How many times have you heard The world is going to hell on a skateboard? OK, so if I did not tell you, you probably heard The world is going to hell in a handbasket. After last night’s post, I returned to a chain of thinking which always leaves me scratching the noggin and ends in the question:
Where did it all go wrong?”
Before we begin, I am going to lay a few ground rules. As you are well aware, this is not a political blog. While I am not opposed to political theory being penned, I will not abide political arguing, flaming or denigrating. This is a historical look into what brought us to our current position which does not place sole blame on any one group and seeks to find generational understanding.
Be respectful, or I will turn off the comments. (Takes off Momma hat and puts down the ruler.)
Baby boomers are the largest generation in human history. They were born from the millions of couples who had one or both members headed off to World War II. Times of war often see a rise in the birth rate. It is a natural reaction to knowing one spouse may be lost. (No, we will not be discussing the genetic-procreation reflex.)
More Than I Had
Growing up the children of Depression-era parents, baby boomers were afforded every luxury possible. Their parents’ work ethic was unquestioned, especially post WWII. The Age of Woman had yet to dawn, and most mothers were still home preparing lunches and dinners on a daily basis.
Television and Rock ‘n’ Roll were the new black. Families gathered to watch the television, as the parents had done round the radio of the 1930s and 40s. Crime was something they heard about in the D-section of the newspaper, something delivered each day which Father read at the breakfast table over coffee and toast.
The attitude these parents had was one of providing more for their children than they had had growing up in the throes of a wrecked economy. And provide it they did.
The Age of Peace
It is hard to reconcile the 1950-60s as a truly peaceful age based on the sheer magnitude of wars and skirmishes which spanned the globe. However, in this instance, the time was considered a peaceful age based on the pervasive attitudes of the world citizens who vehemently opposed the wars.
Boomers were now late teens and twenty-somethings. They were well aware of the condition of their conceptions. That condition produced in most an anti-war sentiment which had not been as prevalent in more than 300 years.
They dressed in flowing, flowery clothes; adorned themselves, their vehicles and anything else they touched with peace symbols; and rallied, protested and objected peacefully to the regimes which continued war efforts: Wars they saw their parents create, propagate and feed.
The Nuclear Freeze
War was a word of worry. It brought images to mind of flag-draped coffins, stoic rows of white, limestone grave markers and war orphans. The silence of the world after Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a palpable, reverent blanket which had covered the globe in the solemnity of the destruction and death of war.
The following decades would bring the ultra-secret nuclear research out into the light for public scrutiny and exploitation. They would also bring the viable threat of future violence to a nearly tangible level. Regimes were rebuilt, shattered or left to flounder as reward or punishment for war crimes.
In what now smacks of irony, The Cold War was waged between superpowers with merely the jape of pressing a red button to enforce political and monetary will when diplomacy failed. One concept kept The Cold War from treatise: No one wanted a third world war in a century.
Rather than employing the diplomatic maneuvering necessary to bring about true world peace, countries took sides, as they always had, save only without engaging the other side in full scale, global combat.
Knowing their parents had worked hard to provide for them, Boomers split in forwarding the mentality of more than I had. Some saw the world as a terrible place where children should not be raised. Others saw the dawning of a wonderful age, bringing children into the world to surround them with peace and love. Most of them continued the more than I had mentality.
Boomers did not repeat the large birth cycle, with many of them choosing to have fewer or no children. Children no longer represented a family workforce, as they had in the Depression. They were not a last bastion to hold a family name alive. They were progeny which came with a price tag.
The Credit Age
As the boomers children were toddling off to kindergarten, credit cards were all the rage. Unlike the charge accounts their grandparents had had at general stores across the nation, they were purchasing items they both needed and wanted on the mere promise to pay later.
Disposable income was coined. No longer was the amassing of family fortune either a priority or fashionable. A flurry of fast industry was birthed. Time became a commodity, traded for pleasure.
The lax attitude of the boomers was far different than it had been when they were chained to fences of defense factories and embassies. They were caught up in the rat race. Not noticing the erosion of the peace they had fought to obtain or simply being so far removed from the process and climate which produces war, they found the everyday concerns more pressing.
Or did they?
The current wars were negotiated and orchestrated by those same boomers who were flower-adorned protesters a few decades earlier. They schooled two generations behind them in the art of foreign policy and the profiteering of small scale, concentrated conflict. They recognized and realized the benefits of exploitation of foreign war.
What is the world coming to?
Think about the change in values from the Depression Era parents to the Baby Boomers.
- With the condensed (and necessarily politically incomplete) version of the history above, what attitude change caused the reversal of the acceptance of war?
- Is economic priority shift the sole cause for the change in attitude toward war?
- How does this translate to the war attitudes with which Baby Boomers have raised their children?
- To which generation do you belong and what is the pervasive war attitude of the generation:
- Jones (1954-1964)
- X (Baby Busters, 1965-1981)
- Y (Millenials, 1982-1993)
- Z (Internet Generation, 1994-present)
Hashtags: #war #generations
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© Red Dwyer 2012
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