The baby boomers were the most well educated, richest, most spoiled generation in the history (of the United States, at least). What did they do with all this wealth, all this privelege?

They did some great things. They rebelled against the establishment and ended institutionalized racism (and the social acceptance of common racism in most circles, despite the nagging existence of a few ethnocentric throwbacks in populations of every ethnicity). They rebelled against the establishment and won the right for a woman to choose the fate of her own body. They rebelled against the establishment and won a large degree of gender equality and sexual freedom.

And they engaged in excesses that proved to be a little less positive, such as excessive drug experimentation in the 60’s, arguably excessive sexual experimentation in the 70’s, excessive conservatism and reactionsim in the 80’s, and excessive dishonesty in the 90’s.

They took all the freedoms they inherited and enjoyed, abused some of them, and then took those same freedoms away from us in the name of their ‘knowing better’, they systematically and deliberately inundated us with incessent marketing from the day we were born, tempted us with easy credit, pounded into our heads the compulsion to use that credit to buy their products and enrich them, then blamed us for our irresponsiblity when many of us succumbed to their repeated conditioning and actually did what they were telling us to do, an average of 10 minutes each hour (of television viewed or radio heard), and countless other times as we innocently walked or drove down the street to work.

Do we bear some of the responsibility for our alleged lack of self control? Sure. Do the generation of our parents and grandparents, who have orchestrated the incessant advertising that conditions us into submissive little shoppers and consumers, often as unable to resist a shiny new object as we are unable to join a protest for a cause we are forbidden, by that very same conditioning, from feeling strongly about? You bet they do.

There is enough blame for everyone to share, but no generation ever engaged in as much excess, or stripped their descendents of as much freedom and constitutional protection, not to mention financially mortgaging their children’s future with unprecendented government deficits and ponzai retirement and real estate schemes than did the generation of our parents.

So while they may condemn us of our weaknesses (and they are real, valid weaknesses we must address if we are to survive), they would be well advised to check out beam in their own eyes.

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