Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

By Karla Fetrow

Learning to Rock and Roll

The first baby boomers turn sixty-five this year. They are the first of seventy-five million people in the United States who will be preparing themselves for retirement. In Canada, six million of the post-World War II baby explosion are nudging into their elderly years. In Western Europe, the population did not really begin to burst until 1955, but the effects still resonate. An estimated twenty-nine percent of the population is approaching retirement status; nearly half the population will be too old to work by the year 2050. The baby boomers did not boom out with the exponential growth enthusiastically drawn on the charts for real estate agents and stockholders who envisioned their upward swing in demand as increasing indefinitely. The last big surge was in 1960, with each new generation progressively smaller. The products have over-taken the demand. The results of this optimistic forecast, based entirely on past records, are with us today. While much can be blamed on short-sighted analysts who failed to take in the equation that mothers were having fewer babies contributing to the economy, it’s a singular view. One needs also to look at the baby boomers.

The era of the baby boomers is marked by a rapid change in social thinking. With a recovering economy, the early nineteen sixties were characterized by cheerful, upbeat music, an explosion of colorful clothing, love-ins, smoke-ins and flamboyant comedy. Higher education was on the rise. With the death of President John F. Kennedy and the Vietnam War, a darker mood set in. Sex, drugs and rock and roll, became intermingled with civil rights protests, anti-war demonstrations and a mass movement of young people crossing International borders, adapting to a gypsy like way of life. By nineteen seventy, most of the top twenty percent of the promising youth of tomorrow had dropped out of society. A staggering forty percent of teenagers had tried or were using drugs. The leaders of tomorrow were burdened with unemployment, addiction and an increase in social services.

Birth of the Selfish Society
Some of these changes were far more subtle. Much of the thriftiness of early baby boomers to recycle, reuse and scale down their consumption of goods was prompted by a book called “Future Shock”, which foretold the rise of the throw-away society. A wave of alternative lifestyle magazines hit the shelves, such as Mother Earth, which gave instructions on everything from how to squeeze the last free drops from a gas pump to growing your own garden, Rolling Stone, covering the nature of politics behind reviews of top music stars, and High Times, blatantly cheering the cultivation of marijuana. Other literature infiltrated the mainstream press; an interest in Eastern philosophy, with a be here now perspective, self help books that asserted I’m Okay, You’re Okay, and it’s Alright to Say No.

Somehow, it’s alright to say no, slowly began translating into it’s alright to be rude. The formerly polite society that invited Avon and Watson to step inside their doors, now squabbled about privacy invasion. It was okay to brush aside the help of customer service employees, to openly criticize waitresses and to cut short a sales spiel. It was okay to become loud and belligerent because after all, you were only speaking your mind.

Before World War II, divorce was seldom considered an option. Divorce laws were stringent. Those who wished to end their marriages had to prove adultery or cruelty. In 1950, the divorce rate for men was 84 per 100,000 and 114 per 100,000 for women. In the nineteen seventies, no-fault divorce became available. Uncontested divorces were expedient. One only had to claim to claim that the marriage had broken down or that the differences were irreconcilable. By 1980, divorce rates for men had grown to 4,539 per 100,000 for males and 6,577 per 100,000 for females.

With the break-down of traditional marriage, came the exploration into new forms of relationships. There were group marriages, unrecognized by law but practiced through voluntary association, open marriages; a concept that both husband and wife were free to take on other sexual partners with the idea that they would be open about it; common law partnerships and swingers, married couples gone wild for the weekend. Swingers clubs and singles clubs flourished under the new footloose society.

The Maturing Boomers

The nineteen seventies became a time like no other. The taste of freedom in the air was exhilarating; filled with endless possibilities. The arts were flourishing, the economy was good, it was easy to survive on cheap rent, food stamps and a bit of labor. Insurance wasn’t mandatory, gasoline prices were low and medical aid easy to get. The first of the baby boomers, however, were now having babies.

Some decided it was time to settle down. They rejoined the workforce. They bought houses and built up a retirement fund. There were those who decided not to alter their chosen lifestyles. They carried their children with them as they drifted from town to town, following drugs, following the big bands, following the premise that anything goes. Some children were born into communes, set up in the wake of the no-waste, environmental movement.

In the beginning, perhaps the communes were the purest thing to come out of the baby boomers restless youthfulness. Most of them abided by rules of respect for each other and mutual cooperation. Planting, harvesting, cultivating and water carrying were shared tasks. Possessions were modest. Children born into the communes were loved and cared for by all the members.

A curious thing about the communes; one was never wholly like another. Some were set up by religious organizations and involved an indoctrination process which kept new members occupied with chores, seminars, pep talks and closely supervised activities. Some concentrated on co-operative business, turning their farming operations into stable income. Others were set up loosely, the occupants moving into abandoned homes in small rural towns or building their own on unoccupied land from wood scraps found at the local dump. They lived by one rule; mind your own business.

Ultimately, most of these communes failed. The drug culture that had once been content with marijuana and acid trips had shifted to more addictive drugs; amphetamines, cocaine and heroin. As access to these hard drugs increased, so did burglary, theft, violent crime, and the birth of drug addicted babies. Harassed by police, plagued with drugs, unable to retain a stable income in housing and on land that wasn’t legally theirs, the back to earthers began abandoning their communes.

Said one ex-commune resident, “it was the government’s fault. Every time there is a successful movement, the government sends in the addicts and their drugs of choice to ruin everything.” Conspiracy theories were as favored as Cheerios for breakfast. The youth movement rumbled with the Watergate scandal. It churned with the persecution of its life style and spit back demonstrations against nuclear power and US involvement in foreign wars. When the Shah sought sanctuary in the United States, he also opened up a trade in Persian Opium, a form of heroin you could smoke instead of cook. It was extremely addicting, causing a wave of strung out users whose only definition of goals was acquiring their next high. The government probably did not send drugs into the communes to disrupt them, but it was certainly; if inadvertently; responsible for one of the most addicting illegal drugs to hit the market.

The Second Wave

There were two baby boomer bursts; one that began tapering by 1955, and another that energized between 1956 and 1960 before dwindling. The second burst had far different characteristics than the first. The 1960’s baby felt no impact from the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The Vietnam War was a childhood memory, Watergate held no real significance. The back to earth movement had fallen on hard times and poverty. The nineteen sixties baby boomer was motivated to earn money and engage in politics. They adapted much of the thriftiness and natural health consciousness of the first baby boomers, but with an eye for profit. Their politics revealed a preference for resource development, structured education and privatized health care. While the second burst struggled its way into affluence, the free wheeling hippie fell by the wayside.

In an article at the site, “Baby Boom Headquarters”, the author answers the question, “what impact do the baby boomers have on the economy, with the answer, “we are the economy”. With seventy-five million strong, baby boomers make up the largest percentage of the work force. Said the author, “the CEO of General Electric is a boomer; the CEO of IBM is a boomer; the CEO of Ford is a boomer; Bill Gates, Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer (Microsoft) are boomers; Steve Jobs is a boomer; Steven Spielberg is a boomer; Ron Howard is a boomer; Tom Hanks is a boomer; Denzel Washington is a boomer; Meg Ryan is a boomer; Michael Jordon is a boomer. The producers of most TV shows and movies are boomers. The editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal (Paul Gigot) is a boomer. Rush Limbaugh is a boomer; Oprah is a boomer; Barack Obama is a boomer; Mitt Romney is a boomer. Madonna is a boomer; Bruce Springsteen is a boomer; Tom Cruise is a boomer; David Letterman is a boomer; Jay Leno is a boomer; Dr. Laura is a boomer. Clarence Thomas is a boomer; Sean Hannity is a boomer; Glenn Beck is a boomer; Al Gore is a boomer; Bill and Hillary Clinton are boomers; Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve System, is a boomer; Sarah Palin is a boomer; Osama bin Laden is a boomer; George Bush is a boomer; Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is a boomer; every potential candidate for the Supreme Court for the next 20 years will likely be a boomer.”

The first wave of baby boomers are hitting retirement age at a time when social security is shaking at its roots, when retirement funds do not match the cost of expenses and medical insurance has been emptied. They have, in many ways, created their own demise. While involved in the moment, they forgot to prepare for the future. The society that had learned to become more self-centered, more self-gratifying had fractured from its own indulgences. It abandoned its interest in preventing the future shock of throw-away items, market glut and subsequent pollution and wanton waste of natural resources. The welfare system was drained, dehumanized and all but dismantled through drug addictive parents and their children. Many who confined their addictions to hard drugs and pharmaceutical pills are suffering the health consequences now and have been unable to work for quite a few years. The last twenty years have seen a steep rise in children born with ADHD, autism, FAS and other mentally handicapped disabilities.

The first wave are hitting at a time when the initial awareness that had sparked the well-educated youth movement to tune in, turn on and drop out has been all but forgotten. Civil rights take a step backward over border skirmishes, racial issues and religious influences. International relations close over bitter accusations of Western interference in domestic affairs. All out war looms closer than it has since the Cuban crisis. Civil unrest runs like electricity through the streets.

This is the legacy the baby boomers have brought us; a population growing old that dominates the work force, the politics and the economics of our countries. A population that has learned to place its own self interests as its first priority. While it brought many baby boomers to success, this self-absorbed addiction is no longer affordable. If the baby boomers are to lead in politics and economics over the next twenty years, then they need to lead with good conscience and consideration for the well being of the youth. They need to insure a viable future. They need to realize their own years are numbered and their retirement will be very much dependent on the choices they are making now. Unless they do, the baby boomers who had started out so hopefully, will fizzle out as the population that destroyed the world.

By karlsie

Some great perversity of nature decided to give me a tune completely out of keeping with the general symphony; possibly from the moment of conception. I learned to read and speak almost simultaneously. The blurred and muffled world I heard through my first five years of random nerve loss deafness suddenly came alive with the clarity of how those words sounded on paper. I had been liberated for communications. I decided there was nothing more wonderful than writing. It was easier to write than carefully modulate my speech for correct pronunciation, and it was easier to read than patiently follow the movements of people’s lips to learn what they were saying. It was during that dawning time period, while I slowly made the connection that there weren’t that many other people who heard the way I did, halfway between sound and music, half in deafness, that I began to understand that the tune I was following wasn’t quite the same as that of my classmates. I was just a little different. General education taught me not only was I just a little isolated from my classmates, my home was just a little isolated from the outside world. I was born in Alaska, making me part of one of the smallest, quietest minorities on earth. I decided I could live with this. What I couldn’t live with was discovering a few years later, in the opening up of the pipeline, which coincided with my first year of junior college, that there were entire communities of people; more than I could possibly imagine; living impossibly one on top of another in vast cities. It wasn’t even the magnitude of this vision that inspired me so much as the visitors who came from these populous regions and seemed to possess a knowledge so great and secretive I could never learn it in any book. I became at once, very conscious of how rural I was and how little I knew beyond the scope of my environment. I decided it was time to travel. The rest is history; or at least, the content of my stories. I traveled... often to college campuses, dropping in and out of school until one fine day by chance I’d fashioned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. I’ve worked a couple of newspapers, had a few poems and stories tossed around in various small presses, never receiving a great deal of money, which I’m assured is the norm for a writer. I spent ten years in Mexico, watching the peso crash. There is some obscure reason why I did this, tightening up my belt and facing hunger, but I believe at the time I said it was for love. Here I am, back home, in my beloved Alaska. I’ve learned somewhat of a worldly viewpoint; at least I like to flatter myself that way. I’ve also learned my rural roots aren’t so bad after all. I work in a small, country store. Every day I greet the same group of local customers, but make no mistake. My store isn’t a scene out of Andy Griffith. The people who enter the establishment, which also includes showers, laundry and movie rentals, are miners, oil workers, truck drivers, construction engineers, dog sled racers and carpenters. Sometimes, on the liquor side, the conversations became adult only in vocabulary. It’s a good thing, on the opposite side of the store is a candy aisle filled with the most astonishing collection, it will keep a kid occupied with just wishing for hours. If you tell your kids they can have just one, you have an instant baby sitter; better than television; as they agonize over their choice while you catch up on the gossip with your neighbor. We also receive a lot of tourists, a lot of foreign visitors. They are usually amazed at this first sign of Alaskan rural life style beyond the insulating hub of the Anchorage bowl. Many of them like to hang around and chat. They gawk at our thieves wanted posters. They laugh at our jokes and camaraderie with our customers. I’ve learned another lesson while working there. You don’t have to go out and find the world. If you wait long enough, it comes to you.

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33 thoughts on “The Baby Boomers Who Destroyed the World”
  1. Excellent! What a great topic and great coverage. Perhaps the Best Generation gave birth to the Worst Generation. We Generation X-ers are feeling the effects, while Generation Y and Z are products, stupid soulless kids that haven’t a prayer when things get really tough.

  2. LOL, Mitch. Actually, i have a great deal of faith in our youth; or at least a lot of hope for their abilities to create a better future than they are currently being offered. I think one of the big problems between the two bursts of baby boomers is that they went to separate extremes without ever finding a satisfying middle ground. The first wave offered a chance to take a critical look at our life-styles, examine them for flaws, and pursue solutions for creating a low-impact environmental future, with an open acceptance that everybody has a different definition of happiness.

    The second wave taught money management, resource development and how to play ball on the knowledgeable, academic level. The two waves never reached a common accord. If the two sides had incorporated the best of both; the socialization, human rights activism, resource conservation of the first wave, along with the economic savvy of the second, our global community would be a lot better off.

    Anon proves that our youth are thinking and aware. They prove that the youth are quite ingenuous and ready to sacrifice for the things they believe in. There is strength in unity. Generation X is smaller than the baby boom generation. Y and Z are progressively smaller. United, they can make a difference. Divided, they will fall into the same maelstrom as the baby boom generation.

    I’d like to add, the disco, hip-hop sounds of the eighties were awful. Bring back the rock and roll, or at least some music that can surpass it.

  3. What a bunch of morons. For instance, did more Boomers vote for Nixon or McGovern? Wrong, Nixon. Did more vote for Reagan or Carter? Wrong, Reagan.

    The reality is this: the Boomers since the Vietnam War have been an evenly divided and very polarized generation, probably comparable to the post-Civil War generation.

    Still of swallowing the media fed junk thought you have digested, use your brains! Research. Extremely few Boomers were real hippies. And how many Boomers volunteered — percentage wise much more than WW II volunteered for their war — and fought in Vietnam?

    All of these facts are easy to find. As I said, what a bunch of morons.

  4. Look closer at your American history, dude, and you will find that most of the ‘character faults’ you attribute to the baby boomers have been here all along, from the triangular trade of sugar, rum and slaves that built the first American fortunes to the hard-cider swilling farmers of the 1850’s and the roadrunning moonshiners of the early-mid 20th century. Boomers didn’t invent greed, fraud, indolence, or hypocrisy. Have you read Tom Sawyer? For every by-the-book Calvinist in this country, there has always been a scalawag.

  5. Hip Hop awful?! Take that back now! Hip Hop is full of the subversive, questioning voices you are looking for. To ‘dis it is to overlook a valuable voice that you claim to be looking for.

  6. Spoken just like you would expect from the “me” generation. It wasn’t my fault!!! I didn’t screw up the world on purpose! Of course you didn’t. But your polarizing politics and morality aside, you’re the generation who got America into debt. You’re the generation who bought every lie the US told hook line and sinker. Maybe it’s exaggeration to say the boomers killed the world, because maybe four generations of the U.S. did that. But who killed America, if the suspects are the boomers, the GenXers and the Best Generation? Cynicism and excess started with the big boom.

  7. Stuart, i believe much of my essay was on the polarization of the baby boomers. The “real hippies” as you call them, were largely drop-outs from society that continued their free style lives long after it was considered vogue. And vogue it certainly was for awhile! Even Capital Hill was sporting colorful shirts and psychedelic ties. Vietnam is a prime example of boomer influence. Nobody questioned the war when it began, under President Johnson’s tutelage and the first of the boomers were in their mid-teens, but by the time those teens began college, the mood shifted. These college age kids questioned the war, which had become a draft; not a voluntary service. Nixon ultimately was run out of office because of two early baby boom reporters.

    Peter, greed, fraud, indolence and hypocrisy have always been with us and probably always will be. The question is, should that be what is allowed to determine our social mores? The baby boomers are not a phenomena that hit just the United States. Western Europe also experienced the baby explosion. What we have now, is a very large population that controls the work force, the policies and the economics of the Western world, but who are now going into retirement. As they retire, the work load, taxes, and elderly care costs are being passed on to smaller and smaller generations. What will the boomer generation do to insure the well-being of the youth who will eventually be covering their care costs; especially as they continue squandering our youth resources by sending them off to war?

    I say the boomers killed the world because they could have healed it. They didn’t. They chose instead, their self-absorbed interests. We had the technology for alternative fuels, renewable energy, ecologically balanced farming and water recapturing by the mid nineteen seventies. Not only was it not used, it was suppressed, and it continues to be a struggle to break away from poisonous resource uses. We had the technology to be generous, to teach people how to grow a garden in their bathtub, but we were selfish. The end line was profit. It was better to drink the life blood from the soil for comforts and luxuries.

  8. This article is only a one-sided view of what my boomer generation has brought to this nation and the world. We were originally very concerned about peace, the impact of our war effort on other nations (the people), being more conscious of the destruction of the planet and its limited resources, and the coming together of like minds to create a new paradigm. We sought more liberties and fairness in the workplace, for women, for children, and everyone in general. Unfortunately, there were also many of my generation that actively worked against those goals, with only their own self-interests in mind.

    So, you cannot arbitrarily blame my generation en masse for the destruction that was caused by some people of that period. I raised my children to respect and abide by the law, to think independently, to work hard to attain and achieve their goals, to help others who were not as fortunate and also, to see the world and their actions in it as conscious, responsible global citizens.

    So, in response to your article, I cannot disagree with you more. Each generation has both people who create and others who destroy. You only have to look back in history to get a view of other civilizations who had the same issues as today. Please do not blame my generation as we also created a lot of good outcomes.

  9. It seems like an implied guilt trip for those of use who are boomers. Yes, there was a time when selfishness was a major characteristic of our generation. But so was compassion and generosity. The article alludes to this in the ecologically minded aspects, and in the communes and co-ops. They were experiments, and did not always succeed. But huge numbers of us delayed our entry into the rat race because we were absorbed in social change, and in political movements that were important and made a significant difference in American history.

    That delay in starting a career shows itself now, when our retirement benefits are nowhere near what they would have been if we had followed the money from the start. I, for one, accept that. I never did figure on having lots of money, and probably would give most of it away if I did.

  10. Your words answer a profound yearning of mine, Karla, thanks for getting it out. The generational approach has flaws like any sociological approach, but I find it strikes near the target when it comes to boomers.

    You spelled a rather hopeful overture, I’d be very much surprised if we didn’t see the latter conclusion you drew.

  11. see, the boomers are a lot like the feminist movement: good intentions (or at least that’s what we all thought at the time) but then the movement/generation metastasizes into something else (or maybe it just became what it always was). The boomers gave us massive deficits; political correctness on an unprecedented scale (people have less opportunity to speak their minds today than they did four decades’ ago – and I say that even while recognizing the “red scare” of the middle-twentieth century); male-bashing in the academy (it is still on-going); a general relaxation of the moral values that allow a civilization to remain civilized; undermined the family, fathers and the unborn; and a moral relativism that makes it impossible for us to defend our culture in vigorous terms because all cultures are alike and all cultures are equally wonderful – except for the dastardly, “patriarchal” west, of course (though maybe the vaginas who inevitably bash the west are starting to change their tune now that the creeping presence of fundamentalist Islam is beginning to spread across Europe and the Middle East). Ask yourselves this: where has the optimism, ingenuity and restless innovative spirit in our culture gone? Are we, today, as enterprising and confidently forward-looking (as a collective civilization, I am talking about) as we were, perhaps, five or six generations’ ago? To my mind, the characteristics I mentioned in the last paragraph have historically been defined in masculine terms as masculine values and assertive, resolute masculinity isn’t cool anymore – and the boomers obviously created that scenario. Western civilization is far more concerned about being “fair” (though not to men or to Christians or to the unborn) than about being bold or creative or dynamic; the civilization that once reigned over the globe is now constantly apologizing for things that happened generations – if not centuries – ago. People are afraid of hurting someone’s feelings all the time – this is especially true for men – and that means that any sort of robust debate never happens because the parameters of the debate are impossibly narrow (e.g.: can’t talk about this; can’t talk about that; oops, might get reported to a human rights commission if I challenge this sacred cow or that sacred cow, et cetera). the boomers gave us “free love” and closed debate and I guess we should all thank them for it.

  12. Anita, there is no legacy if the ideals that were initiated are not realized. The peace efforts were abandoned with the first invasive tactics into the Mideast. You do not see citizens lining the streets, adamantly crying, “stop the war”. Civil rights have taken a step backwards as each person hesitates to protect “me and mine” against outside forces that are seen as taking away jobs and influencing their culture or religion. The socialized view has been carefully dismantled for the right to make profit with no regard for the hapless citizens lining the coffers. If the baby boomers want a legacy of the peace and love that came out of the sixties awareness, that nearly one third of the Western population needs to start practicing what they first preached.

    AuntB93, i’m aware of the baby boomers who continued to resist the corporate take-over and throw-away philosophy. The problem is, they became a minority, and now must face the same uncertain future is the X generation and the youths coming up behind them. Even those who had acquired a modest, middle class preparedness do not have the retirement funds that match the cost of living. They are unable to pay their mortgages and their property taxes. They struggle to pay their insurance premiums. The funds they had saved for thirty years are not adequate enough to maintain a middle class life style.

    Collectively, the baby boomers are guilty because we (yes, i’m a boomer) allowed this to happen. Whatever our nest, we stayed snug in it; whether it was the pursuit of capitol gain, middle class modesty, drifting with the International travelers, or drugs. Deciding resistance was futile, too many people just gave up. The drop outs aren’t counted in the statistics, and neither are the political refugees, the jailed activists and the too poor to care. All these numbers, fragmented, ignored, could become a powerful voice if the courage of the sixties united them.

    Raven, hope was the last demon to follow the plague when Pandora opened her box. Whether realistic or not, it’s never completely defeated. I look at the shambles created by fifty years of squander, and i can’t help but think, “yes, there are solutions”. Instead of a third world war, we are on the verge of a global revolution, for the clashes are civil, and the targets are corporate royalty disguised as government. A successful civil uprising demands a unifying force; a statement of goals, an agreement of ethical considerations. Without this, we remain weak, divided and pliable. Civil revolution will be nothing more than the gestures of civil riot. These are no longer days when the enemy can cloak his evil with the pretense of good intentions. The Internet puts all the dirty laundry on line. We can can identify the enemy. We can call him for who he is and go after him. We can adamantly say, “i will not comply”. If enough do this, we will have a revolution.

  13. I recently wrote an essay on a similar thematic but I see some nice points listed here that I miss in my essay, “ask for change” for example. I really like this one

  14. To be a BOOMER: To usher drug use to a culture then make Billions in jobs prosecuting then imprisoning minorities and kids doing what you started? the divorce rake apexed in 1983 abandoning wife and children for a members only jacket and a coke habit was hip. this forever changed our society. to Exploit illegal immigration so new homes and services were so cheap they all lived so well, while ruining the job market for the youth. to live so corrupt passing the buck knowing there cant be liability because there all drinking the same cool aid. Now We are starting to feel the effects of their decisions and whats there answer? To take money from single parents(broken homes are now epidemic) trying to raise children alone at the lowest standard of living in contemporary American history? They squandered their pay off for Raping your country and now they want to tax, print or borrow the money(leaving kids the dept) they need to continue living above their means. And lets not forget they want all the money they put in to the social security system then they want all the money you put in the system, timing it to go broke when they will be checking out. – Its time we let them fall. If we dont use tough love “they wont learn nothin” next time they tell you to pay your dues remember in 1970 minimum wage could pay for your own place and a car and all your bills! they think that the time they spent exploiting the country their parents handed the entitles them to make triple what you make with their subordinate education?you want a good laugh pic up a college textbook from 1970. we need to band together to stop this gluttony before they its to late… for the children’s sake! we can all do are part.

  15. This article is absolute bullshit. You’re interpreting history through the lens of generational stereotypes and obviously know very little of what the last 6 decades were really like. Very bad history and research. It’s fashionable to bash the boomers now because of the economy and deficit but the author and many of these posters are going way beyond that, out of some kind of bitterness apparently. Just as you probably don’t like having your family, friends and entire social life insulted, neither do I. I liked growing up where and when I did, I liked my school mates and thought they were smart and not particularly obxnoxious or overly melodramatic as you imply, and times were just normal. Not everything was protests and marches, and by the way, the adults were just as affected by the times as we youngsters were. If you’ll note chronology, most of the rebels and organizers were from the older generations. Things were falling apart on them too. Have a bit of intergenerational sympathy instead of acting like rude asocial creeps. I suspect you really don’t know all that much about baby boomers or earlier generations or 20th century post world war 2 history before you were born, and could care less about it and the world at large.

  16. Oh no. There are actually boomers on here saying that they didn’t collectively destroy our country. It makes me laugh.

  17. As a member of the generation of tomorrow, all I can feel is disdain at these baby boomers. (Well at least those that sit in positions of power).
    How wonderful it is to read what a great youth you all had, a carefree youth where one could express oneself. The great lead up to consumerism…

    Let me tell you what my current generation face, that SO LITTLE of the future generation even give a second thought too.

    1) Climate change- leading to extreme weather conditions/ crop failure/ loss of wild habitats/ increase of tropical diseases in temperate areas.
    2) Overpopulation of the planet- how to meet everyone’s needs while trying to prevent complete environmental destruction.
    3) Rising sea levels- I am hoping for some good engineers in my current cohort.

    A few decades of thoughtless excess has now given a lifetime of problems for my current generation to solve. What makes the icing RICHER on the cake is that the leaders of generation X have SHUT their eyes to it. Their excesses are STILL not enough.

    My generation has a lot to inherit from generation X, and 99.99% of it is mostly rubbish. For generation x’s time of greed and excess, my generation AND generations to come will be spent cleaning up the mess.

  18. What a lot of pathetic victoms raised by a bunch of single mothers. I will be investing in adult diapers, should make me rich.

  19. Retiring Baby Boomers need to develop a substitute community – one that substitutes our work colleagues. Consider getting another job, joining a health club or maybe get involved in a religious group We might want to consider volunteering at a local school or organization.`*:.


  20. Lyla Flower, explain the gen x’s time of greed and excess ?.Did we finally get a piece of the pie yet no one stopped to tell us?. Considering most us are just hitting 40, just finally paying off our student loans after being hit by a recession at every turn and boomers holding on to all the good paying jobs. We’re the generation that coined the phrase mcjob. Sure for the early 2000’s we finally started to get somewhere and bang the boomers house gouging pulled the carpet from under the economy. The real kicker being we finally bought a house at the top of the cycle meaning most us owe more than we own. Ye such excess and greed.

  21. What a CLOWN act and don’t bother to tell me what illegal marxist you voted for TWICE and then handily tried BLAMING the boomers for. He MAY be a boomer but he’s an ILLEGAL foreign “agent” boomer DOLT you voted for it treasonist. Sleep in the bed YOU made.

    And additionally it was PROGRESSIVE LIBERAL IDIOTS just like YOU who destroyed our nation starting in 1964 with LBJs little “GREAT SOCIETY” that turned America into a MASSIVE welfare state. Guess what, DETROIT was their “model” city. Try BLAMING that on the boomers since they were ALL children and teens then. You’re an idiot. BTW, your sucky generation is turning 32 now and have been voting for FOURTEEN YEARS keep blaming Bush for your suckiness.

    Yours truly, HARD WORKING BOOMER

  22. Just for the record, Nancy, I am a baby boomer. I joined the hippies, then the International crowd. For the record, I was an activist, conservationist and supporter of woman’s liberation. The dreams were huge, but we sold out. We knew about our fragile ozone layer in the seventies, knew if the recklessness did not stop we’d experience global warming, but did nothing. We knew there would be an impending oil crisis, but let greed get to us. We knew that intervention into foreign countries was both costly and morally wrong, but we did it anyway. Here we are, forty years later, more intolerant of diverse cultures than we’ve ever been, changing our “make peace” mantra into a “me,me” society and taking two steps backwards for every step we take forward.

  23. The author’s description of the second wave boomers is way off or simply poorly researched. Speaking as one, some of us do a have memories of RFK and MLK (I watched both live on TV). We also remember Vietnam, but almost strictly as a war we were losing. We remember the Tet offensive, the protests, the Democratic Convention and Chicago Police riot, Kent State (again, I watched both live). We also remember Nixon and Watergate, the malase of Jimmy Carter, OPEC and the oil Crisis, and when rock n roll have neared its protest peak followed by the much mellower sounds by the early to mid 70’s and Disco. I think that as a result, we are much more cyncial especially toward government. We are a bit more social than the first wave. We’re a bit more aggressive and politically independent. Some would even say more conservative or perhaps libertarian (small “L”) oriented.

  24. This article is total nonsense written by a complete moron who doesn’t have clue about the sixties or anything else. It isn’t about generations, it’s about political ideology and the constant war between conservative and liberal points of view. I believe the song: we didn’t start the fire by Billy Joel explains this. There are far to many people looking to blame someone else for their miserable life instead of taking the bull by the horns and making something of themselves. Some of you blame the boomers for you own failure and you sound like big crybabies wallowing in your own self-pity. Talk about a me only selfish point of view. I didn’t blame the WW2 generation for the Vietnam War or the deplorable conditions of our cities in the sixties.

    So what was it like to be a teenager in the early to mid sixties? In my hometown the major river that flowed through the city was so badly polluted with sewage and industrial waste that the stench form the river would be noticed for blocks in every direction. There were huge mountains of culm banks that were on fire for over twenty years and on damp days the smell of rioting eggs was all over the city. There were abandoned strip-mine pits on the outskirts of the city that were a hundred feet deep. There were mines that caved in leaving the houses and buildings about them in total ruin. There were rat infested open city garbage dumps and the schools we went to were built in the 19th century. I didn’t mention the name of my hometown because I know, from my description, if there is anyone my age reading this that they will already know.

    We were too stupid to know that we were living in a slim pit and were just happy to be alive. But with the draft that could all change and you dreaded your eighteenth birthday because you knew that you could be sent to die in a civil war halfway around the world. The Vietnam War had nothing to do with fighting for American freedom and everything to do with the military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about. Many of you younger people don’t have a clue what the sixties were like and some of you boomers who have short memory capacity need to take a mental trip back, it might help shut some of you younger crybabies up. You tattoo infested scumbags born after 1965 don’t know how lucky you have it. Maybe some of you other boomers from the cities in the industrial northeast would like to share your dreadful experiences growing up. You boomers need to find your voice again and tell these Tattooed fools where to go

  25. Interesting article but what you have to remember is that not all baby boomers were hippies or part of the counter culture. The counter culture was only a small subculture so not all baby boomers were whacked out on drugs or had free love etc, just like not all kids today are covered in tattoos and play video games all day. The baby boomer generation did a lot of great things its just that the irresponsible behavior of a small minority of them gets them judged in a bad light

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