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  • Generations, Politics, and Culture

    Posted by David Foster on February 1st, 2016 (All posts by )

    Here is an interesting piece with thoughts on  how generations look at the world differently.  Obviously there are tremendous differences in individual experiences within a generation…and I certainly don’t share the author’s apparent leftist worldview–but I do think it’s probably true that one generation tries to deal with, and sometimes even partly solves, one set of challenges, thereby setting up a different set of challenges for succeeding generations.

    Related thoughts from Hawaiian libertarian, who says that:

    Prior to the advent of mass mind control enabled by mass media technology, there was no real substantial differences between generations…at least not the sort that so thoroughly and contentiously divided us for the past century. Culture was far more static and slow changing, and influenced much more by religion and cultural traditions and norms. 

    I don’t think mind control is actually required, or even systematic propaganda:  improved communications and transportation will tend to create more coupling within a generation, and more differences between generations, even in the absence of any central orchestration of messages.

    Regarding generational perspectives in general and mating patterns in particular,  Vox Day says:

    (The Boomers)  tend to think of “change” as something that an individual does within the context of a permanent infrastructure. GenX, on the other hand, sees that there is no permanence to the infrastructure, and that the infrastructure is not only transforming, but is imposing its changes on the individual.

    The Millennial doesn’t even see the cultural infrastructure, and thereby doesn’t understand either the Boomer perspective or the GenX fury at the order and infrastructure they have lost.


    6 Responses to “Generations, Politics, and Culture”

    1. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      I don’t think mind control is actually required, or even systematic propaganda: improved communications and transportation will tend to create more coupling within a generation, and more differences between generations, even in the absence of any central orchestration of messages.

      I have to disagree. Someone once said to me, If you plant crop of peas, you don’t get a field of corn, you get peas. The cultural environment in which children are raised, the values they are taught, the traditions in which they participate, these are the seeds of their ideas and practices and expectations.

      While there will be some coupling within a generation because of their similar age and emotional developmental levels and shared experiences, the stew of culture in which they are marinated will deeply influence their outlook. To that end, the Left indoctrinates the young toward marxism using the tools of the government schools, television and cinematic media, which figures they hold up as heroic or sinister, which books are promoted or banned, which ideas are presented as moral and immoral. That Bernie Sanders can draw 20-40 percent of the population to what is essentially a Bolshevik political platform is a measure of their success and an equal measure of the failure of the right to promote and instill classically liberal ideas in the young. We have ceded the battlefield and are losing ground.

    2. Robert Schwartz Says:

      I don’t think a lot of theory is necessary. Young people are young and inexperienced. I was many years ago. I had experiences. I lived a bit. Got married, bought a home, raised a family, and buried our parents. When I was young, I was a liberal. I am a conservative now.

      I think the same things will happen to people who are now young.

      “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

      I Cor. 13:11

      “A young man who isn’t a socialist hasn’t got a heart; an old man who is a socialist hasn’t got a head.”

      But see:

    3. David Foster Says:

      Michael, I’m not suggesting that indoctrination has no effect: it has a very large one. My point is that even in the absence of any attempt of indoctrination, improved communications must increase the coupling across people in different geographies, and hence create a generational identity in a way that could not exist in, say, Britain in 1800.

    4. David Foster Says:

      Robert….I don’t think it’s correct that all generations have the same psychological makeup at the same stage of life. Being 10 years old in America in 1955, in the wake of the WWII victory and the middle of a great economic expansion, has to be a very different feeling than being 10 years old in America in 1979, in the wake of Watergate, the Vietnam failure, and economic “malaise.” The person in 1850 who goes out to start a farm on the Great Plains is going to have a very different outlook on life from his grandson, who feels constrained by the “bourgeois” values of his village.

    5. PenGun Says:

      One important thing has changed. As the 1% has taken over most of the money, they also bought all the news outlets.

      It’s actually difficult to get opinion not controlled by these people. Pretty well impossible for those who don’t dig for their news.

    6. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

      David Hackett Fischer’s entire premis in “Albion’s Seed” is that the four settlement patterns from GB were different in class, region, _and generation_. The English Civil War, Revolution of 1688, Industrial Revolution. Big effects.

      Events of that magnitude do not always pertain, and I agree that change came slower then. Just don’t overdo it.