Saturday, January 15, 2011

Forecast: Bleak, With A 20% Chance of Generational Warfare

Bayou Renaissance Man has a good article on the current economic morass we're in.  The point isn't the article, most of which I've already posted and commented on here; the comments are what I want to address.  Commenter perlhaqr (which I've always read as Perl Hacker - reference to the Perl programming language) comments:
As one of those Gen Xers who is getting stuck with the bill, I'd like to point out that it was the Baby Boomers who spent all the money, created all the entitlement programs, and now expect me to pay for them to be retired for the next 30 - 40 years.

I give you three guesses how close I am to saying "hey, fuck you", and letting them all go hang, and the first two don't count.
Not to pick on him in particular; I've seen perlhaqr's comments around the blogosphere for quite some time, and don't have a problem with him (disclaimer: I don't even know if perlhaqr is a "him" or "her").  It's the idea. The idea that one generation is responsible for the mess we're in is a poisonous thought, and it's the kind of easy, "let's find a scapegoat" thought that can spread, especially if the SHTF and society collapses.  When people are desperate and hungry, they can whip themselves into a frenzy with ideas like that.  "A riot is an ugly zink":

During the raucous debate over the Government takeover of the health care industry, letter writer Agnieszka Marczak at Time achieved her (?) 15 minutes of fame by penning, "...step aside grandma.  We want health care and we want it now".  (I can find only one link to a reference for this, a video from the Glenn Beck program on Fox News, and would rather not embed a second Youtube video. So go here if you want to see this.  Go to 7:45 in the link, although the whole ten minutes is worth seeing.)

Aside from disproving the notion that boomers have exclusively gotten us into this mess by demanding expensive social programs, it provides another example of the likelihood of inter-generational attacks, should widespread civil breakdown come.  This writer, and I would assume many like her, believes the breakdown of the system is caused by her parents and grandparents, who made the mistake of believing the promises of politicians, much like union members who believed they could retire in their 50s and live on fat pensions paid for out of unicorn droppings. 

The problem is, as I posted in reply, when the angry mob comes to "kill all the old boomers", they're not going to wait for you to show them how frugally you've lived, or that you pride yourself in not having taken handouts, or that you fought government expansion and the crippling debt with all you could.  It's going to be mob rule: kill or be killed. When you're pondering a polygonal war space or Matt Bracken's CW2 cube, this adds another complication, that the people you are helping - or fighting alongside - will be firing on you as soon as it's convenient. 

If, indeed, open civil war II is coming, it may be inevitable that the older people will be shot first.  If there is sanity, I see that not all people in my age group will be able to join the Freedom Force.  As someone who was doing biathlons a couple of years ago, I know I'm lucky to have most moving parts still moving.  It's not news that older people tend to have more health issues than the young; that's one reason the armed forces have low retirement ages.  Those who can't fight due to poor health, probably will be to be able to aid in other ways: shelter, finance, supply. 

As I wrote in December, there are many reasons why we were due for an economic slowdown as the 21st century opened.  It didn't have to be this bad, and I maintain it has been this bad because of the actions of the Federal Reserve and the leviathan.


Reg T said...

Very interesting article, and one of the first I've seen that deals with the fact that the only boomers responsible for this cock-up are the ones in public office who voted for much of this mess, along with their peers from generations before. Gen X and others assume we were responsible since it happened on our watch. Yes, many of the scum who are actually the problem were elected on our watch, but it is generally the young - college students especially - who support and vote for these socialists in the first place. I didn't vote for Obama, and I didn't even vote for Bush. (With those choices, I simply didn't vote at all.)

Perhaps we "grouchy old cripples" should consider setting up an Underground Railroad for moving and protecting each other, and mutual aid arrangements as well. I think I can guarantee the safety of the rocking chair on my front porch out to at least 400 yards (maybe 600 if I put in my eye drops), and I'd be glad to cover my aging neighbor's, too. After all, how many Gen X even know which end the bullet comes out of? Or how many "bullets" go into a "clip" ;-)

Anonymous said...

By coincidence, I wrote a short essay on this very subject, just a few months' back.

If they wise up, we’ll be culled.

Further to our debate on voting patterns.

It strikes me that, if our young people “wise up” to the con that we oldies are perpetrating, they’ll likely cull us.

Luckily, most youngsters couldn’t give a stuff about future liabilities, so I don’t expect to be in any immediate danger of a lynching.

But, just suppose that they got wind of the reality. Suppose that someone told them what their parents and grandparents have been up to. How might those young people react to the realisation that we oldies have sold them into bondage?

Too strong a word, you say? Anyway, slavery has been abolished … hasn’t it?

Look at the reality. We oldies have, over the past 60 years, voted ourselves all sorts of benefits … we voted ourselves pensions, “free” health-care, benefits from cradle to grave; to name but a few.

However, what we wilfully neglected to do was to vote ourselves the responsibility for paying for those things. No, we decided that we’d borrow the money and let our kids pick up the repayments. And, when that wasn’t enough, we’d let our grand-kids foot the bill.

Feeling guilty, yet? You should be, because your children not only have to pay for your retirement care, they are faced with an invidious choice themselves. Do they stump up for you and try to put some money aside for themselves … or do they pick up your soiled baton (yeuch!) and hand the debt on to their progeny?

Oh, wait a minute. I forgot to say, that won’t work. They won’t be able to hand on the debt … because the Piper is demanding his payment. Gentlemen, it’s time to stump up what you owe. Credit isn’t endless.

So, the real choice for your kids is this … pay for Dad’s and Mom’s retirement (and Abdul’s, most likely) AND try to save enough money to pay for their own.

They have just one more option available to them …. and that is to make sure that you don’t live long enough to need all that expenditure.

Graybeard said...

This is wonderful pair of comments, and I thank you both. While Reg T and I are (obviously) closer, Anonymous' posting saying "the first thing they should do is cull us" has excellent points. "Uncle Kenny" at Washington Rebel has an interesting take on it along the lines of Anonymous' article- that the first thing the administration should do is kill all the boomers to get them out of the way.

Reg T said...

Uncle Kenny is correct. That's what the Death Panels are for, but we tricky old folks will not go gentle into that good night. Hint: we've had many years to practice, Gen X. Body armor won't help. What happened on Sipsey Street won't be a one-off . . .

leveraction said...

Speaking as a gen-x, 1) I know that 8 rounds of 30-06 go into a clip, and magazine capacity varies by cartridge and firearm and 2) I have no plans to go around culling booomers when the collapse comes. If anything, I'm gonna be gathering my kids' grandparents closer so that nobody else tries that kind of crap. I was raised to respect my elders, and I also have realized over my years that there is a tremendous wealth of knowledge and wisdom to be gained in listening to those who are farther down this road. How can we, as children, blame our parents when most of my generation has bought the same pie-in-the-sky delusions that was sold to them by the same snake oil peddlers?

No, its not the fault of any one generation as much as it is everybody along the line from the 1880's on buying the beautiful lie. If it had been sold to my parents as foisting the burden off on their children, there's no way they would have gone for it. No, it was sold as being "for the children" and for future generations - just like it was sold to my grandparents as well. They didn't see where it would lead because they trusted in the benevolent Uncle Sam and his "experts". They didn't have the benefit of instant information that we have now - nor the inherent distrust of "experts" to become experts themselves. Who in their right minds would sacrifice their own children for their personal comfort? I sure as hell wouldn't!

What matters now not what happened but what happens going forward. Just because Grandpa can't plow the garden doesn't mean he's useless, he knows a lot of stuff about a lot of things, and that's as valuable as anything when TSHTF. Generational warfare can only bring sorrow, since we need our elders to remind us where we came from. Coming from the family I have, I suppose I have a somewhat tribal view of generations, and when I think about where the blame lies for the mess that coming I keep coming back to the beautiful lie - and its salesmen. So if anybody has any plans to come for my boomers, they'll have to get through me first.

Reg T said...


Thank you. You give me actual hope for the future, my friend. Lord knows I wish we had had the Internet when I was growing up to share and spread the truth instead of the pap we were taught in school. It wasn't _that_ many years ago I learned just how badly FDR betrayed us.

I truly do not distrust your generation or any other (I enjoy being a wise guy.) Just those socialists who would try to thin the ranks of those who love liberty. They may discover they have bitten off more than they can chew.

Reg T said...

Just read this at The Quadrant, in Australia, on Stoic Philosophy and the Profession of Arms. Pertinent to our discussion here, pay especial attention to the last line:

"The Stoics firmly reject that beloved cause of much contemporary Western political activism, namely the notion of collective or social guilt as a force in shaping virtue. For the Stoic, collective guilt is an impossible proposition simply because guilt is always about individual choice and personal wrongdoing. No one can ever be guilty of the act of another and no society can be held accountable for the actions of individuals from a previous generation."

Can we not believe the obverse, that no previous generation is accountable for the actions of an individual? Or even an _group_ of individuals? We have all failed, individually, in our duty to cleave to the Constitution, since not long after this nation was formed, perhaps starting with the Whiskey Rebellion and George Washington's response to it. He did represent the government of that time. But Lincoln, in his unConstitutional excesses, and certainly FDR, in his desire to make America a socialist society, put us on the road to perdition that we find ourselves traveling.

The "Boomers" may be the biggest bill come due in recent history, but we did not put ourselves there. We are already beginning to pay for being Boomers, though, and I believe it will get worse before the last of us shuffle off.

Graybeard said...

One of my favorite observations is "when things are this screwed up, it's can't be the fault of one group or one person; there's enough blame to go around for everyone." Just like it's simplistic to blame the current economic crash on "greedy bankers"; while they certainly played a part, they couldn't get the world that screwed up without a lot of government help, and they couldn't have done it without pushing and poking by the media, NGOs, like ACORN, and many more.

For example, it's generally considered improper to utter any criticism of the WWII Greatest Generation, and that's not my intent, but I read an article not too long ago that argued some of the big government problems we have came from them.

The returning veterans of WWII came back from years of having seen what happens when a command system works properly. The military had just run the biggest effort in history, fighting enormous problems on a global scale. Not just the European and Pacific wars themselves, but the massive logistics efforts to get men and supplies moved thousands of miles, and done in time.

Having seen a command system that worked well, they were pre-disposed to big government solutions. Have a problem with highways? Government. Problem with education? Government. No matter the problem, big government was always the answer. Don't forget the cold war was starting as these men returned home and were getting their families started, and their lives sorted out. There was a perceived need to do things for security.

If you follow Glenn Beck, you'll know he lays the blame on the rise of progressivism, and really raises some good points. Two other excellent sources of perspective are Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism" and Amity Shlaes' "The Forgotten Man". The situation we're in is the summation of billions of individual decisions made over the last 150 years. It's like a vast tapestry made of millions of threads.

It's way too simple to blame it on the old people. Or their parents. My engineer's perspective is that I don't care who screwed it up as much as what I can do to fix it. The only value of knowing who broke it is to keep them from sabotaging my repairs.