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The Trombone ForumPractice BreakChit-ChatPurely Politics(Moderators: bhcordova, RedHotMama, BFW) A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America
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« on: Mar 08, 2017, 10:53AM »

An interesting take on causes behind why our culture really slowed in advancement, coming from the culture that had such a powerful middle class that worked together, and really advanced tech on a large scope to get us to the moon and beyond... to a culture that has really turned inward to focus on "me me me" even if it comes at a great expense to others.

I've been noticing the same basic thing for a couple decades now, but the author really flushes it out to a very detailed level.

http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2017/03/08/bruce-gibney-sociopaths-baby-boomers

Couple excerpts of discussion:

On why he thinks the baby boomers are uninterested in preparing for future generations

"One of the key indicators for sociopathy is a lack of empathy. So you just don't care for people other than yourselves. So in the case of Social Security, the Social Security Administration projects the trust fund will be depleted in 2034, but by 2034 the median boomer will be dead. And the same sort of dynamic applies to the national debt, which will reach crisis levels in next 20 years. And the same logic applies to or lack thereof applies to climate, which is a problem whose most significant impacts are expected from the late 2030s on, but any cost of remediation must be borne today and would therefore imperil the entitlements budget. So, they're deeply focused on maximizing consumption now without regard to problems that are going to be postmortem."

On factors that may have influenced baby boomers' behavior

"They were the first generation to be raised permissively. Dr. Spock's book came out in 1946. So did the first mass-produced television from RCA, and the boomers are extremely high consumers of TV. There were some other odd aspects of their upbringing, including exposure to relatively high levels of environmental lead. It was the only generation where bottle feeding was a majoritarian practice. But I think one of the other critical factors was that, especially for the first two-thirds of the baby boomers, they were raised in a time of what seemed like effortless prosperity where the economy growth, you know, something like 3 percent. They would watch new stars be embroidered on the flag as Alaska and Hawaii were added to the union. Neil Armstrong bounded on the moon. The United States more or less leaped from one great success to another, and that conditioned them to believe that success would be effortless. And I think that's had some significant impacts on the conduct of policy and personal lives."

On why boomers have managed to stay in power

"That's straightforward. There are just a lot of them and the boomers are, from the perspective of policy, all roughly the same age, and they all care about basically the same thing, and that's maintaining the flow of government-intermediated benefits for as long as possible. But because Social Security and Medicare consumes a large fraction of the budget and will consume most of the discretionary budget over the next 20 years, if the boomers can win on this single issue they went on every other issue. So, if there is no room in the budget left over after paying out these entitlements for research and development or for funding free public higher education, something that hasn't existed since the boomers themselves were in in college, or for remediating the climate, then the nation loses on all these issues and the boomers win on the single issue that they're most concerned about which is entitlements."
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« Reply #1 on: Mar 08, 2017, 11:05AM »

So, an entire generation of people magically changed their human motivations? Sounds like the book version of click-bait.
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« Reply #2 on: Mar 08, 2017, 11:16AM »

I can remember a TEA Party rally with a sign that said "Keep the Government's hands off my Medicare".  Erm, isn't Medicare a Government program?

Incidentally, as a certified Boomer (born 1948) I can say that my parents were much more avid TV watchers than I ever was.  As children, the Greatest Generation were avid consumers of Radio and Cinema.  When TV came along they transitioned both interests to the "tube".

There are a couple of issues that contribute to the problems of Social Security:  First, we are living a lot longer and thus the age 65 retirement is not realistic.  In 1935 when Social Security was formulated about half the people were dead by 65 and 3/4 within 5 years.  Now we live to our 80s.  Even Boomers who would be willing to work past 65 find that there are mandatory retirements in many big companies and ageism is rampant so anybody with gray hair applying for a job is automatically less likely to be hired.

I will concede that we Boomers are the Me generation; much more self-centered than anybody else.  And the Boomer lawmakers are loath to increase taxes to pay for necessary infrastructure or other expenses.  Just like Louis XIV, "Apres moi le deluge" (After me the flood).
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« Reply #3 on: Mar 08, 2017, 11:36AM »

Are Gen X and the Millenials any different?


Or is this more Boomer self-preoccupation? ( We're sociopaths -> We're special)
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« Reply #4 on: Mar 08, 2017, 03:04PM »

Sounds like so much malarkey.  Remember, when you talk of baby boomers, you are talking of a group that spans decades.  The first Boomers were already getting married when the last were being born.  The GenXers and GenYers are truly the 'me' generations. 
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« Reply #5 on: Mar 08, 2017, 04:30PM »

Are Gen X and the Millenials any different?
Actually, yes...

As one quick example:
"Prior generations did not divorce frequently, in substantial part because no fault divorce wasn't around until '69. But the odd thing is that the boomers actually have higher rates of divorce than even their children at comparable points in the marriage. So their rates of divorce are lower. And that's relevant not because divorce is a moral good or bad, per se, in any given situation, but because one of the key sociopathic indicators is an inability to form a lasting relationship, and I think divorce certainly falls into that category."


Also very different political mindsets overall. Note, the baby boomers are basically what put trump in office. Largely an attitude of go back to the good ol days, hey I got mine, too bad  if you're out of luck it's your own fault... Pull yourself up on your own... The political policies, and the underlying views that shape them, of earlier generations are often quite different. Even comparing age to age... Baby boomers have been the party of the GOP resurgence for some time now.
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« Reply #6 on: Mar 08, 2017, 05:02PM »

Post boomer generations don't divorce because they don't marry.
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« Reply #7 on: Mar 08, 2017, 05:27PM »

In the 1960s the Baby Boomers championed Equal Rights and opposed the Vietnam War.  They succeeded in getting equal rights for Blacks; and ending the Vietnam War, which nobody felt was necessary.

It's not uncommon for radical Leftists to become staunch Conservatives as they get older.  We had an uncle who was a Communist in the 1930s and became far right as he got older.  We Boomers are now in that artery hardened stage.
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« Reply #8 on: Mar 08, 2017, 05:43PM »

Usually attributed to Churchill:

If a man is not a socialist by the time he is 20, he has no heart. If he is not a conservative by the time he is 40, he has no brain.
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« Reply #9 on: Mar 08, 2017, 06:25PM »

In the 1960s the Baby Boomers championed Equal Rights and opposed the Vietnam War.  They succeeded in getting equal rights for Blacks; and ending the Vietnam War, which nobody felt was necessary.

It's not uncommon for radical Leftists to become staunch Conservatives as they get older.  We had an uncle who was a Communist in the 1930s and became far right as he got older.  We Boomers are now in that artery hardened stage.

No one wants to actually click the link I see. Just like facebook... read the title of whatever, and make a comment without even opening the article.

Claiming the baby boomers really did much on equal rights is like giving millennials credit for gay rights. In both cases, the groundwork for each was laid before either generation was really aware of it or really much outside of other small kids and school. (look to the timing of brown vs board of ed as an example - 1954, or rosa parks - 1955, or the civil rights act of 1957 for civil rights... or milk, stonewall riots, lawrence vs texas for gay rights)(for reference, the boomer generation started about '46... so the oldest boomers would be about 10 during these events) And in both cases, the ones in power... the ones who actually fought for and made a change... they were the earlier generations. The ones that WERE actually in power and using their clout. It's great to think, hey! I'm a 20 year old protesting the man! I'm doing something! But that's really just the self-centered ego of a 20 year old.

The more interesting part, is what happens to civil rights when baby boomers get into power... The drug war. Minimum sentencing laws. "Super-Predators". Minorities such as blacks were finally starting to rise economically, their unemployment rate was dropping faster than whites (though still double the actual percentage), and they were becoming more accepted and integrated into white society, and generally seen as close to equal. Then they became stigmatized, affirmative action efforts were strongly and regularly challenged on multiple levels, drug and other laws targeted against them, incarceration rates skyrocketed, and the ability to have a voice in even basic civil functions such as voting was taken away again as their economic status basically stagnated...

Trump is a boomer. Elected by boomers. With rhetoric that whenever it turned the way of blacks... turned to inner city, drugs, violence, and crime.

Interesting dynamic for the generation that likes to take credit for civil rights advances (again, in truth, made before the generation had any real clout) to respond to the first black president with blatant racism and a resurgence of white supremacists.
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« Reply #10 on: Mar 08, 2017, 07:18PM »

I don't give much attention to experts who make broad conclusions like this. Ridiculous to categorize a huge percentage of the population like this.
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« Reply #11 on: Mar 09, 2017, 03:15AM »

A lot of the people criticized as Boomers are actually Silent Generation - Nancy Pelosi, John McCain, Harry Reid, John Kerry, John Lennon, Grace Slick, etc.

Millennials are accused of suffering from High Conflict Personality Disorder.
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« Reply #12 on: Mar 09, 2017, 05:00AM »

I have written on this extensively. THe generations that were the forebears of the Boomers, our parents and grandparents, lived through the Great Depression and WWII in their formative years. This led them to understand the concept of "we're all in this together", and "if we don't take care of each other, nobody's life will get better." We Boomers had none of the deprivation in our formative years our forbears had experienced. We became the majority at the time the rest of the world was finally fully recovering from the devastation of the second WW and the OPEC nations were throwing off the yoke of western industrial imperialism. Jimmy Carter warned us that we needed to change our patterns of consumption to meet the challenges of a changing world. Ronald Reagan offered "pie in the sky" "we can do anything if we just get government off the backs of the people." In our first election as the majority we opted for the pie, and ever since, through out our time as the heart and brain of our country, we have overseen the dismantlement and disregard of all the great institutions and infrastructures our forbears built for us. Drumpf and his Trumpanzees will finish the job, and our kids will be left with the same situation our Parents and Graandparents faced in the middle of the last century. It is sad.
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« Reply #13 on: Mar 09, 2017, 09:35AM »

Quote
Claiming the baby boomers really did much on equal rights is like giving millennials credit for gay rights. In both cases, the groundwork for each was laid before either generation was really aware of it or really much outside of other small kids and school. (look to the timing of brown vs board of ed as an example - 1954, or rosa parks - 1955, or the civil rights act of 1957 for civil rights... or milk, stonewall riots, lawrence vs texas for gay rights)(for reference, the boomer generation started about '46... so the oldest boomers would be about 10 during these events) And in both cases, the ones in power... the ones who actually fought for and made a change... they were the earlier generations. The ones that WERE actually in power and using their clout. It's great to think, hey! I'm a 20 year old protesting the man! I'm doing something! But that's really just the self-centered ego of a 20 year old.

I clicked and read, and I'd never really thought of that before.  It's easy to think that since the boomers were there in Vietnam or the Civil Rights movement that they were pivotal.  But it was the WWII generation actually creating the laws that pushed the change.

I'm kind of done with conservative Boomers at this point.  I'm a GenXer who has seen my net worth slip, who's paid into social security but don't expect an ROI, and get yelled at by boomers for being a snowflake and crying for a participation trophy. 

Guess who thought up participation trophies?  Boomers.  They gave them to their kids so THEY could feel special.

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« Reply #14 on: Mar 09, 2017, 10:08AM »

I did a TV shoot that was set in the early 60s Las Vegas. Cool fashions, cool music, civil rights, beatniks. The late 50s/early 60s don't get any respect. Then the Boomers hijacked the decade and nearly everything since. The sex was good though.


My view anyway.
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« Reply #15 on: Mar 09, 2017, 10:09AM »

I don't give much attention to experts who make broad conclusions like this. Ridiculous to categorize a huge percentage of the population like this.
It's simply looking at a societal view rather than an individual. In which case, there are certainly societal shifts over time, ebbs and flows... Earlier generations built the killer middle class of the middle of the 1900s with strong cooperation and unions and such. They pushed hard for that. Boomers in turn push hard to kill those advances for personal gain. Now... we have very few unions left, and it is very difficult to start one.

And just as there are ebbs and flows in societal views, there are ebbs and flows in populations. The boomers were a big jolt to the system... a lot of people at one time, hence the name. SO it also makes sense to look at this major jolt in population as an influencing force... because they were/are. There were too many not to be. And the concentration of a population boom such as theirs with ebbs on either side... mean they were the most influential generation for a good while.

You look at individuals on an individual level, and large societal groups on a societal level. Not ridiculous at all.
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« Reply #16 on: Mar 09, 2017, 10:19AM »

I clicked and read, and I'd never really thought of that before.  It's easy to think that since the boomers were there in Vietnam or the Civil Rights movement that they were pivotal.  But it was the WWII generation actually creating the laws that pushed the change.
That was kinda a start to me as well... probably because boomers have so strongly sold "their role" over the years in those. But looking at even the basic timeline, it just doesn't match up. When the general scope of the generation ends near the same time that the landmark civil rights decisions and legislation was made... they just CANT have much of an impact. Some were just born!

But... that does fit the overall arch. Claiming responsibility for "good" things they didn't even do, just because they might have been there at the time.
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« Reply #17 on: Mar 10, 2017, 10:23AM »

The author is a venture capitalist, not a historian. Consider the source, and how his world view might motivate his conclusions.
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« Reply #18 on: Mar 10, 2017, 10:49AM »

The author is a venture capitalist, not a historian. Consider the source, and how his world view might motivate his conclusions.
Do you take issue with his conclusions? Or merely wish to attack the messenger?
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« Reply #19 on: Mar 10, 2017, 10:56AM »

I partially take issue with his conclusions.

I don't think the Boomers have sabotaged the nation any more than other groups.

Boomers invented "bottom line evaluation" and the Xers adopted it whole hog.  It's a way to ignore any non-financial aspect of anything.  As a result, if it doesn't pay back it's unimportant.  Things like arts, humanity, history, etc.
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