HEY YOU

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Posted on 6th June 2013 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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 Hey you, out there on the road
always doing what you’re told,
Can you help me?
Hey you, out there beyond the wall,
Breaking bottles in the hall,
Can you help me?
Hey you, don’t tell me there’s no hope at all
Together we stand, divided we fall.

Pink Floyd – Hey You

  

“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” Aldous Huxley – Brave New World

The world makes less sense every day. Little children are randomly slaughtered in their schoolrooms. Predator drones roam the skies over foreign countries exterminating bad guys, along with innocent women and children (collateral damage when it occurs in a foreign country). Drugged up mentally ill kids with no hope and no future live lives of secluded quiet desperation until they snap. Ignorant, government educated, welfare dependent drones with no self respect or respect for others, assault, kill and rob within their government created urban jungles. Sociopathic criminals who committed the largest financial crime in world history walk free and continue to occupy executive suites in luxury office towers in downtown NYC, collecting millions in bonuses as compensation for crushing the American middle class.  Academics, whose theories have been thoroughly disproven, continue to steer our economy into an iceberg while accelerating the money printing and debt issuance that will sink our ship of state. Corrupt, bought off politicians pander to the lowest common denominator as their votes are only dependent upon who contributed the most to their election campaigns, which never end. Delusional, materialistic, egocentric, math challenged consumers (formerly known as citizens) live for today, enslave themselves in debt, vote themselves more entitlements, and care not for future generations. The alienation and isolation created by our sprawling, automobile dependent, technology obsessed, government controlled, debt financed society has spread like a cancerous tumor, slowly killing our country.

Pink Floyd released The Wall 33 years ago. It was a concept rock opera album that explored the issues of ababdonment, isolation, alienation, authoritarianism, the brutality of war, a tyrannical conformist educational system, and the walls individuals and society build to protect themselves from having to confront reality and deal with the consequences of their actions. I attended the Roger Waters Wall Concert this past summer at Citizens Bank Park with my three sons. Three decades later, the message is more powerful than ever. The government oppression and never ending wars waged by the American Empire around the world have created a society built upon fear and loathing. Roger Waters’ vision is colored by Orwell’s 1984 dystopian nightmare of lies, misinformation, propaganda and brutality. The missing piece, which Waters didn’t see coming in 1979, was the ability of the oligarchs to use their control of the credit system to entrap the masses by convincing them to love their servitude and become so consumed with material possessions and the love of money that they would become nothing more than passive egotistical consumers.

Since 1979, Total Credit Market Debt in the United States has risen from $4.3 trillion to $55.3 trillion, a 1,286% increase in 33 years. Over this same time frame total wages and salaries have risen from $1.3 trillion to $6.9 trillion, a 531% increase. GDP has grown from $2.6 trillion to $15.8 trillion, a 608% increase. Luckily for the oligarchs, the math challenged masses don’t understand that 375% of the increase in GDP is strictly due to Federal Reserve created inflation, as the U.S. dollar has lost 68% of its purchasing power since 1979. This GDP growth was driven by debt, with consumer expenditures rising from 61% of GDP in 1979 to 71% of GDP today. In the one hundred years since the creation of the Federal Reserve the country’s population has tripled, while our public debt and unfunded liabilites have risen from $2 billion to over $200 trillion, a ten million percent increase. The masses have been programmed and conditioned to love their debt servitude and yearn for more debt to fix an economic system that collapsed due to excessive debt. The cadre of ruling elite are obliging by creating debt at hyperspeed levels. The corporate media, Wall Street shysters and low-life captured politicians assure the sheep-like masses that this is normal and beneficial to their interests, as the sheep are sheared and led to slaughter.

“There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them.”George Orwell

Pavlov’s Dogs

   

 “And always, everywhere, there would be the yelling or quietly authoritative hypnotists; and in the train of the ruling suggestion givers, always everywhere, the tribes of buffoons and hucksters, the professional liars, the purveyors of entertaining irrelevances. Conditioned from the cradle, unceasingly distracted, mesmerized systematically, their uniformed victims would go on obediently marching and countermarching, go on, always and everywhere, killing and dying with the perfect docility of trained poodles.” -  Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley and Edward Bernays realized in the 1920s that the utilization of conditioning and propaganda techniques could be used to control and manipulate the masses. Ivan Pavlov, the famous Russian physiologist, conducted the ground breaking work on conditional reflexes. Pavlov discovered that when a bell was rung in subsequent time with food being presented to a dog in consecutive sequences, the dog will initially salivate when the food is presented. The dog will later come to associate the ringing of the bell with the presentation of the food and salivate upon the ringing of the bell. To a critical thinking human being who questions authority, resists being told what they should think, and values their humanity, over what is crammed down their throat by government run schools and the corporate controlled media, the thought of being treated like a dog is revolting. But to people like Edward Bernays, who believed manipulation of the masses by an invisible contingent of intellectually superior men, conditioning the minds of the masses through propaganda was a necessity in a democratic society to keep the herd under control.

Just a cursory examination of our society reveals a population of salivating consumers (dogs) who can be stimulated to buy the latest iPhone or techno-gadget with a simple Madison Avenue advertising campaign (bell). Everyone has seen the videos of the masses lining up like cattle on Black Friday, stampeding through aisles, and fighting each other like their the entertainment at Michael Vick’s house on a Saturday night. All the mega-corporate retailers and the corporate media have to do is ring a bell (SALE) and the dogs start salivating. Product placement, Hollywood star endorsements and influential people using a product immediately convince the easily manipulated dogs to salivate and purchase the products. The difference is that these dogs have credit cards issued by the Wall Street banks and funded by the Federal Reserve with dollars created out of thin air.  We are inundated with millions of TV, newspaper, radio, billboard, and internet advertisements designed to make us salivate (spend). Huxley’s dystopian vision of a society whose economic values, in which individual happiness is defined as the ability to satisfy needs, and achievement as a society is equated with economic growth and prosperity, has come to full fruition. He never conceived of consumers having the ability to consume without even having the money to do so. The credit card became our form of Soma. The so called progressives point to our ever increasing “advancements” in technology as proof that our society is progressing. Huxley knew otherwise, decades before we reached this disgusting point in history:

“Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.” -  Aldous Huxley

In reality our “technological progress” has done nothing more than create a humorless, shallow, superficial world of alienation and egocentric desires. Just as in Huxley’s Brave New World, science and technology have not been used to seek truth and advance our culture. They have been used by the State to sensor, control, and monitor the citizens. They use technology as a means to create electronic entertainment machines that generate both harmless leisure and the high levels of consumption and production that are the basis of societal stability and state designed happiness. When those in control talk about progress, they mean greater control over our lives. When the consumption of material goods isn’t enough to fill the holes within our souls, our owners are quick to prescribe a pill to smooth over those feelings of unease and discontent. In Huxley’s novel the population voluntarily consumes Soma to dispel any anxieties or negative emotion. The saying was, “One cubic centimeter cures ten gloomy sentiments.” In America the government controlled drug industry has thousands of pills to treat every ailment or unhappy thought that might ail you. Just don’t try and treat yourself with an unapproved natural or banned substance. The threat of imprisonment always lurks in the shadows. They just want us to be interchangeable bricks in the wall.

And the Worms Ate Into His Brain

“The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does. They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.” -  Aldous Huxley

 

 Hey you, out there in the cold
Getting lonely, getting old
Can you feel me?
Hey you, standing in the aisles
With itchy feet and fading smiles
Can you feel me?
Hey you, don’t help them to bury the light
Don’t give in without a fight.

Pink Floyd – Hey You

The tragic deaths of twenty children and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut this past week and the similar tragedies in Aurora, Columbine, Virginia Tech and Tucson are a reflection of the twisted society we’ve created. The progressive control freak do-gooders that believe the government can solve all problems and improve our lives with another law or regulation, have as usual come to the wrong solution for the wrong problem. Stricter gun control laws would not have averted this this tragedy. Connecticut has the 5th toughest gun restrictions in the country according to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The guns were purchased legally by the mother of the killer. Mentally deranged people should not have access to guns, knives, automobiles, gasoline, or baseball bats. The real issue is not what he used to kill these innocent people, it’s what caused him to snap. Those in power want to divert the attention from this crucial question. In Huxley’s novel the characters do everything they can to avoid confronting the truth about their own lives. They try to alter reality by ingesting Soma, encouraged by the state as the ultimate form of willful self-delusion. Soma clouds the realities of the present and replaces them with happy hallucinations, and is thus a tool for promoting social stability. America has taken Huxley’s dystopian vision to an extreme. There are millions of children in this country being drugged on a daily basis to keep them under control. A majority of the mass murderers were taking psychotropic drugs, including the mentally deranged killer this week. These killings are a result of the state sponsored drugging of children, a culture that promotes narcissism, broken families and our technologically enhanced suburban sprawl isolation from human relationships, love and compassion for others.

We glorify technology even though it encourages the building of brick walls, creating a self-imposed isolation from society. The traditional family unit has been discarded, with 50% of marriages ending in divorce and 43% of all children born out of wedlock. Millions of families are dysfunctional, with parents too busy with their careers and acquiring material possessions, to bother with raising their children in a loving nurturing way. One in ten American adults choose to escape their man made cells with prescription anti-depressants. Almost one in four women in their 40s and 50s are popping pills to escape their depressing lives. Huxley envisioned a Soma Nation. America is a Prozac Nation. The wealthy think medicating their kids, spoiling them with toys, gadgets and cars, and occupying their days with organized sports and activities passes for involved parenting. Poor urban children are lucky if they ever lay eyes on their father. Ignorance, violence, and dependency are a given for most of these kids. And all of these children are matriculated into the government run schools whose sole purpose is to teach kids what to think, rather than how to think. Our owners need to keep us “happy” and focused on feelings, material possessions, and an infinite number of distractions, so they can retain control and continue their pillaging of the national wealth.

Our leaders have attempted to design their own Brave New World, retaining control by making America’s citizens so contented and superficially fulfilled that they no longer care about their personal freedoms, liberties and civic responsibilities. The consequences of increasing state power are a loss of dignity, morals, values, and emotions. We are losing our humanity. The society created by Bernays and his minions who occupy the executive suites in NYC and slither through the halls of Congress has been built upon destroying all human truths, such as love, friendship, community, and personal connections. Decades of media propaganda, public education mind control, and peddling of debt convinced the majority that happiness meant immediate gratification of our desires for food, sex, drugs, clothes, iGadgets, and all the other consumer crap made in corporate sponsored slave labor factories across Asia. These delusional hallucinations of happiness are the prison walls we’ve built brick by brick.

 “This concern with the basic condition of freedom — the absence of physical constraint — is unquestionably necessary, but is not all that is necessary. It is perfectly possible for a man to be out of prison and yet not free — to be under no physical constraint and yet to be a psychological captive, compelled to think, feel and act as the representatives of the national State, or of some private interest within the nation, want him to think, feel and act.” -  Aldous Huxley

It took the intellectuals and progressives that wield power across the land only moments to hijack the feelings of sorrow and pain sweeping the nation, to misdirect attention from the mental illnesses caused by the society they’ve created, towards the false storyline that gun violence is sweeping the land. In reality, violent crime has been falling for over a decade as gun sales have soared. The homicide rate in this country is the lowest since 1964, with the vast majority of homicides occurring in the urban kill zones created by the five decade long progressive war on poverty. The truth is of no interest to those brandishing power. After decades of conditioning, the masses are psychologically captive to the messages designed to make them salivate. They will be compelled to think, feel and act as instructed by the Alphas. There will be calls for more police, despite the fact that police rarely stop a crime. With all of their armaments, technology, high powered weaponry, and political clout, they can be counted on to arrive five minutes after the tragedy is over. But they are brilliant in luring clueless Muslim teenagers into terrorist plots, picking the target, providing the fake bombs, and taking credit for foiling the plots they created. More union police officers will increase our safety as much as more union teachers have made our kids smarter. This tragedy will be used by the propagandists to impose further restrictions upon those who choose personal responsibility and self-reliance over dependency and trust in the efficiency and fairness of our benevolent government overlords.

File:Violent Crime Rates in the United States.svg

As the father of three sons I can’t imagine the pain, sorrow and emptiness the parents of these beautiful children must be experiencing. The grief is overwhelming. I mourn for the children and adults slaughtered by a mentally deranged young man created by our truly perverted culture of alienation. I mourn for the children being raised in a society run by evil psychopathic liars that use the power of propaganda and the tools of debt to control and manipulate its citizens. I mourn for unborn generations that will be forced to confront the dreadful depraved chaos created by our culture of egocentric greed and narcissism. The things we value in this culture – accumulating wealth, outward beauty, acquisition of material possessions, instant gratification, access to debt, government control, and curing our ills with drugs – are driving us insane. Who is really abnormal in a profoundly abnormal society? Believing that possessions, more laws or another medication will truly make us happy is insane. Popping a pill, buying a new iPhone, or passing another law will not cure the disease that permeates this nation. We need to recapture the humanity, civic pride and self-responsibility that built this country. Only an awakened populace can change our course.

Huxley feared that our desires would ruin us. Orwell was afraid that what we fear would ruin us. The oligarchs have pushed the Huxley vision to its sustainable limit. The avarice and greed of these invisible power brokers has devoured the vast resources of the nation. These psychopaths weren’t satisfied with siphoning off most of the wealth of the country. They wanted it all and wrecked the global economy in their odious pursuit of mammon. We are now in the death throes of the most decadent, delusional, debt engendered era in the long history of mankind. Those in power realize it is slipping away. Their “solutions” reflect an air of desperation. Their propaganda efforts have been redoubled. As more middle class workers lose their jobs, more young people graduate from college with tens of thousands in student loan debt and a future of dramatically reduced expectations, and more people are driven beyond their breaking point, this materialistic shroud of happiness will be torn asunder. Anger is building like a lava dome within a volcano. A critical thinking minority are questioning the motives of those in power. The unsustainability of our economic paradigm is certain. The seeds of revolution are being sown. Our society is only fantasy. The wall is too high. It will be up to an irate tireless minority of freedom minded citizens to tear down the wall. The alternative is to allow the worms to eat into our brains. Each of us must answer a simple question. Are you just another brick in the wall?

But it was only fantasy.
The wall was too high,
As you can see.
No matter how he tried,
He could not break free.
And the worms ate into his brain.

Pink Floyd – Hey You

 

The oligarchs will not give up without a fight. Their realization that the Brave New World method of controlling the masses has run its course has convinced them to shift their methods towards Orwell’s 1984 tactics. In part two of this series – Mother Should I Trust the Government? - I’ll address how the use of fear, war, pain, and surveillance are becoming the new controlling method of the oligarchs.

 

survival seed vault

GENERATION SCREWED

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Posted on 22nd July 2012 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Neil Howe with another thought provoking post. He posted this on the same day that a Millenial named James Holmes committed one of the most horrific mass murders in history. Howe’s description of Millenial beliefs and hopes fits perfectly with my thesis about why Holmes snapped. Millenials have very traditional views on success and the American Dream. They believe education will lead to a good job, which will lead to a good income and a nice house in the burbs. Well reality sucks. Howe doesn’t address the current state of affairs, but shifts the discussion to the 2020s when Millenials may get the chance to succeed. That doesn’t cut it in my book. How do the Millenials get through the next ten or fifteen years with staggering student loan debt, lack of good jobs, miniscule income and no chance to buy a house? What does this do to their beliefs and minds? We’ve seen what it did to James Holmes. How many more Millenials will snap?

I was happy to find out that my Generation is actually the most screwed. But that’s alright, we expected it. Gen X relishes being crapped on. We don’t expect much and our expectations keep getting met.

Howe seems to have his own cognitive dissonance. His own books reveal clearly that Fourth Turnings are always violent and bloody, but he doesn’t seem to want to go there. Even when I met him, he didn’t want to talk about that aspect of the current Fourth Turning. I believe the levels of getting screwed that are happening in our society will lead to violence, social unrest and civil war in this country. But I’m Gen X and always expect the worst.

 

Generation Screwed and Unscrewed

Are Millennials the Screwed Generation?” asks Joel Kotkin in Newsweek.  A professor of urban studies and an astute observer of social trends, Kotkin answers his own question in the affirmative.

He describes a gauntlet of economic challenges facing today’s under-30 Americans that are, I think, pretty well known to readers of this blog.  Some of the adverse trends he cites are mostly of recent (post-2008) origin: High unemployment, falling real median personal and household income, falling median household net worth, a sharply rising share who are living with their parents, a falling share who own their own homes, and (symptomatically) a sharp decline in birthrates by younger moms.

Yet other trends prejudicial to youth, most of which he mentions, have been underway for much longer: a declining national saving rate; rising fiscal deficits; college tuitions rising faster than family incomes; a widening spread between the relative wealth and income of older versus young households; and the steady rise in the share of public spending that goes to the entitled old (pensions, health care)—versus a declining share that goes to future-oriented investment (infrastructure, research, education).

Sounds depressing, I know.  But the reason I emphasize how long many of these trends have been at work is to cast a bit of doubt on whether Millennials are really as screwed as all that.  Keep in mind that back in the early 1980s, many economists and policymakers commented on the “declining fortunes” of late-wave Boomers who came of age during the energy crises and stagflation.  At the time, experts thought that demographic size was the problem: Numbers-driven competition among young workers was depressing Boomer incomes.

Then came the early 1990s, when economists discovered that Gen-Xers–often, at that time, called “Busters”–were even more screwed than Boomers.  (Since there were relatively few of these Busters, the demographic explanation was quietly dropped.)  From the very beginning, a “reality bites” fatalism about diminished economic possibilities emerged as a cornerstone this generation’s very self-image.  Over the next twenty years, as first-wave Gen-Xers moved into their 30s and then their 40s, evidence of “living-standard decline” in their age brackets (despite two-income households and working around the clock) has steadily mounted.

So is there still a good case for calling Millennials yet more “screwed” than these two older generations?  I suppose one could argue that Millennials are uniquely penalized because the adverse trends cited above—savings decline, young-old divide, fiscal bias, etc.—are more advanced and pronounced today than when Xers or Boomers were young.  One could also point to the extreme severity of the recent recession’s impact on youth—for example, the highest unemployment rate over the most months for young adults than during any downturn since the Great Depression.  We know from abundant economic research, starting with Glen Elder’s great book (Children of the Great Depression) that extended unemployment early in life has an impact on future income that lasts long into a person’s career.

On the other hand, of course, one would have to note the even harsher impact of the Great Recession on Gen-Xers and late-wave Boomers (households today age 30 to 60), as I pointed out in my earlier blog post.  And who hurts most during a great famine—the guy who thinks he might someday have a home and kids, or they guy who actually has a home and kids?

One would also have to weigh in the balance certain collective advantages Millennials have enjoyed early in life that their elders did not.  These include arriving as newborns in an era when mothers were more likely to say their newborn was “wanted” and growing up in an era when parents and families (if not always government) spent more time with them, more money on them, spurred them to achieve, and protected them more from harm.  Today, as a result, Millennials have become a generation of youth who commit less crime, cooperate more with each other, take fewer personal risks, and get along much better with their parents.  They are also on track to have the highest educational attainment ever (following college completion rates that actually backtracked for late-wave Boomers and early-wave Gen-Xers).

What’s more, most Millennials already know that history favors them.  Interesting factoid: When asked if being a young person is harder today than it was when your parents were kids, a growing majority of young people since the late 1990s say no, it’s actually easier being a kid today—after decades of polls (in the ‘70s, ‘80s, and early ‘90s) that leaned the other way, with Boomers and Xers bemoaning, year after year, how much harder being a kid is for them.

Kotkin asserts that this generation still believes in a very conventional definition of life success—most aspiring to a stable career and to owning a home in the suburbs.  I agree.  The data I’ve seen point in the same direction.  My favorite recent survey on this topic is the 2011 MetLife Study of the American Dream, which shows that Millennials are significantly more likely than Xers or Boomers to say that a college degree, acquiring wealth, owning a home, and (yes!) even marriage is “essential” to realizing the American Dream.  Most Millennials have a fairly concrete idea of what they want in life, together with benchmarks for getting there, and thus far most surveys (admittedly, not the depressing Rutgers survey cited by Kotkin) indicate that they remain confident that they will someday get there.

But to me, the most persuasive argument for not regarding Millennials as America’s most “screwed” generation is simply this: They are still young.  Even if the economy continues to deteriorate, a steady recovery that gets underway by the early 2020s will still save the future for most of them.  At roughly age 20 to 40, in this case, most Millennials will still be able to launch successful careers in an expanding economy.  Moreover, they will be able to buy homes at record-low prices and buy stock portfolios at record-low P/E ratios.  Which means, by the time they fully occupy midlife in the late 2040s (at roughly age 45 to 65), they may be doing far better at that time, relative to other generations, than people that age are doing today.

So who really is the most screwed generation?  When it comes to aggregate economic security and upward mobility, I think the most screwed generation already know who they are: Generation X.  Consider the scenario described above.  More chaos followed by a steady recovery starting a decade from now would come too late for most Xers—who by then (their first-wavers hitting their early 60s and thinking about retirement) may be looking at senior benefits programs whose generosity has just been cut way back in the name of fiscal austerity and renewed economic growth.  Any Xer protest is likely to be weak and ineffectual.  Most Boomers will be grandfathered, and most of the public’s attention will be focused on saving America’s future for the Millennials.

As Bill and I forecast twenty years ago back in 13th-Gen (I’ve changed the “13ers” here to “Gen-Xers”):

Reaching midlife, the Gen-Xers’ economic fears will be confirmed: They will become the only generation born this century (the first since the Gilded) to suffer a one-generation backstep in living standards.  Compared to their own parents at the same age, the Xers’ poverty rate will be higher, their rate of homeownership lower, their pension and healthcare benefits skimpier.  They will not match the Boomers’ inflation-adjusted levels of disposable income or wealth, at the same age.  Gen-Xers will also experience a much wider distribution of income and wealth than today’s older generations, with startling proportions either falling into destitution or shooting from rags to riches…  Finding their youthful dreams broken on the shoals of market-place reality, Xers will internalize their disappointment.  Around the year 2020, accumulated “hard knocks” will give midlife Xers much of the same gritty determination about life that they gave the midlife Lost during the Great Depression or the Gilded during Reconstruction.

Twenty years later, I think this prediction still stands.  As I read back over it, the only adjustment I would make is to say “early-wave Boomers” where we wrote “Boomers.”  But now let me move on to something else about Xers—the fact that the economy will recover, in part, precisely because Generation X chooses not to insist on its rightful public entitlement in old age.  We wrote about that in 13th-Gen, as well:

Nor will Gen-Xers ever effectively organize or vote in their own self-interest.  Instead, they will take pride in what they don’t receive, in their lifelong talent for getting by on their own, and in their ability to divert government resources to help the young.  Policy experts who today worry about the cost of Social Security and Medicare past the year 2025 seldom reflect on the political self-image of those who will then be entering their late sixties.  Entitled “senior citizens”?  Hardly.  Like Lost Generation elders in 1964–who voted more for Goldwater than any younger generation even after he promised to slash their retirement benefits—old Xers will feel less deserving of public attention than richer and smarter young people who lack their fatalism about life.

Even back in 1993 we had the concepts of generational archetypes firmly in mind.  As readers of The Fourth Turning know, Gen-Xers belong to same (Nomad) archetype as the Lost Generation.  The location in history of both generations, which manifests so many obvious parallels early in life, will continue (I think) to track each other moving forward.  Who is getting hurt worst in the current age of stagnation and deleveraging?  Late-wave Boomers (born after 1950) to some extent, mostly by have their home and retirement assets values hit hard; Generation X most of all; and early-wave Millennials to some extent, mostly by delayed career starts.  Who got hit worst in the Great Depression?  Late-wave Missionaries (born after 1870) to some extent, mainly by losing their savings in failed banks in the early 1930s; the Lost Generation most of all; and early-wave G.I.s to some extent, mostly by having their careers put on hold until VE- and VJ-Day.  Same archetypes, same patterns.

Koktin points out that today’s hard times are pushing most Millennials in the developed world politically toward the left—that is, toward a greater commitment to national collective action by government.  We’ve witnessed this trend in every election globally since 2008—including of course the massive 2-to-1 margin by U.S. Millennials for Obama in 2008.  (In the fall of 2012, U.S. Millennials will almost certainly give another large margin for Obama, but it will be smaller than in 2008 and whether it will be enough to win the election is uncertain; this is an issue I will handle in a future post.)

These political trends also have interesting parallels in the last saeculum.  The Lost Generation, as we document in Generations and The Fourth Turning, leaned Republican and libertarian all its life.  The Lost hated President Wilson for the fiasco of World War I; voted heavily for Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover (though it turned against Hoover with the Bonus Army); comprised the most visible and colorful opponents of FDR; and voted GOP after WWII all the way to Goldwater.  The party valence turned sharply the other way, however, for cohorts born after 1900—those who missed WWI, who belonged (like John Steinbeck) to entirely different artistic circles than the likes of Hemingway and Fitzgerald, and who were disposed to mobilize around a new trust in community after the Crash of ‘29.

Although no one collected age-graded polling back in the 1930s, some historians estimate that a very large majority—perhaps 85 percent—of voters under age 35 voted for FDR and the Democratic Party in 1936.  It is widely agreed that this is the first election in which a clear majority of young African-Americans voted for the Democratic Party rather than the party of Abraham Lincoln.  Consulting our own American Leadership Database, we are able to confirm that 28 out of 32 (88 percent) of G.I. senators, representatives, and governors sent to Congress in 1936 were Democrats.  By 1940, 75 percent of incoming G.I.s were still Democrats.

Read the numbers, Republicans, and weep.  That is, unless your new Mormon, whiz-kid, C-suite candidate is able to project a stronger, more hands-on image of strong national leadership than Barack Obama—which may not be setting the bar too high.  Anything is possible.

One last point.  To most Millennials, the whole whiney victimization card (look at me, I’m screwed!) seems like such a stale trope of Boomers and Gen-Xers, that they instinctively recoil from it.  And right on cue, a bona fide Millennial offers a cocky and defiant reply to Kotkin in the Washington Post (“Generation Unscrewed”)—though in a sardonic (“It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)”) tone that may leave all generations mystified.

HOW MANY MORE WILL SNAP?

110 comments

Posted on 22nd July 2012 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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A portrait of James Holmes is beginning to reveal itself. Personally, I feel what has been revealed about his life should make people more worried. At least with the Tucson murders we could comfort ourselves with the fact that Jared Loughner was clearly a crazed lunatic and his background revealed multiple signs that he would eventually do something crazy. We could blame the system, his parents, drugs, or mental illness. It made us feel safer to rationalize the behavior of a lunatic. But this time something is different.

This kid was brought up in a normal household in San Diego with what appear to be normal parents. He was an athlete who played on the football and soccer teams in high school. He was on the quiet side, but had friends. He worked as a counselor for underpriveleged kids. He liked video games. He was very smart. He graduated from college at the top of his class with a degree in neuroscience, not some worthless liberal arts degree that we like to scorn. But he couldn’t find a job after college. He was forced to work at a McDonalds. Then he tried to hide out in Grad School in Denver, far away from his family and friends.

Now this is why you should be worried. How many young people fit this description? My guess is hundreds of thousands. They did everything right. They listened to their parents. They didn’t get into trouble. They did well in school. They had pretty high self esteem. Then they graduated from college and the real world beckoned. But the country has been gutted by the warfare, welfare, Wall Street policies over the last three decades. There are few if any decent jobs for even the brightest young people. Over the last two years this kid has been holed up in his tiny apartment, accumulating more student loan debt, and getting progressively more depressed and bitter at the world. He’s done everything he thought he needed to do to become successful, but he’s a failure. He keeps asking himself why, but there is no logical answer. The anger against society builds until his mind is overwhelmed with thoughts of revenge against somebody and everybody. Something snapped after months of depression, anger and disillusionment with our unfair system.

There are reports that he was dressed like the Joker. The Dark Knight series of movies are particularly bleak, dark, violent, and not particularly optimistic about our future. People are desperately seeking some sort of logical motive for this mass murder. They will not find one. There is a scene in the first Dark Knight movie that captures the essence of what James Holmes did. This quote from Alfred says it all:     

“Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

No comfort can be gained by categorizing James Holmes as a lunatic. He wasn’t a lunatic for the first 22 years of his life. Did our warped society create the lunatic? Did our economic system that rewards financial criminals, corrupt politicians, and mega-corporations create the lunatic? Did our suburban sprawl, faceless, nameless, materialistic, greedy society create the lunatic? Admit it. The biography of this kid matches many 24 year olds that you know. It might even match the biography of your own son. That is why you should worry. It seems the discussion is already centered around gun control and whether someone with a gun could have prevented this tragedy. I’m not surprised. These are things that we have control over. No one wants to talk about why a seemingly normal young person could snap. We better get a handle on that question, because there are hundreds of thousands of men like James Holmes out there facing the exact same circumstances.