“But now, splendidly, everything had become clear. The enemy at last was plain in view, huge and hateful, all disguise cast off. It was the Modern Age in arms. Whatever the outcome there was a place for him in that battle.” -Evelyn Waugh, from Men in Arms
Waugh was pointing out that he was quite pleased that the two sides he had loathed, the Nazis and the Soviets, had joined forces in their non aggression pact of August 1939. Gone was the hypocrisy of possibly fighting a war for democracy allied with a totalitarian regime like the Soviets. The hypocrisy would return in less than two years.
I mention this to showcase the political place of Generation X types, including myself, in regards to classic boomers and the younger set. Let’s define terms. Classic boomers were, for our purposes, born between 1946-1960, Xers between 1960-1975. The children from 1975-2000. My self-serving contention is that the Woodstock generation of boomers were politically contaminated by the 60s. The last generation we mention grew up under PC. Thus it is only in Generation X that we find any semblance of political wisdom.
Some will say, hold on, the baby boom lasted until 1964. Technically true. But there is such a massive cultural, intellectual, and political difference between the Woodstock generation of the late 60s and my Animal House generation of the late 70s that the decades tell very different stories.
I speak in generalities, as there are those of political wisdom and idiocy who transcend generations. But the overall rule holds true. Why? Because of two men and a host of supporting players. We reference Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and their minions.
Carter because he was so incompetent that he gave people like me who came of age in the late 70s a permanent distrust of Democrats, leftists, and big government. We lived through runaway inflation, sky high interest rates, the loss of Vietnam, the energy crisis, a rampaging Soviet Union, the Iranian hostage crisis, and Desert One. What was the Democrat and leftist response to all of these issues, how did Jimmy Carter deal with these situations? With weakness and incompetence. It turned large parts of a whole generation Republican. It’s the best thing Carter ever did.
Reagan’s 80s showcased the success of conservatism and Republicans. To contrast with the 70s we saw then a solid economy, restoration of American international strength and respect, and a host of other successes in myriad areas. It gave many of formative years their political ideology for the rest of their lives. It has served us Xers well, as our cynicism towards government and Democrats has been proved right the vast majority of the time. We haven’t fallen prey to leftist fantasies or scare tactics invented by the Woodstock generation and embraced by the PC generation. For this, we are eternally thankful.