I'm quite selective about the battles I'm in favor of. So, this Esquire article has me a bit ticked. The magazine is of the mind that the Baby Boomers have orchestrated the short-shrifting of the young person and their prospects. Its a sneaky war of attrition.
We're hearing a lot about class warfare these days, what with the election toward the end of the year. What's interesting is that this dynamic could be an extension of another gap that's been widening recently (and will continue to expand), the gap between young and old. Stephen Marche makes the case in this month's Esquire.
Youth should be the only issue of the 2012 election, because all the subsidiary issues — inequality, the rising class system in America, the specter of decline, mass unemployment, the growing debt — are all fundamentally about the war against young Americans.
It's an interesting perspective. The whole article is worth a read (it's a long one), but I think he may be missing a key point. The spry and the frail have always been at odds, so to speak. The natural maturing of the brain changes thinking in predictable ways and this will always tend to divide rather than unify.
However, in the last few decades the widening of this canyon has been exponentially accelerating with the aid of rapid developments in technological innovation. It's no longer the case that Grandma used a rotary phone, and her grand children use a touch tone... we have new paradigms being introduced in ever more rapid succession. Going from a ink-well pen and paper to an iPad in one lifetime is a change that can be hard to accept. And one that may breed insecurity and defensiveness.
Soon it will be the case that one or two generational steps will feel much more distant. As children are brought up to interact with new technologies in ways that are impossible for their seniors to achieve, this war will intensify.
We'll see then how the flowers of rage, planted and nurtured so carelessly for three decades, have sprung up and who will harvest them.