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The Greatest Generation And Their Kids – The Baby Boomers
The Greatest Generation
Greatest Generation, often referred to as "World War II", people were born about 15-40 years before WW II (1940), that is, between 1900 and 1925. The first years of that period saw a great flood of impoverished immigrants from Europe, but soon economic conditions were not at all conducive to having and raising children, and birth rates dropped dramatically. Thus, this group's numbers were not all that great, they delayed having children, and they were mostly...
between 0 and 16 in 1916 - at the height of the First World War,
between 1 and 17 in 1917 - at the height of the Bolshevik Revolution,
between 2 and 18 in 1918 - at the height of the Spanish Flu Pandemic,
between 8 and 33 in 1933 - at the height of the Great Depression,
between 10 and 35 in 1935 - at the height of the Great Plains Dust Bowl,
between 18 and 43 in 1943 - at the height of the Second World War,
between 21 and 46 in 1946 - when the first of their huge baby flood was born,
between 27 and 52 in 1952 - at the height of the Korean War, and
between 40 and 65 in 1965 - when the first of their post-war kids reached age 19.
The Greatest Generation began running the show in 1955, between the ages of 30 and 55.
The Greatest Generation began stepping aside in 1970, between the ages of 45 and 70.
Jack Kennedy, John Glenn, Ronald Reagan, were Greatest Generation people. (Some came out of retirement to lend a hand.)
Welcomed to American life by the Galveston Hurricane (1900) and the San Francisco Earthquake (1906), these people spent the entire first half of their lives helplessly driven from one great history-making calamity after another. The destruction, death, fear, suffering and misery was relentless, and all on a truly grand scale. While they were growing up, those who survived got by with the radio, the telephone, street cars and trains, and almost nothing else. After the Second World War this generation worked feverishly to build contemporary America – dedicated to giving their kids all they had been denied and more, literally whatever the kids wanted or could want. Even the awful war in Korea did not deter them; they knew they were rapidly running out of time to finally get down to the business of living.
As their children were born, so were their children's toys, plus a whole bunch of really useful brand-new stuff like refrigerators, dish washers, air conditioning, televisions, affordable personal cars, highways and airlines to everywhere. Hi-fi and stereo, fast-food drive-ins, wide-screen movies, shopping malls, cheaper mass-produced clothing, nuclear energy, automatic transmissions, wash-and-wear plus washers and dryers, too. This generation seemed unable to stop coming up almost daily with wonderful new inventions, incredible new ingenuity and solid new thinking and planning - all designed to make life a thousand times better for their kids than they had experienced.
The transistor, computers, carbon dating, organ transplants and DNA. The great bonanza to medicine, sociology, psychology that came from thousands of super-low-cost scientific studies on millions of captive GIs from all walks of life. Edward R. Morrow, Chekov's "The Cherry Orchard", Miller's "Death Of A Salesman", Toscanini's NBC Symphony Orchestra - on live prime-time broadcast TV. Atticus Finch.
The March Of Dimes and Jonas Salk's Great Gamble - that finally cured polio (infantile paralysis), with no government help, causing a nation of parents to weep with thanks. They traversed the Arctic via the North Pole - under the ice - while sailing the nuclear-powered USS Nautilus from Alaska to Greenland, turned a huge swampy peninsula into a Florida wonderland, the Great Plains into the world's Breadbasket, a hot and dusty dry southern California into the most bountiful irrigated citrus heaven on the planet, both Hawaii and Alaska into new American states. They even came up with a way, for the first time in history, for many millions of average workers to own a detached home in the clean, fresh air of the suburbs with picket fences, comfortable schools and safe playgrounds - and escape the hot, stuffy, often suffocating tiny city tenement apartments.
This was "The '50s" that were later so much maligned by a half century of relentless feminist propaganda - the first period of sustained stability that the rapidly aging Greatest generation had ever known. These people created - on their own and with mutually supportive roles - the greatest economic boom in human history - with the most solid real foundation imaginable. Almost everything around them was brand new, and they learned how to make use of it all right along with their spoiled kids. It seemed as if every day was Christmas morning, in bright "living" color.
Ever fearful that it all could be suddenly yanked away again, they worked with an almost fanatical dedication to getting everything solidly in place before they took their leave. Most of their great accomplishments, including defeating global nazism/fascism and building the monumentally huge continental interstate highway system, have been very well documented elsewhere. Among the final acts of this generation were passage of all the great civil rights legislation, taking mankind to the Moon, ending the Draft, transplanting human hearts, greatly expanding higher education, keeping the nation safe, managing continuous steady economic growth based on genius invention, real manufacturing, tough competition and very smart investment, winning the global "Cold" War over soviet communism and establishing the US as the world's economic and military super-power.
The Greatest Generation made the 20th Century - "America's Century" - and secured their exalted place in world history for at least the next millennium.
Note: Birth rates during the Great Depression era were very low and remained low until the end of the Second World War. The quite small number of people born before the end of WW II, like Martin Luther King (1929), Clint Eastwood (1930), Colin Powell (1937), Tom Brokaw (1940), Leslie Stahl (1941) and the Korean War (1950-53) veterans, with no real generation identity of their own, thus became "bridgers" between the Greatest Generation and their Baby Boomer children. These people, older teenagers and the youngest workers of the '50s often referred to as the "Silent Generation", knew and understood both those before them and those after them, but drew their values mostly from their older World War II generation.
The Baby Boomers
Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1965, and their numbers were really huge. They were...
between 0 and 9 in 1955 - in the middle of that 'long epoch' called "The '50s",
between 0 and 19 in 1965 – when the Vietnam "conflict" became a "war",
between 5 and 24 in 1970 - when the Vietnam War, Draft and civil rights movements peaked, and
between 10 and 30 in 1975 – when the Draft ended and college enrollment exploded.
Baby Boomers began running the show by 1985, between the ages of 20 and 40.
Baby Boomers, with significantly longer life spans, began stepping aside in 2007, between 40 and 62.
Bill "Slick Willy" Clinton, George Bush Junior, Nancy Botox Pelosi, the "feminists", are Baby Boomers.
With no government and commercial programs to assist their WW II parents, and thanks mostly to their mothers, the Baby Boomers were the healthiest, safest and best educated kids in the history of humanity. Thanks mostly to their fathers, their futures in a vibrant exploding America were unlimited.
Then the kids literally exploded on the scene during the late-1960s -- with their Great Temper Tantrum. Above all, they rejected everything their parents stood for, including their parents' overwhelming sense of responsibility. To those who understand how history works, it was the standard denigration by pathetic people of those whose achievements they could never match; if the standards are too high, destroy those who set them (or cheat, steal, copy, lie). The Boomers assumed that all that tremendous bounty everywhere around them was a gift from God, a "natural birthright" which they could claim and milk and exploit for as long as they wished.
After violently trashing America's streets, their leftist ringleaders fled to America's campuses, where tenure allowed them to censor history unchallenged in their favor while preaching their philosophy of self-involved stagnation on "someone else's" dime to the next two generations. The favorite Baby Boomer pastime has been to deride their Greatest Generation parents, and especially that brief decade known as the "50s" (while ignoring the still-unresolved Korean War) -- forever trying to rewrite history so as to make themselves seem less pathetic. Yet the one key common denominator about the Baby Boomers that stands out above all others is "self-involvement" (followed by greed). "Tomorrow will take care of itself." This childishly naive assumption naturally applies to their responsibility for their kids' and the nation's future.
Because they were so enormously spoiled, their chief forms of expressions have remained the endless whine and the most inane of never-resolved childish arguments. They are incredibly dedicated to the study of their own glorious navels while engaging mostly in the very cheapest form of human endeavor - petty chatter. Only a very tiny few of them ever actually do anything. Almost all of their "innovations" have been the consequence of tweaking around on the edges of the truly brilliant invention, innovation and leadership of their parents and grandparents. For example, the Boomers are constantly pointing to the now-ubiquitous cell phone as an example of their own "innovation". The cell phone was actually developed by Finns at Nokia, as a competitive response to the lame Motorola "beeper". The Finns took the American walkie-talkie -- that portable radio device developed for American G.I.s during World War II (1940) -- and made it smaller. Then they, and everyone else on the planet, went running around planting these huge ugly radio relay towers all over the landscape to give the now smaller walkie-talkie greater range. The human genome is another example. I studied the double helix DNA in school in 1960 - a half century ago; it took the Boomers that long to figure it out. The Greatest Generation was also responsible for such things as computer chips, personal computers, internet communications, GPS, space travel, etc.. Today almost everything we call "American innovation", mostly in the toys arena but also in the defense arena, comes directly from recent immigrants who studied the basics abroad and then came to do advanced research at top American universities; our own day care center schools can no longer measure up to what is required.
And yet the Boomers, especially their oracles pontificating from their very safe and tenure-secure socialist campus temples, never cease rewriting history to downgrade the past and glorify their own "accomplishments". Just occupying a particular space in time now seems sufficient to assure one's place in "history", regardless of anything actually done to attain that space, or done or not done while in that space.
While the men continuously ceded ground on all fronts except making money, among the accomplishments of Baby Boomer "feminists" was taking advantage of all civil rights legislation enacted by their fathers -- to champion "Me" and "Now" forever,
…. followed by…
their whole generation's total failure in the face of entirely predictable domestic disasters;
incessantly dumbing down standards everywhere in the interest of delusional "self-worth";
inadequately educating their young about everything;
pretending that boys and girls are exactly the same in order to hide the dismal failure of boys in schools designed for girls;
replacing sound logical thinking and analysis with mushy self-serving emotionalism;
forcing Social Security and Medicare irresponsibly to the brink of collapse, and beyond, crushing all future generations;
making the nation ever more dependent on foreign energy, money, educated minds, researchers and industry;
constructing a vast insidious "Fifth Estate" system of oppressive self-serving politically correct censorship;
revering and even rewarding mindless process rather than appropriately judging the pathetic results;
neglecting the nation's once-greatest and now ignominiously deteriorating infrastructure;
memorizing all the "right" answers on the tests, without learning how to think, to analyze, to extrapolate;
incessantly "marketing" to morons an endless list of really stupid products, services and ideas they don't need or want;
outsourcing all the hard stuff to "someone else" while whining ever louder about what little is actually left;
becoming the world's "economic engine" through their insatiable materialistic consumerism dedicated to shipping the nation's wealth overseas;
making Big Daddy Government their biggest, most secure and most self-serving growth industry;
replacing actual reality with virtual reality, drug-induced reality, delusional reality and vicarious self-worth;
failing abysmally to provide affordable decent health care equitably to all the nation's citizens;
incredibly massive wasting and mismanagement of the nation's most fundamental resources - water and forests;
importing many tens of millions of Third World immigrants and their babies needed just to keep society viable;
demonstrating complete incompetence and irresponsibility in managing their own capitalist financial system;
mass fascination with the most inane of "entertainment" appealing only to the lowest possible common denominator;
passing their truly gargantuan debts on to crush the next two or three, or more, generations;
focusing on the ever more micro without understanding the macro, while doggedly seeking only the short-cuts, quick fixes and easy answers;
expecting their hired military "troops" to solve all of their and the world's "problems" - in the name of royal "we";
allowing politicians to create a humongous Privileged Class of over-paid, under-worked and enormously rewarded bureaucrats, which includes the many millions in the mostly useless and union-protected "education" industry;
making the nation's higher education and research structures ever more dependent on importing annually hundreds of thousands of foreign-educated students in math and the physical sciences to maintain "our" competitiveness;
electing a long string of mediocre politicians at all levels who are direct mirrors of themselves and who promise to hand voters whatever they want for themselves at this moment in time (naturally, by taking it from "someone else");
All in all, not an especially auspicious legacy so far. The most important area where this generation is far ahead of everyone else is "marketing", the socially acceptable term for "propaganda" these days, and the one thing they market best of all is Bullshit About "Us". Even with all their advanced technology, Baby Boomers excel most at watching problems develop and grow, while doing absolutely nothing to mitigate them. Apparently they positively love to have entirely predictable but somehow "unforeseen" problems suddenly jump up and slap them really hard in the face. The child's delight at surprise... "It makes 'life' 'interesting'!"
Rational thinking seems inversely proportional to the advance of technology. "What does the computer "say"?"
"We are the greatest!" -- even if no one can think of a single thing "we" have actually accomplished in the world since the 1960s that's actually worthy of that label. (On the other hand, our humongous size enormously magnifies the long and growing list of negatives.)
All "we" did was create the "Age Of Someone Else" -- for that mysterious myth responsible for all the hard stuff that "we" don't want to fool with.
The totally inconsequential Baby Boomers literally vanish in the giant shadow of their parents -- a whole generation of spoiled losers who have accomplished absolutely nothing except piss away what they were handed by their parents. They have managed to "accomplish" the heretofore impossible - creating an entirely fake "society" that is over 75% delusion, based almost entirely on little more than thin air from the distant past. Still, these self-involved people can't wait to actually clone themselves! Just what is a fake of a fake anyway?
In our fervent hope that the children of the Boomers will reject the values of their parents as totally as the Boomers rejected the values of their parents (although with far less violence, please) – are we hoping for better, only to get worse?
Sometimes I get really, really scared….. by "us".
US population (in 25 year increments):
1915 -- 100,000,000
1940 -- 130,000,000
1965 -- 194,000,000
1990 -- 247,000,000
The Depression-era birth rate between 1931 and 1937 was the lowest of that century, bottoming out in 1933.
The post-War birth rate between 1947 and 1966 was the highest in US history; peak years were 1950, 1957 and 1961. That baby boom created the biggest and most solid economic boom in American history. Even though they could have rested on the staggering accomplishments of their own youth, the Greatest Generation more than adequately paid for themselves for the rest of their lives. Theirs was the most self-made and self-supported generation in American history.
(The WW I and Bolshevik Revolution year of 1918 saw a net decline of 60,000 in the US population, the only year that happened.)
Real economic growth is dependent on population growth.
Robert J. Lavin, US Regular Army (ret)
Lakeside, Montana 12 January 2009
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