09 June 2006

The Greatest Generation and the Ingrate Generation

Today we can use the lens of history to look back upon events and see a stark difference between the Depression Era to World War II adult population and their Baby Boom Post-War children. Interesting, to say the least.

The First World War, the War to End All Wars, saw the finality of the era of Imperialism as only the British and US staggered away with any semblance of their former realms. Japan had solidified itself, however, but still did not like playing second fiddle to the British and Americans, and took to intimidation and the idea of a greater sphere of influence for themselves. While the First World War was one that started gleefully, to end the awfulness of the Kaiser/King/Ottoman/Russian rule, it left Europe at sea and a shambles, along with the Middle East. Soon, uprising in Africa, India and Asia started to make any holding of overseas possessions untenable and thus the European powers divested themselves of their trade Empires and suffered as a result. These colonies soon fell into disarray and stagnation and that went up the food chain to the industrialized nations and a Global Depression resulted. That first World War ended in the resignation that future war would be a grinding, tedious and killing affair. Even though the end tactics showed that this was only a temporary phenomenon.

The 20th Century started with the US being an up-and-coming power in a world dominated by Empires: British, French, German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian, Ottoman, with the Japanese doing their hardest to 'play in the big leagues and get some recognition'. The United States, for all of its jingoism and other faults, proved to be relatively benign compared to any of the other Great Powers. A recognized and sturdy junior leaguer that tended to keep to its own and do the 'opportunistic expansion' game pretty well. But, along with that went the concept of liberty and freedom, although perhaps more in talk than deed, even that was far more than 'The White Man's Burden' that the other Empires so gleefully took up.

So that generation that grew to adulthood had seen the collapse of Empires, vast global economic decline and had the certitude that any future war would slowly drain all nations to a bitter end. In the US, pragmatism set in along with some establishing of Socialism to try and change the Capitalist system which was seen as the cause of all these problems. While it played a large part, leaving out Nationalism, Imperialism and Military power made Socialism a one-note band that played so-so in the new Soviet Union. Although shorn of its imperial holdings, the Soviet Union soon dominated its interior differences with a bloody and iron rule. Twisting Socialism and Nationalism together, the Fascists in Italy and then Germany started to revive their economies somewhat and looked like they had a key to the future.

By the mid-1930's the world had generally climbed out of the Depression, although pockets within industrialized nations still remained, and those nations supplying raw materials were badly left out. From this mix came the Second World War and the Greatest Generation.

This Generation knew hard work and the ability to continue on going even when everything seemed bleakest. And they had weathered the great tempest that was post-World War I and by the late 1930's the future was bright again. The rise of that funny man in Germany did give many pause, but in the US the tradition started by Washington of keeping out of European and Foreign entanglements came back. If Europe wanted *another* war, they could very well bleed themselves dry for it. Most people overlooked what Japan was already doing in China and its expansion to gain control of resources necessary to an industrial economy. Plans were assuredly drawn up, but never expected to be put into action. The actual dawn of World War II was well under way by the time Germany invaded Poland. China was collapsing, Russia was being hard pressed, although willing to expend men and goods to keep its integrity, those supply lines were tenuous. The spread of the War to Europe started in a blaze that soon smoldered as the Soviet Union was hard pressed and the British fought to keep their skies so they could neutralize the land and sea forces of Germany.

Pragmatism by the US population and adhering to Washington changed inalterably on December 7, 1941. That pragmatism reflected something far deeper in the American psyche than mere isolationism. It was a reflection of belief that we keep to ourselves as a Nation and help our friends as we can as a peaceful people. Many fumed at this 'wrongheadedness', including the President who saw what was happening and knew where it would lead. But the People of the United States firmly and solidly believed that the Nation would do well so long as we kept to our knitting.

But when attacked, you fight to Victory.

And you accept NO half-measures.

The logic of industrialized warfare is one that made the entire Nation State a target as it supplied the military might that protected it. No longer was defense in the hand of individuals alone, but in the hands of corporations and industry. The logic of warfare is that you want to cripple fighting forces, and airpower allows that to be done at its root. You bomb industries as they supply the warmaking material. And you bomb civilians as they are part of that war effort, and, thus, legitimate targets. This is a hard and nasty logic that ends when one delivers the hardest blow with the least use of materials.

Nuclear devices are the end of that logic and delivered by aircraft it makes the killing potential of a solitary bomber beyond all of what had come before in the previous years of the war.

And with that, the world had to change *again*, and the Greatest Generation built the foundations of the Cold War so that those who followed could retain their rights and freedoms, or at least ensure that tyranny would not enslave a Free People.

The Baby Boomers grew up in prosperity, as the soldiers came home and married and built new houses and carried for the dream of making things better for their children. The world was advancing into a New Era, in which modernization and mechanization changed the flow of goods and supplies rapidly. The final shift of the US from rural to industrial nation had happened in the 1930's. The realization of this was solidly stamped in the 1950's. And that generation grew up in fear of a far off Soviet Union and instant destruction from *anywhere*. The Korean War was a distant conflict that involved this new UN deal and seemed to be on the side of stopping Communism from spreading. But the involvement of Red China changed it into a possible flare point for a larger conflict and it was, perhaps, wisest to leave off where it all began.

By the end of the 1950's, however, the newly educated men and their families were starting to shift US politics away from its tradition Urban/Rural outlook towards one of more suburban and middle-class perspective. For the blue collar working class was shifting, slowly but surely, as the old enemies of WWII started to stand up their economies, and the very first thing they did was remake their industrial core. Still, fast cars, a generally care-free life, except for sudden nuclear annihilation and good jobs were driving things in a different way by the 1960's. That decade started out like the 1950's, but on a steeper slope of affluence. The last of the Greatest Generation were now moving into positions of industrial and social sway and were influenced by their knowledge to look at the US differently than their parents. And while many core values were still there, the Civil Rights movement had shown that the US was not a perfect Nation in its implementation.

As if it EVER was.

This educated generation became disenchanted with the lack of perfection for the ideals espoused for the Nation and set about, along with their children, to remake the Nation along more fair lines. And maybe actually get to perfection. And so the protests for Civil Rights waned as actual laws to make it so were put in place and the path to societal change was seen as: demonstration, invective, incitement, and then actual social turnover of the 'old order'. And top of that list was the Vietnam War, which was taking young people via the draft and sending them to yet another far off land to fight for containment of Communism. And the first stirrings of that made the Executive twitch.

As most folks point out the 1960's actually happened in the early 1970's, but the slow rise of unrest of young people who could not drink or vote, but could be asked to die for their Nation unwillingly was seen as a rallying point against the War, against the Administration and against the 'old order' in general. The idea that the Soviet Union was actually a bad Nation was slowly demonized and said to be a misunderstanding of their goals. That was part and parcel of this change which would slowly inculcate itself into the psyche of those doing the protesting, the marching, getting high, listening to acid rock and, generally, disdaining the mass culture of the United States. And they looked very hard for the 'wrongs' of America and, lo and behold, they were there!

An ill-defined war that was being misrepresented to the average person, having young people who did not volunteer to fight a dubious war being drafted to fight same, unequal representation for those who could fight and not vote, and an Administration that was headed by a man who, for all of his political savvy, was egotistical and self-centered enough to believe he could actively abuse power and use the Government to his ends alone. Soon things came to a head with Congress feeling pressure and pulling funds from the War, a movement to move the voting age down to 18, and a movement to start an all-volunteer military. Watergate was icing on this cake and this generation that put pressure on for these changes felt 'empowered' to reshape the world.

The greatest change to American politics happened during this era. The two party system, in which both parties stood for the Republic and defending it, was seen as being corrupt in espousing that. One party changed heart to embrace this new generation and retain the power they had enjoyed for decades in Congress. The Democratic Party renounced its National Defense policies for ones that were for appeasement and anti-war outlook. The 1974 Congress represented this influx just as the Republicans were stuck in the pit of Watergate and the final loss of South Vietnam. By cutting all funding for *any* aid to South Vietnam, even just controlling the airspace, the United States left its ally to be demolished by the North Vietnam regime and its Soviet and Chinese backers. And the Congresses that did that were Democratic.

As this generation aged into the 1970's, they were coming hard against the fact that the United States, while giving you much freedom, does not ensure things are given away for *free*. Actual jobs were needed to earn actual money and 'join the rat race'. After the end of the war, the end of the Nixon Administration, the passage of the voting age amendment and the all-volunteer military, this generation was forced to the hard realization that these were surface manifestations of the entire social structure. And much of that structure remained intact, although the damage done to the ideals of the Nation formed a serious problem within the social fabric of the United States.

First and foremost, the idea that far off people in different lands were no better than Citizens of the Republic took hold. This was a rallying point against the war, but ignored the basic fact that the Other Side had NO value upon human life at all. By encouraging a one-sided, superficial set of ideas the concept that freedom and liberty were enshrined in the Nation that governed was set aside. Those that came out of the protests, rallies and marches now saw the United States as the *problem* for not living up to its ideals. By not allowing a cross-comparison and calling that 'unfair' they would not tolerate the concept of perspective on this. 'Cultural relativism' was born and the feeling of honoring the traditions of your own Nation were tarnished as being built upon a poor enaction of ideals.

Second, and worse, the follow-on to the first is that there is no difference between *any* form of government. The shallow reasoning is that if all people are basically the same, then all of their governments are the same, too. No cultural outgrowth was better than any other. Thus such things as treasuring human freedom by making a government to protect them, no matter how poorly, was seen as being *exactly* equal to a system which denied rights to individuals and used them in an destructive way to achieve economic ends. And so the refrain of: 'Those people in the USSR are *so* nice, their government is bad but basically as bad as ours.' Liberty and slavery were thus made equal.

Third, and finally, if no government was better than another, then there is, really, no need for Nations. Just 'Imagine'. By yelling and screaming and protesting and marching you can make the world a better place for everyone! Just 'Imagine' it! So very simple. And so very simplistic. This attitude forgets that the world is *not* a nice place, that Nations actually have real meaning behind them and that, quite often, tyranny arises because it is SO simple that it is often seen as an *answer* to a complex world. But, really, that was no different than a representative democracy in a Republic now, was it? We could be one, big, happy world and get rid of all of these mean people....

This was the birth of Transnational Progressivism: that the Nation State is a hindrance to social progress and the highly educated elite must guide that progress to a Final State.

Of course to be one of those highly educated individuals you either needed to have some real education OR fake it with some sort of mental/spiritual/social enlightenment. Both would pass muster for education and the easier ways won out. This generation now turned into the ME generation and sought perfection on the inside of themselves that they needed to have to be an elite. To be above everyone else. To be *above* We the People.

In this Nation you are given many rights and freedoms and liberties, but the one thing that *must* be done is to ensure that the Nation, as a whole, is not diminished in their use. By turning inwards people neglected the social compact of the Nation and gave rise to social segmentation as some 'more educated' individuals were better than others. And those espousing the ideas of a commonality within the Nation... well, they were just fossils that would be overturned by this new and enlightened age. Of course to actually *get* to that age, all of these bad thoughts had to be sidelined and language itself should not be discriminatory.... in fact no language was better than any other so actually having just one language meant you were really in a side-water and doomed to be forever forgotten.

This is the Ingrate Generation.

They do not believe that any individual is better than any other, no action is better than any other, and that bad thoughts lay behind every action they disagree with.

While it is true that bad actions are attributable to an individual, their problem is seen as an outgrowth of a corrupt and evil society. Unless they happen to *like* you, then your action is good and worthy and uplifting and should be praised.

And this whole idea of actually having a military to protect this antique idea of a 'Nation'? Well, it is just an old left over from imperialism and needs to be chucked in order to bring in the new social order... No war done by a rich Nation can have good ends and is just plain old Imperialism at work. We can make peace EVERYWHERE.

Somehow they never get to the point where they tell you how they will actually *end* conflict.

Nor, indeed, what will replace the Nation State system.

Nor how equality of justice will be achieved under the benign guidance of those with too much social education.

But they will tell you that you are no longer an individual and belong to a group or groups, and then apply labels to those groups and then slander the individual with those labels. Obviously this more enlightened set of folks now can read minds to determine these things, and tell us *what* the intention of any action is so that an entire psyche may be thus determined.

I seem to have missed that in my physics class.

Ah, and science? Well, its all culturally relative! There is *no* right way to observe the universe and there is no right way to determine laws of nature because everyone approaches it differently and will come up with different answers!

Don't let that bus hit you when you cross the street now! Just 'believe' you adhere to a different set of physics than it does...

It took me some years to figure out most of what they espoused was wrong. Very difficult to do growing up in a Socialist family! By the time I was a late teen, I had figured out the problems with Socialism and all of its cascading offshoots, which include Transnationalism. This Ingrate Generation was becoming disenchanted by then, and seeing that early social changes could not be rolled up year after year after year. They had lost their trust in Government, in their fellow Citizens and, in the basis of Civilization. As a whole they institutionalized their corrupt vision of the world, even as the world was proving it wrong, time and time again.

'People Power' as they saw it would sweep the world, instead of just the repressive regimes. They firmly believed it would happen in the US, first... not come quaking out of the Philippines and Poland to fracture the Cold War and cause the end of the Soviet Union. The 'obvious choice of liberty and freedom' turned out to be only as obvious as the People could make it. All of the People. In a Nation. Together.

Not just an elite.

We the People.

While lionizing those words, the Ingrate Generation forgot the concept and what it REALLY means.

Not 'We the Enlightened Elite over the People but kinda benignly for them'.

Not 'We the few social segments that can get a large plurality together now and again'.

And definitely not 'We the pacifists who will spread flowers around as we protest so sweetly and please don't shoot us or run us over with tanks'.

They are *still* trying to make a Golden Age of Perfection. And are putting the world at risk in the doing.

No matter its faults, when compared to any other age or era of mankind THIS is the promised Golden Age. But by its lack of *perfection* it is evil to the Ingrate Generation, and must be abolished, along with all that makes it possible. Because, you know, just comparing now to the past is just so chauvinistic and racist... we have to compare it to the *perfect* and yell about the flaws.

Unfortunately for them, We the People of the United States are charged to do one thing above all else.

Make a more perfect Union.

It is a job that can never be finished, for when it is, that will be the end of us all.

1 comment:

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

I've said it before and I will say it again: you need to be published. And distributed. In books. You need to write a book or a series of book(s). You need to be published by Regnery to begin. Or even, you need to become a separate party or embraced by the GOP.

As you make simply too much sense to be embraced by the GOP, clearly the Jacksonian Party is the only alternative.