Thoughts on Generations

I’ve written a lot about political generations here.  It’s hardly original to me — Peter Turchin and his “cliodynamics” disciples are all about the generational politics (this site is a good example of a disciple).  I think it’s overblown — anything that claims History is a science is overblown; look no further than Marx himself — but useful in moderation.

One point I can’t emphasize enough is that the real fanatics, the whatever-it-takes crazies, almost always come from the generation that was old enough to be fully aware of, but not participate in, some social cataclysm.  World War One is an obvious example, and as you might expect, the fanciest of the Cat Fanciers were all juuuuust a bit too young (or, in the Dwarf’s case, too clubfooted) to participate.  When a generation like that (average DOB of, say, 1905) starts staring middle age in the face, things are going to get very bad, very fast.

A more benign example is George Orwell.  Born in 1903, he had this to say about life before the Great War:

When [H.G.] Wells was young, the antithesis between science and reaction was not false. Society was ruled by narrow-minded, profoundly incurious people, predatory business men, dull squires, bishops, politicians who could quote Horace but had never heard of algebra. Science was faintly disreputable and religious belief obligatory. Traditionalism, stupidity, snobbishness, patriotism, superstition and love of war seemed to be all on the same side…Back in the nineteen-hundreds it was a wonderful experience for a boy to discover H. G. Wells.There you were, in a world of pedants, clergymen and golfers, with your future employers exhorting you to ‘get on or get out,’ your parents systematically warping your sexual life, and your dull-witted schoolmasters sniggering over their Latin tags…the generally accepted opinion was that if God had meant us to fly He would have given us wings.

Wells was born in 1866, when Victoria’s reign still had almost another 40 years to run.  Orwell was born two years into Edward’s, and the world could hardly have been more different, yet Orwell seamlessly equates H.G. Wells’s youth with his own.  For comparison, this is like someone of my generation (born roughly 1970) taking some Jazz Age relic as our guru.  It’s stuff like this that makes Orwell so hard to take seriously sometimes.

But he had a point for all that.  When you’re a teenager, everything your parents believe is wrong, because they’re your parents.  Teenagers in 1918, though, had a huge, obvious wrong to point at — if it were even possible for your parents to be right about something, they were certainly wrong about that, the War, the industrial meat grinder of the Western Front.  The pedants, clergymen and golfers of 1903 could’ve seen it coming — they didn’t.  They could’ve stopped it any time — they refused.  They still thought dying for King and Country dulce et decorum est, the old, fat bastards, safe across the water, even after an entire generation was wiped out fighting for…. whatever it was they were fighting for.

Orwell’s German equivalents were saying the same thing, for the same reasons.

And so were his American equivalents, when our cataclysm came.  It was the Second World War for us, not the First, but the social result was the same.  It even had the same root cause.  Here’s Orwell again:

There you were, in a world of pedants, clergymen and golfers, with your future employers exhorting you to ‘get on or get out,’ your parents systematically warping your sexual life

We forget this now — we’ve been well trained to forget it — but not least among Socialism’s many attractions was the sexual utopia that was to come when the workers seized the means of production.  “Common property” always seems to entail “common wives” — sorry, ladies, but it’s true.  The first thing any chiliastic socialist movement did was preach “free love,” going all the way back to Antiquity.  Every heresy from the birth of Christianity was accused of it; every sect in Cohn’s Pursuit of the Millennium did it; the so-called “Utopian Socialists” did it (e.g. Brook Farm); even the so-called “Scientific Socialists” did it, such that Marx and Engels were often asked to their faces if they meant all the means of production would be held in common.  It was even more open in the 20th century — it’s no accident, as Marxists frequently said, that contraception was the Socialists’ #1 public health issue.  Monogamy is counterrevolutionary, comrade.

Orwell used the language of science — “science” and “scientific,” “reason” and “reasonable” are plastered all over his essay on Wells, and indeed all over his writings.  (You’ll recall, for instance, that he contrasted Hitler’s worldview in Mein Kampf with “comfort, safety, short working-hours, hygiene, birth-control and, in general, common sense.”)  But for as much as all Leftists everywhere and everywhen talk about how much they Fucking Love Science (TM), we don’t even pretend to bother with it in The Current Year (which is one of the reason lots of people, even in Our Thing, regard Orwell as some kind of conservative).  These days, we’re all about our pwecious widdle feelings…

….which is why it’s no accident that the gospel of our just-missed-the-war generation, the so-called Silent Generation that were responsible for the worst excesses of “The Sixties,” was Herbert Marcuse’s Eros and Civilization.  Here again, we’ve forgotten — because we’ve been very well trained to forget — that until very, very recently, the Nazis’ besetting sin wasn’t “racism” (or, God help us, “prejudice”), or even “hate” — it was repression.  The Nazis were how they were because they were uptight about sex.

No, stop laughing, I’m serious.  My teaching days are over, I hate assigning homework, but y’all really need to go read this: “Apt Pupil,” by Stephen King.  It’s in a collection, and far be it from me to suggest that you should find a way to not give that greasy commie King a payday (like his idol Barack Obama says, at some point you’ve made enough money), but I’m sure you can find a way to get it.  I’m 100% serious here —  That’s how the Nazis were viewed by most Americans, well into the 1980s.  It’s sex, sex, sex.  King has (quite rightly) always been criticized for going to the gutter the way Democrats vote — early and often — and it’s never been more clearly displayed than here.  Hell, “getting overpowered by a Nazi” was a standard bedroom-fantasy joke well into my college years; “anal-retentive” was such a common bit of psychobabble that it was a standard joke on the late night yak shows.

Thus, the Sixties.  Just as “pedants, clergymen and golfers…systematically warping your sexual life” was to blame, in the minds of our intellectual vanguard, for the horrors of World War 1, so Auschwitz and all the rest could be laid at the feet of Adolf Eichmann’s Daddy spanking him too much, or not enough, while he was potty training.  Don’t take it from me, take it from Marcuse… or Dr. Spock.

From which follows the idea, foisted on my generation by parents who just know they would’ve ended the Vietnam War if they hadn’t been in junior high at the time (the Vietnam draft ended in 1973), that the answer to all society’s ills is more freedom, more permissiveness, more promiscuity, more “self-esteem.”  The Baby Boomers weren’t responsible for “The Sixties;” they were responsible for “The Seventies,” and look how that turned out.  The “Stonewall Riots” were in 1969, but the celebration of all things gay didn’t really get rolling until the mid-1970s, and Angels in America, the apotheosis of AIDS victims as the New Messiah, debuted in 1991 (Tony Kushner was born in 1956).  Obergefell was merely a valediction to a moment long past.

Which brings us to now, and — at long last — to the point.  The upcoming generation has nothing left to permit.  We’ve got “educators” preaching transgenderism to preschoolers.  Whatever promiscuity, deviance, and transgression can achieve, they have already achieved.  The constant stream of pro-miscegentation ads that assault us everywhere are one last, futile attempt to conjure up a new Final Frontier to be crossed, but it won’t work, because it can’t.  Ditto the attempted normalization of pedophilia, polygamy, and (soon enough) bestiality.  These barely rate a sigh on the outrage-o-meter.

Everyone knows it, too, in the same way everyone knows Communism doesn’t work.  There are still some true believers hanging on in Liberal Arts faculties, just as there are some true believers hanging on in the North Korean politburo, but all of them, the so-called Commies most certainly included, know in their hearts that “Communism” can’t work — it becomes, at best, a kind of virulent National Socialism, as no less a figure than Joe “socialism in one country” Stalin, or Mao “socialism with Chinese characteristics” Zedong acknowledged.  It took 100 years, but here we are, and even the American Left admits it — talking about improving the material lives of the US proletariat these days makes you a “rightwing extremist,” where it would’ve made you a hardcore Liberal just a generation ago.

By my calculations, then, this “more perversion solves everything” hypothesis has about a decade left to run, after which… well, I dunno, but I’ve often said “today’s SJW is tomorrow’s obergruppenfuhrer,” and this is part of the reason why.  You may also have noticed — as Our Betters, the Liberals, ostentatiously haven’t — that the Brown People they’re so furiously importing are ludicrously misogynistic, patriarchal, and homophobic.  Tony Kushner — just to stick with a theme — had better hope American gays really can fly; as he’s Jewish, too, he’ll be among the first our new overlords throw off the nearest 10 story roof.

If we make it that long, it’ll be interesting, to say the least.  Schadenfreude is an ugly emotion, my friends, but it might well end up being the only entertainment we have in the reeducation camps….

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9 thoughts on “Thoughts on Generations

  1. MBlanc46

    Interesting take on Boomers and “the Sixties”. We’re often blamed for the rot that set in then, and we certainly played our part, and I’ll step up and take my share of the blame. But we weren’t the fomenters of the rebellion, we were their followers. The people who did the instigating—Leary, Kesey, the Beats, Hayden, Hoffman and Rubin—were born in the 1920s and 1930s.

  2. WOPR

    Bruce Bawer, who lives in Norway, is one of those guys. A homosexual suddenly shocked that the society that openly allows homosexuality is incapable of reproducing and is unable to stand up to Islam. It’s shocking that an overly permissive society is also a decadent and declining society. But, guys like Bawer can’t seem to figure that out because it means their entire lifestyle is, to use the phrase, problematic.

    MBlanc46, I agree that the Boomers weren’t the leaders of the 60’s revolution. The problem is they definitely like to take credit for it. Plus, they can’t shut-up about it. I’m an early Gen-Xer. Just old enough to see the trash that was the 70’s and to be thankful to have grown up in the 80’s, with multitude of problems, for the last hurrah of America as it used to be.

    1. P_Ang

      I think the “can’t shut up about it” is what really gets to me. I’m back to working in a call center, and I had a call the other day from a man that said “my husband” at least fifty times during the conversation. If I counted every call with married women saying “my husband” they wouldn’t reach that number in a week. It’s done for shock value as well as to impress upon the listener their “incredibly high worth” in identity politics. As GAY!! white males fall in value below the political value of GAY!! BLACK!! FEMALES!! they only become louder. Not only does their party demand it, but their falling “worth” only increases their desperation.
      Then of course the conversation will eventually end up with “what I do in my bedroom is no business of government/yours/etc,” at which point they’ve just destroyed the validity of “not shutting up about it.”

    2. Severian

      There it is, and that explains the whole “slacker” thing — kids are supposed to rebel against their parents’ values, but for the Boomers, “rebelling against your parents’ values” WAS their values.* We wanted to do sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll, too, but our parents just wouldn’t shut up about Woodstock, so we had to be all, you know, like, whatever about it. It also explains Gen X’s chronically low self-esteem — these guys thought Bob Dylan was a poet and Andy Warhol an artist…. or was it the other way around?… well, whatever, all we could manage was “Woodstock ’94,” where nobody was having (consensual) sex and the water and sanitation situation, though fully as dire as the original, also cost $9 per person. Try going 0-for-3 against people who thought “They Call Me Mellow Yellow (Quite Rightly!)” was a deep and meaningful tune — you’d have low self-esteem, too. 🙂

      Obviously I’m exaggerating quite a bit, and certainly not the whole group was like that (my parents were practically Ward and June Cleaver), but enough of the most obnoxious ones were. It’s where my generation (again, exaggerating for effect) learned that hypocrisy is the worst sin, so if you’re never sincere — if nobody can figure out just what you’re actually trying to do or say — you’ll never end up a hypocrite.

      Long story short, I guess, is that when you tell your kids “don’t do drugs!” and they come back with “but you did drugs when you were my age,” the proper response — which neither Boomer nor Gen X parents ever managed, for fear of hypocrisy — is “yeah, I did, and that’s why I’m telling you not to do it.”

      *Only the obnoxious ones, MBlanc46 — no offense meant to you.

      1. Ryan

        Fun conversation my buddy and I had back probably my junior year of college. He says “Ryan, do you like drugs?” My response was “yeah, drugs, am a fan.” “Well if you like drugs, you will LOVE cocaine, so you might want to stay away from it.” Made a lot of sense. A couple years later he was a crack dealer. Really cemented the logic.

      2. WOPR

        I never thought of it that way before, but it makes sense. What are you supposed to rebel against when the previous generation threw everything out the window? What moral authority does the previous generation have when they refuse to even admit that their rebellion before was horribly wrong? No contrition, but they celebrate it. So, GenX says “Screw it, we’ll do it all and we don’t care.” (BTW, my parents were like yours and my mother described me as boring. So, I’m not some GenX cynic.)

        Something that goes along with what you said is when I was a senior in HS, the school decided everyone should sign a pledge to not do drugs and alcohol on school grounds. It even had one of those horrible acronyms. The senior class participation rate was so bad that the principal came to lecture us. Someone asked if we were allowed to do those things now on schools grounds? No. Then what was the point of signing the paper. That ended the lecture.

        You’ve had far more experience with them than me, but Millennials strike me as extremely docile. Even their protests really only happen with permission. It’s almost Asian. Asian schooling without a competent math or science focus. But drones turned out who think what they are told.

    3. Rod1963

      Bawer’s people got the society they wanted, except they didn’t count the cost.

      Chesterton wrote to the effect that if you change something in society you better know why it was put there to begin with.

      When Western society tore down it’s traditional values and behavioral norms , they also destroyed their ability to differentiate right from wrong, good people from bad people. These were our filters on the world that kept the West intact for over millennia.

      And when we torn down these constraints and values we lost the ability to stand up to or even criticize Islam, the destruction of our society by outsiders, we lost the ability to simply state there are only two sexes and that men are not the same as women. In essence we lost the ability to differentiate good from evil. And reflected in pretty much everything our society expresses itself in from art, music, architecture, literature. We’ve been turning out shit in these areas since the 60’s and it’s only gotten progressively worse.

      The worst of it, is that we created a society not worth fighting for.

  3. Ryan

    I don’t know Sev, you seem a bit overly optimistic. You really think that in some future iteration of The Current Year (TM) you won’t get called a hateful bigot for not wanting a pederast dating your 12 year old? “Did you say pederast? That’s hate speech!” I hope you’re right, of course.

  4. Steve Worboys

    It’s important to remember that many ‘Boomers’ who went to college did so only to avoid the draft. Colleges expanded their offerings in soft subjects – and took a more permissive attitude toward eligibility – at this time. A class rift was created – by national policy – within the boomer generation, that has grown into the cloud people / dirt people fiasco we now enjoy.

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