Another Clueless Dimwit - Bruce Cannon Gibney - Thinks He Knows About Boomers
It's not an astounding revelation to point out that the Baby Boomers are among the most vilified generations ever, usually by goofballs who lack any serious knowledge of the group and tend to shoot from the hip. Most of the polemics issuing from these nattering nabobs of negativity - based on precious little real evidence or logic - insist we Boomers are about to usher in the fall of civilization as we know it. From Arch-Boomer nemesis Robert Samuelson - who blames “entitlements” for an approaching fiscal train wreck- to a spate of has beens and copycats including P.J. O'Rourke, Joe Klein and David Willets (in his book, ‘Howthe Baby Boomers Took Their Children’s Future and Why They Should Give It Back’) . To an imp they all carp about the "pathological narcissism or selfishness" of the Boomers as the root cause of all our national ills. It's incredible that up to now none of these losers have blamed the Black Death on us too. Occurred before our temporal era? No problem, they'd blame it on our former incarnations!
The latest addition to this motley crew of hard up writers and petulant, whiney little bitches is Bruce Cannon Gibney, via his book, “A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby BoomersBetrayed America,” which came out earlier this month. One wonders if this moron even has a clue what a sociopath is, to make such a broad and sweeping claim about an entire generation.
Perhaps the best insight on the sociopath as clinically defined (which is what I presume Gibney was trying to base his claim on) is the book by Dr. Martha Stout, 'The Sociopath NextDoor'. She notes the attributes include seven distinguishing characteristics, such as deceitfulness, impulsivity, superficial charm and a lack of remorse. She estimates as many as 4% of the population are conscienceless sociopaths who have no empathy or affectionate feelings for humans or animals. Add in those who exhibit some rudimentary controls of conscience and the total of sociopaths comes to 10 percent.
The Baby Boom contingent itself is now 74.9 million strong which means it makes up just over 24 percent of the U.S. population. This means Gibney has splattered his "sociopath' brush too wide by over 50 percent. But no surprise there for a turkey who's probably only done minimal research and grabbed most of his material via anecdotes related to him by familial inbreds. (His own).
In his book - similar to most Boomer bashers- Gibney claims that much of the generation born between 1946 and 1964 is "selfish, lacking in empathy and financially irresponsible." Like the semi-literates before him he uncritically adopts the tag of “Me Generation” - a term coined by equally uninformed PR and media assholes at the time. Thus thebaby boomers have long been described as self-interested, but as always - the level of conflation is mind boggling.
I refer here to the classical logical error committed by most Boomer bashers: the “fallacy of composition” i.e. when one claims that what is true of a part is true of a whole. In this case, the “Boomers” he is referring to make up about 5 percent of the total generation. These are the entitled, 'silver spoon in the mouth' twerps like Gee Dumbya Bush – who got his Harvard education via a legacy entitlement. And Donald J. Trump, raised as a closet psychopath and liar by a father and mother leery of his pathological tendencies and who knew they had to instill in him a sense of grandiose entitlement.
So, in effect, what those like Gibney, Willets, Klein et al have done is attribute to an entire generation the attributes of perhaps 5 percent of the total. Again, the fallacy of composition magnified to stupendous proportions - to the extent none of these trash books are really worth the paper printed on. And hence, would only have appeal to ardent Boomer haters seeking to reinforce their confirmation bias.
More evidence that Gibney is a congenital idiot and has no clue what he's yapping about, when he writes:
“70 million Americans did appear to be sociopaths a few months ago [during the election],”
Again, what's he talking about? Can't he even get basic facts straight? If he's referring to votes, or voters, it makes no sense given 65,844,954 voters went for Hillary and 62,979,879 for Donald Trump. So where is this "70 million"? How does this number enter to support his daft claims? If he's trying to tie it into the Boomers it's a lost cause, a fool's errand.
Gibney in his generalized twaddle claims a hallmark of the boomeris an inability to plan for the future, financially and otherwise. He writes:
“They really just don’t save, and all these personal behaviors translate into international policy. Climate is another indicator of improvidence and lack of empathy — they don’t care really care about the environment, just about themselves.”
Really? Seriously? Then how come I, along with many of my friends and relatives (also Boomers) were able to save and do it conscientiously? As for climate, last I checked, many of my posts the past year have been about climate change and the need for people to take cognizance of leaving a habitable world for future generations. My friends and relatives are also of the same mind, and most of us belong to groups such as the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund and Waterkeepers' Alliance. If we didn't care why are we walking to the grocery instead of using cars, recycling assiduously, and eschewing beef (as too water intensive)? Why are many of us also invested to the extent of Will planning? Again, Gibney uses over-generalization like a narcotic. Hell, mayhap he was on a narcotic when he wrote this termite bait book.
His worst travesty is accusing us of "generational plunder". Accusing us wholesale of “the mass, democratically-sanctioned transfer of wealth away from the young and toward the Boomers,” and "making a mess of Social Security and Medicare",
This actually takes a page from one equally uninformed NY Times letter writer, Daniel Bronheim, who reached full throated pitch and bile as he wrote three years ago:
“The rising cost of Social Security and Medicare has for a generation crowded out adequate government investment in infrastructure, education and research. It has meant ahuge and unjustified transfer of wealth from the young to the elderly, especially when it’s being funded by borrowing from the future”.
Bronheim, like Gibney, gets his perceptual panties in a twist over elderly greed, but in fact, if he had more brains or common sense he’d recognize it’s the expanded military industrial complex which now consumes 58 percent of current expenditures. THAT is what’s responsible for leaving his younger generation with debt, poor job outlook, and transferred wealth. Does this nitwit not know, for example, that the Bushies pilfered Social Security monies to pay for their illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Yes, the Bushies were largely Boomers, but they were amongst the 5 % of sociopaths, not the much larger proportion of decent, hard working teachers, doctors, scientists, former Peace Corps volunteers I knew.
Gibney at numerous points goes into full blown hysteria blaming the boomers for nearly everything perceived as bad: abortion, divorce, overeating, high inflation, taking deferments during Vietnam, failing to launch a mass movement calling for the rebuilding of Vietnam after the war, crime, poor educational standards, corporate tax rates, adjunct professors.
All of which goes to show how uncritical, undisciplined thinking can lead one down the garden path to verbal chaos and total lack of credibility. The inveighing against abortion is especially choice. So I can only presume he'd have preferred we go back to letting women use coat hangers to do their own abortions. Else what? His bellyaching about "taking deferments during Vietnam" also strikes a note of discord given Vietnam was an illegal war anyway. It was hatched by LBJ under false pretenses using the Tonkin Gulf Resolution after it was claimed that two U.S. gunboats (the Maddox and Turner Joy) were fired on without provocation in international waters.
Perhaps the best clue this fool hasn't a clue and his book belongs in the nearest dumpster is when he makes reference to: “PatRobertson fulminating about homosexuals, feminists, and praying for the deflection of hurricanes while his website minions opined on the afterlife of pets.” Blissfully unaware that Robertson was born in 1930, 16 years before the oldest boomer. Is this a one off error? Fuck no. Gibney also has words for “feckless non-entities like Marco Rubio.” But Rubio, born in 1971, is nearly a decade younger than the youngest boomers. If this goober doesn't even know the definition of a Baby Boomer, i.e. the year span defined for one to be a Boomer, how can he write about them? It would be analogous to me writing about solar sprites and calling them sunspots!
If this mentally deficient asshole doesn't even know who qualifies as a Boomer and who doesn't, why take anything he writes seriously?
Gibney complains that “many young boomers leapt at the neo-Malthusian nonsense peddled in the 1960s and 1970s by a slightly older generation of writers.” Thereby trying to indict Paul Ehrlich (b. 1932), who wrote “The Population Bomb”. Again, he misfires on Ehrlich being a Boomer, given he was born 14 years before 1946, the date of the oldest boomers' birth. Apart from that there is no "neo-Malthusian nonsense" as the world IS overpopulated in terms of limited resources. So, he's also a know nothing on this topic as well, see e.g.
This derelict, delirious twit even criticizes Al Gore as "anti-environment" and "a pork-barreling scenery wrecker.” Huh? Since when?
Beyond all that codswallop Gibney pronounces that: “the story of the past forty years has been the substitution of sentiment for science” and that “the Boomers were the first modern generation to harbor really negative feelings about reality and science.”
Really? Seriously? That's not what I've beheld in the various scientific organizations I've been a member of including the American Astronomical Society and the American Geophysical Union. These include cooperative research projects as well as papers presented at conferences. What I saw was more substitution of "sentiment" for science in the Gen X'ers and Millennials - including too many of them carrying on with the bunkum that the Sun and "natural cycles" are responsible for global warming not CO2.
So I've no idea what Gibney is blabbering about.
Gibney is also glib in dismissing Boomers at making any positive contributions, period, from major advances in medicine and science, to arts and culture, to civil rights and the rights of women, disabled people and gay people. Did he even hear of the Civil Rights Act? Does he know (or care) how many Boomers literally put their bodies on the line- subjected to truncheon beatings and dogs? This was when they joined the Freedom Marchers to Alabama, and Mississippi in 1964-66? This was to help in signing up African-Americans for voter registration. Many I knew who left for MS while at Loyola returned so badly injured they were unable to continue their educations. One, "Marty" from NYC, had to return home to recuperate after having his skull fractured by a racist pig's bat.
Other Boomer voting rights assistants were shot at and lost their lives, like those who accompanied and helped Viola Liuzzo in one of her voter drives. Does this piece of shit even know about that? Does he know or grasp how the Boomers marching against the Vietnam War brought it to an earlier close? Or how Boomer journalists who trained cameras on the slaughter and indiscriminate butchery (My Lai massacre) assisted as well? He also has some damned nerve carping about "rebuilding" in Vietnam after LBJ and Generals had much of the place "blowtorched" using napalm.
Is he aware of the Boomer engineers and scientists who helped put men on the Moon (later Apollo missions)? Who also designed the Viking craft for the Mars encounter in 1976 and contributed numerous experiments, research for Shuttle missions? Is he remotely aware of the Boomer scientists who helped make great advances in antibiotics, as well as more improved tests for cancer using enhanced technologies? What about the advances made in fields from nutrition to gerontology which many of my Peace Corps colleagues also participated in? How about the sheer number of us who returned home from volunteer assignments overseas to volunteer again in our own communities?
Yes, some of my generation were narcissists - but more were idealists - who believed in such moral ideals as equal rights for all, equal pay for both genders, and using science to advance humanity. The Boomer generation did have its share of sociopaths, but again, no more than in later generations, such as Gen X and Millennials. (See, for example, the flick 'American Psycho' about a Gen X Wall Street broker sociopath and psychopath)
As I noted above, the chief problem of Gibney - apart from not recognizing who was a Boomer and who wasn't - is his tendency to wildly conflate. In the latter case he regularly conflates the Woodstock counterculture types ("hippies"), with the moderate liberal types (who served in Peace Corps or VISTA instead, like me) and their ideological right wing opposites. So no surprise that by mixing the descriptions of all these groups in one pot he comes out with bare balderdash. Or, as my Caribbean friends would say, Calalloo soup.
A perfect example of Gibney's "calalloo" - inspired Boomer bollocks is when he writes:
“As a group, the Boomers managed to be simultaneously for the war and against serving in it. Their responses to Vietnam were confused,”
But "they" weren’t confused, because "they" is not one homogeneous population. Unless one is a congenital ignoramus he cannot describe the Boomers by writing about us indiscriminately as an entire group. The reason is that the Boomers actually comprised three differing populations (at least) as I indicated. By conflating them, Gibney ends up with gibberish and balderdash while committing the fallacy of composition.. What should he have done? Simple! Write: "One faction of Boomers was pro-War and another was anti- War and marched against it, while another faction opposed the War but didn't actively inveigh against it choosing instead alternative service". More complicated? Yes, but more honest, a trait Gibney seems to lack as much as Trump.
The takeaway of all this is that if you're going to write about the Baby Boomers be sure you don't over generalize, but instead grasp that separate factions comprised this generation. It also helps, when singling out the supposed travesties of individuals, you know whether indeed they are truly Boomers - or part of a different generation.
The conclusion for me is that Gibney's effort has only one practical use - as toilet paper if you're ever marooned on some island.