Money Madness and the Rise of “Obvious Truths” … Around Taxes, the Wealthy, Job Creation, Democrats, Republicans, Generations, Your Life, and You: When ALL You Hear Are Lies, You Think It HAS to Be Truth
Culture War, Class War, Chapter Fifteen: Money Madness
Obvious “Truths”—Fiscally Responsible Republicans and Tax and Spend Democrats
- Tax the wealthy, you’re taxing me.
- Democrats tax and spend, they bust the budget, balloon the National Debt.
- Republicans are fiscally responsible, fiscally conservative; they balance budgets and are careful about the National Debt.
- Rich people create the jobs.
- The wealthy are society’s creative sector.
- That “class warfare” stuff “just doesn’t work.”
Obvious “Truth” – Tax the Wealthy, You’re Taxing Me
But when you hear the same things again and again, even black-and-white facts can be put up for dispute. For example, during the 2008 presidential race and prior to Obama’s first budget the Democrats’ tax proposal was explained as a tax cut for the middle class and no increase on any Americans making less than two hundred thousand a year. This was a black-and-white fact, part of the public record, not in dispute. But how did the Republicans explain it?
That’s a Small Business?
I certainly heard it, over and over again; I bet you did too. Republicans were saying the tax proposal was going to affect small businesses. So we have small businesses that are making over two hundred thousand a year in pure profit? And that’s a small business? That’s a smallbusiness? I think if you’re making, after all your deductions and everything and you’re still making two hundred grand, I think that you’re not a small business, I think you can afford extra taxes, but that’s what we are told.
We’re All Rich. Somehow I Missed That Memo.
So apparently we got a group of people who think that people are really rich. The assumption is that most Americans are rolling in dough so that any tax increase on the wealthy is an attack on all Americans.
So, you can’t tax that sliver of the very, very wealthy a little bit more so that the majority of Americans might benefit. Benefiting the majority of Americans used to be how you got to “home base.” But now, it’s like, “No, you can’t tax Americans; we are Taxed Enough Already!”
Obvious “Truth”: The Democrats’ Want to Take Your Money.
The way this “obvious truth” is phrased now…no way to get around it, it’s a flat out lie…goes, “You can’t tax the very rich, cause that’s…” and they’ll just say it right out, “that’s gonna affect all Americans, that’s taxing everybody.”
Well how did it get to that conclusion when actually it’s going to lower taxes. And they were saying it over and over again, “No, we don’t even need to know what the plan is; we just know he’s a Democrat and that he’s going to raise taxes,” they would say of Obama…or for that matter of any Democrat at any time in recent history.
Now, how did that become true? Well because…he’s a Democrat and well haven’t you ever heard the term tax and spend Democrats? And there we go again.
Obvious “Truth” – Fiscally Responsible Republicans
Pointing Some Fingers Already
Alright, let’s go back. Pre-Roosevelt turn of the century initiatives so common and familiar now, such as the Food and Drug Administration, are the kinds of things Democrats brought in that added to government. Yet, Republicans spout misinformation; they get people angry about “evils” of such “big government.”
The Democrats are the ones who brought in the FDA, worker’s rights, workman’s compensation. They’re the ones who put in Medicare. They’re the ones who put in Social Security.
And we remember the Republicans are the ones who created the Great Depression, created poverty for everybody at that time. They’re the ones who did it again with Bush, who tripled and nearly quadrupled the National Debt under the twelve years of Reagan-Bush, then more than doubled it under George W. That’s a lot of goddamn money.
That’s a Lot of Money.
And then the Republicans were giving away seven hundred billion dollars to rich people who afterward were giddy in their ingratitude. This giveaway, keep in mind, came at the end of Bush’s terms. And you would hear CEOs bragging how they’re not going to spend any of that on people; they’re not going to use any of that money to loaning any of it out, which was supposed to be the purpose.
And even afterward, all Congressmen were agreeing that’s a huge amount of money, which at the time was the biggest amount of money being spent at one time, in such a short period of time on anything. And how could we forget that they just took the money and did whatever they wanted with it? They paid off debts to other rich friends; they went overseas and invested in other countries.
Chase Didn’t Use the Money for What It Was Intended.
Goldman Sachs used sixteen billion of what it received to pay off an outstanding debt to a German bank. The head of Chase bank is known to have said he wasn’t going to use the money to increase credit. In fact, he said he was going to keep that money and he was basically going to feather his nest with it and keep Chase solvent so that when other banks went under he could buy them up with it. That’s the money of the taxpayers he’s playing “Monopoly” with, mind you.
Obvious “Truths” – Tax and Spend Democrats
But stacked up against the facts we have this idea of tax and spend Democrats. It’s been repeated, going back many decades. It basically goes back to Roosevelt who ended the Depression and benefited virtually all Americans. And now that’s somehow a bad thing, brought up to get you mad about the tax and spend Democrat. And they’ve got all Americans convinced that if you vote for a Democrat, they’re going to take your money, they’re going to tax it, and they’re going to spend it on somebody else. Well, that has nothing to do with the truth.
Social Security, Medicare, and Surpluses, Oh My!
It has nothing to do with the truth. Certainly Roosevelt benefited all Americans with Social Security and so on; certainly Medicare, brought in under Lyndon Johnson benefited the vast majority of Americans. All these things the Democrats did. And Clinton raised taxes on the very rich a few percentage points and balanced the budget. Clinton created jobs and prosperity, balanced the budget, reduced the National Debt, and created a surplus that could have gone into creating a better America for all Americans. But, no, that was considered bad, because they said it hurt all Americans when the extremely wealthy had to give a little more in taxes.
The Fun Times Anticipating the Surplus
Never mind the facts, never mind that fact that we had a surplus that we were talking gleefully about how we were going to spend it. If you can remember, we were discussing investing in better roads and infrastructure that would have benefited even the businesses.
But no, it wasn’t about the truth anymore, it was about how you made it to home base, how you got money for yourself. And it didn’t matter anymore if you just skipped all the bases, and you started at home and went to home…if you just took the money. I mean, after a while the Republicans could just do that; tax breaks for the wealthy just because they were wealthy. Because, after a while, after all those years of repeating it: They could get away with, If you tax the wealthy you’re taxing all Americans. Wow.
Obvious “Truth”—The Wealthy Are the Job Creators
- Rich people create the jobs.
- The wealthy are society’s creative sector.
- Poor folks don’t create jobs, don’t invest their money.
- That “class warfare” stuff “just doesn’t work.”
Obvious “Truth” – Rich People Create the Jobs
Obvious “Truth”—The Wealthy Are Society’s Creative Sector.
Yes, I have actually heard it said this way; a good chance you have too. Here’s how it works: Raising taxes on the wealthiest is gonna hurt all Americans because by taxing that sliver of the upper two percent of Americans, you are inhibiting the creative sector’s ability to create jobs. Rich folks are society’s wealth creators. The wealthy are the creative people in our country.
They’re Creative All Right.
They’re the creative people, huh? Yea, they’re creative in stealing from us. They’re creative in fattening their wallets at our expense. They’re creative in getting people elected who are liars and things like that.
That’s not the kind of creativity I’d like to have. As far as creating jobs. Who creates jobs?
Excess Wealth Given to the Rich Created High Art Prices, Not High Employment.
Here’s the facts. You know all that money that was given to the rich people? All those tax incentives given to the rich people by Reagan? Well, It didn’t create jobs so much as it created a lot of excess wealth that went into, well, people were buying yachts, and they were investing in art objects that were being bid through the roof.
The wealthy were scrambling; they had so much money they were fighting over art objects. And the art objects — paintings and so on, famous paintings – were making headlines in being sold for so much. During the Eighties under Reagan it was common to hear of 39 million dollars for such and such…58 million, 82 million. Of the 25 most expensive paintings ever sold, only two did not come at a time when tax cuts of either Reagan or one of the Bushes were in effect. And because what? Because the rich had so much extra freakin money. Now you tell me how many jobs money tied up in art objects created?
Real Truth—The Rich Will Squander or Sit on Extra Money.
I mean it isn’t rocket science. It’s very simple … simple psychology. This has to do with facts: You give money to rich people who don’t need it, they’re the ones who are going to squander it; they’re the ones who are going to spend it frivolously, or not going to spend it just let it sit. They’re not going to benefit society with it; they’re not going to multiply it; they’re not going to invest.
In economics this is called diminishing marginal returns. Simply put, it means that food eaten by a hungry person will reap greater reward than the food consumed later when the person is satiated. The same amount of money funneled into projects, or people, will have a greater percentage return when sorely needed than when not; a dollar will go far toward feeding a hungry African child and will be as nothing for a rich American. You simply cannot throw money at folks or ventures and expect to get as much, let alone more, return or reward later when the person is less “hungry” or the project less “starved” for funds..
Obvious “Truth”: Non-Wealthy Folks Don’t Create Jobs, Don’t Invest Their Money
Real Truth: People With Less Money Will Sweat Over and Multiply Money, What They Can.
Whereas, you give a fraction of that money to a poor person, a tiny amount of that to a poor or moderate income person and what will they do? You have any idea how somebody who is poor will make a little bit of money go a long long way?
I saw my father do it. He is the same person making the meager fifty dollars a week at one point. And he wasn’t making much more, but he eventually got a truck driving contract with the U.S. postal service. He was able to own several trucks and to hire several workers.
So, why did he do that? Because he didn’t have a lot of money. And by taking those chances and becoming a businessperson, taking that little bit of money he had, he created jobs for a few other people. Because he was motivated, he was desperate. And for him it was all about a chance to raise himself out of being poor. He spent his life scanning for such opportunities till he finally came across one.
Billionaires Are Not Highly Motivated to Become Millionaires.
So you have people who would take any money coming their way to better their situation in life, the real American way. They would really love to be millionaires; they would risk their very lives for that. They would work their asses off. But those folks aren’t the people who are already billionaires.
But Nobody Will Point This Out!
So you’ve got these inanities thrown out there. They’re being said over and over again…” Rich people create the jobs; they’re society’s creative sector.” These obvious untruths are not being countered by journalists and pundits. There is really no one pointing out that anything is a lie, there’s nobody saying out loud that these self-serving pronouncements are untrue, or that what is being said is vastly different from the facts.
Makin’ Foolish People – Foolin’ the People About “Us” (The Rich)
- Things you hear a lot are true.
- Simple “truths” are real truths.
- Democrats think they’re better than everybody; they’re snobs, elitists….
- Unlike Republicans who are regular people just like me, folks I could sit and have a beer with…who’d understand me.
Confused People Take Comfort in Stupidity
When ALL You Hear Are Lies, You Begin to Think It Has to Be the Truth.
So, what happens? What is the result of these things being heard long enough, with nobody countering them or anything. It’s natural, if you hear something said enough, you don’t question it.
I myself am that way. I was told that we should go into Iraq because there was weapons of mass destruction. I didn’t hear anybody saying anything differently. So I believed it. Well, that turned out to be a lie.
It’s just natural that if you don’t hear anything to counter something, you’re going to believe that the only thing being said is the truth. And that certainly has increased over time…through the years.
Democrats Feel Like They’re Talking to a Wall; They’re Talking to the Weary.
It is not that these lies weren’t countered; they were…by progressives and Democrats…and the few, the brave of commentators. In later years, MSNBC emerged and could be counted on for straight talk. Comedy Central became the “real news” for the young educated for being willing to throw light, albeit hiding behind the built-in denial mechanism of a comic façade, on the inanities of the Wingnuts and Well-Funded.
But that has not been the reality touching the lives of ordinary Americans. What I observed is that the great majority of pundits weren’t any help in clarifying things for people. Journalists would say, “Ok, Mr. Democrat, what do you have to say about that?” And The Democrat would respond with a reasoned argument, laying out all these things that made perfect sense if you’re familiar with the issue.
And pundits wouldn’t delve into their argument, tease out its elements so as to enlighten.
And keep in mind that now more than ever people need that. We have people listening to this who are working two jobs, tired, overworked, worried about their health care, stressed. They’re not going to be able to follow an argument very well. In fact they’re going to forget what all those words meant and how they all fit together.
So after a while a lot of these folks are going to say…I’m sure you’ve heard them, they’re Republicans and the ones who vote for Republicans…they would say, “Aw geez , that’s just a bunch of words, it don’t mean anything.”
But what the hell does that mean?
Confused People Retreat Into the Stupid.
Well, it means that all these words can’t be remembered, they can’t take root in their mind after the lies they’re always hearing from the other side. They are surrounded by the organized disciplined ongoing assault against them by the Republicans. They are filled up with talking points benefiting the wealthy comprised of simplistic simple-minded irrational mantra…irrational, repetitive, simple slogans.
So, the result is that Democrats don’t end up having a lot of power; they don’t get elected. I saw it happen in presidential election after presidential election. I saw Reagan saying simplistic things, getting all the people pissed off about poor people and about the Soviets.
From the other side, I heard his appealing to the worst in people countered by reason, by sensible explanations and realistic proposals of a Dukakis, a Carter, and a Mondale. And then at the end it was…. it didn’t mean a damn thing. Because people just felt more comfortable around somebody who kept things simple, who said simple words, and seemed angry like they were.
Not that Reagan said anything indicating any of his policies were going to benefit average folks. No, actually he screwed them, but they still liked him! Because Reagan, like other Republicans, are able to confuse people into thinking that any screwing up, of any time, must have been done by Democrats. They will tell you your poverty now is caused by Democratic policies of the past which actually got us out of depressions, recessions, and created surpluses. They will tell you your lousy health care now is caused by money going to the Medicare that you like. They will tell you that the financial squeeze you feel is because of the “penny” going to a poor person not the bundles of loot they are taking.
And Burdened People Become Confused People—That’s Their Plan
So, the electorate is swimming in these simple irrational things that have been made to sound reasonable. And they are unable to see through them because they have been kept in this situation of increasing pressure to produce, produce, produce; of less leisure time and no time to think; of worries, medical care, all kinds of things you have to put out money for. They can hardly see through the swindle since they are distracted by the threat to their lives from insurance companies–those folks who may or may not pay you if you need it though you have faithfully paid them.
We’ll Insure You, Up to the Time You Need It
It’s gotten to the point where you have insurance but you dare not ever make a claim. You live with the risk of unexpected loss to your home at any time that you can not cover, because if you make a claim you may not get it next time. You risk losing home insurance and threatening your home. What the hell kind of insurance is that? You are insured but they can deny you? They can deny your claim, or as it happens all the time, you have one or two claims, and you no longer have an insurance company.
So if your payments are not making them a profit, if you are one of those few who are costing them more to be a member or to be covered by that insurance company, if you’re costing them more, they’re not going to take it out of the profits of all those who are costing them less, so, you’re eliminated. So why do we even have insurance companies? Most people have insurance just in the hope that they’ll be covered.
Rational Thought Replaced With Slogans … How Can Anyone Know the Truth?
How Can Folks Unite Against Injustices Hidden From Them
Who has the time to think clearly or reason confronted by all this other uncertainty, this other insanity? So we have all these pressures and then there’s these slogans put out and people are not able to follow rational arguments.
How this expresses itself came out in a discussion yesterday on Facebook. One rational type was trying to reason with a supporter of Mitt Romney, who was convinced everyone knew all the “true facts,” EVERYONE knew about all the “failed” and horrible things Obama had done…as she’d learned from Glenn Beck among others. My earnest and reasonable friend finally threw in the towel saying, “It’s like talking to a random thought generator. What do you think about foreign policy? Cheese.”
That is the result of factoids, “obvious truths,” replacing reason in burdened and confused minds. So how could these people possibly, without being able to see clearly, how could folks like this ever be united against the REAL injustices against them…which they don’t even realize are happening…their minds filled with the fake stuff?
How Can Folks Protect Themselves From “Wizards” Hiding “Behind the Curtain”?
People do not even know who the perpetrators are, for the pundits won’t tell them. Folks cannot figure it out for themselves; and the pundits absolutely refuse to point out who’s responsible for the things that add misery to their lives.
Media types say they cannot do that because they say it has to do with, something about equal time. But that was supposed to be for elections. And, as I pointed out earlier, equal time turned into something where, no matter what lie is put out there or would be put out, no matter what truth is put out there, the media will find somebody, they could find anybody, who would be willing to say a lie and sound reasonable for the purpose of confusing things.
With all this, how can anybody know what the truth is?
Increasing Humiliation of Working People, the Rich Get Richer at Our Expense
- A rising (economic) tide lifts all boats .
Real Truth – The Rich Get Richer at Our Expense.
Life Has Gotten Harder – Real Truth
So we have this increasing deterioration of our prosperity, of our standard of living, of our joy of life. Life becomes more and more of a struggle, and who benefits? Well we see who benefits. We now have a new super rich class which is above even the very rich. It’s called the filthy rich, as I’ve pointed out.
Real Truth – Our Suffering Has Paid for Even Greater Obscenities by the Wealthy.
And to create this super-rich class where did that money come from? Well, it’s come at the cost of average people like us. And I can tell you this because I lived through it all. I’m old enough to have seen the changes. I was born in 1950. I’ve been there to know, things are much harder than they used to be.
And our rights and our freedoms have changed. Because of their successes in the Culture War/Class War, because of Reagan and Bush, the Patriot Act, the neo-con takeover, and everything, our rights to speak out and to live without harassment have been diluted. Out of all the civilized countries in the world we have the greatest percentage of our people in jails. So what does that say?
Humiliation…Increasing Humiliation of Working People
We have these huge corporations taking over and it’s humiliating to people. I mean in times past we had the small retailer, perhaps this person had a small coin shop, bakery, drugstore and pharmacy, shoe shop, maybe a corner grocery store. Now, there aren’t any small stores like that. And where does that person end up making a living?
Well, he worked in retail so maybe he even ends up working for the same department store hat pushed him out of business. So what does that do to your self-esteem?
There’s example after example of people like that in recent years; it’s something that went into high gear under Bush. There are ever more people who are losing their jobs, well paying jobs, because they’re being sent overseas; and they are sometimes actually forced to train the people who are taking their jobs.
I can say I feel fortunate to have lived many years in an America quite different from what most people in America being younger than me have been growing up with.
The Yuppies Were Hardly Boomers … But This Idea Supports a Right-Wing Agenda by Pitting Progressives Against Each Other … Try the Red Pill Instead
- Yuppies are former hippies.
- “Flower children” abandoned their idealism and became greedy careerists focused on money.
- Former young radicals saw the error of their ways and became more conservative politically as they got older.
- The “Me” Generation is the Sixties Generation
- Sixties youth turned from free love and a sexual revolution to conservative sexual values and evangelical religion.
- “My Generation” gave up their idealism as everyone does with greater age and maturity.
- The Woodstock generation turned from pot and visionary thinking to booze, cocaine, and disco dancing a decade later
- The “free love” generation settled down and focused on family and jobs, centered around monogamy.
- “My Generation” is currently filling up the suburbs and feverishly maximizing their portfolios, at any and all cost.
Real Truth – All the Above Are Lies … Propaganda to Further the Motives of the 1%, the Filthy Rich
I can say I feel fortunate to have lived many years in an America quite different from what most people in America being younger than me have been growing up with.
I watched in the early Eighties the lies about a “Me Generation” coming out. Republicans brought that out to beat people down with. The idea was planted that people who wanted anything for themselves were selfish, for after all only the wealthy should ever benefit.
And it’s funny too, how they were able to use their own spawn to make this case. You could look around and see a new cadre of young folks—Gen X Yuppies—who had bought into the WWII values, who had been deluded by the untruths the 1% of that WWII generation had been using against the masses. The rich elite had succeeded in convincing those younger of mind that the wealthy folks interests where actually their own.
The 1% of the WWII Generation’s response to Sixties activism on campus, as I showed earlier, led to their taking over the universities in the early Seventies and turning them away from the humanities and social sciences and into career mills; I was there and observed it first hand. The success of this is what created the Yuppies in the Eighties–young upwardly mobile professionals–who were the first batch of Generation X—who are those born 1961 to 1981, who therefore left high school beginning in 1978. [Footnote 1]
So these Gen X Yuppies were coming onto the scene in the early Eighties, when the first of them were leaving the universities. The turnaround in education, away from free thinking and towards conservative careerist values, was in full swing by the time they reached college in 1978 on. And its effect on them was patent when they began coming of age. They were what the WWII Generation wanted: money-oriented and compliant…greed had been made “good” again. Standouts of this generation today are Sarah Palin (born 1964), Eric Cantor (born 1963), Rand Paul (born 1963), and Paul Ryan (born 1970).
So then the WWII Generation, fully in charge of society, could point to these yuppie spawn as examples of the obscenity of greed, thus deflecting attention away from their own, WWII Generation, me-spiritedness. To further their ends, they also claimed the origins of this unseemly greed lie in the failed, unrealistic values of the Sixties generation and their idealism.
This was one of their most amazing feats. They were able to take their values of greed and conformity, sow them in another generation, point to those values and criticize them, blame them on the hippies, all the while hiding their own espousal of those values. They perpetrated, denied, criticized, scapegoated, distracted, and obfuscated all together! They thoroughly convinced Americans that the Me Generation and Yuppies were those who formerly were flower children.
Whereas this actual Me Generation, these Yuppies, were predominantly a bunch of reactionary young people who said to hell with this idealistic stuff, and of helping out, and kumbaya, and all that stuff. They said, we’re for money, to hell with any one else. And somehow the WWII-Generation-owned media, assisted by a Fifties Generation now in their prime, convinced folks that these careerists out only for themselves were the one-time visionaries. Of course they only pulled this off because they owned or controlled all the major organs of expression in America—the newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, education, book publishing. I’ve delineated how they did this in one of the earliest all-out assaults, after their initial setbacks in the Sixties, of the Culture War/Class War they have been waging on the 99% since that time.
The media flooded American minds with the idea that the Me Generation was My Generation (I’m “talkin’ bout my generation” here) in the Eighties. They had prepared the ground for that lie, as there had been constant slander of my generation in the press since the beginnings of our activism in the Sixties, exactly like they are now putting out against the Millennials and those in the Occupy movement today. Beginning in the Seventies, owning the publishing and media industries, they concocted the lie that there was a conservative backlash going on. (See Chapter Two: Matrix Aroused, the Sixties and The Big Lie About Yuppies Being Hippies.)
This supposed conservative backlash was merely a continuation of Nixon’s laughable claim that he was supported by a “Silent Majority,” which he had used since the beginnings of his term in 1969 and which was obviously false, as demonstrations grew in size and support swung away from him throughout this period; and eventually he was forced to resign. But Republicans always claim there are a majority of real folks out there—“real Americans” as Palin and her kind say today—who support them but are doing it secretly. (btw, lol!)
Anyway, by the Eighties the powers-that-be were able to place this idea of a selfish “Me Generation” of Sixties youth, which they had been saying for a while, as being the ones on the campus at the time or recently out, the Yuppies. It fit their narrative. But it was a lie, and virtually all my generation knew it and thought it laughable. We stopped laughing after a while as over the years, it became clearer they had done such a good job of preparing the ground and repeating the lie that it stuck in the minds of those other than my generation—the Fifties Generation ahead of us and Gen X behind us—and the right wing, who of course saw this as red meat to further their causes. The media controlled by the 1% said the Sixties generation had gone from idealism to just wanting money, thereby discrediting their opponents, us who were consistently representing the 99%. At the same time they gave credibility to their claim of the superior veracity of their own values of greed, materialism, ruthless pragmatism, ego above all, and even me-spiritedness. Also, it validated, even glorified their personal traits of conformity, hard-headedness, cynicism, compliance, and even mean-spiritedness .
The Lies About Jerry Rubin
They could only give one example, Jerry Rubin; and even about him they lied and slandered. First off, neither Jerry Rubin, or Abbie Hoffman for that matter, were Boomers or Sixties Generation members. They were Fifties Generation, born in 1938 and 1936 respectively. Boomers were born in the post-WWII baby boom from 1946 through 1960. So that is enough to discredit what they said about “my generation.” But taking it as an attack aimed at the counterculture, let’s examine it:
They said Jerry Rubin was engaged in trying to make money. And they never mentioned what he was trying to make money on… but God forbid anyone but them should try to make money anyway. You see, what the 1% do is drive people into lowered standards of living and poverty where they experience desperation for money at times. Then they can point to that grasping to survive as proof that their values of money above all else are legitimate and that it is not possible for humans to have any other values higher than that. They create the conditions that they can use to support and validate themselves…how convenient.
But telling the whole truth would never allow them to do that. They didn’t mention about Jerry Rubin that he was engaged in selling health supplements; he was trying to help people out with their health. He was involved in multilevel marketing. He was an early investor in Apple Corporation, helping to foster the cybernetic revolution that progressives depend on today and which has strengthened our movement incredibly with Facebook and Twitter aiding us in overthrowing dictators in the Mideast and joining us in support of the Occupy and Wisconsin union movements.
He traveled with Abbie Hoffman in doing “Yippie versus Yuppie” debates, that is true. Since it did not fit the narrative of their discrediting their opponents in the Sixties generation, they never understood or at least never mentioned that in using those terms for their “debates” they were continuing their tradition of fucking with their opponents’ minds by flaunting the terms that had been used against them. Critics don’t get and opponents conveniently overlook the heavily ironic and playful way my generation, and Yippies in particular, present themselves. “Yippie versus Yuppie” is supposed to make you think; it is a hook; and it is funny to those of us in the know. Believe me, I have the same problem with people sometimes misunderstanding my intent for the opposite of what I believe because of the amusingly ironic titles I sometimes give my writings.
But Rubin’s position in this “debate”—which was actually a discussion of different ways the Sixties values might succeed, not be overturned—was that the POOR COULD BE HELPED by promoting programs to create wealth in their communities. I quote:
Rubin’s argument in the debates was that activism was hard work and that the abuse of drugs, sex, and private property had made the counter-culture “a scary society in itself.” He maintained that “wealth creation is the real American revolution. What we need is an infusion of capital into the depressed areas of our country.”
Someone who knew him well, Stew Albert, said this of Jerry in eulogizing him.
Jerry was always a rebel, but then he was always a rebel within the rebellion. He was always sort of rebelling against the norms of the rebellion.
Jerry changed costumes, and he changed rhetoric, but he never changed his heart.
Does that sound like someone promoting the interests of the 1%? Or like someone just out for himself, as Yuppies really are? Remember that at the time, militant, even violent revolution had been in the air for a while—with the Weather Underground, the Black Panthers, and the Symbionese Liberation Army and such. So “Yippie vs. Yuppie” was a leftist debate about tactics. Today it would be considered a discussion of liberal vs. progressive views…hardly conservative, Yuppie, or Republican views. And Jerry Rubin’s putting on a suit made him about as conservative as it made Bob Dylan a conservative when he picked up an electric guitar at the Newport Festival of 1965. Dylan got booed for what was only considered unusual alongside some very high, and strict, expectations about purism in music having nothing to do with political ideology or musical quality but simply technology. Rubin’s wearing a suit was the same kind of thing at the time he did it…and it had nothing to do with ideology but simply tactics—i.e., revolutionary technology.
Also, at the same time as Rubin was doing all this and supposedly a Yuppie, he was running a legal and civil rights office in an artsy/alternative part of L.A., Echo Park, where he also lived. When he died he was on his way to dinner in the company of Fred Branfman of the Making a Difference project, whose purpose was to bring money into poor communities by helping inner-city youth learn how to start their own businesses. Does that sound like a Wall Street careerist? Does that sound like he turned over his ideals and bowed to the god of money? So, lies, lies, lies. And these lies become instituted and they’re not challenged after a while, after you hear them for decade after decade after decade….
You have to be older to know that it wasn’t always the way they tell you it is. It helps to have lived in different times and places and to have seen things with your own eyes to be able to see through these inane “obvious truths” that people take as absolute truths. It helps to have had experience with the things they are talking about to know what are actual facts and what are complete fabrications.
Setting the Record Straight on Boomers
Boomer-Generation X Culture War
A friend who supports the Occupy movement, and who happens to be a Gen Xer, recently shared this with me,
As a Gen Xer, I have to say we were outnumbered as a Generation with half the numbers of the boomers and the previous traditional generations.
…the boomers cut taxes on the wealthy and wages for the middle class to create the world’s largest debt, our dependence on dirty foreign oil grew as our manufacturing base got shipped over seas.
You Boomers call Gen X a slacker generation while doing all that?
It is the boomers who are the dead beat generation now.
If this person were correct, then why have the Boomers voted consistently Democratic? [Footnote 2]
The Gen X/Yuppie—Fifties Generation alliance was responsible for getting Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II elected. Boomers voted against Republicans, especially these; it’s all in the public record. Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II are the ones who did the tax cuts. Whereas Clinton—a Boomer and a Democrat—raised taxes on the 1% and balanced a budget for the first time.
Indeed, all Democratic candidates and Presidents going back to Roosevelt at least, with the one small exception of Kennedy favored and fought for raising taxes on the 1%, not cutting them, so as to relieve the burden on the 99%. The right likes to use Kennedy as an example of a Democrat seeing the wisdom of cutting taxes to improve the economy, but Kennedy’s proposed tax cut for the 1% was when the marginal rate was 91% range, not at 35% as today, and the country was prosperous. (See The Myth of JFK as a Supply Side Tax Cutter.) Also it was not instituted until Johnson began his term … which was incidentally when the huge deficits began. So Kennedy’s tax cut had nothing at all to do with the prosperity we enjoyed during his term, indeed its institution marked the beginning of increasing deficits.
Even today, it is Democrats—supported heavily by Boomers—who are opposed to tax cuts and favor reining in the greed of the 1%. This includes Obama, who incidentally is a Gen X-Boomer cusper, born 1961. Note that he has surrounded himself with Boomers—Biden, Clinton, et al. And they are engaged in that same Democratic struggle of decades past of trying to get the 1% to pay their fair share in taxes. Meanwhile Republicans supported by that Fifties Generation (the Koch Brothers, John McCain, Dick Cheney, Mitch McConnell, et al) – Gen X/Yuppie (Palin, Cantor, Ryan, Rand Paul) alliance oppose Boomer-Democratic tax and other progressive initiatives at every turn.
So to accuse Boomers, who voted predominantly for these Democrats and their policies, of cutting taxes is grossly misinformed or a lie. And for a Gen Xer to do this blaming is either ignorant, a denial, or delusional…but is in any case a product of that misinformation I’ve been talking about.
For to address that Gen Xer’s charges of Boomer’s causing the dependence on dirty foreign oil, the Sixties Generation started the environmental movement. I know a little about this; as I explained previously, I was one of those who helped bring nuclear plant construction to a halt in America, which we did in Springfield, Oregon, in the early Eighties. We, Boomers…I was born in 1950…supported Democrats who fought for environmental legislation, alternative energies, and reduced dependence on dirty energies against Republicans, supported by the Fifties-Gen X alliance, who watered down those policies and legislated a rape of our natural resources and our environment to benefit big business, Big Oil, Big Nuke, Big Coal, and the 1%.
As for the accusation that Boomers sent our manufacturing base overseas and caused a lowering of middle class wages, how can that possibly be true alongside the more than obvious knowledge that Democrats are the ones who consistently push for and favor raising the minimum wage and are the union supporters? Can this OWS person not be aware of the parallel Wisconsin union movement which has Democrats and union folks up against Republicans and Gen X/Fifties Gen Koch-supporters? Or is he somehow unaware of the fact that Boomers have consistently voted in greater numbers for Democrats than Republicans over all these decades? [Footnote 2]
Well, this shows the amount of success the WWII Generation and Fifties Generation enjoyed in shifting the blame for their policies and their theft of the national wealth. And, by the way, it was the WWII Generation that had the greatest retirement wealth per person and who instituted Social Security and other benefit programs for themselves … making themselves the wealthiest as well as the “Greatest Generation.” Probably with the tax cuts, the current Fifties Generation who in their retirement years are raping the wealth of the country to fatten themselves, are bettering them. Whereas the Sixties Generation, scapegoated again, is facing cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and other benefits at the exact time as they need it and are facing or entering retirement—being beaten down, harassed, and scapegoated by the Gen X-Fifties Generation alliance again.
You think this is ancient information and is irrelevant to what is happening today? Remember that the comment I quoted above from my Gen X friend and fellow Occupier was from only last week. He has his sights set on my generation as the perpetrators of the problems; these ideas have caused a split between Gen X and Boomer Progressives. I can tell you that his comment is not atypical from others I hear from Gen X in their attitudes toward Boomers.
Similarly, to some extent the Millennials believe Boomers are at fault also—this is what they have been taught. They are simply misinformed and so are not so committed to the lies as the Gen Xers. The Millennials are open to the fact they have been deceived. After all their Boomer parents are models of the fact that these “facts” are actually lies. The Millennials have been made to believe, simply, that their own parents and those of their friends are somehow just different from those “bad Boomers” out there who are really the selfish and tax-cutter ones.
Lies and toxic misinformation are not healthy, at all, for a movement that is predominantly an alliance of Millennials and Boomers, with some Gen Xers (notably, few Fifties Generation folks). After all, how do you think a progressive Boomer feels, after fighting his entire life with his generational cohort for the changes that we are still fighting for with the OWS and Wisconsin union movements, and after hearing his entire life the made up lies, the slander, the scapegoating about himself, his generation, and his beliefs? How do you think she feels seeing those same lies being pulled out again and thrown against OWS supporters, for example, continuing therefore to throw salt into old wounds? And finally how do you think she feels to hear from her friends and allies in the movement that she has been the problem all this time, not the solution? It is disheartening, to say the least.
In this antagonism against Boomers, the other side—the WWII-Fifties Gen alliance, supportive of the 1% and their Tea Party sycophants—have won again. [Footnote 3]
For these WWII-Fifties Gen lies have thrown discord into progressive ranks. And they have thrown off the aim of our movements as to who the perpetrators are, giving the 1% a convenient fog of confusion behind which they can continue unfettered their actions against us.
Finally a most visible example of the right-wing/Republican Fifties Generation – Gen X alliance was shown in the last presidential election with a Fifties Gen, McCain, matched with a Gen X – Palin, born in 1964, coming smack in the middle of the Yuppies (1961 through 1970). This is the generational alliance and the generational values we should be targeting, not Boomers, and Progressives would do better to know that.
The “Truth Dividend” of Having Been Around
So, in understanding what might be the truth and what are obviously lies, it helps to be older, for you can know that it wasn’t always the way they tell you it is or has to be. It helps to have lived in different times and places and to have seen things with your own eyes to be able to see through these inane “obvious truths” that people take as absolute truths. It helps to have had experience with the things they are talking about to know what are actual facts and what are complete fabrications.
And with that seeing comes the knowledge that over the course of the last fifty years America descended into a deep slumber of untruth from which it could not awaken…regardless of all the righteous efforts of many true-seeing progressive activists who did their best to sound alarms.
Here is an audio of the author’s impassioned reading of this part. Though it is of the first, unedited and unpolished version, and it does not contain all the detail of its current form, it does capture the flavor of it all. I offer it here for your listening pleasure. For the reading of this part, “The Rise and Fall of ‘Obvious Truths,’ Part Three,” click on the link to the audio site above or click the link to the audio player below.
1. A lot of confusion about Boomers, Yuppies, And Generation X has been generated by the Census Bureau and main stream media. A generation, see below, is defined as a cohort of people occurring roughly every twenty years who share some common viewpoint and experiences.
This is what a generation actually is:
Defining a generation
Strauss and Howe define a social generation as the aggregate of all people born over a span of roughly twenty years, or about the length of one phase of life: childhood, young adulthood, midlife, and old age. Particular generations are identified (from first birthyear to last) by looking for cohort groups of this length that share three criteria. First, members of a generation share what the authors call an age location in history: they encounter key historical events and social trends while occupying the same phase of life. Because members of a generation are shaped in lasting ways by the eras they encounter as children and young adults, they also tend to share certain common beliefs and behaviors. Aware of the experiences and traits that they share with their peers, members of a generation also tend to share a sense of common perceived membership in that generation. For example, in a 2007 Harvard Institute of Politics survey, Americans born 1982 to 1989 (whom Strauss and Howe define as the first-wave cohorts of the Millennial Generation) identified themselves as belonging to a “unique and distinct” generation, with an outlook different from people in their 30s or older. Surveys show that Boomers also strongly identify with their own age cohort.
Strauss and Howe base their definition of a generation on the work of diverse writers and social thinkers, from ancient writers such as Polybius and Ibn Khaldun to modern social theorists like José Ortega y Gasset, Karl Mannheim, John Stuart Mill, Émile Littré, Auguste Comte, and François Mentré.
From Strauss-Howe generational theory
Meanwhile, the U.S. Census Bureau definition of Boomers is different. See Baby boomer.
Why would it be different? That is the crucial question. The Census Bureau’s definitions of Boomers and Generation X is as follows:
- The Baby Boom Generation is the generation that was born following World War II, from 1946 up to 1964, a time that was marked by an increase in birth rates. The baby boom has been described variously as a “shockwave” and as “the pig in the python.” By the sheer force of its numbers, the boomers were a demographic bulge which remodeled society as it passed through it. In general, baby boomers are associated with a rejection or redefinition of traditional values; however, many commentators have disputed the extent of that rejection, noting the widespread continuity of values with older and younger generations. In Europe and North America boomers are widely associated with privilege, as many grew up in a time of affluence. One of the features of Boomers was that they tended to think of themselves as a special generation, very different from those that had come before them. In the 1960s, as the relatively large numbers of young people became teenagers and young adults, they, and those around them, created a very specific rhetoric around their cohort, and the change they were bringing about.
From Generation in Wikipedia.
So why are those born 1961 through 1964 considered part of the Boomer Generation by the Census Bureau, which has informed much of the discussion on this? Why is the Census Bureau attributing only 17 years to Generation X but 19 years to Boomers, when in fact the Boomers were born in a World War II “baby boom” that had them being born in a distinctly shorter period. Whereas Generation X was born of the Fifties Generation during a more languorous, hence longer period? Why is the Census Bureaus including as Boomers those born at those end years of 1961 through 1964 when the number of births was decreasing, not “booming”?
I don’t know the answer, but I do know this decision by the Census Bureau has served pundits and right wing commentators in giving more weight to their positions by diluting the distinctly liberal voting record of actual Boomers. As I have been stating above, there was a concerted effort to scapegoat Boomers and to confuse them with Yuppie-Gen Xers. This confused definition by the Census Bureau is part of that. It has allowed pundits to slander the Sixties Generation, as I said, by attributing qualities to them that were actually a part of the WWII Generation’s Culture War Attack of creating a generation different from and more compliant than the Sixties Generation/ Boomers.
At any rate, that is why we have the discrepancy shown in this description of the Pew Report findings on “Boomer” voting patterns. Let’s look at a few relevant findings:
Of greatest interest to BTS are the Pew Research Center survey findings about Boomers.
- In recent years Boomers increasingly call themselves conservatives. They voted for Republican candidates in 2010, but are still on the fence for the 2012 Presidential Election.
- Older Boomers tilt Democratic while younger Boomers tilt Republican. When asked to name the best President during their lifetime, Boomers were evenly divided between Clinton and Reagan.
- Younger Boomers and Generation Xers have been one of the most reliable Republican voting groups.
From The Baby Boomer Voting Bloc
This supports what I’m saying about generational voting patterns. The difference lies in that this author has to differentiate between late Boomers and early Boomers. They are opposite in their voting patterns. This person wouldn’t be so confused if he placed the generational divide where it belongs, at 1961, not 1965. Boomers were born between 1946 and 1960, as shown in the chart below, which also shows Generation X beginning in 1961.
The Boom Generation defined by Howe and Strauss, as shown in the chart above, born 1946 thru 1960 are the ones who vote consistently Democratic. They are the ones who shared common events and experiences growing up and were shaped by them, notably the Vietnam War; the JFK, RFK, and MLK assasinations in 1968; the sexual revolution; the explosion of the use of LSD and pot as drugs, and the counterculture. These events were not on the cultural map that faced the ones born 1961 through 1964, for they were too young. Yet how can one define a Boomer-Sixties Generation that does not include these as formative experiences?
So this discrepancy is an example of what I’m talking about in this article. For it continues the confusion about Boomers and contributes to the scapegoating and the denigration of Boomers as being a Me Generation and Yuppies being former hippies by simply getting confusing results by including some from Gen X—some actual Yuppies. To include those born between the four years, 1961 through 1964, you end up getting the confused results this author gets. You are including the likes of Sarah Palin and Eric Cantor, fer Chrissakes! I’ve never heard anyone mistake them for my generation. It would have Barack Obama, born 1961, categorized as a Boomer, as if there is not an obvious generational difference between him and some the notable Boomers in his administration, like Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. But by seeing that Obama is a Yuppie-Gen Xer, it helps explain the differences between him and the actual Boomer president, Bill Clinton.
For more on this, see Generation Jones, which is the term given for those born 1954 through 1964. They are seen to be very different from the Boomers. They did not confront the same social realities as did Boomers. They even came of age after the Vietnam War. They missed the counterculture movement. It is ludicrous for generationalists to include these with Baby Boomers as especially the second half of these have an entirely opposite world view from Boomers. Their stalwarts include Rick Santorum (born 1958), Sarah Palin (born 1964) and Eric Cantor (born 1963)…hardly Boomers. Notice that it also includes Rand Paul (born 1963), who as expected is the son of a Fifties Generation parent with whom he is allied, Ron Paul (born 1935).
See also the write up on Generation X in Wikipedia, which addresses this confusion as to where the dividing line between Boomers and Gen X is as well.
Finally, see Baby boomer, which discusses this confusion and adds two important considerations: The person who coined the term “baby boomer” described them as those born between 1943 and 1960. So why did the Census Bureau change it? The second point discussed is that many theorists have two distinct generations during this supposed period of Census Bureau Boomers—Boomers and Generation Jones, which are said to be those born 1956 through 1964. So this latter group is not included with Boomers.
Is all this not confusing enough? Does it not play into the right wing agenda to dilute their opponents power by confusing their opponents profile, so they can lob any charge against them? Or attribute any self-congratulatory trait to them, as they wish?
Most of all, this strikes me as devious in that it allows right wingers to blame Boomers for the cadre of youth, the Yuppies, who were actually their creation—that of the 1% and those reactionary culture war forces—and were in no way influenced by, so should hardly be included in, “my generation” of Boomers, the Sixties Generation.
2. BLAM!! From the site, Gallup Politics, of May 8, 2009. Even though continuing the misinformation that Boomers were born up till 1964, going with the Census Bureau definition, Gallup Poll data still solidly support the premise that Boomers are predominantly Democrats, as well as the fact that Millennials are as well.
Republicans do better among Generation X
by Frank Newport
PRINCETON, NJ — Although Democrats currently enjoy a party identification advantage over Republicans among Americans at every age between 18 to 85, the Democrats’ greatest advantages come among those in their 20s and baby boomers in their late 40s and 50s. Republicans, on the other hand, come closest to parity with Democrats among Generation Xers in their late 30s and early 40s and among seniors in their late 60s….
Demographers and social observers have made attempts over the years to classify Americans into generational groups based on the social, political, economic, and cultural environment of the years in which they grew up and “came of age.” The most clearly delineated such group is the baby boomers, generally agreed to be those born between 1946 and 1964 — or roughly ages 45 to 63 today. Generation X follows the baby boom and is generally considered to be those born between 1965 and 1979 — or roughly between ages 30 and 44. Those younger than Generation X have been labeled Generation Y or the “Millennials,” who are 18 to 29 today. There are various ways of grouping those who preceded the baby boom generation, including the famous sobriquet “The Greatest Generation” used by Tom Brokaw in his book of the same name, but it is convenient to label those who today are 64 and older as seniors (even though some in this group would no doubt resist that label).
From Democrats Do Best Among Generation Y and Baby Boomers.
Notice here that not only are arbitrary birth figures used to stipulate Boomers and Generation Xers, but everyone older than a Boomer is classified as part of the World War Two Generation—”The Greatest Generation.” So they would have everyone born in the forty-five year period from 1901 through 1945 to be WWII Gen even though some were born during the war and had their coming of age after the war and in the decade of the Fifties—those born 1925 through 1945. Elsewhere this generation has been termed the Silent Generation or the Eisenhower-Presley-McCarthy Generation…I’m calling them the Fifties Generation for convenience sake. Still, the study does find Democratic tendencies among Boomers, however wrongly defined, and Millennials. And it finds Republican leanings among Generation Xers, however wrongly defined, and the Fifties Generation, however wrongly defined again, as shown by the graph below:
The current data suggest that political party identification in the United States today follows these generational patterns to a perhaps surprising degree.
· Generation Y (18 to 29) clearly is skewed fairly strongly in the direction of being either independent or Democratic in political orientation. This group constitutes a significant weakness for the Republican Party.
· Generation X (30 to 44) includes some of the strongest support for Republicans. For whatever reasons, the Democratic over Republican gap among Generation Xers, particularly those ages 37 to 43 at the heart of this generation, is on a relative basis much closer to parity than for any other age group with the exception of those in their late 60s.
· Baby Boomers (45 to 63) skew Democratic in their political orientation, with the Democratic advantage reaching a peak at ages 58 and 59.
· Seniors have a more mixed pattern of party identification, with Republicans gaining on a relative basis among those in their late 60s, but with Democrats doing better as Americans age into their 70s and early 80s.
Democrats have a significant advantage over Republicans today in terms of overall party identification, and the data reviewed here show that this advantage holds at every age between 18 and 85.
At the same time, there are clear ebbs and flows in the degree of this Democratic advantage across the age spectrum. Democrats have the greatest advantage vis a vis Republicans among Americans at the very youngest voting age and also among members of the fabled baby boom, particularly those in their late 50s. Republicans do relatively better among those who are in Generation X, including in particular those in their late 30s and early 40s. Republicans also show greater support among older Americans in their late 60s….
There is…the hypothesis that the differences are explained by the unique circumstances that surrounded the coming of age of the generations. Baby boomers, as is well known, grew up in the tumultuous age of civil rights, Vietnam, Woodstock, and Watergate. It is certainly possible that these events have marked this generation in a more Democratic or liberal direction for life. Many Generation Xers came of age during the Reagan-Bush years (1980 to 1992) or the “Republican Revolution” marked by the 1994 midterm elections. Today’s Generation Y has reached maturity in a time period largely marked by the administration of George W. Bush, and certainly for many the nascent Obama administration is a major formative factor in their political orientation….
From Democrats Do Best Among Generation Y and Baby Boomers.
Now contrast what above is said in the Gallup Poll about Boomers with what is said here about “late Boomers,” or who Howe and Strauss and other social scientists would call Generation X, and I would call Gen X-Yuppies:
the 1980-1988 run where young Late Boomers broke heavily for Republicans in the three Presidential landslides of that decade. When that generation grew to political maturity, it resulted in by far the most Republican-identifying generation in over half a century, the 1994 Republican landslide, and the general sense of creeping conservatism the country experienced through the 1990’s and first half of our current decade
From The Importance of Generation Y.
The article above also describes the Democratic voting patterns of the Millennials, or what they call Generation Y.
On the idea that the Millennials being the sons and daughters of the Sixties Generation/Boomers, as I continually point out, I offer the following definition of Millennials from WhatIs.com
Millennials, an abbreviation for millennial generation, is a term used by demographers to describe a segment of the population born between 1980 and 2000 (approximately). Sometimes referred to in the media as “Generation Y,” millennials are the children of the post-WWII baby boomer generation.
A few things about millennials:
- According the U.S. census bureau, around forty percent of the millennial generation is African American, Latino, Asian or of a racially-mixed background.
- There are about 76 million millennials in the United States (based on research using the years 1978-2000).
- Millennials are the last generation born in the 20th century.
- Twenty percent have at least one immigrant parent.
- A number of studies, including one by the Center for American Progress, anticipate that millennials will be the first American generation to do less well economically than their parents.
- Millennials are also sometimes called the Net generation because (at least according to some people) they don’t remember a time when there was no Internet.
- As a result of growing up with the Internet and associated devices, millennials are often said to be the most technologically savvy generation to date.
Finally a most visible example of the right-wing/Republican Fifties Generation – Gen X alliance was shown in the last presidential election with a Fifties Gen, McCain, matched with a Gen X – Palin, born in 1964, coming smack in the middle of the Yuppies (1961 through 1970). This is the generational alliance and the generational values we should be targeting, not Boomers, and Progressives would do better to know that.
3. There is some scapegoating done by Millennials out of this misinformation. The following was published a few days ago, on June 17, 2012. It is further validation of the antagonism against Boomers regarding the issues of the movement—OWS and Wisconsin union:
9/11 and the “war on terror” became part of common jargon. Recently, the “war on women” and the “war on religion” are hot political topics. Now, I’m thinking there is a “war on boomers”….
I was sitting at a reception party table politely nibbling on a too-sweet slice of wedding cake chased with lukewarm burnt coffee when a recent graduate seated at the table started whining about how unfairly life was treating him. First, he believed that four years of (sheltered) college life entitled him to a first-class ticket to affluence with a side-trip on a guaranteed career path. And, now there were no job tickets to be had and (worse) he was expected to pay back all the money he borrowed to get in on this total sham. Life was so unfair! His debt should be forgiven – because it was only fair to be compensated for this bait-and-switch.
He continued his tirade. Boomers should be retiring to make room for all the recent grads that deserve jobs now. It’s only right. On top of this, these boomers with all of their massive wealth were actually going to bankrupt Social Security – a heartless action since they don’t actually need it. The injustices just keep piling for the new graduates with their superior skills and up-to-date knowledge. Down the road he had nothing to look forward to — once he finally got that plum job that he had a right to based on his attendance at an institution of higher learning – except huge national debt and no Social Security or Medicare, an unwanted and unwarranted gift from self-centered boomers.
And, now I’m starting to pay attention to what seemed idle conversation. I glance at the Count who gives me a look that says, “Don’t go there –– please!” I concentrate on my cake that is now too dry to choke down without more lukewarm burnt coffee; and wonder if Clueless thinks those seated at the table are in our 30s (or perhaps our 80s!) and am amazed at how he can find it acceptable to disparage all boomers while sitting among them. Generously, I wonder if maybe he just has a sarcastic sense of humor. However, Clueless continues. I smolder some and then catch the Count’s glance again. He slyly places his thumb and first finger on either side of his mouth pulling a smile into place – and I reluctantly accept his wisdom. But, the Count did get an earful on the way home.
- I think about Julie, a single mother, who helped two kids through college while working 40 hours per work as an administrative assistant, selling Avon after work hours, and running a food concession stand at weekend events during the summer. Julie has little in her nest-egg, but her children do have a chance at the American dream – although it will always require some effort.
- I suspect that John, another co-worker, was on track to fund his retirement. Unfortunately, at about the same time the 2008 financial crisis cratered his retirement savings his father was diagnosed with Alzheimers. John knew he should avoid using his tax-deferred savings at the bottom of the financial market, but his father’s healthcare bills had to be paid. John’s plan to retire at 62 is a dream lost to reality.
- I bumped into Mary Beth at the greenhouse when we were buying our bedding plants. She pointed us to the “spikes” that the Count insists on adding to the geranium-filled pots on the patio. As we caught up on gossip about former neighbors, she confided that plants have always been her hobby and that this “green” job was perfect. This temporary part-time job was crucial to replacing the family income lost when Jerry was laid off from his welding job – months ago. And, she laughed when she acknowledged that, in fact, “work” was a respite from a house now over-crowded since her daughter and family are living in the basement. I’m pretty certain that Jerry and Mary Beth — both boomers, planners, and savers – no longer have the luxury of maximizing their tax-deferred retirement savings accounts (or even the ability to set aside savings) as they approach the age they used to believe would be the end of their full-time working careers.
With investment portfolios and home values shrinking, medical expenses and LTC costs rising, financial worries for some boomers are dire.
- A May 2010 Pew Research survey found that 60% of Americans age 50 to 61 believe they may need to delay retirement because of the recession. Plus, the highest percentage of any generation, 57% of boomers, said that their household finances have deteriorated in the past few years.
- In 2010 the ERBI reported that only 13% of workers age 55 or older are “very confident” that have enough money to live comfortably in retirement.
- Some have labeled the boomer generation the “sandwich generation”, a group dealing with healthcare issues of their elderly parents at the same time they are backstopping the impact of the stagnant economy on their boomerang grown children.
Aiming fingers and lobbing blame doesn’t solve anything. We are all in this together since our generations are linked in complex ways. We are all fighting the same war of financial and economic uncertainty, just not at on the same battlefield – as determined by our stage of life. A war on anyone does nothing but divide us – when the ultimate victory is prosperity for everyone.
From The War on Boomers
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Rebirthing Rituals, the Hard Rain Fallin’, and the Value of Popular Culture in Awakening: The Price of Peace Is Inner Sight … Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits
Posted by sillymickel
Where There Is Hope and What Did You Expect Awakening to Look Like? Look Hard Enough, You Just Might See the Seeds of Light Amidst the Darkness Surrounding.
Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing
Societal Self-Analysis and Talk Show Soul-Searching for Peace … Sorry, I Know You Wanted to Hate Reality Shows.
The Price of Peace Is Inner Sight: Societal Self-Analysis, an Internet Reformation, and Talk Show Soul-Searching for Peace
Culture War Replaced Cold War
We see the workings of these opposing tendencies to look away from problems or to embrace them by examining the reactions in America to the collapse of the Soviet Union. The disappearance of this huge object for distraction from inner unhappiness, about which one could rationalize the use of defensiveness and scapegoating, led to continued turning away through the emergence, in America, of a search for other societal scapegoats and therefore the “Republican revolution.” Culture War replaced the Cold War as the way one could be comfortably ignorant of one’s insides and self-assuredly distracted, self-righteously engaged.
This removal of a collective punching bag or scapegoat also resulted in a healthy turning toward the darkness within and a collective self-analysis in America. This reaction has brought to the fore many of our social and political shortcomings.
Talk Show Soul-Searching
For evidence of this latter response we notice beginning in the Nineties the rise of the talk show; the rituals of nationwide self-examination over issues of sexual harassment, spouse abuse, and race relations played out in the Anita Hill–Clarence Thomas hearings and the O. J. Simpson trial; the hashing out of controversial and formerly hidden personal issues around sex, lies, and marital fidelity, played out in the Clinton-Lewinsky Scandal; the reevaluation of matters of faith precipitated by priestly sexual abuse; and many other such national psychodramas staged on cable news networks and the magazine-style, documentary-type TV shows like Frontline, Nightline and the like.
We also witnessed the rise of reality shows as part of this societal pull to see beneath the covers of what is thought to be real. Now, progressives and intellectuals have lots of fun vamping about how superior they themselves are to such interests, as exemplified in reality shows. This can only be the position of elitists out of touch with the ways ordinary folks live their lives.
To make my point, let me back up a bit. The swagger that the Left, and intellectuals in general, display around reality shows is the same superiority they have expressed for decades concerning sitcoms. First, let me say that I consider most sitcoms and reality shows to be rather boring and a bit inane with their laugh and soundtrack framing. Yet, when I was a child, growing up in a medium-sized city in the coal country of Pennsylvania and coming from a very traditional family, it was only through such sitcoms that I had a chance to find out what a different style of family and parenting would be. Today, I would laugh at a “Father Knows Best.” But it was a step up and into socialization from the “Father Knows Little” or “Father Not Around” of many in my social stratum when I was a kid. This exposure allowed me, and many of my generation, to seek for more in our life and for better interpersonal family relationships…and eventually better parenting.
This presentation of better alternatives—middle-class, liberal, “hollywood” ones—to everyone in America has a lot to do with the fact that the Sixties were so explosive. It was the first decade after the introduction of a national culture through the medium of television. Much has been made of the fact that newscasts brought information into living rooms for the first time in that era—which is the thing that intellectual elitists will focus on, blinded by their quaint beliefs that humans are rational actors. It takes an experiential psychologist and social scientist like myself to notice that most folks act out of ideas and attitudes that are rooted in experiences and information that are hardly rational. So, the modeling of a more “advanced” way of family life—not perfect but for many better than the traditional ways they had known, which included things like spanking and attitudes like “children are better seen not heard” and “spare the rod, spoil the child”—through the TVs and cinemas of America was vastly more influential in changing society than newscasts, whose information could just as easily have been shared through the print media. The sitcoms brought liberal middle-class values to everyone in America who owned a tv set; and this was a huge step forward at the time.
A Modern “Priesthood”
This is where righties have it right when targeting “hollywood” for many of the changes in our culture over the last half century…though they see that as a negative influence. But intellectuals and lefties blow an opportunity and lose support among ordinary folks through an unconscious haughtiness and a cultural snobbery they are blind to but display in their turning up their noses at popular culture. Luckily, as an anthropological social scientist, I can study popular culture and get away with it, though not without some snide commentary coming my way from progressive and professional circles. They simply will never understand an intellectual who can speak to working folks because he’s one of them. They simply don’t get my attempts to package the crucial understandings of modern science and social sciences, on which the existence of our very world depends, in words that are not primarily directed to and meant to appease the gods of academia. They consider themselves important within their tiny professional circles, thinking they are changing the world when no one even knows what they are doing beyond that constrained perimeter.
Keeping the People Down
Indeed the attitude of academics and progressives about popular culture, especially talk and reality show tv programming and although they would be appalled to ever think it, is no different from the attitudes of the Catholic church and the clergy about matters of faith during medieval times. There, too, we had an elite wanting to “keep out the unwashed.” There, too, we had a distinction between people in the know and the rabble, with the anointed ones requiring ordinary folks to go through them for matters of truth and faith. We had then also this sharp distinction between the “high culture” of the Church and aristocracy—exemplified in the chamber music of the time—and the “low culture” of the masses—exemplified by the folk music of the troubadours of that day.
Nowadays this poo-pooing of tv culture by intellectuals is the same kind of attempt to funnel reality to the masses through the filters of a new “priesthood.” The cultural purists and intellectual elites would prefer that for truth you go through them in academia, where you ‘d have to pay a toll of course, just as the priests of the Middle Ages required you to pass their way on the road to the divine.
Therapy for the Masses
At any rate throwing off the snootiness of intellectualism, I contend, allows us to notice that sitcoms, reality shows, and talk shows serve functions in society that are, overall, beneficial in advancing our culture and catalyzing increased growth. They may not reflect, yet, where intellectuals and progressives think we should be, but for many they show something beyond where they are.
We should know that they are overall helpful in our cause from the fact that conservatives want to attack hollywood and limit freedom of expression on any airwave. The fact that many reactionaries want to keep their children out of schools, home-schooled, and away from tv sets should be telling progressives something about the value of popular culture.
My point is that the rise in reality and talk shows are coincident with a need for a kind of societal “therapy” that came about when we took back our projections from the Soviets and were forced to look at ourselves. I’m saying this was a healthy way of doing it, and this was helping us, though it was tumultuous and difficult, in the Nineties. It is unfortunate, but it suited the forces of war and fascism, for the 1% to bring forth in the millennium the bugaboo of terrorism…perfectly bringing about another endless feud with another concocted enemy to project our own darknesses onto so we can escape from having to notice them ourselves and bring about actual personal growth and cultural advance…let alone the cultural rebirth that has been trying to happen for decades.
Reality shows are like watching group therapy happening. It is not surprising that there was even one reality program that was about therapy—Celebrity Rehab. Reality shows also expose ordinary folks to what amounts to crude but informative sociological experiments. If academics could see beyond their pretensions they would applaud this sort of, however haphazard and imprecise, understanding of group processes and individual psychology arising in the masses.
If there weren’t reality shows, folks would have a harder time knowing appropriate ways for men and women to act with each other. The gains of feminism would not have spread so widely or as fast if they were not being modeled and reinforced repeatedly on talk and reality shows. They demonstrate parenting and social skills—“politically correct” ones, in the good sense—to folks who would otherwise not know any better than to behave crudely and abusively. They bring the world, geography, travel, and history to the masses.
Intellectuals quibble about the quality of that, which comes across as quite childish, for it arises as if out of a jealousy of others getting the attention they want and out of a fear of competition for informational matters around science, culture, and humanities. It strikes me as more than ironic that those on the Left who would wish people to wake up from their zombie slumber would want to push programs of literature or drama where truths are filtered through the consciousness, and unconscious, of the artist, while wishing to deprive folks of a direct look—however contrived, it is actual reality and not scripted—at the world around them and people’s actual unplanned behavior and spontaneous reactions to unusual events.
Seeing people’s behavior in some of these shows does often remind me of the dynamics I’ve seen in therapy groups, and some of the personal changes in the participants mirror some of the evolutions I’ve seen in folks undergoing deep experiential psychotherapy. The audience participation part often sounds like group therapy or an intervention. I’ve been struck by how some of the group processes in the show remind me of family day in rehab, with folks reflecting back what they see in each other and how others’ behavior has affected them. These are all things that conservatives cringe at…actually hate. Yet liberals, except for notable exceptions like Jerry Springer, are not seeing the opening they have here. Lefties are fighting rather than using these forces, which are in the direction of personal growth and, cumulatively, much needed societal change.
As a psychologist and simply someone who loves people, I am fascinated by some of the things I see in these shows. They can be heart-wrenchingly real at times. So it occurs to me that folks who disparage these shows, comparing them with literature and dramatic productions, is another thing where some are wanting to have their reality filtered, managed, and packaged for them, lest it be too “disruptive” to their prejudices of things.
The Price of Peace Is Inner Sight
The upshot of all this is to say that just as a lack of a Cold War caused both collective acting out—another war, a Culture War—and collective inner searching via television talk shows, documentaries, and such. So also the prevention of “hot” wars on an international, not just intercultural, scale and the cause of peace in general require such inner soul-searching and such confrontation with one’s darker sides. And if we must, it is better to endure the psychotic acting out of a culture war—with its battles played out on the airwaves—than an actual war.
For is there any doubt that either of these or any combinations of these alternatives, however uncomfortable and even violent…on a smaller scale…at times, is a small price to pay compared to the price of outright war and violence which, by any measurement, is a cost horrifyingly huge and unacceptable?
America Currently Refusing to Pay Such Price
The converse of this is also true: When the dramas wanting to be discussed are suppressed in the mainstream media, it is as stifling of the growth of a nation as an individual’s growth. Unfortunately we have seen this as well recently. There have been massive worldwide and nationwide Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, massive Wisconsin union outpourings, and events in Japan and about Fukushima that the American people really want to and need to know and discuss, but they are being blacklisted from being broadcasted on. There has been a change in government in Iceland, with banksters being jailed, that Americans are not hearing about; there have been demonstrations in Japan about their insane response to their tragedy, which Americans won’t be told about; there have been massive demonstrations in Israel against the colonial policies of their own government that curiously do not make it into the offerings of news programs. These are things that in the Nineties would have fed the talk on tv and stimulated the necessary societal hashing out for there to be a chance of going beyond them.
What Is the Cost of Denial? Of Complacency?
It is hard to know, though, what happens when the natural urges of a nation to grow and change are thwarted. While I discussed this abortion of cultural renewal and the abomination that results from it at length in Chapter Seven of a companion book to this one, Culture War, Class War, under the title Cultural Rebirth, Aborted, the question remains what happens when this societal “rebirthing” is more urgent than ever. What happens when—for the sake of the survival of the human race and of the planet—it is necessary that this growth happen and instead it is continuously derailed and snuffed out of the light of collective consciousness?
Internet Revolution Is Another Reformation
Luckily all this is changing as the internet and social networking have upended the academic elitists, swarming around and over their petty barriers of intellectual privilege. The blogsters and “rabble” of the net have taken over the cultural dialogue of the time as assuredly as Martin Luther and the Reformation changed religion forever and helped to bring to an end the cultural stagnation of the Middle Ages and to ignite an Age of Reason and of Enlightenment.
We Could Use More “Narcissistic” Generations: Know Thyself … Let the Buck Stop Here!
Moratorium … Let the Buck Stop Here! We Could Use More “Narcissistic” Generations
“Know Thyself” ~ “Narcissistic”?
Self-Discovery, Soul-Searching, Psychological-Mindedness, Self-Analysis – Sixties Generation
So, we have taken a look at the need for societies to “do therapy” on themselves, to hash out and process, however messy that might seem to be, the perinatal projections from the unconscious, as they manifest in the tribulations of the times—both profound and mundane. It must be kept in mind that it is the products of nearly the most “advanced” mode of child-caring—the delegated-release subclass of the socializing psychoclass — who have proved most willing to pay such prices for peace, as for example, in increased soul-searching. In fact they would be later stigmatized for just this quality of introspection, this supposed fault of looking into themselves, through the derogatory appellation, narcissistic.
Indeed, Keniston foresaw this when he studied the Sixties generation as college students. Observing the amount of inner exploration they engaged in during their quests for self-discovery, he would describe this attribute in a biased way as “the overexamined life,” and more fairly, for the activist youth, as a “psychological-mindedness” and “self-analysis.” [Footnote 1]
“Let It All Out? No, Leave Some of It In!” – Pat Buchanan, Fifties Generation
No doubt those who criticized these youth in the past are some of the same ones or their surrogates who, now older, are wrongly castigating the self-analyzing characteristics of contemporary society as the Sixties generation is now in its “triumphant” phase—the time when as adults a psychoclass takes over the reins of society and most strongly influences it. I have already taken note of the tendencies of the right to rile against the collective processing that is happening in their attacks on popular culture and in particular what they call “hollywood.” They express their desire that “such matters” not come to public light, for they deem them “offensive” or an affront to their (oh so delicate) sensibilities. They sense a threat to the precious untruths that prop up their self-destructive way of life, woven through as it is with war, fascism, planetary and planetmate annihilation, and the other horrors mushrooming about them in the postmodern era. [Footnote 2]
These highly defended and fear-minded conservatives, prone to projection, are incapable of appreciating the integrity of an inner-thinking generation like the Boomers are. These outer-minded authoritarians would not get, would outright hate those who “questioned authority” in the Sixties.
These defended entrenched egos would be secretly jealous of and overtly aggressive to a generational emergence that since the Sixties has been psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually working on themselves to be free of inner tyranny. As one of their exemplars, Pat Buchanan, long ago phrased it, “Let it all out? No, leave some of it in!”
Let the Buck Stop Here!
Nonetheless this cadre of kindred Sixties spirits would in their actions declare for the first time in history as a generation, “Let the buck stop here!” And they would seek to turn themselves, and by extension their children and society-at-large, into a more loving, wise, and less acting-out humanity…most importantly, one willing to cooperate rather than war with Nature, or other nations.
If Not Us, Who? If Not Now, When?
What virtually all the folks outside “my generation” never get is the unimpeachable vision we had of the complete and utter wrongness of the path and tendencies of modern times and the abyss toward which civilization was heading. We were proven right, of course, as especially in the last decade we have seen the disintegration wrought of those tendencies on all fronts—political, environmental, personal. The Sixties generation saw modern civilization as being unreformable and needing complete remaking, so that everything we did was an attempt to create reality and culture from scratch, sans tradition.
We had seen normal ways of doing things to be impotent and often dangerous and most importantly leading to apocalyptic endings in our near future. This understanding is what was responsible for all the “non-normal” behaviors my generation displayed—communes, confrontations, clothes, relationships, organics, alternative ways of everything…an entire counterculture. We have been laughed at for essentially being ahead of the curve on the messages of modern events. We have been called crazy for our inconvenient prophecies, virtually all of which are now coming to pass.
While I and my cohorts, to use just one example, spoke out on the dangers of nuclear energy and in particular the insanity of building plants on fault lines, the professional pundits scoffed and boasted they lived near nuclear plants. This was thirty years and more before the world ever heard the word, Fukushima. The examples like this are endless. We saw all these unworkable endings and asked ourselves, “What would be a real way of doing that?” “What would be a workable, sustainable way?” “What would be a sane and happy life, ethic, and lifestyle.” “What would be a loving, peaceful mode of being?”
While we sought to redo culture from scratch, building it on perennial and unimpeachable principles, the threatened elders and the jealous youngers, who would soon enough come behind, poked fun from within the confines of their assured and comfortable wrongness. They called us narcissistic for thinking we could look at ourselves and the world and dare to think we could change it from ancient ways. They thought we were making ourselves important that way, putting on airs, even. Actually we were shouldering responsibility we did not want—yearning for a simpler, less serious time—but which we accepted for the sake of all those who would come after, knowing their very existence depended on our actions. We took faith in the touchstone of love itself—the only thing that did not crumble under examination—and sought to bend all emerging along its outlines.
So our seeming impertinence was born of an inconvenient prompting, an unwanted vision now proving prophetic. It was hardly selfish, as many of the best of my generation paid the ultimate price and are no longer with us or they are imprisoned. It was hardly narcissistic as it was done out of love…for each other, for the peoples of all the world and of all the religions, for our children, for the planetmates and for the Nature of which we learned we were a part, and for the generations unborn.
What others will never get is that our “overexamined life,” our “psychological-mindedness,” our perinatal propensities, and our soul-searching and self-analysis were not about being narcissistic. It was about needing to start everything anew as a rational response to the horrors we saw about us in our culture and in the world… horrors which we were correct in trying to address at the time. For their existence today, because of our inability to be completely successful in remedying them, are bringing about all the political, economic, and environmental armageddons I’ve been discussing in this, and its related, books. And we knew, and still know, that only some change huge and radical will help us, and for that we need to find and stand upon the deepest and firmest of ground within us. That is what we’ve been looking for, are still looking for…only now we have lots of company .
Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits: A Drive to Healing, the Hard Rain Fallin’, and Millennial Promise
A Drive to Healing and What Did You Expect Peace to Look Like? Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits
A Drive to Healing
We cannot expect that everyone will heal their birth traumas when they arise into consciousness during periods of peace. However, we can expect—especially now that there is understanding of these dynamics and there are techniques and modalities available for healing them—that some people will!
Furthermore, even the more ritualistic and superficial yet blatant regressions to infancy, birth, prenatal, or even prior to that—for example, as Mayr and Boelderl describe in Europe—are not the indication of a “death drive” or “death instinct” as these researchers claimed. [Footnote 3]
These highly symbolic collective rituals are instead the manifestations of a drive to healing—a drive to regressing to early traumas and to reexperiencing the events that occurred then and thus recapturing an integrity of self that existed prior to the dissociation that happened as a result of those traumas. This drive to regression is no more a “death wish” than the mystical or spiritual quest is a “death wish,” and for the same reasons, as Jung correctly admonished Freud a long time ago. And we can expect that more good than bad can come, eventually, from engaging in them.
What Did You Expect Peace to Look Like?
Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits
In conclusion, when we see blatant collective regressions, by the sorts of people mentioned, to these perinatal dynamics in undisguised, and relatively harmless, social rituals—as described by Mayr and Boelderl, and Lawson—we can expect that, because of their closeness to their unconscious pain, they are likely—even if only a little more likely because of their more advanced mode of child-caring—to have insight into these dynamics and to resist acting them out in a more extreme form, like war, global pollution, and overpopulation.
To put it another way, I would have preferred that Hitler had acted out his craziness by jumping into mosh pits, humming baby tunes, wearing a pacifier…or even engaging in sexual orgies…than the way he did.
So these current signs of blatant regression by youth and others in Europe or the US, or in fact anywhere in the world as in rock concerts, are not signs of an impending war. What did you expect peace to look like? You might call it messy, but it is the scenery of human healing, we should expect to be seeing, on the pathway to an Earth rebirth.
What Might We Expect?
What might we expect from the future? Well if ecological/environmental consciousness and refusal to use projection onto others is accepted as evidence of perinatal access, as I have been asserting, then the current generation of youth and young adults—the Baby-Boomer Echo Generation, also called the Millennial Generation, whose two main concerns, as I have mentioned, have been polled as being the environment and racism—may also be expected to be more open to their perinatal trauma, and hence more likely to resolve it and further the gains of their parents against war and global apocalypse.
“A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”
For, as Janov has pointed out, closer to one’s Pain—one’s unconscious—is closer to being real. And this closeness holds out the possibility both of healing…and of self-destruction.
From the roads and TV screens of America the scenery can often appear bleak. Sure, heavy changes are coming down…but what should we expect? “A hard rain’s gonna fall,” sang Bob Dylan. And that’s what it takes to blossom the spring. Look hard enough, you just might see the seeds of Light amidst the darkness surrounding.
Evidence in Our Collective Dreaming
Next we will take a look at one of the projective systems of our society, specifically, our cinema, to see if it shows evidence of the change of consciousness that we have here been describing as necessary to derail the cycles of war and violence that have plagued our species for millennia uncountable and have led us to the brink of extinction.
Films are both the collective dreams of our society as well as the only truly widely shared method of collectively experiencing a nonordinary state of consciousness. Thus they are telling, in the messages they contain, as well as powerful in their impact on the audience, who in this mild nonordinary state of consciousness are more open to suggestion and to receiving mental impressions and information.
We will look to examples from films of the last few decades for indications that our collective consciousness is actually changing and that there are grounds for hoping that we will be able to stave off apocalypse…creating instead the quantum leap to an Earth rebirth.
1. For “overexamined life”see Keniston, op. cit., 1965; for “psychological-mindedness” and “self-analysis” see Keniston, op. cit., 1968, especially p. 81.
2. Davis, op. cit., especially Ch. 7, “The Great Society and The Youth Revolt.”
3. Mayr and Boelderl, op. cit., p. 149.
Continue with Apocalypse – No! Chapter Eleven: Control Versus Surrender … Heaven Leads Through Hell
Return to Apocalypse No! Chapter Nine: Regressions in the Service of Society — Messy Healing
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Posted in Anthropology, authenticity, being yourself, Birth, Child Abuse, Consciousness, Environmentalism, Evolution, individualism, life, meaning, nonconform, Psychology, Spirituality
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