The great Walter Russell Mead posted yesterday an atypically predictable essay, one that is Against the Boomers.
In his comments, I insist that the problem is the Liberal-Boomers, not the generation generally. As a society we owe everything to the many sane boomers, and as a conservative intellectual I have to admit they taught me just about everything I know. Mead’s response to this kind of gripe is to say that the Liberal-Boomers are the ones who will define the whole generation for history.
He says other good things, but look, if you want to understand “The Boomers” and what their truly Revolutionary past and their present old-age reckoning mean for the rest of us, you need to start reading my Rock Songbook. Time to toot my own horn here. Mead’s whole Blue Social Model idea is key, but you gotta get out of the budget forecasts from time to time and into the Songs. Now is the time to see what we can learn from them…
If you see that little “Search First Things” space up in the right-top corner, you can enter “Rock Songbook” and all of my twenty-five entries will pop up. For “Boomer-Studies,” the most useful ones are #s 1, 6, 9, 16, 17, 21, and 22. #17 is the pithiest of these. Interested book publishers can find my email address on WLU’s site.
Below, I reproduce the best single passage I’ve written on the subject. Keep in mind it’s coming from an unsuccessful and now-conservative Gen-X guy who in his weaker moments does feel much contempt and resentment towards the Liberal-Boomers:
“But what to do now? To simply direct one’s frustration against the liberal-boomers (and especially if one also brings against them those bitter economic complaints we increasingly hear these days) is a temptation that “I Do My Father’s Drugs” suggests is fruitless and deluding. For there clearly was something about one’s own self that drew one into the (circular) paths they had blazed, into assuming the cultural world and political pattern they built was and would remain the norm. Into taking their “drugs.” After all, they could not really see what we X-ers and Millenials had begun to discern by the 80s, 90s, and 00s, and so how can we, with eyes so many of us deliberately made only half-opened, now demand to punish the hands that fed us the “drugs” we asked for? I suppose lifelong conservatives who never fell for the dream, who never wanted to be like Bono, Dylan, or a 60s protest leader, won’t entirely grasp what I’m talking about here. I salute your good sense if you’re among these, and thank you for your patience, but folks like Joe Pug and I have some Issues rooted in all this, in the “60s” and the whole rock kaboodle, that I suppose we’re going to be trying to untangle our whole lives.”
That’s from Songbook #22, on Joe Pug’s contemporary folk-song “I Do My Father’s Drugs.”