My Back Pages: Debating on the step of Sproul Hall, UC Berkeley, 1966. (Left to right:) Me (Somewhat younger but just as strident), An Iranian friend named "Jaz" -- worked with me in the UC library, a refugee from the Shah's Iran -- probably went back after the fall of the Shah, (foreground right)"The Anti-Communist." He lost his eye in the Hungarian Uprising and had to run for the border and on into the West to stay alive. In this picture he's attempting to convince me that Communism is an evil ideology. I'm not buying it then, but I buy it now.
Lately Americans seem to be slimming on a daily drip-feed of despair for our future and estrangement from our past. It's not a new diet in this country, but it is starting to assume the proportions of a runaway fad diet, a political Pritikins. This thin gruel is what's being poured into us from Seattle, Washington to Washington, D.C.
If you look closely at this diet for a diminished America you see a familiar list of "ingredients." The list is composed of the ideological stock and trade of a significant segment of Americans to whom this nation, as conceived by our founders, and struggled for for more than 200 years is merely one long, large joke; the Baby Boomers.
And I should know. After all, that boy in the picture up there -- that boy that thought Communism was "something we could live with" -- that young boy was me.
In my small way, I took part in the crafting of The Boomers’ Big Joke on America. For years I thought there was nothing funnier. Conceived during the waning months of World War II, I had no idea I was a Baby Boomer, but that, in the end, was what I was. And being a member of this large and fortunate generation gave me the leisure to develop quite a sense of humor when it came to basic human values. It even gave one woman of my cohort, Stanley Ann Dunham, the opportunity to actually conceive the punch line to our joke, her emasculate conception, the current clone passing as “President.”
When I was a student at the University of California at Berkeley in the late 1960s, we were the Brave New World's social engineers driving our little red choo-choo round the bend. We were the innovators, and we were busy innovating the brave new world wherein everything about the old world of our parents seemed either hilarious or evil.
Our program was quite clear early on and it hasn't changed a jot since those years, it has simply gotten more pervasive and elaborate. After all, we're older now and we're in control. We can finally fund these things. With your money.
Here’s how things went in our Brave New Whirled:
And we were very, very stupid for college kids. Check that. We were stupid because we were college kids.
Many of the most committed of us, decades later, are still in college and even dumber. We're professors now and our ability to be dumb has never been deeper.
Others of us are well ensconced in the various parts of what passes for the media. We are there with a lot of others just like us and, even if we thought differently, we'd never say it for fear of losing regard, position, grants, or promotion. Besides, we've been around others who think like us for so long its no problem at all to top up the latte and nod in blind agreement like the drinking bird bobbing over the glass.
Nope, we never sold out. We bought in.
But we kept the Che poster pinned up forever in our hearts right above the Pier One batik bedspread.
And now, we've arrived at our rendezvous with history.
In our aging but fitness-crazed hearts, we hate what we've become and, like any good group of neurotics, we transfer that hate to the country that gave us everything including the Long Peace in which to enjoy it.
We're the first in line to bitch and moan and hate a country that makes our freedom possible. More than that we're also in love with the privilege, comfort, money and safety that makes it possible for us to mouth off without limit.
And finally, we're coming to understand that we are not our parents' generation. We're "The Not-So-Great" Generation, and, like our president, deep down we're cowards.
We say we're 'afraid' of losing our cherished 'freedom' to the jackbooted legions of Conservative Brownshirts that might stifle our dissent from every street corner. That's really what a lot of us think. That's really just how bull-goose looney we've become.
We're so afraid that we can't look at what scares us but instead pull the covers over our head and dream of the ChristerBoogeymen.
Why? Because they're an illusion. They are not really scary at all. Why? Because they are all "just pretend," and we know it. What many of us simply cannot face is the real terror of the times, Terror.
We're really afraid of the wrath of those who, unlike those of us who believe in nothing, believe in something so deeply that they'll kill us for it and die doing it.
We fear their bomb in their baby’s carriage really is wired to the radio. We fear their teenager in the Army sweatshirt with three pounds of C4 wrapped inside of two pounds of ball bearings will be showing up at the Mall for a Big Mac Attack.
Then there’s the ever-popular Muslim-American who decides one afternoon to park his Jeep on top of as many of our kids as he can find in a group.
Hey, check out that guy who slipped past the TSA career sociopath who was patting down the nun and is now sitting next to the window at 36,000 feet with fuses coming out of his Nikes and a t-shirt on that says, "Just Do It." Then walk a mile in the Tevas of the Gay Imam with a plan who is so tense that he decides to walk into downtown San Bernardino and unwind with a small shooting spree.
All these realities disturb our dreams and threaten to pull the covers off our heads. We want to elect that booth-tanned, soothing daddy-cool to smarm us to sleep; to tell us for the umpteenth time how we “inspire him.”
As a result, we like the slogans, books, movies, TV shows, politicians and publications that confirm for us the deep liberal dream that -- if we are just understanding enough, long enough, apologize for living enough, and offer enough in the way of bribes -- the oppressed of the world will come to love us... and then just leave us alone.
Like the French, we believe that by selling off our ideals we'll receive, in return, peace and cheap vacation rentals in France and Greece for the rest of our lives. Like the French, a lot of us believe that by just being nice we'll be left alone to wallow in our prosperity. Like the French, we've come to believe that there's nothing in war for us except "teenagers with bombs." Like all those European morons it seems we’ve come to believe that all we have to do is to leave the war for the war to leave us.
Like I said, people of my 60s generation are very, very dumb.
And, it would seem, we've now bred children who are even dumber than we are. We are now, as far as dumb liberalism is concerned, deep into the third generation of the soul dead and the dumb, and it's clear that not a lot of us are coming around soon enough to avoid another massacre on American soil. To paraphrase a slogan about working with heavy machinery, "You get stupid around terrorism and it'll hurt you real quick and real bad."
We're so stupid we've even started to believe "It can't happen here" after it already has. "9/11? Just a one-off. Chillax. Never again. Forget about it."
How can we get off on being "stuck on stupid" when it comes to this First Terrorist War? How can we prevent another"9/11," "4/20," "5/14," "7/4," "12/25"? Pick a number, any number, there are 365 to choose from. But before that we might want to consider, seriously and carefully, taking some measures which are not merely careful campaigns to 'bring the fruits of democracy,' but things that fall, instead, under the general heading of "Draconian." A modest beginning in this regard would be to convince many members of my baby-boom generation to simply shut up, eat their tofu, and feel their testosterone ebb down to zero.
You don't have to look very far to see that while the dumb teenager might be the Terrorist's first choice when it comes to delivery vehicles, that teenager isn't the one setting the timer, choosing the target, or buying the bomb. That sort of thing is left to the "leadership" which is far too valuable to expend itself on direct attacks. Their leadership is still, thanks to our ever softening policies towards terror, very much in business.
Nor do you have to look very far to understand what the goals of that leadership are. You are told what they are in sermon after sermon throughout the Muslim world week after week. But those of my generation who are still mired in the ideological foolishness of their youth cannot hear these words and, even if they did, would not believe them.
My generation springs from a culture where words seldom have any consequences as long as you choose the right ones. Because of this words don't seem like weapons to us. Words, to my generation, are merely poses at cocktail parties at best, the latest glib lyrics of some pot-drenched rock idol who believes that having a hundred voice choir screech out “Don’t be raaaaacist” is the latest iteration of cool, until the new, cooler president steps forward and administers another slap of pap to the brain -- “Don’t be raaaaacist about me.”
Just because you bring the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan and declare "a famous victory" does not mean the war is over. You’ve just made it easier for your enemies to fight you at home. The Terrorist War scares my generation more deeply than teenager bombs in Tel Aviv put the fear into the Israelis. The Terrorist War is something that is in earnest and it is something that will not go away. What scares them the most about it all is that the conflict, at its deepest core, is actually about something my generation understands only as one of the great standing jokes of our youth: Religion.
You see most of my Boomer "people" don't really get religion unless it comes with a lot of New Age claptrap or a hefty dose of Zen. Pure Christianity or Orthodox Judaism or Islam is far, far outside our ken.
Where previous generations could write, as late as 1927, the sentiments found in the Desiderata:
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
You are a fluke of the Universe. You have no right to be here, and whether you can hear it or not, The Universe is laughing behind your back. Therefore make peace with your God whatever you conceive him to be, Hairy Thunderer or Cosmic Muffin.With all its hopes, dreams, promises and urban renewal, The world continues to deteriorate. Give up.
And for a time we did.
But when you get a little further down the road and look back, if you have learned anything at all, you'll have learned to cherish the sentiment of the Desiderata and despise the mocking nothingness in the Deteriorata. The latter holds not 'words to live by,' but 'words to die by.'
Today my generation, being eternally drenched in a mindless nostalgia for its weird youth, refuses to learn that. It believes that the cool answer to the great crisis which has been brought to us in the last ten years is to make a sign that says "I heart New York more without the twin towers," parade about in the streets and, when confronted with the death of your fellow citizens, to stand firmly in solidarity with the sheep of Europe and the cringing coward at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and say, "We give up."
When I look at the spectacle that my Boomer generation has made of itself, a generation that had everything going for it, that had every opportunity, and instead came up with Caramel Soy Lattes and the slogan "ReElect Obama in 2012. He’s too black to fail!” all I can say is:
"I resign the Revolution. I'm joining the Resistance.Posted by gerardvanderleun at January 30, 2016 9:24 PM