As it has become very common to chastise the Boomers, especially the younger Boomers for their ritual sacrifice of Western hegemony, I feel it is important to point out what is perhaps their
greatest offence, their disrespect of the Silent Generation and Greatest Generation. As someone who has, for my entire life, been a staunch supporter of respecting the elderly – owing to my
closeness to my grandfathers who were both Greatest Generation – I see the greatest crime the Boomer commits as having disrespected, spit on, and shat all over the dreams of their predecessors.
The boomer inherited a golden age built on the backs of men who had, when they were but boys, fought in a war the scale of which was incomparable to any other conflict seen in history, yet
emerged faithful and still full of hope for the future. The Boomer had everything, being given it directly from the hands of the Greatest Generation, and they had neither respect nor appreciation
for it. They did not respect their elders, and as such, they are in turn disrespected themselves.
One of my favorite examples of the fundamental differences between the attitudes of the previous generations and the Boomer is in the comparison of J. R. R. Tolkien, born slightly before the Greatest Generation, to George R. R. Martin, a Boomer. Tolkien had, while still a very young man, delayed his recruitment into the First World War, then called the Great War, on a deferment allowing him to finish his education first, such as to earn a commission as a junior officer. Receiving his commission, the young professor became Second Lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers, an infantry battalion which fought in the trenches of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles in human history. The British lost nearly sixty-thousand men in just one day. Returning home from the war, and returning to his writings and his studies, Tolkien remained hopeful for humanity’s future, still holding a strong faith in God and man, despite having seen the horrors of the war up close. Writing the stories of Middle-Earth, Tolkien imparted the morals of brotherly-love, moral perfection, and heroism as the great powers that let even one, so small as a little hobbit, affect the world so greatly. Contrast Tolkien’s epic olive branch of the pre-Christian and Christian European worlds with the bitterness of Martin’s still – and likely eternally – unfinished series, a Song of Ice and Fire. Martin, who avoided the Vietnam draft as a conscientious objector, who never saw the horrors of war, who never fought a day for something he believed in, and who never knew the hardships of truly being a man, decided to write his series as a rebuttal of the hopefulness and light of Tolkien’s works, aiming to create a work that cynically deconstructs the classic elements of fantasy in what comes across only as an excessively mean spirited and childish protest against what is good and pure in the world. It is really quite telling that while Tolkien, decades after his death, is still loved and his works still cherished by countless men and women across the world, Martin’s name will all but certainly fade into obscurity following his death having never finished his life’s work and sold out all his time for money which no heirs will inherit.
In the dichotomy of Tolkien and Martin we see the hope, despite hardship, of the true men of the older generations, the elders who were worthy of great respect, and we see the cynicism, despite a life of comparative ease, of the lesser, fatter, softer men who succeeded them. Let us not be, then, weak, soft, and bitter men, but let us push ourselves, endure hardship, and still remain faithful in what is good. It is far too easy, I find, to grow bitter and cynical at the world, bitter at the Boomers who have, in truth, done nearly all they could to destroy our future. This is, of course, the natural reaction to the social contagion of nihilism, which spreads as an infection of the soul and corruption of the mind. Nevertheless, we cannot submit to these dark forces the Boomer has brought upon our world, to do so only proves the Martins of the world right, that the world is a truly cynical place, that goodness does not triumph in the end-of-ends. It is faith, however, in that good which must inspire us to be the better men and to build better times for our own descendants.