How do we sleep while our beds are burning?

I kept debating on if I actually wanted to write this or not, mostly because it’s incredibly depressing when you actually start to put all of the pieces together. I think this may also be my first real attempt at trying to put together a well thought out article for people to read as opposed to my usual stream of conscious thought which serves as the basis for the majority of the articles that I write. The basis of this article will focus on the environment which my generation (Generation Y) has developed in. It will illustrate the side effects that environment has had on the aspects of not only our current living standards, but also any future prospects. The key components of this article rely on a basic understanding of the current economic situation, insight into the way in which modern communication occurs, and the history and culture which compose the American psyche currently.

The inspiration for this post comes from the depths of 4chan’s /new/ board which is responsible [in theory] for the discussion of various topics related to current world events. I had gone there hoping for an update on the situation occurring on the Korean Peninsula this morning, but I managed to stumble into an oddly coherent discussion on the nature of the Baby Boomer Generation. For the sake of clarity, I would like to define the generations discussed as follows:

  • Baby Boomer – Born Directly after World War 2 until 1957
  • Generation X – Born between 1957 and 1978
  • Generation Y – Born Between 1978 and 1993
  • Generation Z – Born Anytime after 1993

The post was a rudimentary discussion of how generation x is now collapsing in on itself financially in part due to interference and political features put in place by the Baby Boomer Generation. The post further elaborated on the possible effects that could already be seen within the job market for Generation Y. This uniquely coherent diatribe led me to finally consider writing this post. It is something I have wanted to write for a long time, but have lacked the proper wording to describe exactly what I was thinking.

The History of the Situation

There are key points that must be understood in order for the division of the generations to exist which lie within the historical events that divide those generations. As most people are well aware, the baby boom was a direct result of the US victory in the Second World War. The result of that victory allowed many soldiers to return home full of vigor and with a military pension. These soldiers went on to use that GI bill to claim a basic education as well as settle down in mass and breed like rabbits. This breeding phase would last until the approximate end of the Korean War and the final phases of the McCarthy era, solidifying a point in time which would separate the McCarthy era driven baby boomers from their Vietnam era compatriots.

Generation X would live through the heart of the so called hippy movement as well as some of the greatest scientific breakthroughs of modern history. I can still hear my parents speaking about how they remembered how important the death of John F. Kennedy and the Moon Landing were (Though both are members of Generation Jones). These events would shape that generation and allow them to move on to their own sort of breeding phase with the up and coming Generation Z. But it is my generation, the generation born out of a combination of Generation Jones and the Baby Boomers which we are here to discuss.

Once the Baby Boomers had established themselves in the late 70’s putting most of them in their mid 20’s to their early 30’s, they began to breed in a manner similar to their rabbit like parents. The result of this breeding would be what has become colloquially referred to as the Millennial Generation or Generation Y. We are the children who would grow up with the technology developed by projects like ARPANET and advancements in basic silicon based transistor technology. We are for the most part, defined by this technology. It was our generation that would grow up at the same time as personal computing and the World Wide Web.

We will be followed by Generation Z, the generation that my sister belongs to as well as the generation that hopefully my generation can save before they fall into the same trap that we did.

What we did wrong…

We listened.

Despite a popular misconception regarding the lack of authoritative respect our generation has, the truth is perhaps far more telling. According to a study conducted by the Australian Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, by the age of 21 nearly ten percent of my generation had already been in a court for one reason or another. This statistic is a bit more interesting than that though. You see, what the statistic fails to display is the fact that only .5% of my generation has actually been placed in jail for any of our criminal offenses. In fact, most of what we have been accused of is related to minor traffic incidents or alcohol and drug related offenses. This statistic is made even more interesting by the fact that my generation was the first full generation to be penalized for drinking under the age of 21 due to the introduction of legislation passed pushed by a form of MADD [Mothers Against Drunk Driving] in the mid 80’s.

We were the generation that decided to behave and obey most of the laws set before us. It was my generation that overwhelmingly decided that we must go through High School and move on to college in order to get a degree regardless of the cost to ourselves. It was established as the pinnacle of our educational standpoint, that for any person to be valuable in the work force they must have a bachelors degree or higher. Now that we are in college with anywhere between 30,000 and 120,000 dollars in educational loans we are being told once again that the skills which we acquired would simply not be enough.

I had the luck of having a discussion with Dr. Zara Larsen of the Larsen Group, a group dedicated to giving advice to others on how to change themselves in order to better establish themselves in the workforce. In the conversation about a graduating mechanical engineer we were told that even with a Bachelors in mechanical engineering from the world’s top 8 engineering institution, one would still need to go on to pick up a Master’s degree in the field to even consider a position in the 6 figure range. Now while I do not proclaim that the Larsen Group has any more authoritative a position in that field than any other group, the point still remains that we are constantly being told that the 4 years of education and debt may simply not be enough to secure a job in the work force.

College education was the driving force for everything that my Generation has done, as we are told over and over again that the single judgmental factor which we would be held to is whether or not we were able to attend and graduate from some form of higher education. All throughout High School we are told again and again that our most important goal is to maintain sufficient grades to allow us to attend the college of our choice. We have sacrificed any and all trade skill positions in favor of some form of higher education.

Mike Rowe, who is perhaps most well known for his position as the host of the Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs”, recently gave a speech at the TED talks on how we have changed our view points on the nature of manual labor. The talk goes on to discuss how the United States has demonized the working positions that are held by Americans, how it is that we have made the ditch digger, the farm hand, etc. elements of our society that are seen as unwanted and unclean. The position is interesting in that it dips into the mentality that my generation has been fed about how our ultimate goal should be to attain a position in some office working as what quintessentially amounts to a cubicle slave.

The side effect of this mentality is clear and even has some pretty damning physical evidence. In 2007, an eight lane bridge along the I-35W route in Minnesota collapsed killing 13 and injuring 145. August 2003, the entire North East coast of the United States suffers from a massive power outage, leaving 45 million without power. These events are incredibly clear signs that the US infrastructure, which was for the most part established in the mid 50’s as part of the military and social initiative to better prepare ourselves for possible Soviet invasions, is finally starting to show its age. We have continued to ignore some of the most critical elements of the nations infrastructure in part due to a complete lack of work force capable of performing the needed duties.

The mounting concern is now that the generation which will need to deal with these issues simply is not trained to deal with them. Our High Schools were stripped of shop class in favor classical more renaissance style pursuits. The problem with this of course is that the shop classes served a critical feature within the educational mindset. In a video created by RSA Animate, Sir Ken Robinson discusses how it is that the education system, which was created in the late 19th century as a method for keeping school age children from competing with their parents for jobs, is now starting to falter in terms of proving of value to the modern age child. The core of the system is based around the concept of classical education, with a focus on literature and the fine arts as opposed to labor, has further served to divide and demonize the idea of the working class.

So, here we have a group generation of individuals who have tried to do well in school, get good grades, stay out of trouble, and most important of all make their way to the college system after being processed by public education. They have been stripped of most of their critical and analytical thinking abilities in favor of rote memorization and skills which will allow them to pass the required test in order to reach their goal of college. This is further reinforced at the college level where it has become apparent to the educational facilities that more and more the people attending, short of a state mandate, are required to be there.

In recent years, post secondary educational facilities have begun to realize that they can make use of this requirement and use it for their own financial gain. Using a combination of data from the National Center for Education Statistics and compiled data from the Cost of Living Index one can create a semi basic graph on the matter [credit to a Wikipedia user for compiling the data].

 

Chart

It's even more expensive then Health care

A recent PBS documentary even went into the nature of for profit colleges which have begun to take advantage of not only members of my generation, but those of generation X which are now desperate to attempt to compete with the flow of my generation into the workforce. These Universities are without a doubt making use of not only the ease of access that the internet provides, but also the unrelenting need for a degree in the modern business world.

Perhaps what makes this worse is how easy it is to put yourself in debt in order to attend these colleges. For attending Purdue University for 3 Years for a Bachelors Degree in Computer and Information Technology [projected entry salary 40k+], as an out of state student with no grants or scholarships I will owe the University approximately $120,000.00. For my part in signing and agreeing to that debt I was required to take a 10 minute 5 question quiz [which I could repeat], asking me if I understood how much the loan was for and that 3 to 6 months after my graduation I would be expected to begin payment on those loans.

We were never taught personal finance as a class at any level of my education. Everything I understand about the banking industry or the mechanics involved with loans and money lending is based on information I have gathered on my own time or learned because my mother is an employee for a local credit union. As a result, in full honesty, I am terribly unaware of exactly the consequences or the nature of the loan I have agreed to pay. If I do not secure a paying job within 3 to 6 months of my Graduation, that student loan debt will quickly be turned into a bill that I will not be capable of paying. The implications that this reality holds are staggering and upsetting, magnified more so when one realizes that a Federal student loan is one of the only loans which can not be cleared by chapter 11 bankruptcy.

America as a society has become a creature which spends money it does not have. It was this exact behavior which created the last global great depression which scars history books to this day. For proof of this, one need not look any further than the housing bubble crash which started in 2007 and has dominated mainstream media for the last 3 years. The linchpin to that entire fiasco relied on people buying houses which they simply could not afford. The resulting inability to pay for those houses caused the banks which provided those loans to suffer massive monetary losses. As most are well aware, this sparked a multitrillion bailout in order to ensure that those banking institutions would not collapse.

So while the monster is not the same as the last great depression with small things lent out on credit eventually resulting in an inability to pay, it has much more dramatic consequences when it strikes. Modern national media (CNN, Fox, MSNBC, etc) have done a reasonably good job of perpetuating the idea that economy is somehow in a state of recovery, that unemployment is down and things are back on the road some form of nostalgic glory days. If one assumes the standpoint that money is debt and that our currency is only worth the amount that we think it is, then this form of propaganda is likely going to help to strengthen the economy, inspiring buying and circulating more funds [thus increasing the amount of debt]. This causes some issues; however, as it becomes apparent that the full scale damage is not conveyed simply with employment statistics.

Recent studies have revealed 2 things which might go about explaining why it is that the unemployment numbers seem to have dropped, the first of which is now a standard operation for members of my generation. This tactic is to simply “hide” in graduate school until a point where the economy will start to recover of its own accord. Multiple colleges have reported that their graduate admissions are on the rise within the last 2 years. There is also an issue of people who have managed to obtain their degree are now facing other issues.

 

Underpaying Jobs

That's a lot of waiters.

The simple issue here is that those positions simply do not provide adequate funds to maintain a standard of living with the pressing issue of student debt. Now ultimately, this becomes a diatribe about the status of post secondary education, but I felt it was key to helping to explain the situation facing myself and others in my age range.

Past the issues of the placement of college within our makeup as a group, there are even more concerns that seem to dot the horizon.

Other Issues

Inheriting a Dying System

Social security, trillions of dollars in debt, a collapsing infrastructure, mediocre education standards, and the list goes on. Generation Y is told again and again that it will be our responsibility to fix these problems. We are burdened with knowledge that it is up to us to draft solutions to problems that are now so rampantly out of control, it is unlikely that conventional methods will be capable of solving them.

There is the theory in most accepted academic rings that history is bound to repeat itself regardless of whether or not people bother to read up on it. Ultimately I could sit here all day attempting to justify how my generation will somehow change the way things are, but the likelihood of such an occurrence is dismally low. In Japan, their equivalent of Generation Y happens to be approximately 10 years ahead of our own. There are growing signs that there are serious cultural changes already occurring. The ideology that the company comes first is starting to fail and a growing sign of what could easily amount to depression is beginning to show it’s head. The article covers how the males of the population have become more apathetic and less aggressive. While one could make a reasonable argument that the United States and Europe [which compose the western cultural "Generation Y"] have enough cultural differences separating them from Japan that such a thing could not possibly occur.

I think though, that we need to accept that my generation my actually be starting to feel the burden of this collapsing system. The constant calls for us to maintain the system have made it apparent that we may simply not be able to do so. We lack the tools, resources, and time that would be required for such a massive undertaking to occur. As such, we are often called cynical, lazy, apathetic… terms which mirror in a way the growing Japanese population. With life expectancy now stabilized thanks to the fact that the statistic is no longer offset by a massive number of deaths at birth, each generation is competing with the successive generations before it for job placement and goods.

The Baby Boomers and Generation X failed to save up for retirement and are now being forced to not only try and stay in the job market [even inspiring such programs as Florida's "Experience Works"] but to actively keep others out of it. The result of this is an entire generation being forced to try and combat 40+ years of work experience with a mere degree and perhaps a certification or two. When faced with a choice between the two, you are often told that the only way you even have a chance of getting a job would be to spend time working for an internship and praying that they will hire you after the internship expires.

This disheartening experience even has some statistics associated with it. As I discussed in a previous post there is a study which shows that for the entire existence of my generation, and essentially since the time the Baby Boomers started having children, that suicide rates among  young adults and teens has skyrocketed while the rates among Adults and the Elderly has declined to compensate.

I remember thinking, when asked why I thought it was that someone as young as 14 would be willing to kill themselves, what could possibly drive or motivate a person to conjure such thoughts. Admittedly, even today, the thought of someone who is barely into adolescence being capable of ending their life is a troubling thought. I am reminded; however, that we also have access to information and an incredibly impressive rate. We are virtually surrounded from birth with multiple forms of mass media and information gathering technologies. This allows us to learn facts about the global perspective and the shift that is occurring with growing globalization which could easily be described as terrifying.

As such, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the Y Generation has begun to show growing signs of distrust of some of the methods employed by the old guard. The resulting complications that arise from this distrust have often shown in the way that we vote.

Political Scorn

A Republic, if you can keep it – Benjamin Franklin

To pretend that politics were not corrupt before my Generation came on the scene is borderline retardation. As long as there have been people in power, there have been those that have been willing to abuse it. The difference of course, is that those in power are now being exposed for the scandals and atrocities that they commit. We can now look and realize that perhaps Al Qaeda would not have been so prepared to attack us, had we not trained them ourselves.

It has become easier for the common man to access things that were previously only discussed by a limited number of sources. With the number of ways media has started to integrate itself with our lives, it becomes almost impossible to ignore the constant bombardment of information regarding which political leader has done something which could easily lose public trust.

In that time, my Generation has grown up knowing that Nixon used his power during the Watergate scandal, Regan was losing his memory, Clinton getting a blow job, and so many for President Bush that there is an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to the various incidents of abuse. With wave after wave of nothing but negative information about every single political leader “we elect” it should come as a surprise to no one that we might be a bit disillusioned about the entire situation. The only thing we know of politics is that it is corrupt, and any attempts to solve that corruption only end up generating more of it.

So when people ask me if I voted or not, I have no shame in saying that I took no part in the political process. I have voted a single time during the democratic primary for current President Barak Obama. I did so because I had the faintest belief that perhaps the man would be a change, god knows that’s what he preached about all the time. But once again we will see with swift indignation, that regardless of your opinion of the man he was no different than any president before him. For every promise he has kept, he has compromised with opponents that those who voted for him see only as fools and bigots.

I doubt very much if you will see my Generation provide as big of the voting bloc as occurred during the 2008 election. We will be quick to learn from our mistakes and realize that the core of the system is inherently broken, and that any illusion of the system working for the people is quite incorrect. Even the greatest heroes of “fighting the man” like Senator Al Franken from Minnesota have proven with the approval of bills like the COICA that even the greatest heralds of this Generation’s general viewpoint can’t be trusted to be perfectly in line with those they represent.

The two party system is an outdated mechanic perpetuated by the use of the electoral college. As such, it like other elements core to the government has become one of resentment even among Baby Boomers, with the conservative leaning Tea Party managing to gain a couple of seats in the previous election. It is because of this system, that many feel that they can never truly be represented on an ideological basis as both parties are grounded in centrist thoughts. While they both have their extreme elements, for the most part the core of both parties sits at the center of the US political system. Our brothers and sisters in Europe seem to be doing better in that regard at the very least, with a system in government which seems to allow for some more points of view to enter the playing field.

Ideological Wars

We grew up on the fall of the Soviet Union, watching as our once great rival collapsed under the economic strain it had been put under. It was the once great enemy that our predecessors had fought so long to defeat. But when we started to realize the cost to us as a nation including but not limited to: The various wars in southeast Asia; the intervention with legitimate political systems in the Middle East and Central / Southern America; and the backlash that those events generated, it became apparent that we must analyze why exactly we had chosen to fight.

The Soviet Union had been our Ally during the Second World War, committing more men to end the war than all other allied nations combined. Due to differences in economic models and systems of government, it was decided that after the war they were to become the enemy of the United States. One is forced to ask themselves: what was it about socialism that drove an entire nation to fight against it tooth and nail.

And so we analyzed the concept, we tried to learn why it is that people were so determined to not allow it gain a foothold. And the conclusion we could draw was “Well it doesn’t work in theory, but it’s not inherently evil”. As you look around with 20/20 hindsight on the matter, one begins to wonder what it was that we were fighting for. We were willing to sentence our own people as traitors for having a different idea of how the government should run; going against everything we had been taught about American patriotism. To question the government was at the core curriculum, that our Founding Fathers fought the British because it was the wrong form of Government, and 150 years later we leverage those who speak out against the government as traitors.

We grew up with perspective on the matter. And now, we have to tools to do what those before us did not. We had the opportunity to communicate with the people that composed the nations we call enemy.

Technology

In 2009, Iran, A country listed on the “Axis of Evil”, had within its confines an uprising of a different sort. Unlike uprisings in the past, which were handled quietly as an internal matter, it was public for the whole world to view. As sites like Twitter and other social media outlets provided a live stream to allow the entire rest of the world to view the events as they unfolded, it became clear that the citizens who composed these uprisings held similar beliefs and views to those held by myself. We started to realize that the picture painted of an ultra conservative Islamic nation might not be as true to reality as we had thought.

The Internet and Global Communications have radically changed the dynamic and outlook that this generation holds. For the first time in all of human history, the ability to communicate to almost all of the worlds 6 billion inhabitants exists. The simple magnitude of that capability cannot be expressed in words. This ability has united humanity in a way that was before impossible. We now have the ability to break down and analyze internal cultural values that would otherwise remain isolated and have been unchallenged.

In addition to that ability to communicate comes the ability to learn. Unlike all of the previous generations, we have the entire compendium of human knowledge at our fingertips. We have used this to break down the barriers typically associated with a lack of critical thought and analytical skills at the secondary education level. It is now possible for anyone to tap into a vast source knowledge that was previously only available to the educational elite.

And now, beyond that, the global masses also have access to all of the political system’s dirty little secrets. With sites like Wikileaks, it becomes incredibly easy to access information that would otherwise have been kept from the citizens who pay for its acquisition. We operate in a realm that has never previously been explored with a flood of information, so much so that it can keep us distracted.

Over time, we have learned to start being more selective with which information we choose to accept. My generation has been forced to start accepting some groups as trustworthy, and others as false sources. We are taught as the generations before begin to grasp what we have created, that the things we have created should not be trusted. We are told to trust a book over a site online, thinking that simply because a publisher or an editor is involved with the creation of the material, that it is bound to the truth. We have overcome that need to rely on the publisher or the editor by being more selective about the information that we choose to accept as correct. Our ability to double check statistics and facts has been made all the easier and as such our tendency towards doubt all the more apparent.

The downside of this technological surge has come in the form of the inherent human reward system. One could argue that as long as a man remains happy and does not cause harm to others, than the source of that happiness should not be questioned. The flaw in this of course is questioning the price we pay for an ever increasing digital footprint.

We are perhaps the only generation that could define our ages by the technology which was released during those ages. It is interesting to think that I could define the ages 5-9 as the Super Nintendo, ages 10-14 as the Playstation, 14-18 as the Playstation 2, 18-22 as the 360, Wii, and PS3. We have entered new factors into the equation of what it is that brings us happiness. As to the possible implications of such a thing, I really cannot say; only that in doing so we have become impossibly intertwined with technology.

Herzberg

As we being to learn more and more about how the human mind works, it is becoming increasingly apparent that those elements can be used in the same fashion any scientific discovery would be used: To generate a profit. In 1959 Fredrick Herzberg discovered that workers did not actually do their jobs for cash, but rather for recognition. He classified the motivational factors into two separate categories: Motivation and Hygiene. The theory was slowly refined and crafted with each progressive iteration revealing more and more about the what drives us. RSA Animate recently published a talk by Dan Pink on the matter of what it is that motivates us to do things.

Now what you can be sure of is that the business world is well aware of these motivational schemes. With increasing frequency, jobs tend to no longer or barely match the cost of living, in fact they have gone so far as to fight against a raise in the minimum wage saying that by doing so they would simply not hire any new employees. By knowing what motivates people, business can learn to increase profits at the cost of using other incentives to motivate employees.

Science is being used against us, in marketing, in video game design, in everything we do. It is not to say that the science is evil, or that somehow knowing how to make you buy something that you do not need is forbidden knowledge. But we have to be willing to cope with the fact that we are starting to understand how to manipulate people on a level that they can’t control. I leave it to others to decide the ethical implications that come with that.

What to do?

So, you have all of these factors that are weighing in and crushing an entire Generation. The question of course becomes “What are you going to do about it”. Now, we are a generation that has been accused of being lazy and cynical [and perhaps with good reason on our parts for being so]. What you have to ask yourself is how do we change this? How can we escape this “collapse”?

In truth, I doubt very much if we actually can, it’s that whole being cynical thing that comes with the generation. The situation put against us is not one that will be easy to navigate or deal with in a timely manner. I think the answer lies in using what makes our generation unique.

With massive global protest organized against the Church of Scientology by groups like anonymous, the Reddit Secret Santa program, or even the act to save a small kitten from an abusive home. There are instances across the internet on a daily basis of humanity trying its best to be trusting. Now obviously, I would be well within the bounds of ignorance to ignore the overwhelming number of cases which do not end so happily, but I think there is some manner of precedent being set in how my Generation is choosing to interact with the world.

The key to turning back the tide and undoing the damage that has been done is going to come from action. I don’t know how to do so, as at this point it is difficult to truly stir the masses, but if anything is going to be done you can almost hedge your bet that the medium will be the internet.

I thank you all for reading, and I hope you had a happy set of Holiday’s this past Thanksgiving. I think I shall leave you with the inspiration for this little wall of text.

 

Funny Picture

It's funny because it's true

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16 Responses to How do we sleep while our beds are burning?

  1. Dane Davis says:

    Mister Miller,

    I have read your article fully and expect to read it once again. I endeavor to share your article with as many people I know who are affected by this state of affairs. Had I the power to publish books, I’d urge you to submit this for such a purpose.

    Sincerely and with best wishes,
    Dane Davis
    Writer, artist

  2. Gordan Knott says:

    The reason why infrastructure is crumbling is that Americans hate taxes.
    There is no such thing as a ditch digger or farm hand any more. In case you hadn’t noticed, machines now do these types of thing.
    People don’t get stuff repaired any more – if something breaks you get a new one. New materials mean everything is more reliable and lasts longer. If your car breaks down a computer tells you why, and how to fix it.
    So, as manual jobs are therefore getting rarer, young people are being sent to university in greater numbers. Whether we need so many graduates is not clear. The rising debt levels of new graduates suggest this is not a sustainable situation.
    The bit about the cold war, books and technology is largely accurate but it is easy to disparage politics without offering a viable alternative.
    When you are a student it feels like getting a degree is like crossing the finishing line. It seems that this is a popular misconception.
    Congratulations! Now you know how we got here. All the mistakes, all the problems, all the opportunities. You know as much as we do, if not more. Now, instead of whining about it, let’s see if you can do a better job.

  3. Mike says:

    You had a brilliant, inciteful article right up until the end, where you made the same mistake most others of your generation do; throw up your hands and say “oh nothing can be done”.

    If you studied the history of the early baby boomers better, you’d see postests, civil disobidience, even as late as the 80’s with ActUP.

    Then came the video games, and the iPhones and the other technologies that lull your generation to sleep.

    Each generation has to decide if life is important enough to live to the maximum. I fear this one will miss it completely.

    I posted often about politics and was rebuffed by people of the current generation. Too “icky”. So I stopped. I am a baby-boomer and my life is coming to the point where I am ready to retire. I posted to wake them up.

    They don’t want to wake up.

    Then it hit me, it’s not my responsibility anymore to wake them up and call them to action.

    It’s yours.

    Your awake now, I just read it.

    Go out and wake up the other ones. Tell them life is out there.

    Not in here.

  4. Myles Lewis says:

    Brilliant.

  5. Rogerson says:

    The absurdity of the 00 decade did a lot to GenY’s collective psyche, which has made them even more cynical than Xers. The corrupt politicians, the pathetic wars, the sheer inanity of it all. The boomer grandstanding has caused many of them to focus on friends and family, and withdraw from the wider world. A few years ago Y’s would be classified as upbeat, positive activists with the world at their fingertips, but look at what they are now – skeptical, cynical, detached, completely apathetic, and justifiably so.

    They know that the boomer world is a giant sham. Everything the boomers said people would be able to do in their glorious society is nothing but a lie, and in typical boomer fashion they sat around pontificating about how great their world was as it crumbled away piece by piece around them. We live in the “most powerful country on earth”, but it is all a giant facade covering a rusted steel structure that will collapse with the snap of a finger. Gen Y’s focusing on personal things right now because they can see the shit is hitting the fan.

    Get a 401k? It’ll be stolen from you, either by the market due to wanton corruption or by the government through excessive taxation. Buy a home? Virtually impossible, and banks will still foreclose on you even if you don’t have a mortgage. Get a job? Nobody would ever hire you when they already have tons of experienced boomer and GenX employees, latching onto their jobs for dear life. Retire? Don’t bet on it. Social security will be gone by then, and of course there won’t be affordable healthcare either.

    The truth is that many of these naive kids have gone 20 years doing the right thing, getting good grades, staying out of trouble, all to be thrown out like yesterday’s trash in the end. Gen Y is the most educated and qualified generation in history, but the only job they’ll ever be able to get is the janitor positions to futily pick up the pieces of our broken civilization.

    Here’s also an interesting link:
    http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=2619

  6. Eric says:

    I was lucky.

    I saw the system for the sham that it is incredibly early. I’m at the tail end of GenX and came into the work force prepared for the technology revolution. The boomer generation worked to actively prevent me from gaining the skills that I needed to hold the career that I now have. Let that sink in for a moment.

    I was told countless times to stop “playing around” with computers and focus on schoolwork. Schoolwork was more important than those game machines. It’s important to note that my “game machine” was a 386SX/25 which I ran a BBS from (before the Internet Age). The telephony communications experience I got from that experience outweighed anything I learned in school. That experience alone got me my first job in my career (minimum wage at an ISP doing tech support) and today I make a 6 figure salary.

    What would have happened to me if I had listened to the system? Where would I be today if I believed the lies? Two things are of note here:

    1. I made a half-hearted attempt to go the college route. But I worked full time in the computer/communications industry at the same time. It only took 2 semesters for me to realize that the money I was spending on education was pointless. I subsequently dropped out. I realized that the boomers had lied to me. It was the best decision I have ever made. I only had about $5000 in debt, which I was able to pay off almost immediately.

    2. In my coming of age where I was told (by everyone) that I had to vote because it was my civic duty, I started researching the political system. Even the slightest bit of research into the system (even before the Internet Age) would show you that our political system is a failure. I am constantly amazed by how many GenY people got duped by the system in 2008. The optimism surrounding that election was amazing and I sit back watching while the realization set in on GenY that it is impossible to change the system from within. I don’t vote. I’ve never voted. It is a waste of time and effort and arguing politics is a pointless endeavor that will only end up frustrating you.

    So you’re right. The question is: Where do we go from here? Well from a “successful” GenXer to a GenYer, all I can tell you is that I have not the slightest idea. The only thing I can tell you is that you have to look out for yourself first. Do not rely on anyone other than yourself. Your government has abandoned you. Your employer will kick you to the curb in a heartbeat. Your family may not be in a position to help when you need it most.

    Look out for yourself, because you are your only asset in life. In order to move forward in life, you must become a drone inside of the system. Each generation likes to think that they are going to change the world, but it never happens. Society moves forward at its own pace regardless of politics. The media and the police will shut down any thoughts that don’t hold the party line (either party… doesn’t matter).

    In short: There is no revolution. Just go through life trying to get your tiny fraction of the pie. Strive to be a good person to the people you actually know and/or interact with. Accept the fact that the system is designed keep you docile. Do not listen to the government; they are lying to you.

    Whether you like it or not, that is the world we live in.

  7. Brandon says:

    I was very impressed by this article. Your writing is riveting and your thoughts are sound. I do hope you’ll expand upon this; I believe it’s very important that our generation begins to question its place in the world, and articles like this help turn the tide of apathy towards a movement of change and innovation.

  8. NoxCaelum says:

    “What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient… highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed – fully understood – that sticks; right in there somewhere. ” – Cobb, Inception

    -On the bit about Socialism.

    I loved the article, you made some very curious and accurate points. I’ll have to read through it again and consider your points more thoroughly before I can post any meaningful discussion.

  9. Steve says:

    “I don’t know how to do so, as at this point it is difficult to truly stir the masses, but if anything is going to be done you can almost hedge your bet that the medium will be the internet.”

    Oh how you sum up Generation Y…. Y should I try. I don’t know how to do it so I might as well give up now. Baby Boomer’s (the now hated generation) are a product of the Great Depression. Had nothing so kids went and got everything they could. Generation X lived during the peak and then the gradual slide before todays thunderous dump. Gen X survived on McJobs and those that got educated moved up to push out the Boomers but in the later stages of life Boomers remembered their Depression Parents and began hording money. Once retired the horders become big spenders and wooo hoo the bubble roller coaster is on. The Gen Xers who lived and still live on McJobs will certainly still tell you today to go get your education if you ever want to be something. The advanced degree Xer’s are a different group, most of whom realized long ago the College education is completely unnecessary for a large portion of the population. As a Yer you are a victim of which sub culture of X you were exposed to.

    Welcome to the 1930s generation Y. Are you going to roll over on the sofa, meh, let someone else do it, or are you going to grab the proverbial boot straps and find a way. Germany is so far away, who cares. Hitler is too powerful and has most of Europe, we can’t stop him…meh, easier to learn German.

    Generation Y should I needs to become Generation Yes , I can make that happen. You bought this dream in 2008 but somehow, yawn, you retired to the sofa thinking your work was done here or its too hard with all you old people around.

    • Required fields are marked says:

      This puts much of what I’ve been thinking into words. I want to do something about it. I don’t know what that is, all O know is that without a solution we are headed for social and economic decline. It is irreversible unless we act.

      We are useless fractured. A million people in solitudinal agreement is less useful than ten in conjunction. We need to talk. We need to agree on the appropriate approaches to tackle the problems our societies face.

      Email me.

      thelion2311@gmail.com

  10. Pingback: A Backlash against the Boomers | Boomers Must Die

  11. Nameless says:

    “If you studied the history of the early baby boomers better, you’d see postests, civil disobidience, even as late as the 80′s with ActUP.”

    And what makes you think any of that would help? Every single public political action is spun and spun through the media, twisted and analysed and ultimately wrenched from our hands and used by some pundit for some nefarious purpose.

    Study the forums across the internet – you’ll find plenty of anger, strong political feelings, all the same things that led to the protests in the past. But there’s no outlet that’s safe anymore except the net. So we do what we can on the net. Notice the actions in favor of wikileaks – internet boycotts, hacking, badges of support on social networking websites. It’s not that we’re sleeping – it’s that we’ve taken our rage to the only place we know we won’t be shut down and censored for expressing it.

  12. Troll King says:

    Great article. I am going to post this on r/mensrights.

    Don’t let my handle and the reputation of MRAs get to you. We are angry for justifiable reasons and many are offput by out anger.

    I think your article is missing one important element.

    My generation, gen Y, was the first generation to grow up being sold out by our parents. You touched on the macro economic aspects and political aspects of this but take a look at the personal.

    To use my personal anecdote to illustrate this, here we go.

    My parents aren’t divorced. This is somewhat of a rarity where I live. My parents are highly educated but only reached upper-middle class by the time I enrolled in college at 21/22. This is fly over state upper middle class too, if we still lived on the East Coast then we would be poor comparatively.

    I got moved around from my grandmas to my dads to my moms house time and again and spent more time living with one parent or another than I did living with both parents under the same roof. Much of this was due to them trying to get out from behind of their graduate-based school debt.

    Even though their motives were largely benevolent, it does take a toll on a boy when he sees his father for only a few hours every weekend or every other weekend or when I lived with my mom overseas a few weeks out of the year. I actually don’t understand the mechanics behind this, in theory one loving parent should be better than two mediocre parents. In theory a mother should be able to raise a son without problems. Then again my theories are based off of liberal ideas and I see much truth in the more conservative ideas today. I still am not a conservative that rants about the dissolution of the nuclear family though.

    I don’t know what exactly it is about divorce or absent fathers or mothers who alienate children from fathers that causes many problems. I know many people who grew up in horribly abusive environments and made something of themselves and some claim to be stronger for it…maybe they are saving face.

    I do know that I looked around in 3rd grade one day and counted the number of kids who were going through a divorce or had single mommies by choice. It was about 50/50. This was after sitting around sulking with some of my male friends and I mentioned that I was living with my mom now and they all started in talking about how their parents were getting divorced or had just gotten divorced. I kept repeating this observation every few years and by the time I got to HS I knew less than five people in my peer group, friends and friends of friends, who had a biomom and biodad at home.

    We are the generation of divorce and single mothers by choice. Almost every girlfriend I have had has cried in my arms telling me about how she hates her dad. She then talks about how she doesn’t really hate her dad but instead hates her mom even more because at age 5 or 7 or 9 or 12 (I have heard this same sort of thing too many times to count from gfs and female friends) her dad called on christmans or thanksgiving or her birthday and her mom told her to tell him to never call again and she told him to never call again and the bastard listened that time and never called again. That is why she hates him, he listened.

    Or she says she hates her mom for allowing so many step dads in her life and one of them molested her. Or she hates her mom because her mom used to make fat jokes to her face and that is why she cuts herself or is anorexic.

    On the side of my male friends, well….I have heard enough of them say that they would be around during christmas cause they aren’t going home and I ask why and they simply say that they have a real modern family, lot’s of step parents and they just don’t get along. It has even become a bit of a joke in our culture. How many comedies focus on step parents and going home to meet them? Or horror movies, with the evil step dad or step mom archetype.

    I think as a culture we have lost something vital to our survival in our conveniences. It used to be taken for granted that each generation existed to better the next. Our parents sold out our generation for a eat,love, pray fantasy sold on oprah. I know many will say it is a reality TV show and shouldn’t be taken seriously but look at shows like Teen Mom. You see mothers competing with daughters, mothers more interested in their love lifes than their daughters life. You see guys who have dropped out of society for all practical purposes. These were the types of people I knew in HS and that was a decade ago and I don’t speak to a single one anymore.

    Since then I have moved up a social group or two, if we base it on socioeconomic views of white trash etc., but the problems are still mostly the same. Guys and Gals that come from families with more money and class than mine who still have the same problems of divorced fathers and in many cases crazy mothers.

    Over on reddit the mantra seems to be not to stick your dick in crazy, well look at the environment that creates that kind of crazy. I found it very sad that I knew very cool and intelligent and artistic guys and gals at 15/16/17/18 yrs old. Then they turned 18/19/20 and in most cases became just like their parents. These weren’t just trailer trash either. One friend who never met his father was middle class with a mom who was a psychologist. He used to complain about her drinking and boyfriends and by 20 he had gotten 3 different girls pregnant and none of them wanted him in their or his kids lives.

    Now, let’s look at another economic effect of the baby boomers. Not only did they not have enough kids, in most western countries the birth rate is below replacement (if you look at America and take away hispanic birthrates then ours are too but even with hispanic and some traditional arab and conservative christian households we are barely above), they saddled those few with the burdens of the majority.

    Part of this is due to medical breakthoughs that allow people to live longer, which is supported by fewer which means we have to pay more for the same people who gave us less.

    I need to put a disclaimer here: I am not saying women shouldn’t have jobs, as a capitalist I think it is good. With that said.

    What else happened with the baby boomers? They pushed for women to enter the workforce in full. Now, women have always been workers but it wasnt part of their primary cultural identity after the industrial revolution. Before the industrial revolution there wasn’t a distinction between home and work. Women had crappy jobs but weren’t as crappy as most male jobs. With inustry and technology women were liberated from the home and the baby boomers made it part of their cultural identity where beforehand men were seen as breadwinners.

    One thing to point out is that if you double the labor pool then you can effectively reduce wages by about half. One thing that many don’t realize is what kind of effect this would have on personal relations. I don’t think this was accidental either, the personal is political. Women, as a group and individuals (I don’t want to debate nature or nurture) want two primary things from a partner.

    One is to be protected and cared for and the other is higher status, both are hypergamous. Women marry up. If she has a bachelors then she wants a man who has a masters. Women rarely date guys who are shorter than them because they want to be protected. What does the economy do to this mating strategy? Before most men could reach high enough status to become breadwinners and then gain a wife. Now only about half can and that was before divorce was incentivized.

    Some have pointed out that women divorced the individual man and instead married the state. This is usually talked about with respect to welfare. When you look at it I think you will see that this is largely true. Women don’t need men anymore because corporate and state sponsored initiatives. These same entities are largely propped up on the backs of men and male resource creation. What happens when someone realizes they are told they aren’t needed or are scorned by their love? They usually react in a negative way.

    Men are going their own way in record numbers (MGTOW) and this is having huge ripple effects. I don’t know any men who want to marry, because it is simply a net negative to their life instead of a positive. I know many men who have become jaded about women before they even hit 30 and many who have simply given up and would rather play video games than date.

    I see women constantly complain about man-children and lament about, “where are all the good men.” Society can’t treat children like crap and expect them to grow into adults that respect society. I think women have largely been used as a tool by our government to destabalize society to gain even more power, mainly through taxation but also through a 57% female electorate (in the last pres. election, it is much higher at the state and country levels).

    I do like your article. I think you should focus a bit more on some of the personal aspects of society and how they are intertwined with all of this. One thing that has been a real surprise to me is how much hatred the average woman holds towards men. I was in middle school when I heard about a woman named lorena bobbit and I haven’t met a single woman in my life who didn’t laugh about male mutilation. I actually wonder if all this anti-male hatred isn’t the result of women expecting men to protect and provide while men are either intentionally not doing it or being prevented from doing it.

    Anyways, I don’t really think anything can be done. I think a collapse is inevitable and I think there are many who think they will gain from it…then other times I think it must simply be human stupidity. The real question is what incentive do I have to fix a problem created by a generation of women who claimed they need a man like a fish needs a bicycle. I find it funny that they need me to increase my output so they can have healthcare and social security that I will never have. Fuck em.

  13. Pingback: How can we dance when our earth is turning? « Totally Not a Blog

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