Old coots like Jim in the screengrab above think they still have the social power they did 40 years ago and don’t realize our generations (“Greatest,” Boomer, and X) are sunsetting, so companies are focused on serving the tastes of Millennials, Z, and their kids. Of course none of them want to pay those generations enough to be able to afford life’s basic necessities, much less being able to afford dining out regularly.
US wealth is concentrated mostly among the Baby Boomers, and they perceive this as an individual accomplishment that demonstrates their personal superiority to the younger generations. In actuality, it is systemic, no matter how much labor the BB’s expended and sacrifices they made. Many remain indoctrinated by Capitalism and its Bourgeoisie values, and many of the Baby Boomer Generation were children when McCarthyism, Red Scare, HUAC, Operations Paperclip, Bloodstone and Gladio were happening, and many Christian churches became Anti-Communist propaganda outlets collaborating w/US Intel agencies to inculcate the idea that being a Good American required being Christian, and vice versa, while demonizing the USSR and Communism. Even Neutral nations like Cambodia were viewed with suspicion.
So their generation was exposed to some of the most overt jingoistic, racist, white supremacist, and divisive propaganda, and it’s manifesting in many of them now due to their subconscious understanding that the revolutionary consciousness that is gaining momentum in the US reflects back on their own failure to push back on Anti-Communism in their own youth.
Many don’t seem to realize that their personal good fortunes were not a result of Bootstrap Theory or allowing themselves to be deeply exploited by employers under the propaganda label “professionalism.”
They passed these values on to their Gen X kids, and while some of us recognized that something was seriously fucked about this system, we were acaremongered into believing “that’s just the way things are” and if we wanted to remain alive, housed, and fed as adults, we had to start training to accept the abuses of Capitalism in our childhoods.
Once we had time as adults trying to be “successful” in the system, we saw that despite what our parents insisted was going to work for us, because it did for them, and that’s Just How Things Work, it did not, in fact, guarantee success. Our scrutiny and doubts were well founded, as it turned out. But trying to explain to our parents that things had changed often felt like this:
The Cold War is where the term “Third World” was coined, to identify nations that were neutral in the matter of US Capitalism vs USSR Socialism. It added another aspect of divisiveness among the international working class, while reinforcing the white supremacist doctrines of American Exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny. It gave USians (particularly white USians) another way to justify invading other sovereign nations, extracting their natural resources, and enslaving their populations. They needed the US and were grateful for for the opportunity to be “aided,” they told us (Gen X, Baby Boomers, Greatest Gen). Obviously nothing could be further from the truth, as anyone who studies history beyond the propaganda narrative and foreign policy can attest.
All of us alive today have the opportunity to learn the difference between what we’ve been convinced to believe is US history, versus what actually happened. I’m working on updating the reading recommendations pages to something less clunky, so I hope you’ll have a look there.
It’s vital for us all to be willing to change and improve ourselves, because that is what it means to be a part of a successful community and even to exist in the Cosmos. Even if it means you might sit near someone drinking a beer at your favorite restaurant, Jim.