about you all along.

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By dhfabian, November 27, 2009 at 7:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well…it depends on whether you’re talking about the people of a particular demographic, or if you’re talking about the bizarre media creation called Baby Boomers. Active Progressives were always the minority, the mainstream was always non-activist and just trying to get by. Many (most?) older Progressives have stepped into the background so the next generation can move forward to do their part to shape the future; it’s simply time for us to get off the stage. Meanwhile, many of us have been hard at work on the grassroots level, usually at the local level, from organizing food drives to directly advocating for the most important causes.

I have a feeling that much of today’s political leadership, and the media as well, it afraid of the potential power of the 20-something generation today, and has a strong incentive to keep them from taking a strong stand (as happened in the 60s). Today’s young adults, as a whole, seem less gullible than past generations, and they are far better informed.

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By Douger, November 27, 2009 at 7:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The boomers can teach the yunguns how to make a bong and drive under the influence of Prozac and the yunguns can teach them how to make extacy and meth…...and steal a Toyota.
God Blass Amurkastan !

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By ardee, November 27, 2009 at 6:44 am Link to this comment

The “change” most Americans want from President Barack Obama is for him to restore their previous way of life, not transform it into an existence under a European-style welfare state. A Wall Street Journal editor recently opined that “old Europe lives in a world of unpayable public pension obligations, weak job creation for its younger workers, below-replacement birth rates ... high taxes to pay for the public high-life, and history’s most crucial proof of decay—the inability to finance one’s armies.”

I wonder at this generalization of “old Europe” wherever that is supposed to be. I am under the impression that there are disparate economic and social factors in that region of the world, and not the uniform and dismal view presented by this author. Further, the “welfare state” of which he squawks is rather a popular condition there.

Opinions are like rectums, everybody has one. Mr. Branfman’s opinion of the aging Boomers is exactly that, his own. In the vast number of folks who fall into that category there are, and always have been, differing approaches rather than the uniformity this article offers. Some have never been particularly active politically, some have never stopped being activists, some few become such as they age and conditions in this nation change for the worse.

While so-called Boomers are a large part of our society, the future direction of this nation will be chosen by an amalgam of our entire population and not by only those who age.

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By johannes, November 27, 2009 at 4:49 am Link to this comment

The people who where the followers of and the beliefers in an socialy just and equal system are dead or dying.

What playing now is an kind of soap opera, with on the end an X Factor match, for the best speaker.

There is an overall organization who owns the marionette teather, and lets move the whole lot, it are no Gods but criminal organisations.

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