A Boomer's apology to Millennials
The biggest challenge of our time is not climate change, or immigration or any of the topics that dominate the news cycle.
The world needs leadership.
I don’t know if it just me, or whether it is the normal course of things for older people to see the world as mess. Trying to be objective as I can, I still think the evidence is overwhelming that the world is, at the very least, in need of radical improvement.
Our brightest minds put a man on the moon, we conquered almost every deadly disease. We made a big dent in the number of people who live in abject poverty. We sequenced the genome and built the LHC, whilst sending a probe to Mars. We invented the Internet and even Ms DOS.
And then? Well that is followed by Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And we became guns at SEO and click-through rates and ad optimisation. The Holy Grail of Ecommerce is passive income - and that says it all.
We can lay these problems at your feet, or we can accept responsibility; it is us - the Boomers - who have done it. We raised the people making the decisions and we are suffering the consequences of the decisions we made all those years ago.
When the only thing worth fighting for is desire not to be judged, but to be liked, then the only tune you will dance to is the one the oppressor chooses to whistle.
We allowed you to think that everyone is entitled to a medal. That everybody is equal, instead of that everyone is of equal value.
We enabled an education that taught you to read Harry Potter instead of Hobbes. We created courses in Gender Studies instead of Genetics. We did that to accommodate those who shouldn’t have gone to university but needed something simple to study, because we were the ones to claim that everyone deserves a chance. It sounded like a good idea at the time.
We peddled democracy everywhere and everything, and in the process we outsourced the standards, decency and quality to mob rule and the lowest common denominator. You started to believe that everyone has an opinion that is worth listening too.
You rejected discernment because we did not want you to be judgmental.
You embraced tolerance of everything at the expense of cultivating a taste for purity and strength and a desire to get better and be better. We failed to point out the irony that the cult of tolerance requires a dogmatic acceptance of the belief, even in the face of clear, undeniable scientific contradictions of that belief.
We have allowed you to define humanity as helping people die with dignity, instead of helping people live without suffering.
We thought The Pill and the Condom meant freedom, but it actually destroyed relationships, the value of marriage and replaced it with promiscuity and shallow sexuality. What we got instead is a world where pre-teen girls are willing to DO stuff that they are embarrassed to TALK about. We live in a world where saying ‘I love you’ is held back as some reward, but instead you were happy sacrifice your most intimate spaces for mere moments of fun. We created a world where men got all the benefits of casual sex and none of the responsibilities.
We wanted to instill in you the value of a fair go, and that meant that you got to accept that every go was fair. And the incompetent was tolerated and promoted and even celebrated — because everybody gets a go.
We rebelled against a rigid, puritanical mindset by embracing free love - which got us to this point where, because sex means nothing, neither does the life that comes from it, because it doesn’t have to. If life does not matter, then neither does God. And if God doesn’t matter, neither does truth. And if truth does not matter, anything goes.
I could go on, but you get the point.
The seeds of the things that are wrong with the world were planted a long time ago - by the Boomers. We can’t expect you to fix it, because we did not equip you to fix it. Although it will be nice if you try.
It will, however, require you to turn much of what you have been taught / led to believe upside down. You have to write a new script.
I don’t see any evidence of this happening - the postmodern narrative seems to be gaining momentum rather than being turned around.
But despair won’t help create a solution. The best we can hope for is for someone to take the lead.
We need a Kennedy aiming for the moon, or a King who has a dream.
Will that be you?