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Remain calm in your safe space.


THE BOOMER GENERATION has come in for a lot of bile and criticism over the last decade. The generation born after the war, between the mid 1950s and the mid 1960s, has been described as self-obsessed, irresponsible, sociopathic even, and of stealing their children’s future. Tom Wolfe had skewered them as the “Me” generation way back in the 1970s. That’s a pretty harsh judgement on the people who worked hard for their pensions, expanded civil and human rights to all sections of society, extended education to more people than ever before, improved standards of health, safety and housing across the board, and who campaigned for nuclear disarmament and environmental protection.

So what did they do wrong?

As a Boomer myself I have come to the conclusion that the major failing was ingratitude. Ingratitude to our parents and forefathers. My parents’ generation had gone through five years of deprivation, uncertainty, fear, trauma and loss. To have finally made it through to peace must have been a blessing that the rest of us can only imagine. Life was hard after the war but at least they weren’t being bombed and living in fear of being conquered. Nothing must have seemed more desirable than the peaceful ordinariness of humdrum life. The economy improved, social and political stability had been restored; younger people in particular were achieving levels of economic influence that none had enjoyed before. The country had a nationalised health service and the foundation of the welfare state. There was full employment, a situation not known since the mid-1970s.

Our old folks believed that you should stand up on your own two feet, button your lip and not rely on the cold charity of the state. But all we did was laugh at them and scorn them.

But for all this we felt somehow hard done by. Our old folks were just that — old, fuddy-duddy, stuck in the past with their traditional values, their short back and sides haircuts, their unfashionable clothes, their clinging to social proprieties, their insistence on deferred gratification, their acceptance of knowing your place, their belief that you should stand up on your own two feet, button your lip and not rely on the cold charity of the state. But all we did was laugh at them and scorn them. The more I think about it the more ashamed I become (being guilty myself). I’m not saying that we were all consistently insulting to our parents, but that as a group our behaviour embodied a sound rejection which must have been hurtful.

Not only hurtful but dangerous. We were privileged and spoilt, the first truly spoilt generation in the world. We were so privileged we could afford to be bored. We could afford to be rebellious without the fear of anything truly dreadful happening to us as a result. There was always a job to go to if you really needed it or the state to sub you something or your maligned old folks ready to hand you a couple of quid to tide you over.

This would not have been so bad if it had not been for the intervention of the cultural Marxists who were exploiting and promoting the process. The physical war against one sort of  socialism had finished but the cold war against the other continued apace, and in the West the Marxist were starting to win. They introduced an ideological element into this youthful rebellion. It was no longer just a rejection of fuddy-duddiness (a rejection which would pass quickly on contact with reality), it was a rejection of the whole structure of society. It was not just our parents who were being rejected but all our forefathers, and the traditions on which society was based.

The hedonistic cult of the individual found itself amalgamated with the increasingly authoritarian cult of state worship, a cult which has proliferated its divisive activities into every area of life it can occupy — race, class, sexuality, religion, etc. Everything to do with the nation’s past and heritage is either deliberately forgotten or trashed. What it is being replaced with is a febrile tradition of resentment and sanctimonious, sentimental emotionalism, and a simpering pleading for peacefulness perversely shot through with violent intolerance. New generations are brought up with a mish-mash of ignorance and disinformation. It swarms through popular culture. Even a programme such as Dr Who has rendered itself almost unwatchable because of its patronising insistence on PC quotas, its knocking of British history and its preaching about world peace and non-violence. The aim of this ideology is not to create a pacific world but to pacify its citizens so they can’t think for themselves. It is a strategy that is clearly succeeding with a substantial part of the electorate.

I don’t think most of us Boomers had that in mind when we were listening to the Rolling Stones, getting stoned on waccy-baccy and slopping around in our dreadful flared jeans and cheesecloth shirts, mind you. The trouble is, those who were reading Marcuse and those post-war French intellectuals with all their dangerous nonsense, and stuck to it, did. They may be grey-haired and still bearded now, but they’re in positions of power and they are as intent on destroying the existing social order as they ever were.

We’re talking deep psychological and social issues here, not just party politics, which are merely the shifting excrescences of those issues. I’ve come to appreciate Burke’s famous definition of the social contract as “a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.” We cannot allow the statists, whichever political party they belong to, to continue this desecration of that social contract, the heritage of our fathers and forefathers, because all we will have left to hand on to our children is chaos and conflict. Our children are not prepared for this, with all their belief in “understanding” and safe spaces and so on, because we have not prepared them for the true hardness of life; those who are driving this process either do know or don’t care. They’ll press ahead regardless.

suxcoverCurrente Calamo columnist, poet, writer and lecturer Michael Blackburn lives in Lincolnshire . From 2005–2008 he was the Royal Literary Fund fellow at the University of Lincoln where he now teaches English Literature and Creative Writing. His poetry has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies over the years, including Being Alive (Bloodaxe) and Something Happens, Sometimes Here (Five Leaves Press). His most recent collection is Spyglass Over The Lagoon. A selection of his Fortnightly Currente Calamo columns, Sucks To Your Revolution: Annoying The Politically Correct (US), is available as a Kindle ebook.

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