Blame Baby Boomers or Millennials

Rebellion against the baby boomers : You lived at our expense!

Aren't they bad, these old people today? Privileged and narrow-minded, they have consumed the planet on the verge of collapse, support the division politics of the populists and are still so bold as to complain about the youth who have to pay for the consequences of their reckless behavior - insolence! So it is only fair that the so-called “boomers”, that is, those born between 1946 and 1964, are the target of adolescent ridicule, right?

At least when it comes to “Ok Boomer”, a term that circulates on social networks and serves as a smug answer to comments from baby boomers that are perceived as self-righteous and reactionary. "Ok Boomer" is the return coach of the youth for the condescending unteachability of the post-war generation. It is, wrote Taylor Lenz in the "New York Times", a battle cry of the frustrated youth and a reaction to the blinkered mentality of an older generation that does not want to recognize any wrongdoing in itself. According to Lorenz, the peace between the generations is over.

You lived at our expense!

Especially when it comes to climate change, there is a large gap in understanding between old and young. The reproach to the elderly: You lived at our expense, destroyed the planet and now occupy the executive floors indifferently or elect parties that undercut each other with minimal solutions to climate change.

Their reproach to the youngsters: Your protest is unrealistic and wants to forbid our way of life and our way of thinking and is based on self-pitying and moralizing howling. The trench warfare between the generational camps is about participation, responsibility, freedom, the future, but above all about justice. About who has the power to make decisions about the future and how it is used. "Ok Boomer" sums it up: your time is over, make way!

It is a refusal of dialogue, a nonchalant “Yeah, whatever”, a homicide quote for the Instagram age. The frustration and impatience that underpin it are more than understandable, but the attitude is not very effective. Especially when it comes to climate protection, the help of the boomers cannot be dispensed with and their growing share in the green wave of success shows that persuasion is definitely worthwhile here. And aren't all generation groupings rough generalizations that encourage reactionary stereotypes anyway?

From the community

When it comes to factual issues, and climate protection is all about that, there can be nothing more stupid than to divide society and play it off against each other. Rather, we need a common strategy.

... writes user Gophi

There is glee among millennials

If the climate crisis is made too much of a generation conflict, it will encourage division on a problem that needs the greatest possible solidarity. In addition, age becomes part of an identity politics that reduces political action to the particular interests of certain groups and is not only discredited in conservative circles for promoting tribalism.

Perhaps it is not surprising that millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) in particular delight in boomer glee. For years they have been looking for a political identity and a place in the annals of youth revolts. There were protests against the Iraq war, Occupy and #Metoo, but also the low turnout in the Brexit vote or the success of Donald Trump and the climate-damaging frequent flying.

Millennials see themselves in the shadow of the 68s and feel how the next generation, with Greta Thunberg at the helm, is gradually making them look old. This results in the nagging feeling of being more tame than radical, and the fear of becoming a transitional generation like X-er (1965 to 1980) - and the fear of becoming a boomer himself in the end.

Who wants to be the next yesterday?

Weren't they also radical and dared to do something when they put out the slogan “Don't trust anyone over 30” and destroyed conservative conventions?

Maybe there is something to the allegations that millennials suffer from Peter Pan Syndrome and refuse to grow up. Not out of fear of responsibility or hard work, but of not being able to follow progress any longer. It would be naive to believe that today's youngsters won't have to listen to the accusation of being yesterday themselves at some point. Isn't that a fair consolation too, ok boomer?

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