The Boomers

Hat any generation sold out as the Boomers have? An their youth, they saw govenrment as evil, now they want governemnt to do alles for them.

Lieb: can you try that again in a recognizable language?

“The Boomers” never saw the government as evil and “the Boomers” are not all looking for handouts.

The large number of kids born immediately following the Second World War is a social phenomenon because they were the first after-war birth spurt that was not seriously thinned out by childhood diseases. By remaining a large demographic, they strained the resources of schools as they passed through system designed for far fewer children (leaving vacant rooms behind when the numbers of children fell off after they had passed). Simply by being a very large group of people in a constricted range of ages, they call attention to themselves.

There has never been, however, a specific Boomer characteristic other than age. In the U.S., for example, it has often been popular among disgruntled older people to claim that Boomers were the first generation to “refuse to fight for their country”–yet over 90% of the names on the Vietnam Memorial are of Boomers. Boomers have never been of a single mind on an issue. The news media simply prefers to paint all pictures in simplistic colors and so reports that Boomers believe this or Boomers want that.

As to your specific contention that Boomers saw government as evil, that was never a single thought in the U.S. even when there was opposition to the government. While there were (loud) Boomers who called the government evil, there were many Boomers who called the actions of the government in the sixties evil and called for reforms that would (allegedly) make the government more supportive of the people.

As to your contention that the Boomers now want the government to do everthing for them, that too is a gross oversimplification. Many of the people in the U.S., today, who are calling for less government are, indeed, Boomers.

I keep using the U.S. example because you may, indeed, have a different situation in Germany (although I doubt it).

(Gee, for a minute I thought we had another Icelandic visitor.)


I have less use for the left-wing icons of the 60s than anyone, and ordinarily I’d be the first to take any opportunity to trash Abbie Hoffman or to condemn the drug/sexual revolution.

However, today I’m far LESS irritated by 60s radicals than by the tendency to make blanket statements about any genration of Americans. I was born in 1961, which means that, depending which demographer you ask, I could be a “Boomer,” a “Generation Xer,” or a “Tweener.” I have no idea what ANY of those terms mean in the REAL world. In ANY generation, there are tens of millions of people, and it’s ridiculous to categorize them or make sweeping statements about their beliefs and values.

Contrary to legend, not all 21 year olds were at Woodstock or leading demonstrations in 1969! Some of them were in the Army, some of them were actually STUDYING at colleges, some of them were already married with a kid or two, and working in a factory. Millions of them loved rock and roll, but millions more loved jazz or country or classical music. Most never wore tie-dyed ANYTHING! Some campaigned for Gene McCarthy, but millions more voted for Nixon or even (gasp!) Wallace!

So, while there may be some highly-publicized 60s radicals who cut their hair, put on suits, and “sold out” to the establishment, there are also thousands who remain committed to one idealistic left-wing cause or another, and TENS of millions who didn’t “sell out” because they were never part of the counterculture to begin with.

I’ll join you in condemening both hippies AND yuppies when it seems called for. But the idea that ALL Baby Boomers were radicals is absurd, as is the idea that they’re ALL working on Wall Street today.

1961=Gen X’er. Anyone who tells you that is a moron. Of course your no more a Boomer either. I guess some people can’t get it in their head that there is anyone in this country who isn’t a Boomer or a Gen Xer as if they completely describe the entire demographic.

I suppose if you really are interested in labeling yourself as a part of a generation (I doubt you are), I imagine there is a label out there that fits you quite well. I figure its all just about selling newsprint and magazines.

I always assumed the Baby Boom ran from 1945 to 1964. How could a 38-year-old consider himself an Xer?

Check liebfels’ profile. Remind you of anyone?

Hmmm…three guesses what liebfels stands for in German…

astorian, did you recently spend some time on Planet Of Where They Make Up Statistics To Convince Themselves That More People Think Like Them Than Don’t Think Like Them? I refer specifically to:

According to the National Election Service research center at the University of Michigan, these are the breakdowns for voting Republican and Democrat in Presidential elections, from the demographic of people born between 1943 and 1958:


1964 30% 70%

1968 43% 44%
(13% voted for Wallace in 1968)

1972 51% 47%

1976 47% 53%

The only year in which you can legitimately say there was a difference of “millions more voting for Nixon” was 1972.

Not until 1980 and '84 does a big Republican upswing in that demographic occur (59% to 41% both elections); unfortunately for you, by 1988 the Rep percentage is back down to 53%, and in '92 and '96, is down to 42%. Sorry, but that 1943-58 demographic has, in fact, voted Democrat, by and large.

I also question:

Thousands, eh?

BTW, yes, I know astorian compared “campaigning for McCarthy” to “voting for Nixon.” I have seen enough posts from him over the years not to miss the unsubtle implication, “Sure, there were a few pinkos, but most boomers, like most people, were conservatives.”

I used the phrases “campaigning for McCarthy” and “voting for Nixon” deliberately. many, if not most, of the people who campaigned for Gene McCarthy were too young to vote for him (the voting age was still 21 in 1968).

Now, does voting for Nixon make one a conservative? Would that it were so! But Richard Nixon was no conservative! The man who instituted price controls? The man who expanded the scope of the federal government way beyond LBJ’s dreams? The man who kowtowed toward Chairman Mao? The man who appointed Harry (Roe v. Wade) Blackmun to the Supreme Court? As a practical matter, it’s hard to imagine what President Humphrey or President McGovern would have done differently.

But back to the alleged “Boomers.” Demographers have very different cutoff points for what constitutes a “Boomer” or a “Generation Xer.” Being 38, I have seen myself lumped into both groups, though I have little in common with the stereotypical image of either. In any event, if you consider everyone born between 1945 and 1964 a Boomer, you have an enormous group of people, from dozens of geographical regions, dozens of religions, dozens of socio-economic classes… the idea that they can all be lumped together is absurd.

Was I saying that most Boomers were/are conservatives? I wish! In reality, most people in every generation are more complicated than standard left/right models allow. There are blue collar folks who love the economic benefits that liberal Democrats provide, but are hawkish on foreign policy and conservative on social issues. There are people who are very liberal on social issues but hate paying high taxes. There are people who don’t have any strong ideology, and just vote for the canidate who seems like a warmer, more personable guy! I have never deluded myself that the majority of Americans agree with me on all the major issues, or even most of them.

The Boomers are constantly treated as a monolithic unit, and clearly they were not. Some were genuine idealists who thought they were ushering in a new age of peace, love and brotherhood. Others embraced the music and the fashions of the 60s, but not the politics. Some people who marched against the Viet Nam war were genuine pacifists- many more were just guys who didn’t want to get killed (let’s face it: the anti-war protests all but ceased when the draft was abolished, well BEFORE the war’s end).

Whether you think the stereotypical 60s hippe was a hero or a loser, you have to acknowledge that he was never typical of his generation. NOBODY could be typical of a generation so large!

And finally, in fairness to the genuine lefties of the 60s, I’d be surprised if all that many people REALLY did 180 degree turns in their beliefs between the Age of Aquarius and the Me Decade. Oh, I don’t deny that millions of guys who wore ponytails and bellbottoms eventually got haircuts, put on suits, and got jobs, but that’s just a matter of fashion. The serious political movements of the 60s were about a little more than fashion. Not everyone who listened to Steppenwolf was a pinko, and not all the pinkos were wearing love beads and Nehru jackets! It’s far too easy to confuse 60s fashion with 60s politics- don’t do that!

Now, if you were a Freedom Rider in the early 60s, when it really mattered, it’s highly unlikely that you’re living in a segregated suburb today. If you were walking picket lines with Cesar Chavez, you’re probably STILL ready to boycott grapes today. If you were SERIOUSLY involved in radical politics in 1968, you probably still ARE, to one degree or another. Though people who make political/cultural U-turns make for good copy, they’re pretty rare.

Boomers are considered to be childern of the generation that fought WWII and Xers are the children of boomers…They’re loose and generally meaningless definitions made up by those who have a need to generalize. Strictly speaking, I’m one of the oldest Gen Xers, and I have VERY little in common with the usual definition, so I generally dismiss the whole thing as stupidity bandied about by idiots to show how smart they are.
Not that I’m saying that anyone here is an idiot. I just hate being lumped in with any general group. I’m me and you’re you. We have differences and we have similarities. No one can make a generalization about anyone that’s really going to be true.
There…I said my piece, now I’m going to go back to listening

You know what? Being someone who falls dead splat into this group, no matter who defines it…I entered here thinking I would have something to say. I don’t, except, we clearly lost one battle…the one that would have afforded everyone individuality.
BTW, I have heard anyone called a “pinko” in over 30 years, thank God I don’t live in whatever world you’re still living in.

“Man, the 60’s must have been real good for you!”
George Carlin…“Outrageous Fortune”

“Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore”
Dorothy…“The Wizard of Oz”

You have all been trolled once again.
“Liebfels” is indeed German for “loverock.”

My fave line, oft uttered by rads and semi-rads who took straight jobs, is “I’m boring from within.”