I read an interesting article in The New York Times the other day: Children of Heroin Crisis Find Refuge in Grandparents’ Arms. What a nice title. It’s almost heartwarming. Lovely old grandparents are protecting their innocent little grandchildren from an amorphous monstrosity named The Heroin Crisis. This monstrosity has arisen without cause from the depths of Hell and subsequently possessed or murdered the parents of many an only child. Quelle horreur!
For those who haven’t yet heard, America is facing a veritable opiate epidemic. Heroin-related deaths have tripled since the start of the millennium. 23 people in Ohio die a heroin-related death each week. The problem is concentrated in New England and the Midwest. It is a notably white problem, too. Anyone who has been paying attention to Donald Trump’s vivid rally speeches has heard him bring up the heroin problem in scenic New Hampshire.
Mexico’s opium production increased by 50% last year. You can guess where that surge in supply went for delivery. I won’t keep listing the sordid details; I’m sure you get the picture. This topic has been covered extensively on this site by Ryan Landry, here, and here, but I want to draw attention to the generational implications raised unintentionally and hamfistedly by The Times.
To begin with, heroin has been around since 1874. The recent rise in heroin usage did not, presumably, occur as a spontaneous and completely random act for which no one and nothing can be held to account. There is a proximate cause to be identified almost as surely as one can identify the impact of my digits on a computer keyboard as the cause for the words you are reading right now. So – whodunnit?
The very first individuals introduced in the article may suggest a clue. A married couple of managers in their 50s is taking care of their 5-year-old granddaughter, ever since their 25-year-old daughter got hooked on heroin. The couple were planning to spend more time hiking and camping as retirement neared, but were inconvenienced by the apparently sudden and unexplained appearance of heavy narcotics in their daughter’s life. Now they spend their time raising their granddaughter and feeding her “orange cheese balls.” The grandmother says that it is her own child that has caused this mess.
Another mid-50s grandmother says that heroin has “taken [her] daughter to bad, bad places.” A third is taking her grandson, described as “the saddest boy [his teacher’s] ever taught,” to therapy. She considered this a must. A fourth laments that her and her husband’s imminent life of golf, trivia nights, and shot-and-beer bars – “the next chapter of life” – went to “hell in a hand basket” due to their child’s addiction.
I am detecting a theme here. But before I continue, I have to ask a question: what percentage of kids raised by grandparents who raised heroin addicts the first time around are going to become heroin addicts themselves? Is this percentage likely to be higher or lower than the percentage of kids raised by grandparents who didn’t raise heroin addicts the first time around?
The ages of the grandparents with children addicted to heroin – children who had children of their own they couldn’t take care of – indicate that they came of age in the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, at the climax of the mid-century cultural and sexual revolutions or in their immediate aftermaths. This generation of parents was the first to raise children according to the principles of equality, tolerance, self-expression, and free love. At best, the first parents to raise children in a cultural environment poisoned by those same fluffy ideas.
The catastrophic results of the social experiments of the ’68 generation have been meticulously recorded by conservatives. The long list includes widespread mental illness, the destruction of marriage, the normalization of bastardry, abortion and other sexual deviancies, the ubiquity of pornography, an explosion of STDs and – of course – a slow but steady rise in drug usage and the normalization and incipient legalization thereof.
When one examines the problems indicated by The Times with the children of the free love generation, it is excruciatingly difficult not to notice the parallels with the ideals and social effects of the selfsame generation. The article admits by omission that almost all of the addicted children in the story are single mothers. All are addicted to narcotics. Many have spent time in rehab or jail. Free love, drugs, rebellion… why does this sound so familiar? One of the grandmothers is herself unmarried, but has a childless boyfriend with whom she raises her addicted daughter’s daughter.
There should be no illusions about how this second generation of children raised by the free love generation is going to turn out. Child therapists instead of fathers and mothers. Orange cheese balls instead of home-cooked food. The Baby Boomers who bought into the nihilistic, materialistic left-wing values of 1969 raised a nihilistic, materialistic generation without the moral and social supports of an explicitly Christian society and of residual traditionalist inertia. That generation was failed by its elders, and it, in turn, failed its own children.
Those same elders now litter the pages of The New York Times with displays of obscene self-absorption. Why did their kids turn to heroin? How did this happen? Who caused it? Well, it was the heroin, of course! Heroin showed up at 3am with a baseball bat and dragged their kids out of the house. Heroin flew a Chinook over the high school and abducted their kids in some kind of special forces raid. Heroin mustered a million-man army and marched into the town, occupied the government buildings, and declared a state of martial law with mandatory heroin injections for everybody born after 1975. Heroin took their kids to bad, bad places.
The thing is the only people who ever took their kids anyplace were the parents themselves. Ryan Landry says the heroin epidemic is “just a symptom of the empty promises of progressive America.” The Baby Boomers took their kids to a land of empty promises. Their kids responded predictably by shooting up instead. Now the Boomers are leading their grandkids to the same land of empty promises, unaware as ever.
Throughout all of history, the role of grandparents was to serve as wise elders in the community and to assist in the raising of children. That role, however, was predicated on a successful bout of raising their own children in the first place. It was also predicated on an expectation and desire of the grandparents to fulfill that role. The role of grandparents was not to put their children on a bus to government schools and colleges, and then to fantasize about decades of golf and hiking uninterrupted by anything so inconvenient as the needs of their broken children.
Blaming the Baby Boomers is perhaps a bit misguided, though. They were a product of their time, and if the more intelligence-quality histories of the 19th and 20th centuries are to be taken seriously, there is a lot more concentrated fault to be placed squarely on the shoulders of academic, financial, and government elites who found a self-serving use for the ideologies of the 1960s. One conclusion is inescapable: the next generation will not find itself stable and healthy. The next generation will be even worse than this one. Nobody has learned from their mistakes, and as the media begins pushing “trans kids” on us, one can only predict that it will get worse.
“Be yourself,” they said.
Be yourself into an early grave.