Generational Struggle

The last few weeks I have watched the Occupy movement maligned by the news media. What disturbed me more was the silent indifference of my Baby Boomer friends reaction to the fascist stormtroopers tactics used by the police on these young peaceful protesters. The following is written by James Quinn who has given a lot of thought about the different generational reactions to current events. (Joe)

“The last six weeks has started to crystallize my thinking.
I’ve been fascinated by the intense reactions, opinions and arguments
that have taken place across the airwaves and internet regarding the
true nature of the Occupy movement. Some of the reaction is based upon
pure ideological grounds, with media outlets like Fox News, the Wall
Street Journal, NY Post and CNBC, disparaging, ridiculing and demeaning
the movement. The anti-rich tone of the protests may not sit well with
the multi-billionaire owners (Rupert Murdoch, Mort Zuckerman, Roberts
Family) of these mega-media corporations. The liberal media such as
MSNBC, Huffington Post, and CNN have sometimes been fawning over the
movement in an effort to co-opt it into liberal Tea Party for the
benefit of Obama and the Democratic Party. The propaganda and
misinformation coming from both these ideological camps is easy to
discern for a critical thinking person. Sadly, the nation is filled with
people that don’t want to think. Therefore, they let their opinions be
formed by talking heads on a TV screen.

These reactions were predictable. What caught my attention was the
generational reaction to Occupy Wall Street. I know all the rugged
individualists out there chafe at being lumped into a generational
cohort, but the fact remains that groups of people born during the same
time frame encounter key historical events and social trends while
occupying the same phase of life. Because members of a generation are
molded in lasting ways by the eras they encounter as children and young
adults, they also tend to share certain common beliefs and behaviors.
Aware of the experiences and traits that they share with their peers,
members of a generation also tend to share a sense of common perceived
membership in that generation. To deny the reality that large clusters
of human beings tend to act with a herd mentality is contrary to all
visible evidence. The herd mentality can be observed in the Dot-com
bubble, Americans unquestioningly allowing passage of the Patriot Act,
the housing bubble, the mass hysteria over the latest iSomething, Black
Friday riots at retail stores to obtain the “hottest” toy or gadget, and
the slaves to the latest fashions and trends as directed by the
corporate media machine. The masses don’t realize they are being
manipulated by the few who understand the power of propaganda:

The Occupy movement is being driven by the Millennial Generation. They
have used their superior technological and social networking skills to
organize, educate, and inspire people to their cause while befuddling
and confusing the authorities. They continue to rally more young people
to their fight against Wall Street and K Street tyranny. The
generational lines of battle are being drawn. The Baby Boom Generation,
who is at the point of maximum power in society, fears this movement.
They control Wall Street, corporate America, Congress, the courts,
academia and the media. They have reached their peak of influence and
power, which will rapidly wane over the next fifteen years. They see the
Occupy movement as a threat to their supremacy and control of the
system. The cynical, alienated, pragmatic Generation X is caught between
the Boomers and the Millennial in this escalating conflict. It is
likely the majority of this generation will side with the Millennial,
realizing the future of the country depends on them and not the elderly
Boomers. To clarify, not every Boomer, Gen Xer, or Millennial will act in
concert with their generational cohort. But it doesn’t matter if a few
cattle stray from the herd, when the herd is stampeding in one

After observing the reactions to the OWS movement over the last few
weeks, I’m more convinced than ever that different generations view the
same event through the prism of their own life experiences, beliefs,
prejudices, and biases. I’ve found the Baby Boomers have generally been
doubtful of the protestors’ motives, condescending towards their
intelligence, scornful about their appearance, and derogatory regarding
their flaunting of authority. This is fascinating considering that
Boomers love to reminisce about their glory days protesting the Vietnam
War. The Boomer generation was at this same age configuration in 1970.
Their GI Generation parents probably had the same opinions about the
long haired, drug using, sex crazed youthful Boomers in 1970. Now the
Boomers are the establishment and they don’t like seeing their authority
challenged by these naïve troublemakers.

“Unjust laws exist: shall we be
content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them
until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?” –
 Henry David Thoreau

I fear the Boomer Generation,
through their intransigence and refusal to proactively address our
structural problems, have set in motion a revolutionary chain of events
that will lead to class warfare and possibly civil war in this country.

After placing the living generations in their assigned age buckets, I
was shocked to see the Millenials being, by far, the largest
generation. I had assumed it was the Baby Boom Generation. At their peak
in 1970 they totaled 76 million and made up 37% of the U.S. population.
But, time has not treated them well. Approximately 3 million have left
this earth and they only make up 24% of the population. Both Gen X and
the Millenials now outnumber the Baby Boomers. They will continue to see
their power wane as the years roll by.

The Millenials were raised by parents who believed government could
solve all our problems. The welfare-warfare state became monolithic
during the Boomer reign of error. Therefore, it is understandable these
young naïve revolutionaries still cling to the belief the government can
solve our problems through more taxes or new programs. The point being
missed by all the doubters and detractors of the OWS movement is these
young people have zeroed in on the right culprits. They are not stupid.
They understand these basic facts:

  • The $15 trillion National Debt, headed to $20 trillion by 2015, is the gift we are leaving to the Millenials.
  • The $100 trillion of unfunded entitlement liabilities will never be honored by the time the Millenials retire.
  • The Millenials know the $1 trillion per year spent maintaining our
    military empire is more than the next 18 countries’ spending combined,
    and it benefits only the corporations peddling armaments, while making
    us less safe.
  • The soldiers getting killed and wounded in our wars of choice in the Middle East are predominantly Millenials.
  • There are 14,000 professional lobbyists in Washington D.C.
    representing mega-corporations, unions, trade groups and other special
    interests, which have doled out $30 billion over the last decade
    influencing (bribing) politicians to write the laws in their favor, and
    not one lobbyist was working for the Millenials.
  • Millenials know Wall Street has spent $154 million on political
    contributions and $383 million on lobbying in the last decade. The
    buying of political influence by our bastions of crony capitalism was as
    follows: Goldman Sachs – $46 million; Merrill Lynch – $68 million;
    Citigroup – $108 million; J.P. Morgan Chase – $65 million; Bank of
    America – $39 million.
  • The Millenials know the 71,000 page Federal tax code and 140,000
    pages of Federal regulations are written to protect the interests of the
    few, not the many.
  • Millenials know the financial industry consciously created products
    designed to induce mortgage fraud, knowingly packaged toxic mortgages
    into derivatives, bribed the rating agencies to rate them AAA, sold
    these worthless instruments to their customers, shorted these same
    derivatives, and pocketed billions in fees and ill gotten gains. After
    blowing up the financial system and costing taxpayers trillions, not one
    person has gone to jail.
  • Millenials know how to read a chart:


  • Millenials know that Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are the same face
    of a never changing oligarchy. Change brought about through opposing
    political parties and elections has been rendered obsolete as the
    oligarchy chooses the candidates, uses their wealth to create policies
    and programs, and is able to control the masses with their propaganda
    message machines.

“Of all today’s generations, theMillenials probably have the most at stake in the coming Crisis. If it

ends badly, they would bear the full burden of its consequences
throughout their adult lives. Yet if the Crisis ends well, Millenials
will gain a triumphant reputation for virtue, valor and competence.” –
Strauss & Howe

Leave a Reply