Baby Boomers Fail Two Generations

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.

How liberated!

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.

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  1. “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.”

    I could ask, what was it about the parenting of the Depression/WWII generation that led their sorry kids to embrace the cultural and sexual revolution and buy into equality, tolerance, self-expression, and free love? My own idea is that this Western societal decline began much earlier, perhaps with the Reformation or the Enlightenment, and certainly in full force by the French Revolution. There were fits and starts and the revolution was turned back here and there, but it was eventually all-encompassing in the West. The American South was the last to fall, mortally wounded in the War, and then, finally killed with the second reconstruction.

    1. The uber-reactionary thesis is that the CIA did it in the 40’s/50’s. There was plenty of ideological and intellectual poison flushing around the West before then anyway, they didn’t have to do much to weaponize Marxism. In that analysis Boomers were victims, which Sam Statham sort of glosses over except until the end. But then again the proceeding generations are arguably even bigger victims.

    2. @MD
      Maybee you find an answer in the hardcore competition all “babyboom” gernerations have to deal with. Our very Term “Babyboom” is misleading since in other parts of the world and most of the time in europe, 5 to 6 and even more children getting born by every female in average is the norm.
      Those generations compete mostly in an slow growing economy and their competition gets more furious. In this enviorment, its not uncommen that the “smart losers” relate to ideology so that they can blame the Haves for being at fault of the Have-nots misery, including the intellecutal unchallenged misery of middle class white kids who are too lazy to learn a trade, too whimpy to engage in armed revolution and to arrogant just to suck it up.

      The government tried to cool down the heat and cultivate some sort of managable protest culture, but instead it was watering poison ivy.

  2. I know we are supposed to comment more than just one line, even if it be in praise….

    But oh snap…those last two lines.

  3. The last paragraph helped me digest the usual “it’s all the boomers fault” which seems to emanate from the modern millennial alt-right. Neo-reaction as a movement dates back to a older generations than the boomers and perhaps birthed the alt-right, if you will.
    Methinks blaming an older generation for the failure of western civilization a bit simplistic.
    It may be that the “enlightenment”, indeed, was the beginning of the end for western civilization and the culture of christian morals .
    As a first gen boomer, I recall all our parents willingly “spoiling” all of us because, as they said, they wanted us to have everything they were denied in the depression. And America had everything to offer.
    My grandfather, born in 1883, spoke often of the sin and depravity of the 1920s. Post-WWII, in a nation “at the top of the world”, many of us were raised on the tv teat, imbibing jewish humor from carl reiner, etc. Men in drag were really funny back then. Not so much today.

    1. Laguna Beach Fogey June 2, 2016 at 10:35 am

      I would go back further. We’ve been in serious decline since the fall of Classical Greece and Rome.

      1. Carthago delenda est…

      2. I hope this is a joke. If not, it’s pretty dumb. Serious decline since the Fall of Rome? Seriously? By what standard? I guess there are some people who actually believe this, so let me point out some great achievements of European civilization that Rome and Greece did not accomplish:

        – Discovering four new continents from the Old World
        – Occupying and ruling 90% of the planet
        – The Scientific Revolution
        – Aesthetically, almost too much to list (just beginning with the Sistine Chapel…)
        – Putting a man in space
        – Putting a man on the moon

        I’d say that short list at least proves we’ve been fluctuating in our accomplishment since the Fall of Rome.

        1. Agree..just recency, certain forms of chronic leukemia can be cured, which a decade ago was not possible. And this in spite of the retrograde effects of post-ww2 liberalism; it would be even more without it.

  4. Probably the crummy job market pays a major role too, at least for millennials

    1. You think Boomers have absolutely nothing to do with that? Not in the slightest?

  5. SteveRogers42 June 6, 2016 at 3:43 am

    Another thing to consider is what will happen when the Boomer grandparents shuffle off and the NEXT generation of child victims is left to be raised…by whom, exactly? For all their faults, the Boomer grandparents discussed above can at least keep their grandkids fed, clothed, and sheltered. What happens when today’s children have children of their own and follow in the addicted footsteps of their own degenerate parents — with said degenerates the only generation available to fill the gap previously occupied by the Boomers? They weren’t up to parenting; they won’t be up to grandparenting.

  6. Arthur Marian June 6, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    To a baby-boomer like myself this is a challenging article, so I’m going to be a devil’s advocate, here. I think focussing on heroin addiction is inadequate – there have been other addictions in the recent past that were seen as equally socially damaging – a craze for gin in mid-Eighteenth Century Britain, for absinthe in Nineteenth Century France, and huge consumption of whiskey in Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century America. The weakest part of your argument is, however, a straightforward equation: that generation ’68 = decline and fall, and hence all other evils that followed.

    Generation ’68 didn’t come out of nowhere – they were raised by parents who themselves were raised in the great depression, and many millions of whom served in and out of uniform in WW2. To THAT generation the improved economic cycle, and rising prosperity of the post-war years was a dream come true – you only have to compare the photos of mid-Thirties America with those of the Fifties – ragged, barefoot kids with dirty faces who now, as adults, lived in shiny new estates. To many of their children, however, never having experienced poverty, this seemed like a narrow, limiting and materialistic attitude to life – they wanted more. This wasn’t intrinsically “left wing”- but it was doomed to be hijacked by that option.

    So many other factors happened at that time – attitudes to war, race, American and World history changed – the “Pill” changed women’s attitude to sex – “free love” too was a narcotic. The young had their own music, language, and something that no other generation had before then – buying power. It was a genuine revolution, with, of course, all the consequences which are with us to this day.

  7. For the Wages of Sin is Death

  8. I don’t think this is solely the fault of the baby-boomers. I was raised by a single mother and have never felt the urge to use drugs or smoke, some people just make bad decisions no matter who their parents are.

  9. King George III June 11, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    The Boomer is merely a product of his time. The true watershed moment was the Federal Reserve Act in 1913. Then the Great War started within in 1914, America broke her isolationism to intervene in a European war, the color revolutions in Russia and Germany in 1918-1919, the destruction of what was left of the traditional monarchies, the Versailles farce, Communist mass-killings, and WW2 all happened within 30 short years. And the roaring 20s and the Great Depression, both direct consequences of the Federal Reserve Act. The American prosperity during the 50s and 60s that arose from the wholesale destruction of the rest of the West is anomalous, relative to the nation’s otherwise uninterrupted downward trajectory since international finance gained its stranglehold on the bald eagle.

    “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered…. I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies…. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.” — Thomas Jefferson

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