‘There is the moral of all human tales;
‘Tis but the same rehearsal of the past,
First freedom, and then Glory- when that fails,
Wealth, vice, corruption – barbarism at last’ –
Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s pilgrimage
Well done, Boomers.
After enjoying the richest period in human history, the Baby Boomers are leaving behind a broken civilisation that is the poorer, weaker, duller and smaller-minded for their tenure.
Using their demographic weight, the Boomers have tilted the scales of policy in their favour through every stage of their lives. As youths, they were indulged as ‘teenagers’, elevating their adolescent angst to the level of James Dean Sturm und Drang; as horny young adults they lusted up free love and abolished the social order that constrained their new appetites; in the 70s – hungover from their fun-spree – they mopped up the damage with no-fault divorce, inflation and debt.
After benefitting from the free education, rent and other delights that governments had poured over them, they rose into the upper echelons of business and society and, in the 80s, liberalised the economy and pulled the profligate ladder up behind them at just the moment they no longer wanted it – enjoying the fruits of the new markets for themselves.
Since then, the Boomers have, by nearly every metric, absorbed all of the benefits of economic prosperity without passing them on to their children. Future generations have been left, instead, to a collapse in home-ownership, a growing illegitimacy rate of up to 50%, the decline of the family and marriage as an institution, wage stagnation (or even regression) coupled with massive inflation, a rapidly declining education system and a fake economy now based almost entirely on ‘services’. It is not for nothing that the IPA has recently observed that, on 23 of 25 measures, the quality of the Australian way of life is declining.
Yet, as they advance towards their dotage, the Boomers want the party to continue, and are sacrificing their progeny to keep on rockin’. For all the profligacy of the Boomers, above all their most majestic act of self-interest has been their Götterdämmerung – their parting deed; the response to Covid-19.
The generation that sang ‘I hope I die before I get old’ are now old, and are rather so terrified of dying that they are willing to hurl their children to Moloch and sacrifice the education, prosperity and liberty of their offspring for the chance of extending their mortal coils by an inch.
The Covid-19 virus poses next to no risk for the young. It is solely the older, Baby Boomer generations who are at risk of dying from the virus. In many cases, including in Australia, the average age of death from Covid is actually considerably higher than the actual life expectancy of the population itself.
Despite this, countries with a high Boomer population have pursued an unprecedented health strategy; the mass house-arrest, face-muzzling and vandalisation of the prospects of future generations, to preserve the already very old and ill. For the first time in history, the well have been locked-up to protect the sick.
As a kind of generation of Elizabeth Báthorys – bathing in youthful blood to prolong their own mortality – the generation that venerated youth above all else would rather lock up society and sap the youth of the next generation than face the inevitable scythe. Let the children stop learning to read, the youth miss falling in love and prevent the strong working to build a future for their families, so long as they can’t sneeze on me, says the Boomer ethic.
While asset-rich Boomers can enjoy ‘WFH’ or retirement on generous pensions in their houses which are, on average, twice the size and contain half the number of people they did in the 1950s, the locked-up young are either unemployed, studying via Zoom or ‘WFH’ from their tiny, rented bedrooms. The top earners and asset holders are doing better than ever, while the young are doing worse than their equivalents even a decade ago.
Edmund Burke wrote a long time before lockdowns that ‘Society is indeed a contract… [and] as the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are yet to be born.”
That contract has been written in thin ink of late, and, as the Boomers tut-tut at the state of the locked-up youth, we would do well to remember Shirley’s line that;
‘Only the actions of the just smell sweet and blossom in their dust’.
An entitled millennial.
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