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King Charles and the twilight of the Boomers Britain feels frailer by the day

(Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty)

(Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty)


February 11, 2024   5 mins

God Save The King. The announcement yesterday that King Charles is receiving treatment for cancer has sent another tremor through a Britain that feels frailer by the day.

And yet, this reminder of our King’s frailty, at 75, also stands for a broader transformation now afoot: the Boomerdämmerung, or twilight of the Baby Boomers. In old Norse mythology “Ragnarok”, translated by the German composer Richard Wagner as Götterdammerung, or “Twilight of the Gods”, is a time of cruel weather, moral chaos, and monsters rising from all points of the compass. Mountains will fall, the seas will rise, and the world-serpent will come ashore, as the gods clash in one final, world-ending battle.

But there is hope. This fateful time, for ancient Germanic legend, is a period both of terrible destruction and also of renewal: the Götterdammerung may see Valhalla aflame, but in its aftermath the world will be rebuilt anew.

Wagner used this motif as a backdrop for the final opera in his four-part Ring Cycle, an adaptation of an old Germanic myth first performed in 1876. It premiered just a few years after the fateful 1871 union of Germany: a transformation that tipped the first geopolitical domino that would culminate in the cataclysm of two World Wars.

Living through the era from the Ring Cycle to Yalta must have felt itself like a kind of Götterdammerung. Certainly, the first generation born after its 1945 resolution were determined to build a wholly new world, amid the ruins of the old. A demographic bulge group, conceived and born amid the relief, reunion, and rebuilding that consumed Europe after the two wars, the Boomers threw out the old sexual codes, dismissed pre-war European culture as stuffy and “square”, and scorned anything that smacked of nationalism, patriotism, or old high European culture as dangerously Hitlerish. In place of all that, they dreamed of new, sunlit Valhallas, freed from the dark gods of industrialised wartime destruction.

The culture they bequeathed us — what today is denounced as the “Boomer Truth Regime” — worshipped transformation, freedom, youth, and the future. Tradition and heritage was a drag. We were all on a path toward ever more individual self-realisation. But it was two-edged.

In her 2021 book Boomers, Helen Andrews argues that in each case, this generation – from Steve Jobs to Camille Paglia and Aaron Sorkin – set out to liberate us, but “what they passed on to their children was worse than what they inherited”.

Jobs sought to free our inner rebels, but created instead the stultifying world of social media; Al Sharpton turned social justice into a shakedown geared toward making well-off liberals feel good about their opinions; Paglia profited from an academic rigour whose abandonment she helped to legitimise.

These arguments will be familiar to anyone of my age and younger, who looks askance at the generation that benefited from free university education and affordable housing, and has since presided over an era in which both have become something more like Ponzi schemes. Today the university system the boomers bequeathed us is a monolithically Left-wing and increasingly academically flaccid visa factory; housing, meanwhile, is a piggy-bank for those that have and a pipe-dream for the rest.

But the consternation that has greeted news of King Charles’ ailing health should remind us that not all boomers are created alike, or indeed all boomerism. It’s easy to dismiss this generation, with its optimism and sheer good fortune, as one characterised principally by the self-absorption and wanton destructiveness Andrews skewers in the figures she profiles. But even leaving aside the fact that the boomers are all our parents and grandparents, I don’t greet our approaching Boomerdämmerung with glee.

Andrews can say, with some justice, that many boomers have not just failed to preserve and pass on the legacy they received to their own progeny, but actively consumed that cultural and economic seed-corn for their own selfish pleasure. “Spending the kids’ inheritance” is so common and celebrated among boomers it even commands an acronym (“SKI-ing”), how-to books and celebratory articles.

But there are boomers and boomers. Much of the social fabric in my small town is held together by boomers. They show up to church. They donate their time to committees, volunteer for the council, make cakes for coffee mornings, and pick up litter. Small-town boomers are unfailingly polite, kind, generous, and public-spirited. In keeping with this spirit, boomers volunteer at much higher rates than younger generations: over 50% of those aged 65-74 do so at least once a year.

Nor is this the only store of cultural capital that threatens to expire with the boomers. As murmurs of concern grow louder over a supposed competence crisis — whether or not this is driven by “diversity” hiring practices — they are now exiting the workforce at accelerating rates. It appears, too, that they are often doing so without passing on their skills to younger generations.

What will life be like once they’re gone? In the 1988 comedy Funny Farm, the character Mickey says dismissively of an unstable river crossing: “That ain’t a bridge. It’s termites holding hands”. That is: burrowing insects have hollowed out a once-sturdy piece of woodwork, and are maintaining its semblance only by clinging to one another, meaning the slightest hint of pressure will cause that solid-seeming form to collapse into powder.

And the Boomer Truth Regime is now taking on a similar character. Something once unshakeable is now so fragile that — for better or worse — it’s only the tenacity of the very creatures that caused that fragility which still holds it together. The world’s only superpower, for example, the regime surely most closely identified alike with boomer self-discovery and boomer post-nationalism, faces a Presidential election this year. And both front-runners are boomers: men older than King Charles, and yet clinging to power with every ounce of their remaining vigour.

What they’re now preserving is, ironically, a regime implacably hostile to the idea of preservation. The Boomers scorned the prewar order of patriotism and tradition. They gave us a regime of unlimited self-expression, post-national governance, and individual freedom. And it was all mythologised via the narrative of Good vs Evil that grew up around the Second World War. But as the boomers’ grip on power begins to falter in earnest, so we’re witnessing a steadily accelerating re-evaluation of the Boomer Truth Regime origin-story, the Ragnarok of that war.

As the wolf Fenrir shakes off his chains, and the mountains and oceans of Boomer Truth begin to shudder and boil, this re-evaluation of our past will also grow more febrile. Even those of us who chafe under Boomer Truth may not like the form this takes. One central pillar of that truth regime, for example, has always been a definition of the good relative to absolute evil as epitomised by Hitler and the Nazis, with the Holocaust as its central exhibit. But today, one in five young Americans thinks the Holocaust is a myth. That proportion among boomers, by contrast, is close to zero. The same stark generational shift can be seen in the rising proportion of young people who support a strongman leader.

Only a fool or ghoul would try and speculate on how our political landscape will evolve once the boomers are gone. But I suspect we’ll miss them bitterly: for though some aspects of boomerism undermined their own postwar settlement, boomers are also now the main force holding that settlement together.

King Charles surely epitomises this dual aspect of boomerism. A staunch Traditionalist and admirer of the anti-modern thinker René Guénon, he is criticised by some for being too backward-looking — while also (for example in his expressed wish to serve as “defender of all faiths”) standing accused by others of destructive progressivism and betraying the Church of England. Most likely though, as with boomers in the aggregate, he’s both: classically boomerish in his simultaneous ironclad confidence in the persistence of tradition, and certainty that traditions can and should be remixed at will in the name of progress.

Subsequent generations understand more clearly that this faith is often misplaced. Skills may be lost in generational transition, cultural reserves may be exhausted, carefully-accumulated inheritances may be frittered (literally) on cruises or (figuratively) on self-discovery and “modernisation”. But the true extent of the loss will, most likely, only become apparent as the ineluctable Boomerdämmerung approaches.

I wish King Charles a speedy recovery and a long reign yet. But in the end, as the Old Norse seeress reminds us, not even the gods can escape the cycle of death and rebirth. The growing frailty of the boomers feels like a chill wind of mortality, blowing around my own middle-aged vitals. But it blows an even more chilly wind of mortality around the world the boomers created, and whose increasingly brittle form is now fracturing at an accelerating pace.


Mary Harrington is a contributing editor at UnHerd.

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Stephen Walsh
SW
Stephen Walsh
2 months ago

God help him. And God help us all when the Boomers pass on and the ignorant and self absorbed world view of so many of the younger generation becomes the societal norm across the West.

Georgivs Novicianvs
Georgivs Novicianvs
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

I’m an exer and, therefore, my view is supposed to be ignorant and self-absorbed. To me, it looks different, though. On the micro level, that of a family, I spent half of my life fixing the wreckage that my boomer parents did, being fully convinced they did the right thing. My generations seems to be way more cognizant of the world around us and of the potential consequences of our actions. I think, on the macro level, the younger generations will also have to do a lot of fixing after the boomers, the clintons, bushes and blairs of the world. I just hope we do not fall for the same trap and do not inflict grand disasters by building grand schemes. Just quietly plumb the pipes.

Damon Hager
DH
Damon Hager
2 months ago

I’m 55, so not really a Boomer, but it’s tediously typical of older generations to lecture the young on their deficiencies and how much better they, the old, were. It’s always been garbage, and you don’t seem to have fallen for it. Good for you.

Jeff Butcher
JB
Jeff Butcher
2 months ago
Reply to  Damon Hager

I would agree with this. I work with younger people (late 20s, I’m 52) and they seem, like most people, friendly and decent enough. They certainly seem more together and responsible than us hedonistic Gen Xers.

Kat L
Kat L
2 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

Speak for yourself please, I’m neither of those things.

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
2 months ago

I can imagine no grander schemes than (a) abandoning energy security for a Made in China energy policy based on technological fantasy; (b) experimenting with wholly unprecedented levels of immigration and demographic churn into a low growth, low build economy and (c) maintaining interest rates at there lowest level for over 300 years with a resulting inflation of asset values, particularly of property, pushing house prices out of reach for many. None of those policies were pushed by Boomers; all are of more recent vintage, and all were or are avidly supported by younger voters.

Andy JS
Andy JS
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

Young people are the biggest supporters of the mass immigration project.

Andy JS
AJ
Andy JS
2 months ago

I’m afraid I think it’s the generation younger than the Boomers who have caused most of the problems.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

The boomers are the “greed is good” generation. The boomers gave us “no such thing as society”. The boomers have presided over the shrinking of the state and privatisation of previously public resources (putting them into their pensions but we won’t get into that one).
If the younger generation are self-absorbed they would have learnt it from their parents and/or grandparents. We just perfected it. The boomers made it the societal norm. The young are desperate to restore the state and to borrow and pay for things that benefit the collective – just check their social media feeds.
What you think of as “ignorance” is actually people seeing things differently to you. Often because they have a much wider range of sources of information. If the boomers weren’t so self-absorbed and ignorant they might reflect on that and think perhaps the youngsters are onto something.

Hugh Bryant
HB
Hugh Bryant
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Blimey, you guys do love your sweeping generalisations. Do you ever go out of the house?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

> you guys do love your sweeping generalisations

Robbie K
Robbie K
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Totally agree with this. Someone else will be to blame however.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

“The boomers have presided over the shrinking of the state”. After 4 years of the greatest peacetime expansion of the UK state that will impact the economy, society and everyone’s health for the years to come?? Not forgetting the Government elected promising to reduce immigration, but instead passed work and study visa laws that enabled the largest ever increase in immigration to the UK.

David Hewett
DH
David Hewett
2 months ago
Reply to  Neil Ross

Bliar is a boomer. Brown is a boomer yet both presided over massive expansions of the state.

Ian_S
Ian_S
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Downvoted because I’m tired of “UnHerd Reader” comments.

Russell Hamilton
Russell Hamilton
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

“The boomers gave us “no such thing as society”.”

Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan weren’t baby boomers.

“If the younger generation are self-absorbed they would have learnt it from their parents and/or grandparents”

No, they learnt it from social media. You know, their fabulous source of information.

Lilly A
LA
Lilly A
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

‘No such thing as society” – was said by Thatcher, she was not a boomer. What actual power do you think ‘boomers’ had over politics, other than voting every four or five years? And before you blame them for voting Tory/Labour/Whatever, consider what power or foresight younger generations will have when they vote in future elections, especially the next one. None of us can ever know exactly what the people we vote for will do/change their minds about etc. nor what their true ideals, influences or incentives are.

Simon Blanchard
SB
Simon Blanchard
2 months ago
Reply to  Lilly A

Boomers swallowed Margaret Thatcher’s schtick wholesale (not this one, I hasten to add). Just like they swallowed and followed “child centred” parenting. Consequences play out over time and subsequent generations are the result.

Andy JS
AJ
Andy JS
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Margaret Thatcher was not a Boomer, nor most of her ministers.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

What’s the criteria for a downvote? I don’t think you’re quite right but I find your comment worthy of consideration.

Flibberti Gibbet
Flibberti Gibbet
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

There is a respected online English dictionary that has a complex definition for the word Carpetbagger. In addition to the standard US definition describing a lowlife opportunist who exploited impoverished citizens in the southern states after the civil war, the dictionary has a special UK entry for the same word.
In the UK the word carpetbagger describes a greedy opportunist in the 1980s who destroyed the mutual banking tier in the UK for short-term gain. These destroyers of the future are also known as The Boomers.
The Boomers are the most wretched generation of Britons in history. They broke the intergeneration covenant and broke the country.

Kat L
KL
Kat L
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

If that is true, we just took the boomer generation’s lead and ran with it. Their legacy.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
2 months ago
Reply to  Kat L

You said it better than I (a boomer) could. Having brought a Millennial and a Gen Z-er into this world, my remaining role is to try and atone for and mitigate, financially, my generation’s greatest crime: Brexit.

Alex Colchester
Alex Colchester
2 months ago

So the summary of this article: Boomers may be a selfish collective, but get them alone and some of them are really nice!

Pat Davers
Pat Davers
2 months ago

I don’t have a huge beef with the boomers (I mean, I’m on the cusp myself), but one thing I do hold against them is that they, being the last generation to benefit from a rigorous and classical education, quite purposely and bloody-mindedly decided that such an education would be unnecessary or even harmful for future generations, and so decided to dispense with it. In some cases, you can forgive perverse outcomes and being the unintended consequences of well-meaning gestures, but in this case I find it hard – the architects of the cultural and educational revolution knew exactly what they were doing, and did it in the full knowledge of what would be lost.
Yes, you could counter that all the elements of what we lost are still there in books and other media are can therefore be revived. However, what many don’t realize, or like myself, are only realizing belatedly, is the paramount importance of continuity. What proponents of “RETVRN” and other such larpers have failed to grasp is the extent to which knowledge can be only be handed down from generation to generation, and once the chain is broken, such knowledge simply disappears, and disappears forever (conservative philosopher Michael Oakeshott is very good on this). Moreover, even when a revival (or “renaissance”) seems to occur, it can never be truly authentic, nor truly felt.
So here we are, floundering in the post-modern aftermath they their wanton destruction brought about. I jus re-read my first sentence and maybe I was too indulgent towards the boomers – perhaps I do have huge beef with them after all.

Jack Graham
Jack Graham
2 months ago
Reply to  Pat Davers

Will they be missed when they are gone, well their money will. What the later generations will do without the Bank of Mum and Dad, God only knows. At least it will give them an opportunity to grow up and take responsibility for their own lives before they die

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
2 months ago
Reply to  Pat Davers

Excellent, considered comment and a worthy response to another brilliant article by MH which captures where we are.

Hilary Easton
Hilary Easton
2 months ago
Reply to  Pat Davers

Great response, but was it the boomers that deliberately dismantled classical education? I thought that was Blair’s ilk, obsessed by the idea that the majority should go to university, had to water the whole thing down for the sake of such ‘inclusion’.

Pat Davers
Pat Davers
2 months ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

No, it pre-dates Blair by quite a while. It goes back at least to Anthony Crosland (Highgate School, Trinity College Oxford) who, as Harold Wilson’s education minster in th 1960s is alleged to have said “”If it’s the last thing I do, I’m going to destroy every f*****g grammar school in England. And Wales and Northern Ireland.”

Niall Cusack
Niall Cusack
2 months ago
Reply to  Pat Davers

There were those of us in Balliol, right beside Trinity, (“Hearties”, I hasten to add, not me) who used to chant when sufficiently drunk:
“If I was a bloody Trinity man,
I would, I would,
I’d go into a public rear,
I’d pull the chain and disappear,
I would! I would!
BLOODY TRINITY!!!
BLOODY TRINITY!!!
BLOODY TRINITY!!!”

If Antony Crosland had succeeded, I would never have got into Balliol.

Much, much more important, I would not now have the ineffable solace of reading Latin and Greek for pure pleasure!

Oliver Nicholson
Oliver Nicholson
2 months ago
Reply to  Niall Cusack

BLOODY BALLIOL
Jack Johnson says so
And he ought to know

William Murphy
William Murphy
2 months ago
Reply to  Niall Cusack

Your comment illustrates the importance of personal transmission of knowledge so ably voiced by Pat Davers above. Without your contribution, this riotously rude contribution to English poetry might have been lost for ever. As it is, it has given me, and probably many others, considerable enjoyment. And it may even end up in some anthology of unofficial Oxford verse. Like the many limericks about the student of Trinity which are already in print.

Andy JS
Andy JS
2 months ago
Reply to  Pat Davers

Yes, but Crosland’s generation was before the Boomers, and I’d argue Blair’s generation is mostly after the Boomers. The Boomers themselves were in the middle.

John Dee
John Dee
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy JS

Let’s face it; since it’s impossible to vote for a party whose manifesto you fully agree with, life is a series of electoral lotteries. We’ve just been repeatedly unlucky of late. And I type that knowing that things wouldn’t have been much different had voting gone the other way. The Uniparty are in power whatever happens.

Pat Davers
Pat Davers
2 months ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

It predates Blair by a few decades. Anthony Crosland (Highate School, Trinity College Oxford) as Harold Wilson’s education minister in the 1960s is alleged to have said “If it’s the last thing I do, I’m going to destroy every ****ing grammar school in England. And Wales and Northern Ireland.”
In any case the issue is as much cultural as political. The Boomers may have had many great qualities, but it is their failure – or even downright refusal – to pass on these qualities for which they will be remembered.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Pat Davers

Absolutely spot on sir!
It was Crosland & Co “wot dun it”. Loathsome little sh*tes that they were.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
2 months ago
Reply to  Pat Davers

Tony Crosland was born in 1918. His generation had the Boomers.

Andy JS
Andy JS
2 months ago
Reply to  Pat Davers

I’m not sure I entirely blame the Boomers for what’s gone wrong with education. The students themselves seemed to go along with the idea that you could massively increase the number of people going to university, and that if you did that people would have to pay for it themselves, instead of it being subsidised by the government.

John Dee
John Dee
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy JS

Young folk en masse were never likely to oppose avoidance of having to enter the job market for three or four years. Even if you don’t know what’s at the end of that delay period, at least you’ve offset the worry by that much time.

James S.
James S.
2 months ago
Reply to  Pat Davers

Many of us Boomers who benefited from the rigorous, classical education you laud are mortified by the transformation of the education system, and have been damn sure that our kids have access to classical schools. Classical Christian schools are growing in the US.

Eleanor Barlow
EB
Eleanor Barlow
2 months ago
Reply to  Pat Davers

I’m a Boomer, and I have never made any such decision regarding the education of the generations to come after me. Such decisions were made by politicians and did not appear in any manifesto that I am aware of, since I first became eligible to vote in the mid 70s.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
2 months ago
Reply to  Pat Davers

The dark ages came from somewhere.

John Dee
John Dee
2 months ago
Reply to  Pat Davers

I’d have said that the withdrawal of classical education was more a socialist left thing; a precursor to the current Common Purpose drones who’ve reduced time at university to avoidance of being ‘triggered’.

William Murphy
William Murphy
2 months ago
Reply to  Pat Davers

Excellent points about the importance of personal mentoring continuity in transmitting skills and knowledge. In some areas that importance is blindingly obvious. The instruction manuals for an Airbus A380 may be around for ever. Anyone fancy flying on an A380 where the crew have learnt it all from books? The US Navy found out the hard way how to handle huge 16 inch guns when they tried reactivating WW2 battleships and all the WW2 gunners were dead or long retired. The fact that the long stored powder was very old and very dodgy did not help. Try learning Latin from scratch using only grammar books and dictionaries, with no enthusiastic teacher.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
2 months ago

An interesting piece to read here given that the voice I predominantly hear in the comments of this journal (alongside The Times of London and The Spectator) is most definitely, recognisably that of the Boomer generation. It’s the way to get a portrait of a generation nowadays!

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

Yes it’s interesting to see what concerns the people who don’t have jobs, mortgages or childcare responsibilities. They seem to be very bothered about TV show castings and the skin colour of their carers.

Hugh Bryant
HB
Hugh Bryant
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Well, I suppose I’m technically a boomer and I dislike my contemporaries (collectively) just as much as you do – and mostly for the same reasons. Although I don’t share your enthusiasm for statist authoritarianism which, paradoxically, I’ve always considered to be a boomer trait.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago

Once the younger generation are enjoying what they wish for, socialism (see almost every failed state since Lenin) and sharia law (an inevitable consequence of islamic mass immigration) who will they have to endlessly whine about?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

The younger generation would be delighted to roll back on the socialism. Let’s start with the NHS, pensions and health and social care for the elderly. Then let’s see the boomers talk about socialist failed states!

Jeff Watkins
Jeff Watkins
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

As a boomer I would be delighted if they cut back the NHS – it just isn’t working. It needs a radical shake up and governments should concentrate on drastic reform of the two main cause of illhealth, pharmaceutical companies and food manufacturing. Re social care you do realise that over half the social care budget goes on younger people under the age of 60.

John Dee
John Dee
2 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Watkins

Your two causes of ill-health might equally have been lack of exercise (since it’s optional) and poor food choices (again, mainly optional). Of course avoidance of ‘manufactured’ food would result in more effort being required and so unlikely to find favour, as we’re all too busy to stay healthy.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Watkins

Considering only around 20% of the population is over 60 years old and they use up half the social care budget (plus the bulk of the healthcare budget) you’ve inadvertently proved Readers point

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

This boomer experienced two socialist states. They were appalling. And the wall supposedly built to protect them was joyfully destroyed.
But, still, one more push might do it.

John Dee
John Dee
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I doubt whether the younger generation would delight in the cessation of pensions (into which they’ll have paid for a working lifetime) once they’re of a certain age…

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Having two ‘unherd readers’ is awfully confusing. Couldn’t one of you come up with a different alias?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

What like a boomer individualist? It would make it easier to allocate the prejudice…

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Ah, you’re a clone? That would explain it.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I’m not this Unherd Reader!

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I’m Spartacus!

John Dee
John Dee
2 months ago

You and whose army?

Andrew R
Andrew R
2 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Which one of the two UnHerd Readers complained on here about commenters making sweepering generalities? Hmm…

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
2 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I just assumed it was the same Reader engaging in the usual Boomer practice of arguing with itself. And as a Boomer myself I find that opinion laughable.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
2 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Oh, I thought he [her, it, they] were arguing with themselves

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I’m the other Unherd Reader, and I didn’t see anything about creating an alias when I subscribed. I’d gladly ditch Unherd Reader if I knew how.

John Dee
John Dee
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

He might not appreciate that.

Damon Hager
Damon Hager
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

It wasn’t the young who opened the door to mass immigration (which started in the 1950s and 1960s), it wasn’t the young who voted for Labour and Democrat governments in the post-war decades, and it isn’t the young who control our increasingly deranged public institutions.

John Dee
John Dee
2 months ago
Reply to  Damon Hager

Of course, if it started in the 50s and 60s, then it wasn’t the Boomers what done it.

Grumpy Old Git
Grumpy Old Git
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

They’ll be arguing about whose fault it is. (Answer: anyone but theirs.)

Kat L
Kat L
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

They won’t be complaining, they will be weeping. Silently.

Barry Stokes
Barry Stokes
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Please don’t concern yourself on that front…they will find something or someone to demonstrate and whinge about.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
2 months ago

My old tutor would call this essay a hot curry – tasty but designed mainly to inflame! I am not sure this demographic argument works. As Mary notes, Boomers volunteer, know and care for History and prize many traditional values (including patriotism) far more than all the super secular entitled Me Me younger generations. The Boomers were surely divided too – only a minority fit the Jane Fonda and Steve Jobs mould! Finally, I think the Blair Generation and the 40 somethings below are guilty of far more menacing and devasting failures and crimes. These Leftist Progressives have since the 90s succumbed to several ideological cults – EU Federalism, multiculturalism, DEI and Climate Catastrophism – and are responsible for three unfolding structural horrors. Failing to provide affordable housing; failing to supply cheap energy and the crashing of our public services via the uncontrolled mass immigration of near 10 million. Nothing the older SAGA generation ever did comes close to matching these disasters.

Bruce Luffman
Bruce Luffman
2 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

I agree and I would further add that the Boomers had a work ethic which is not now apparent in the latest generation. I have been married almost 56 years to the same Boomer and she would say that I have ‘Lived to work’ and not ‘worked to live’ which have marginally impacted on family life. However, she would not have had it any other way and we are reaping that toil in our retirement.
I do not see that work ethic being played out at all nowadays; rather I see a young population wanting and expecting the state to look after them and a minimal input into the integrity of the country..

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
2 months ago
Reply to  Bruce Luffman

Well, according to the WEF, by 2030, they will own nothing and be happy – or else.

John Dellingby
JD
John Dellingby
2 months ago
Reply to  Bruce Luffman

Slight difference. In your day, hard work was rewarded with promotions, pay rises and your goals were within reach. Nowadays, hard work usually just gets you more work and nothing else. Why bust your backside and struggle financially when you can coast and struggle financially?

The result is that most Millennials (and plenty of Zoomers as well) now prefer to earn enough to what they want and that’s it. Housing is beyond the reach of most of my generation with net incomes being poor, wages stagnating and houses being priced too high.

Enjoy your retirement, you’ll be one of the last generations (maybe the last) to do so.

Katharine Eyre
KE
Katharine Eyre
2 months ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

Exactly.

Chipoko
C
Chipoko
2 months ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

Fair comment indeed, John. Our daughter is going 36, single, and a highly qualified professional (dentist). Yet, she cannot afford to purchase her own property on account of massive prices and continues to live in ‘student’-style digs – i.e. renting a room in an ‘apartment’ on the second floor of a Victorian town villa, sharing living, cooking and bathing facilities with two other professionals in similar circumstances.
I have considerable sympathy for what Walter Marvell states; and he is right about the “EU Federalism, multiculturalism, DEI and Climate Catastrophism” of the Woking Class that has so damaged, if not destroyed, our entire social fabric. But there are people like our daughter who are casualties of this egregious mangerialism and whose truly hard work and commitment is neither appreciated nor adequately rewarded and whose lifestyle is constricted on all fronts. And she is. relatively, one of the better paid of her generation.
At least we have a moderately comfortable combined vocational pension and own our home.

John Dee
John Dee
2 months ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

The bit I never understand about the ‘housing’ thing is that prices are high only because people keep affording them. As new houses are built, someone buys them. Who are these selfish folk?
As to Chuck Rex being an exemplar of anything Boomerish, pull the other one. He’s a privileged popinjay as he’s spent most of his adulthood demonstrating. And he’d happily see us all confined to the WEF’s 15-minute cities, so long as he can continue to jet to Davos every year.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
2 months ago
Reply to  Bruce Luffman

With the massive amount of wealth being passed down from the boomers, many might not need the state to look after them.

Kat L
Kat L
2 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Reference SKI above in the article?

William Murphy
William Murphy
2 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

There seems to be an astonishing amount of money in some hands. When I put my very modest and decrepit house up for auction, late in 2022, I could not believe that dozens of people were bidding for it. I quickly got more than I expected. And these were not traditional millionaires.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
2 months ago
Reply to  Bruce Luffman

I agree. There is a massive difference between attitudes towards work and self reliance between the UK of 1990 and today (a day the Fake Tories bung yet more cash to the ever expanding millions no longer seeking work and living on benefits – to ‘help with the cost of living’/actually a tyrannical China inspired lockdown). And the cause is clear. The Progressives and their Human Rights legal revolution have nurtured a sickly culture of Me Me individual entitlement, greviance and victimhood – with our faintly East German State & its evangelical BBC blitzing the idea that self reliance, enterprise and family should determine our fate. All too late – more is already being taken from our already Bailed Out Broken State than those who contribute to it. And the battered minority of middle class strivers who contribute most are taking a terrible pasting from the Redistributive Brownite tax fanatics at the Treasury. Think on two or three decades and do the terrifying math…

James S.
JS
James S.
2 months ago
Reply to  Bruce Luffman

As a tail-end Boomer in the medical profession, I’d agree with your assessment. The impending retirement of Boomers from medicine and nursing will leave a big hole in US healthcare staffing, and I don’t see the Gen Xers being numerous enough, or the Millennials willing enough to pick up the slack.

Betsy Arehart
BA
Betsy Arehart
2 months ago
Reply to  James S.

Just when the Boomers will be needing the most medical care…

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
2 months ago
Reply to  Bruce Luffman

The younger generations are just as industrious. However the system doesn’t support industry. No worries, if the west crumbles the next jurisdiction with good governance will supplant those who falter.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 months ago
Reply to  Bruce Luffman

Studies show that youngsters today work longer hours on average than previous generations, yet it’s always the oldies who are lauded for their work ethic

David Walters
David Walters
2 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Absolutely spot on. Historians will view the Blair era and what has followed as the most destructive period of post war politics. We are only now coming to terms with what he and his ill have done. It all seemed do harmless at the time.

Damon Hager
Damon Hager
2 months ago
Reply to  David Walters

“[T]he Blair era and what has followed as the most destructive period of post war politics.”

I dunno though. The 1970s weren’t exactly a day at the races.

Michael Walsh
Michael Walsh
2 months ago
Reply to  David Walters

That devil eyes poster was very accurate. Blairites ( incl Cameron, May etc) have build multiple roads to hell with all their vapid good intentions

Richard Spira
Richard Spira
2 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Too true. One should also acknowledge the well-meaning but disastrous uglification of the West by the generation previous to the Boomers shown in architecture and the arts generally. Nihilistic kitchen-sink drama, sneering satire, obscurantist poetry, the values-based waters into which Boomers were chucked in their formative years. Osborne, Braine, Amis, Frost even Cooke and Miller, all prewar babies. Of course, decline and cultural sabotage is a continuum arguably going back to early 19th century romanticism. But that’s too big a subject, even for a Mary Harrington Unherd article.

jane baker
JB
jane baker
2 months ago
Reply to  Richard Spira

That 1960s satire that for decades we were told had changed society and unseated the privileged from power.

John Dee
JD
John Dee
2 months ago
Reply to  Richard Spira

The lament ‘o tempora o mores’ goes back a little further than that, I’d suggest.

Damon Hager
Damon Hager
2 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

As I noted in a comment above, mass immigration started long before the 1990s. I seem to remember that a certain Mr Powell complained about it in 1968.
But not all Boomers are dreadful. I think Ms Harrington’s essay simply shows that this generation had its fine heroes and its appalling zeroes, much like any other.

Ben M
BM
Ben M
2 months ago
Reply to  Damon Hager

No mass immigration did not start before 90s – check figures

John Dellingby
John Dellingby
2 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Are we really surprised people over the age of 65 do more voluntary work? They are retired after all and likely want something to do as much as they want to help their community.

Also, it was the Boomers who voted Blair in. Millennials couldn’t vote until at least 2001 and Xers were heavily outnumbered by said Boomers.

Andy JS
AJ
Andy JS
2 months ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

The most enthusiastic supporters of Blair were the youngest voters at the time, not really the Boomers. (In the UK, Boomers are a much narrower range of people than in the US, ie people born between about 1946 and 1955).
The overall result in 1997 was Labour 44%, Conservative 31%. Among Boomers, it was probably more like 37% each.

John Dee
John Dee
2 months ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

From memory, they voted Major’s Tories out. The two-party FPTP system did the rest.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 months ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

Youngsters are too busy having to work long hours with long commutes in order to pay the rent on a single room in a share house to have time for volunteering

Jae
J
Jae
2 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Thank you. Mary Harrington has it wrong for once.

Peter Johnson
PJ
Peter Johnson
2 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

I do think the author has a point that the boomers were possibly the first recent generation that thought you could dramatically alter the structural beams of society without undermining the entire enterprise. The pace of this type of thinking has clearly accelerated – you can ban misinformation but still have freedom of speech – you can admit millions of foreigners without changing societies values – you can shut down all your nuclear power plants and still have cheap power – but the boomers were where it started.

John Dee
John Dee
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

You might have added ‘you can admit millions of foreigners while building only thousands of houses’ and scratch your head when there’s a shortage and prices stay high.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 months ago
Reply to  John Dee

A situation that benefitted the boomers though as most already had steady employment and their own home. Rising house prices and cheaper services off the back of imported labour made them considerably wealthy at the expense of the generations that followed

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
2 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

This seems a bit like listing all the things you happen not to like and blaming them on another generation. I guess you are a boomer. (BTW Winston Churchhill was in favour of European federalism.)
A moments reflection will tell you that treating whole generations as if they can be blameworthy or praiseworthy is nonsense. It’s like looking at old film clips from the 1920s and noticing no one was fat and putting it down to their superior self-control when faced with a cream bun! Take those same individuals and transplant them to the present and they would be just as over weight as us. Individuals are responsible agents, the same cannot be said for generations.

John Galt Was Correct
John Galt Was Correct
2 months ago

Perhaps ‘boomers’ are the ones holding the settlement together because they are the only ones who benefit from it. Put yourself into the shoes of a twenty year old, and how does the UK look to you? Over that period of the ‘boomers’ it lost its shipbuilding and domestic car industries, most of manufacturing generally, as stated the very recipients of free university education and grammar schools decided to end that option for others that came after. Job security and protection is gone, zero hours contractors and zero hope of buying a house. Crap NHS. The list is endless. The country is a basket case in almost all ways. People can call the young ‘ignorant’ and self-absorbed’ all they like but I think that’s is in itself ignorant and bigoted. The young have been left a mess to clean up though I suspect they probably won’t bother as (I believe Mary Harrington herself said) the UK is just a postcode.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago

Yep. Cut taxes and sold off the family silver at an undervalue and stashed it all into their pension pots to secure an early triple-locked rent-seeking retirement during which they intend to be dependent on the state and the overworked, underpaid (yet still overtaxed) younger generations whilst moaning that no one is willing to work anymore and it’s probably because the young are too selfish and also avocados.
And now after voting for lower taxes and shrinking the state for the majority of their working lives they’ve suddenly decided that big daddy state spending and taxation are actually a good use of resources so long as it supports the services they use, doesn’t have too long a period for return on investment and doesn’t touch their asset values or retirement rents. 

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

What Western state has shrunk? There is no govt in Europe, the US, or anywhere else that uses democratic norms that is smaller today than it was before. Here we’ve created the single largest federal force in human history, and with very little of value to show for it.

Warren Trees
WT
Warren Trees
2 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Quite right. The U.S. government has grown enormously, as compared to GDP, and is involved in every last detail of our lives.
But in the end, every previous generation is blamed for all of our ills. A cycle that will continue forever, as long as something is printed for posterity.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
2 months ago

Much to agree with, though you omit a vital class perspective. The children of the London/SE Propetocracy and home owning 60% are set to inherit unheard of riches. From 1994 their parents and nans secured untaxed Capital gains of over 100k a year as interest rates were pinned to zero and QE staffing & mass immigration stoked prices onward into the millions. A twenty year racket overseen by the now gleefully enriched political classes. Many of the metro class kids have had homes bought for them. It is those youngsters outside that magic circle who warrant sympathy, though jobs are out there in abundance for the determined.

Lilly A
LA
Lilly A
2 months ago

And the majority of people who lost their jobs in those industries were boomers and their elders. Do you really believe the majority of any generation can be to blame for what the ruling classes (including governments) bring about? I had 6 older siblings, all boomers, none of them went to university, not all owned their own homes and none have private pensions – they just worked all their lives and brought their families up.

John Galt Was Correct
JG
John Galt Was Correct
2 months ago
Reply to  Lilly A

Your argument doesn’t really help. The problem for the young now is they also work hard but can’t afford to bring up a family like your siblings did. That’s the difference in your time and that of the young now. Why there is a baby bust in the UK. Those governments were voted in by the people of the day. The people who failed entire industries. The people who then shared in privatisations of publicly owned utilities with short term gains that have now left us with foreign owned offshore profit taking utilities unlike most of Europe who did not sell off their public assets. The people who bought council houses cheap. I don’t have any particular dislike of ‘boomers’ and all generations carry out their often unintended crimes but in many ways the ‘boomers’ did strategically cripple the UK for the future. That doesn’t mean they didn’t do good either of course.

David Hewett
David Hewett
2 months ago

You continually make the mistake of regarding each generation as a homogenous group. They are not. The housing market had not collapsed because there are no first time buyers. There are fewer of them, but a significant number of young people are still buying houses. A huge intergenerational transfer of wealth is happening, and will continue and grow over the next 20 years.

Robbie K
RK
Robbie K
2 months ago

Wow, this has to be the biggest and most impressive strawman I’ve ever encountered. What a peculiar narrative.
Mary’s suggestion that a fortunate generation of somewhat blessed and a little bit righteous folks are the backbone of this country is a remarkable work of creativity.
Where is the evidence that society is going to collapse when Boomers are gone? The only place this is happening is in Mary’s brain.
Generation X (born 1965 – 1980) are a far more adaptable and open minded set of people that are willing to embrace the kind of problems the world faces today without grumbling, whining and rejecting concepts because of deep engrained biases.
The best thing that Boomers can do for today is move on quickly and make sure they have arrangements for Power of Attorney.

Nell Clover
Nell Clover
2 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Firstly, it needs to be said that Generation X is a wholly Western generation. In the middle income and developing world the Western generational categorisations don’t really applym. In those countries today’s youngsters are in many respects more like “boomers” – upwardly mobile, much better off than their parents, experiencing new freedoms.

The evidence of a coming collapse is Generation X (of the West) overwhelmingly as a group refuse to work in the infrastructure and industry that literally makes the world they inhabit and survive by. No matter the pay or conditions and how rewarding the work can be, Generation X disproportionately avoids practical, disciplined work. HS2 as a mega example is staffed by well paid foreigners. Its enormous investments in local training schemes have have disproportionately been applied for, and filled by, more eager foreign born graduates and apprentices.

In many ways, Generation X’s attitude to productive industry is colonial: someone else can do the hard work. And someone else is, and usurping them in the process. There might not be a collapse but only because another parallel generation is prepared to do the work.

Robbie K
RK
Robbie K
2 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Maybe you’re thinking of Millenials or Generation Z, Generation X are the current 40-55 age group and I don’t see any evidence of the things you refer to.

Edward Hamer
Edward Hamer
2 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

I think you are right about this general trend re people’s attitude to employment, but I suspect much of the blame should be reserved for the people who have pushed so many young people through university. That has created a huge middle class of people who think they are above manual work or trades but can’t really compete against the proper brain-boxes in the City law firms etc.

Robbie K
RK
Robbie K
2 months ago
Reply to  Edward Hamer

people who think they are above manual work

If one has spent 4 years in university then it seems only reasonable that their aspirations would be to seek employment in that field of study.

richard jones
richard jones
2 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

I’m afraid “…education, education, education..” proved to be more useful as advise to institutional investors than the driver of beneficial social change.

Victoria Cooper
VC
Victoria Cooper
2 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Yes, but is not happening. The three years are spent in a random university reading for a random degree. The real purpose is to leave home and get pissed and doped up.

Alex Lekas
AL
Alex Lekas
2 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Reasonable right up to the point where there is no real world application for that victim studies degree that the recipient amassed tens of thousands of dollars in debt to acquire.

Robbie K
Robbie K
2 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

More than happy for those ones to work in McDonalds.

Lilly A
Lilly A
2 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

You mean ‘media’?

Ian_S
Ian_S
2 months ago
Reply to  Edward Hamer

Oversupply of grievance studies graduates has led to a large cadre of angry resentful “activists” whose contribution to the world is to call the trades and manual labourers “cookers”, “bigots” and “supremacists”.

Andrew R
Andrew R
2 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

A lot of ambitious Gen-Xers would have made middle management by the mid nineties and many are in power today, they have also embraced as much Postmodern nonsense as the millenials.

I’m sure the world will be a much better place under their guidance once the Boomers have fallen off their perch.

Leonel SIlva Rocha
Leonel SIlva Rocha
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew R

Sarcasm much?

Leonel SIlva Rocha
LS
Leonel SIlva Rocha
2 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

I was born in 1965 and it is the first time I learned that I’m generation X! I guess I must be an wannabe Boomer…and I strongly disapprove of this message.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
2 months ago

Whatever the Boomers may or may not be responsible for they made lots and lots of really good music.

Georgivs Novicianvs
GN
Georgivs Novicianvs
2 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

Indeed. Listening to the ’70s’ stuff is my guilty pleasure.))) That said, there are two problems with the boomer music. One is the way the Boomers use it to justify the questionable things they do (oh, we are the Woodstock generation, the Flower People, we cannot go wrong). The other is using the power of music to idolize profane things.

Jeff Butcher
JB
Jeff Butcher
2 months ago

I can’t stand the flower power stuff either but a lot of really great and varied music was produced by the boomers – it was an extraordinarily creative period.
Britain alone produced many really great guitar players and songwriters. You just have to look at the vain, soulless sh*tshow that was the Grammys recently to see how far we have fallen. And even then they had to wheel out Joni Mitchell to lend it some gravitas…

John Dee
John Dee
2 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

Sadly, Joni’s gravitas, along with that of Neil Young, disappeared when they tried to blackmail Spotify into cancelling Joe Rogan (not a fan, have never listened to him). How far the progressive musos have fallen. Especially when their rock-like determination disappeared and they crept back onto Spotify with rather less fanfare.

Leonel SIlva Rocha
LS
Leonel SIlva Rocha
2 months ago
Reply to  John Dee

Very true. I was especially disgusted with Neil Young, of whom I was a lifelong Fan and I have owned most of his stellar discography. Overnight, one of my musical heroes fell off his pedestal with a crashing bang! I have stopped listening to his music and I’m looking to sell all of his CDs and LPs. Joni will probably be next…

N Satori
NS
N Satori
2 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

Until the non-music of Punk and Rap/HipHop swept all before it.

Edward Hamer
EH
Edward Hamer
2 months ago

I am groping for the best way to express this but it feels as if much of post-war (“Boomer”) culture was a reaction against what came before and can only really be understood as such. Without a living knowledge of what came before it ceases to have much meaning as it only exists in the tension between the two, like a chemical reaction between two substances.
As a Catholic I think the changes in the liturgy that started in the 1960s show that particularly strongly, but it can be seen in everything from architecture to poetry. The era immediately preceding the Boomer ascendancy was experienced as something to react against, or as a sort of historical curio to be displayed in museums, but nothing better came along to replace it once the reacting-against had run its course.

Paul Ten
Paul Ten
2 months ago

As would be the case with many boomers, my grandfathers fought in the First World War and my father in the Second. I have always been aware of, and humbled by, the fact that I am part of the lucky generation. I imagine that if I’d come out with the sense of aggrieved entitlement that seems to infect so many in the younger generations today, my parents would have reminded me robustly of that fact.
If we boomers as a cohort are being held responsible for all the ills of the country today, well, we built and maintained a high standard of living; we upheld freedom and won the Cold War; we made huge strides in medicine with vastly improved longevity and quality of life; we created the IT revolution and enabled affordable food, travel, clothing and entertainment. And we did, echoing a previous commenter, make some brilliant music. Younger generations, you’re welcome!

John Dellingby
JD
John Dellingby
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

Right, and which generation raised the Millennials who are apparently so entitled?

Pyra Intihar
PI
Pyra Intihar
2 months ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

Boomers gave birth to Gen X who gave birth to Millennials. I’m not sure what’s being asked here.

John Dellingby
JD
John Dellingby
2 months ago
Reply to  Pyra Intihar

Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996 with Gen X being born between 1965-1980 and Boomers 1949-1964. Sure, there’s some overlap, but most Millennials will have Boomer parents.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

My four siblings, all boomers, had all Gen X kids and one Millennial.

Kat L
KL
Kat L
2 months ago
Reply to  Pyra Intihar

Yah no. I’m Gen X and my mother and father were born in the 30’s.

Paul Ten
PT
Paul Ten
2 months ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

Fair question, I suppose, but one that makes the implicit assumption that everything is the Boomers’ fault, and that we are the only age group with any agency and power while the rest of the population are just poor passive victims. If we stick with the categories as valid and meaningful, the youngest Boomer is pushing 60. Gen X have been able to vote since Margaret Thatcher’s day, and they have long established jobs and families. If the societal inheritance of patriotism and culture is being trashed, surely the younger generations have the economic and political heft to preserve, rebuild or recreate it if they have the will.

Dennis Roberts
DR
Dennis Roberts
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

Boomers clearly aren’t responsible for everything that’s wrong. But most of what they achieved can be put down to the fact there was a lot of them. Everything you list can be put down to a booming economy due to the increasing and youthful workforce, or to social revolutions pushed through by a weight of numbers that previous generations didn’t have.

Whilst you seem to be aware of your fortune, many are not. Younger generations are aggrieved because, whilst small things are more readily available (eating out, consumer items), big things (job security, housing, pensions) are more difficult to achieve. And I don’t know what could be considered more entitled than making the young lockdown to save the old. It’s a sacrifice in the opposite direction to that the war generations made. Sacrifice by the generations before, and sacrifice by those after (lockdown may be much a much smaller sacrifice than the war, but I suspect there’s a lot more like that to come yet).

Anyway, people are people. If generations have different characteristics then that is down to the different circumstances they found themselves in.

Andy JS
AJ
Andy JS
2 months ago
Reply to  Dennis Roberts

I disagree with most of the criticisms of Boomers. I think, on the whole, they’ve been a pretty responsible and hard-working generation. It’s the generation slightly younger than them that are to blame for most of the problems we have at the moment, in my opinion. (Also one or two people older than the Boomers, like Anthony Crosland).

John Dee
JD
John Dee
2 months ago
Reply to  Dennis Roberts

‘making the young lockdown to save the old’.
First, it didn’t work, old folk died in droves, especially in ‘care homes’ (that’s a misnomer).
Second, it was instituted by incompetent poltroons like the Celebrity Jungle contestant, who wanted to be seen to be doing something (other, that is, than grappling with his mistress on CCTV).

Dennis Roberts
DR
Dennis Roberts
2 months ago
Reply to  John Dee

Old people died in droves because they were more susceptible. Those in care were even more susceptible, though there were clearly issues with sending people back into care homes from hospitals.

Regardless of whether it was effective or badly implemented, it certainly wasn’t for the benefit of the young, though they will be the ones to largely pay for it.

William Murphy
William Murphy
2 months ago
Reply to  John Dee

Don’t be too harsh on Jungle Matt. One of my unforgettable memories of the lock down is Matt threatening to lock us all up 24/7 unless we obeyed the rules more strictly. Seeing how frequently the lock down rules changed, that would have been a confusing order.

Leonel SIlva Rocha
LS
Leonel SIlva Rocha
2 months ago
Reply to  Dennis Roberts

“And I don’t know what could be considered more entitled than making the young lockdown to save the old. It’s a sacrifice in the opposite direction to that the war generations made. Sacrifice by the generations before, and sacrifice by those after (lockdown may be much a much smaller sacrifice than the war, but I suspect there’s a lot more like that to come yet).”
For that paragraph alone, a much deserved thumbs Up!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul Ten

I do enjoy the boomers calling the young entitled, when the young are working longer hours than their predecessors and being more heavily taxed than their predecessors, simply to pay the massive healthcare costs and triple lock pensions of a generation much wealthier than themselves, all while being locked out of the housing market and paying record rents. It’s the boomers who sold the utilities and pocketed the cash, sold the council houses and didn’t build any to replace them, as well as refusing to increase their tax contributions despite being well aware they hadn’t contributed nearly enough to cover their end of life care.
It’s the young who are entitled though

Dermot O'Sullivan
DO
Dermot O'Sullivan
2 months ago

The term ‘boomer’ is a misnomer, probably invented by some social sciences professor to simpify branding. It doesn’t get near describing the complexity and interrelational developments taking place across multiple generations: technological changes, demographic changes, to name but two. And what about the end of the cold war? Surely that has been the major impact on the west in recent decades. The vast majority of us exist (and make our way) in societies that have evolved and over which we have little control.

N Satori
N Satori
2 months ago

Very good. Boomers has become one of those over-used journalistic shorthand terms and is an unjustified generalisation.

Richard Pearse
RP
Richard Pearse
2 months ago

Yet, we are called the baby boomers, because after the pause of World War II , there was a baby boom, many, many returning soldiers married and had 3 or 4 kids.

The huge population bulge was described by one commentator as a goat going through the belly of a boa constrictor – so many to house, feed and educate had never happened since.

And don’t forget (for American boomers like me, born in 1952) it was boomer men, 56,000 of whom lay dead in Viet Nam, who were drafted in droves. Blame Johnson and his (WWWII cohort) who brought about the magic of that fiasco.

jane baker
jane baker
2 months ago
Reply to  Richard Pearse

And I recently learned that Johnson the USA president “suggested” to our 1960s Prime Minister Harold Wilson that Britain should join USA in the Vietnam War but Harold Wilson politely declined. Unlike now when we say How High when USA says jump Labour PM Wilson told them No. Imagine if all the young men in 1960s Britain could have been CONSCRIPTED (new buzz word) to die in Vietnam,London would not have been so Swinging.
As Wilson knew,from Mossadegh on what happens to rulers who oppose USA wishes ever after he knew they were out to get.him,he got mocked by some media as paranoid but he wasnt. He just knew the score.

Liakoura
L
Liakoura
2 months ago

As the term originated from the boom in babies who were born following the end of World War Two, which for instance resulted in class sizes of 45 – 50 for those children entering school from 1950, it was certainly no misnomer.
“According to an answer given by the Minister of Education to my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle – under – Lyme (Mr. Swingler) recently, there are now in our schools 43,202 classes with over 40 on the roll. Of those, 1,380 have more than 50 on the roll. In 1950 the number of classes with more than 40 on the roll was 37,106, so that in the last three years the number of classes with more than 40 on the roll has increased by over 6,000. We reach the sad conclusion that nearly 2 million of our children are being taught in classes of over 40 at present.”
https://api.parliament.uk/historic-hansard/commons/1954/apr/27/schools-size-of-classes

David Hewett
DH
David Hewett
2 months ago
Reply to  Liakoura

That is a meaningless and invalid comparison because the figures are absolute numbers. The population in 1950 was a great deal smaller than it is now. The only valid comparison therefore is one that is standardised for both age and sex.

John Dee
JD
John Dee
2 months ago

If ‘Boomer’ defines someone who doesn’t mind being categorised by people whose opinion he/she resists valuing, then I guess I is one.

Lennon Ó Náraigh
Lennon Ó Náraigh
2 months ago

Another good metaphor for what’s happening as the Boomer generation fades is RAAC concrete. RAAC was a cheap mass-produced material and was one of the drivers of the architectural cultural revolution of the postwar-era. This was a revolution that rejected tradition – precisely because it was too stuffy, and because classical design reminded people too much of the baddies in WW2. But now, the edifices constructed with this material are literally crumbling, and so in yet one more way, what the boomers are passing on to their children is worse than what they inherited.

Richard Spira
Richard Spira
2 months ago

This would be true if RAAC concrete was championed by the Boomer generation. In fact it was deplored by them. (Viz. Big Yellow Taxi et al.) The material was developed in the 1920s and championed by the generation before the Boomers, principally architects born before WW2. Try another good metaphor – or at least reading a social history book.

Lennon Ó Náraigh
Lennon Ó Náraigh
2 months ago
Reply to  Richard Spira

Like many countries, the UK has an old building stock, which needs to be adequately repaired and maintained. In the post-war period the country built numerous new buildings with a variety of different methods, many of which are now feeling their age. 

One innovative construction material and process was RAAC: Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete, which is an aerated lightweight cementitious material with no coarse aggregate; the material properties and structural behaviour therefore differs significantly from ‘traditional’ reinforced concrete. 

Tens of 1000s of these structural panels exist across a broad cross-section of buildings, many constructed in the 1960s and 70s, and many are showing signs of wear and tear and deterioration. The vast majority form the roof of the structure, usually flat, and hence are difficult to access, survey, maintain and replace.

https://www.lboro.ac.uk/news-events/news/2023/march/reinforced-autoclaved-aerated–concrete-raac/
Also, if you want social history about reinforced concrete (but not the aerated kind) you can try Jean-Luc Godard’s Operation Béton. A paen to the postwar wonder material, which typically lasts 100 years before crumbling apart.
https://www.noemamag.com/concrete-built-the-modern-world-now-its-destroying-it/

jane baker
jane baker
2 months ago

This RAAC issue was just an excuse.to.legitimide the removal of big areas of social housing and replace it with privately built ‘affordable”(not) housing with a few social units in order to look good.

Katharine Eyre
KE
Katharine Eyre
2 months ago

A good article but, for myself, I’ll stick with the simple sentiment of wishing the King all the very best for a speedy recovery.
I find thinking about the future in any capacity exhausting, anxiety-inducing and depressing right now. I’m on the retreat from any kind of big thinking or hope that politics can provide adequate answers to our predicament. My new life philosophy is basically “Biedermeier 2.0”, ie à withdrawal from the political to focus on the small, the domestic, the things over which you have control. Because everything else is just too much.

Citizen Diversity
Citizen Diversity
2 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Instead of this Germanic mental breakdown, I prefer the Apostle Paul’s ‘formidable seasons’ (2.Timothy.iii.1-5).
Being seasons, they occur at intervals. In them the world’s old evil becomes more acute. This old evil will still, even to the end, whatever that will be, have its earthquakes and cyclones.
The waxing and waning of these seasons neither destroy the old world nor create a new. Even though in these seasons in degrees awfully abnormal, ‘iniquity shall abound’ and the ‘love of many shall wax cold’.
Note the character of the men that Paul describes that dominate in these times. And his advice to his colleague, Timothy, to whom he writes – from these men, turn away.
As for the poor King, none of us knows the hour or the day. We must be prepared, not for the Germanic warrior’s defeatist immolation, but to be called to render our account.

John Dee
John Dee
2 months ago

Which leads one to wonder whether Paul was a bona-fide philosopher, or just winging it.

Rather Not
RN
Rather Not
2 months ago

News of the King’s illness has been greeted with “consternation”? Really? Where?

Jeff Butcher
JB
Jeff Butcher
2 months ago
Reply to  Rather Not

It was for me – I was thinking ‘ahh Christ not another funeral/coronation!’ Back Dimbleby, back!

A A
AA
A A
2 months ago

Technically, the senile husk known as Joe Biden isn’t a Boomer as he was born in 1942. And Trump is only just a Boomer as he was born in 1946.

Cathy Carron
CC
Cathy Carron
2 months ago
Reply to  A A

That’s correct. The height of ‘boomer births’ in the USA was 1957.

Paula Dufort
PD
Paula Dufort
2 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

There are two cohorts – Boomers, born from 1945 through early 1955, and Jonesers, born from mid-1955 through 1963. Jonesers are very different from Boomers. Think Hippie vs Yuppie.

Obama is a Joneser, Biden is a Silent Generation, while Clinton, Bush II and Trump are all early Boomers.

Please don’t lump us Jonesers in with the Boomers. We, at least in the US, didn’t have it as easy as the Boomers did. We were more concerned with getting decent jobs than protesting different issues. Vietnam Nam and Nixon were over before we were out of our teens. We were the “bright young things” of the 80s and 90s, not the hippies of the 60s and 70s.

James S.
JS
James S.
2 months ago
Reply to  Paula Dufort

Thanks, from a 1959 Joneser. We are very different from the older Boomers, in some respects more like the older Gen Xers.

Paula Dufort
Paula Dufort
2 months ago
Reply to  James S.

Quite so. I never could identify with the Boomers and their ceaseless cultural battles. We were too busy fending for ourselves and dealing with the next economic crisis.

Nice to meet another Joneser!

Hilary Easton
HE
Hilary Easton
2 months ago
Reply to  A A

True, but why interrupt the useful narrative of blaming everything on a particular cohort in order to deflect responsibility from everybody else?

Blaming may feel good but it doesn’t butter any parsnips.

Peter F. Lee
PL
Peter F. Lee
2 months ago
Reply to  A A

I did not realise it was that scientific. Perhaps you could quote the hour and the day. Howabout Jan 1st 1946. You are joking right?

Marsha D
MD
Marsha D
2 months ago

A properly thought-provoking piece, thank you.

John Croteau
JC
John Croteau
2 months ago

Good times create weak men, and weak men create hard times. The Greatest Generation gave us good times, which have bred successively weaker and weaker generations. The current “hard times” pale by comparison to decades gone by. Housing wasn’t cheap, and higher eductions were unattainable by many. In retrospect, the Boomers look entitled, yet they fostered an exploding economy that renders EVERYONE a better standard of living. The weakest today cry and complain about inequities of outcome and hardships that they are unwilling to address with hard work and genuine contribution to society. Rather, they virtue signal and talk of structural oppression. They are, in reality, the Boomers biggest failure. The Weakest Generation.

Martin Goodfellow
Martin Goodfellow
2 months ago

I don’t know about anyone else, but as a post-war child, I detest being referred to as a ‘Boomer’. The term seems to have been invented to offend us. If you doubt this, please notice it’s never used in a positive way. I usually like Mary Harrington’s articles, but her constant repetition of ‘boomer’, complete with the usual condemnations, made me stop reading. We of the post World War Two generation are not all philosophically the same. Nor did we all have it easy becoming educated, or have a right to ‘cheap’ houses. I was 37, with 3 children, before I could afford a mortgage, and the degrees I eventually earned were acquired through night classes and part-time attendance at university. Mary’s dismissive ‘Gotterdammerung’ allusion is an insult that should not be tolerated. No more please.

Paula Dufort
PD
Paula Dufort
2 months ago

Thanks. My thoughts precisely.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
2 months ago
Reply to  Paula Dufort

But ‘Boomerdämmerung’ is a very jolly invention. Makes me feel that my imminent departure from the stage will have a little more class.

John Dee
JD
John Dee
2 months ago

Nobody will be able to attend your opera; we’ll all be snug inside our 15-minute cities.

Ken Bowman
Ken Bowman
2 months ago

I like you attended evening classes before becoming professionally qualified. In my case 8 years in a row. Is there much of that sort of thing going on these days?

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 months ago
Reply to  Ken Bowman

Most has been stripped back to the bone or is prohibitively expensive (usually both)

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago

Furthermore, I can remember when our family of seven had one bathroom! (I’m not joking.)

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

To be fair we had that and I’m at the high end of the millennial cohort. The plants in the back garden were well watered in our house

Andy JS
AJ
Andy JS
2 months ago

As I wrote above, I think the generation referred to as “Boomers” has, on the whole, been a pretty responsible and hard-working one. I think the criticisms of them often have more to do with the people making the criticisms rather than this generation itself.

Andrew D
AD
Andrew D
2 months ago

Rolf Harris had a song called Six White Boomers. So offensive on so many levels!

Allison Barrows
AB
Allison Barrows
2 months ago

They f*ck you up, your mum and dad.   
   They may not mean to, but they do.   
They fill you with the faults they had
   And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
   By fools in old-style hats and coats,   
Who half the time were soppy-stern
   And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
   It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
   And don’t have any kids yourself.

jane baker
JB
jane baker
2 months ago

“They tuck you up,your Mum and Dad,and read you Peter Rabbit too….,” Adrian Mitchell.

Clueless
Clueless
2 months ago

Were there working class people in the Boomer generation?

Robbie K
Robbie K
2 months ago
Reply to  Clueless

They were all up north and probably dead by now.

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
2 months ago

This is just another presentation of the culture wars and much the same as the class war its meaningless.
What is achieved by one generation throwing stones at another generation?
Real people don’t exist in neat little boxes – an individual is no more ‘A Boomer’ than ‘Working Class’ – the terms are crude and arbitrary constructs to lump a set of ideas together. There is much that is good and much that is bad on all sides – it depends on where you stand as to what you think is good and bad and who the villains are.

Victoria Cooper
VC
Victoria Cooper
2 months ago

There is no point in casting slurs on one generation or another. Each generation does have its characteristics. But they come from what went before rather than personality types. Well named the boomers went boom in the very last pre-internet era. Advances in technology go hand in hand with advances in population. Our population increased to the extent that it couldn’t be managed without computers. Individuality, egotism, art, talent, leadership and the pursuit of excellence are what marked the disappearing generation. With such a massive world population this is no longer feasible – for a single individual to shine. Now it is about being a cog in a wheel and conformism. The world has gone online and is being dehumanised. Individual power is being eroded (the “elitists” deserve a separate chapter) and each person meaningless unless part of a bigger whole.There will be, is already, a backlash. Remains to be seen how successful it is retaining some of its roots.

Peter Lee
PL
Peter Lee
2 months ago

The two things one can say about boomers is that their parent had more children and education was critically important.

Liakoura
Liakoura
2 months ago

No mention here of the threat of atomic or nuclear annihilation which for the early arrivals of the boomer generation were the catalyst for some of the most nihilistic and anarchic life styles young people have devised and enjoyed. Mary Harrington mentions free university education (actually paid for by parents through income and property tax) but not the post-Second World War economic boom, which was an era of considerable prosperity that followed the post-war recovery period and only ended with the 1973-1975 recession.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
2 months ago

The “boomers” label as a pejorative is laughable. Those of us born in the early 60s have little in common with people the age of King Charles, but thanks to the innovations and technological advances of post-war children, the King will likely enjoy a pain-free recovery.

This publication and its comment section exist because of post-war ingenuity. What will the Tik Tok kids come up with? One shudders to think.

Jeff Watkins
JW
Jeff Watkins
2 months ago

Think the author needs to put the boomers in context. We are in a period of major radical change. The final stage as described by Neil Howe in his book the Fourth Turning, A period of radical upheaval as described by Mike Duncan in The storm before the storm. So as a 78 year old boomer I’m really looking forward to the next six years they will be very interesting when the globalist optimates and all their ridiculous ideas like net zero, deindustrialisation, pan national institutions are destroyed and the populares who believe in such things as democracy, referendums, the nation state, the family unit etc take over. Beginning to happen in Europe and US. In the UK things are so bad here that we willi probably be the first out of the block to enact these changes – but its going to be pretty brutal!!!

Alex Lekas
AL
Alex Lekas
2 months ago

There is a good bit to agree with and then, there is this: “It appears, too, that they are often doing so without passing on their skills to younger generations.”
My experience is that the younger generations are often puzzled that many professional disciplines existed before they came on the scene, as if life without an app for every waking function never happened. That aside, generational kvetching is as old as humanity though usually, it’s one generation complaining about the one that follows it. And it seems a stretch to solely blame boomers for the current state of affairs as if no other generation is involved.
Also, technically speaking, neither Trump nor Biden are boomers, both having been born prior to the 1947 date that typically marks the start of this generation. Perhaps the boomers became complacent for a lifetime that was free of world war, the depression, and other serious crises. People today freak out when the Internet connection is unstable or seek safe spaces when confronted by ideas different than theirs. If boomers can be legitimately blamed for something, perhaps it’s for that.

Leonel SIlva Rocha
Leonel SIlva Rocha
2 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Technically speaking, the Boomer generation started exactly in 1946, which makes Trump an early boomer…

Flibberti Gibbet
Flibberti Gibbet
2 months ago

The calendar years that define a Boomer are a little different in the US, they started and ended 4 years earlier.
I use the US range because I would not sleep well if labelled under the British definition.

Peter Lee
PL
Peter Lee
2 months ago

I believe the generational transition is more of a gradual process, depending on tthe age of ones parents, the interation between school/peers/parents. To me, it’s a cultural thing and nothing to lose sleep over. You might never be a boomer – how about that!

Leonel SIlva Rocha
Leonel SIlva Rocha
2 months ago

Why would you not sleep well, may I ask?

Dennis Roberts
Dennis Roberts
2 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Boomers likely aren’t passing on their skills because they are likely to be obsolete. The world changes so fast now that by the time you’re at the end of your career those at the start are effectively in an entirely different career.

James S.
James S.
2 months ago
Reply to  Dennis Roberts

Yes and no. In my field (medicine), yes there have been huge changes since I started MDs school in the late ‘80s, but anatomy, physiology, and the value of a careful history and physical examination remain, despite online resources and fancy imaging. Those are skills that should be passed down, but increasingly I see over-reliance on tests and expensive imaging. And bedside manner is not something that an app can provide.

My brother-in-law is an aeronautical engineer, and was called back from retirement to help with projects that younger engineers were having trouble with. A lot of professions benefit from experience and the judgment that comes with it.

Liakoura
Liakoura
2 months ago

During and in the years immediately following the Second World War when food rationing existed, the UK, with the arrival of the National Health Service, managed to produce probably the healthiest generation of people we’ll ever see.
In 1948 the following items of food were still rationed: (years when the items were removed from rationing in brackets)
Bread (July 1948), Jam (December 1948) Tea (October 1952) Sweets (February 1953) Cream (April 1953) Eggs (March 1953) Sugar (September 1953) Butter, cheese, margarine and cooking fats (May 1954) Meat (June 1954)
And here’s the tiny amounts allowed in 1948:
Bacon and Ham 2 oz. (57 gm) per person a fortnight
Cheese 1½ oz. (43 gm) a week
Butter/margarine 7 oz. (198 gm) a week
Cooking fats 2 oz. (57 gm) a week
Meat 1s. (5p) worth a week
Sugar 8 oz. (227 gm) a week
Tea 2 oz. (57 gm) a week
Chocolates and sweets 4 oz. (113 gm) a week
Eggs No fixed ration: 1 egg for each ration book when available
Liquid milk 3 pints a week
Preserves 4 oz. (113 gm) a week
Yet the boomers, the generation that grew up on this diet have become the healthiest and most long living ever.

Flibberti Gibbet
FG
Flibberti Gibbet
2 months ago
Reply to  Liakoura

The good health claim might apply to the older 50% of Boomers but the 65 to 75 Boomer age range cohort is not healthy. Medical science is working overtime to prevent age expectancy heading sharply into reverse.
Thanks for the ration data, I have just been through the fridge checking food weights. Some of those rationed weights are quite generous, 3 pints of milk a week – I doubt I have that in a month. 198g of butter, about half that for me in 2024.
113g of chocolate a week – maybe 50% over that measure.
I would struggle with 43 grams of cheese a week.

jane baker
JB
jane baker
2 months ago

I think ‘medical science” is now dedicated to reversing the trend of increasingly long healthy old age that has brought unforeseen and unintended consequences with it.
(Foreseen by a few who always got shouted down as vindictive nasty people in shoot the messenger style).

Dennis Roberts
DR
Dennis Roberts
2 months ago
Reply to  Liakoura

Yes, it wouldn’t have felt like it at the time, but the restricted diet in their youth has served them well.

What I can’t understand is why life expectancy calculations don’t seem to take this into account. The young bought up on plentiful food with limited exercise will not live as long (though they might live as long as those that were broken by the physicality of industrial jobs).

E Wyatt
EW
E Wyatt
2 months ago
Reply to  Liakoura

I’m 68 and grew up on Instant Whip, Smash, tinned soup, cheap white bread, endless sugar, and that was pretty common among the working class, as I recall. Awful teeth and other health problems as a result. Very many of my peers have diabetes, for example.

Robert
R
Robert
2 months ago

You know, Mary, if many of the people of your cohort had made better choices when they were young, perhaps they wouldn’t be looking for some collective group of people to blame for how things are going for them now. I suspect they had countless examples among the older people in their lives, as you allude to, that would have said to them, “Are you sure you want to do that? Do you really think that’s a good idea to live that way? Maybe you should get a job and start putting a few dollars away each month. Or, maybe go to college and study something useful.” But, it seems like many went all in on embracing the progressive culture of the times. I’ll go further and bet that you know of more than a few people from your cohort that have fared quite well in spite of the disaster the ‘boomers’ have wrought. Sure, they were boring and weren’t living amazing, exciting lives in their 20s. But, they’re also probably not looking for someone to blame for their bad choices. Choices like sleeping around, partying all the time, getting high all the time, drinking throughout the week, skipping work because of a hangover (and then getting fired and blaming their boss). I could go on.

And guess what? Every generation can tell these stories. I’m Gen X and see examples of outcomes in people’s lives that are the result of good and bad choices, or as is sometimes the case, just bad luck. We tend to roll our eyes at ourselves, try to laugh it off and pick up the pieces and go on (or try to). One thing we don’t do – we don’t tend to look for some collective entity to blame (not even the Church!). Young people (meaning those under 40 or so) could learn a lot from taking that approach.
This incessant boomer shaming is growing tedious.

Lennon Ó Náraigh
Lennon Ó Náraigh
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert

If only I would take the good Boomer advice, forego my avocado-toast lunch habit every day and put the proceeds into a good savings account yielding 0.01% interst, I could own a three-bed semi in 84 years time.

Robert
R
Robert
2 months ago

When my wife and I bought our house in 1990, the interest rate was around 8%. Needless to say, savings accounts were not paying anything like that. Shortly thereafter, there was an economic downturn and we watched the value of our house stagnate for some time. It actually dropped within a few months of our purchasing it. We made early investments in mutual funds which all dropped almost immediately and we lost money there. We bought and prepared all of our own food for meals, did without premium cable channels and the like to scrimp and save. I could go on. Quite whining and blaming others.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert

I’d wager 100% of youngsters would take 8% interest rates if the salary to house price ratio was the same today as it was in 1990, as the weekly repayments would still be much cheaper than they’re currently paying (not to mention the higher inflation would reduce the debt in real terms much more quickly)

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert

So ignoring the fact that youngsters on average work longer hours than previous generations, save a higher proportion of their income, drink less, smoke less, start families later and carry large student debts as many starter jobs that previously trained school leavers now ask for a degree in order to get a foot in the door, what else do you propose the youngsters do to improve their lot?

Liakoura
Liakoura
2 months ago

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: (and also my late grandmother, a State Registered Nurse who trained in the 1940s war years.).
Brompton cocktail, sometimes called Brompton mixture or Brompton’s cocktail, was an elixir meant for use as a pain suppressant dosed for prophylaxis. Made from morphine or diacetylmorphine (heroin), cocaine, highly-pure ethyl alcohol (some recipes specify gin), and sometimes with chlorpromazine (Thorazine) to counteract nausea, it was given to terminally-ill individuals (especially cancer patients) to relieve pain and promote sociability near death. A common formulation included “a variable amount of morphine, 10 mg of cocaine, 2.5 mL of 98% ethyl alcohol, 5 mL of syrup BP and a variable amount of chloroform water.” Brompton’s cocktail was given most in the mid twentieth century. It is now considered obsolete.
In popular culture it also came to be associated with medical euthanasia. According to legend (and perhaps in fact) doctors would provide a large dose to terminally ill patients who wished to die

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
2 months ago

Is a boomer someone who thinks no-one knows what a termite is ?

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
2 months ago

Ouch!

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago

There is only ONE Boomer to really blame, despite a few other worthy candidates…….Mr Tony Blair!

Not only has he destroyed the United Kingdom, thanks to his devolution ‘adventure’, but he has laid the seeds for an internecine race war of epic proportions thanks to his ‘immigration fiasco’,.

Well done Tony, you will be cursed for eternity and probably exhumed and gibbeted as you so richly deserve.

Flibberti Gibbet
FG
Flibberti Gibbet
2 months ago

Gibbeting is my specialty, I demand to be second in the queue after you.

James Kirk
James Kirk
2 months ago

The later part of the Cromwell story those who happily quote him don’t seem to know?

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  James Kirk

I suspect ‘most’ know but it just a little too bestial to talk about.
Rather the same with poor old Wycliffe.

Jae
J
Jae
2 months ago

Surely previous generations create following generations. So the “Greatest Generation” and the “Silent Generation” created “Boomers.”

Boomers created Gen X, then came Millenials, one of the largest in numbers to be born, and then Gen Z and so on.

Consequently one would think picking on Boomers, so far removed from the obnoxious Gen Z and Progressives of today, is a bit of a stretch. Yes, we can bear some responsibility in being the ancestors, and it’s nice we will be missed, but laying the consequences of today’s turnout on Boomers is a termite-ridden bridge too far.

Kat L
KL
Kat L
2 months ago
Reply to  Jae

Many parents of Gen X were from the Silent generation.

William Edward Henry Appleby
WE
William Edward Henry Appleby
2 months ago

“Meh!” – he’s got BPH and a bit of prostate cancer, caught early; he’ll be fine. My old man had the same issue at 65 and he’s turning 90 this summer. Unless it’s caught late or is of the aggressive variety, it’s not the killer it used to be – in fact you’re more likely to die with it than of it.

Oliver Nicholson
ON
Oliver Nicholson
2 months ago

As a matter of fact we are told that the cancer is not of the prostate..

Catherine Conroy
CC
Catherine Conroy
2 months ago

As a very late boomer (b. 1960), of a working class background, and never able to buy a house but instead, coming to the world of work when Thatcher took over, and living in fear of a nuclear war possibly started by loony tunes Ronald Reagan, I fail to see myself in this generalisation of boomers.
I expect that all those boomer generation miners and other industrial workers who were put out of work in the early 80s, would feel likewise.