The covid pandemic is mostly a Boomer thing. The Chinese Flu kills a tiny percentage of people younger than the Boomers. Like every other medical difficulty, it kills rather more of their parents than it does of Boomers. Only the Boomers and their parents then are much at risk from the disease. Their parents are no longer much able to sway either public discourse or public policy. The Boomers are in charge. So the panic about covid, and the policies implemented in respect thereto, are mostly the result of Boomers worried about themselves. They have shown themselves – in the person of such governors as Cuomo – totally willing to throw the generation of their parents under the bus. Because, hey, those guys were going to die soon anyway. They have also shown themselves utterly indifferent to the manifold catastrophe their disastrous policy responses to the disease have inflicted upon all younger generations.
As with every other thing they have touched, the Boomers have ruined public health by ruining civil society.
I am a liminal Boomer. I was born at the very tail end of the Boom, or as measured by some just after it, but I was old enough at the time to know about and rather like the ideas promoted by the Summer of Love – which the Established chattering class of that day, controlled by the Greatest Generation, very much approved. I can remember thinking, “Boy, when the Boomers come to power, things are going to change for the better; it will be a *revolution.*” I bought the Establishment Line propagated by 60 Minutes, Margaret Mead, Esalen, and Coca Cola. So I count myself a recovering Boomer.
Speaking then as an informed observer of the Boomers, from within the phenomenon and, now, from without, I have to ask: what is it with these guys? How did they come to think that they had what it took to remake culture from the ground up – that, i.e., their puerile wisdom sufficed to overmaster the wisdom of ages? Had they never heard of Icarus?
I should know the answers, but I don’t.
A nexus of notions suggest themselves in no particular order:
- Pride of victory in WWII and subsequent, massive American power bred cultural pride, which goeth always before a moral and then practical Fall.
- Massive post war prosperity almost eliminated the economic penalty of personal failure due to behavioral experimentation.
- Liberal “Christianity” and the seppuku of the mainline Protestant churches; triumph of scientism, logical positivism, skepticism, and so forth; metaphysical ignorance; the disenchantment of the world, giving rise to extraordinary panic at the prospect of death, and to a frantic search for some way to enchant it again; exploration of Eastern religions, New Age, occult, etc.
- Too many people going to university who had no business there; too many “educated.”
- Florescence of decades of work by the KGB and its moles (in the CIA, the State Department, the universities, etc.) to undermine Western culture. Viz., atheism, abstract art, architectural brutalism and the International Style, Urban Renewal, atonality, transgressive fashion, sexual license, pornography: the general celebration of ugliness and disorder, in life, art, artifice, morals, act.
- Birth control and no fault divorce.
- The explosion of mass media and mass advertising, giving rise to fashion as a factor in the lives of the middle class, so as to fuel consumption.
- Abandonment of the gold standard, with reckless and unlimited government spending.
- Delinking of culture from the real world; from agriculture, at bottom; the predominance of virtual culture over real culture. Rise of utopian or chiliastic fantasies; of gnosticism light and heavy, in manifold variety.
Just suggestions; no answers. All are at work, concurrently, and in mutual reinforcement, so as to generate a perfect storm of social deliquescence. There may be others; and they may have begun decades ago, or even millennia: the Cabal? The Freemasons?
And let’s not forget the nominalists!
Whatever the case, it begins to look in retrospect as though the real disease is of the memetic sort, and that the Boomers are its latter day vector.