Social Question

DigitalBlue's avatar

Isn't it foolish to always want to blame problems on the next generation?

Asked by DigitalBlue (6679 points ) April 10th, 2014

I think about this often, but people are constantly blaming “young people” or “kids today” for all sorts of social ills.

Yesterday, I heard someone suggest that reintroducing spanking in schools would eradicate mass violence like shootings or stabbings. The other day, I overheard an elderly man blaming the state of the economy on the fact that young people are lazy and want everything handed to them.

Isn’t it foolish to think that we are so different from every other generation? Isn’t it short sighted to believe that all of the major problems that we face as a society probably have complex solutions, otherwise they would not be problems in the first place? Why is it so easy to assume the worst of people? Are we actually becoming worse as a species or do we just have better resources with which to spread the worst of our habits and the consequences?

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49 Answers

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

These claims are a constant of human nature.

We are only noticing them now as laughable because the Hippie/Woodstock Generation is making them, about generations born after them in depression conditions.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I always found these sort of claims funny because more often than not the problems these people complain about came from their generation or the one previous, it’s the young generation that has to deal with all the shit.

DigitalBlue's avatar

Is it better to blame past generations? Haha.

bolwerk's avatar

It’s projection, but you have to keep in mind that people don’t necessarily get wiser as they age. Most stop learning after they leave school, and they get dumber and dumber as time goes on. An embittered old geezer is probably physically decrepit, mourning his lost youth, may literally not have exercised his brain in more than half a century, and after retirement has little to do with himself other than watch the insipid right-wing propaganda on TV. Easy prey for the fascists, I’m afraid. These types have always existed, but now they exist in such massive numbers because people are living for record lengths of time.

In this case, we’re dealing with the double whammy of the particularly authoritarian Boomer generation coming into retirement in the midst of a long-term, vicious growth recession. Boomers started putting everything on the credit card back with Reagan, and now they’re mortally afraid the the bills are coming due.

All that is against the backdrop of pretty rapid social and technological change. So when old fucks start yammering about how lazy and selfish young people are, from the comfort of their suburban bungalows and pensions, they aren’t just projecting their own narcissism on others. They likely really believe it when the smug turd on TV tells ‘em the black president is going to take away their Medicare and Social Secure and give it to a Mexican.

DigitalBlue's avatar

I might be alone in this, but I don’t think my generation is much different from my parents’ generation or from my grandparents’ generation or from younger generations, either. I feel like we are all pretty much the same, the only differences are that culture is constantly changing and technology is currently throwing just about everything in our face for the first time in human history, which makes a lot of these things more obvious. I also am a believer that it may be a better explanation for things like school shootings, probably more so than not letting teachers paddle our kids. My mother thinks that my three year old niece still sucking on a pacifier is what is wrong with society today, kids are spoiled and entitled, but that seems like an overly simplistic perspective. It’s a lot easier to just blame it on someone else, isn’t it?
Are we really all that different? Or do we just think we are?

bolwerk's avatar

@DigitalBlue: perhaps not, but shit travels downstream. Older generations tend to start from a position of power, too.

In this case, there is the added matter that older generations have dismantled the social safety net and to some extent the transportation infrastructure they are now going to have to rely on.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

Wow. The invention of the airplane in 1903 until it’s perfection in the English Spitfire in 1934.

Nope. No Generation has had to account for technology up in their faces until recently.

bolwerk's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought is obviously part of the generation that thinks it invented the non-sequitur.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@bolwerk You have cleary shown me you have a mastery for it. I bow to whatever point you are trying to make.

gondwanalon's avatar

@bolwerk You sound as bitter and twisted as the boomers/old gezers that you describe. I know of no one like you describe. Of course they would not want to know anyone like you describe. I may seem like an anomaly in your world. I’m 63 and still working as a “Clinical Laboratory Scientist” where I constantly am learning new technologies in order to keep up and I love it. I have never carried a credit card balance and have more than enough money from my investments to retire anytime. Also I work out physically at least one hour per day every day. (I’m 5’11” and 150 lbs). I totally enjoy reading and hearing all sides of the issues and wonder where the true lies within the rhetoric, spin and scum that is constantly being presented to us.

Through my life I have observed that people tend to put down those who are different then themselves. A couple of examples: generation vs generation; liberal vs conservative; male vs female; runners vs cyclists; auto drivers vs anyone and anything else; etc; etc. And that is sad. Because they are hurting themselves and others when they play such a game. A game in which there are no winners only losers.

bolwerk's avatar

@gondwanalon: so you don’t know anyone blaming younger generations for the problems that were inflicted on them. Great! The OP evidently does.

I didn’t say everyone older was like that, mind you. And I can differentiate.

DigitalBlue's avatar

I didn’t say that technology didn’t exist or that it didn’t prominently exist. But I’m pretty sure this is the first time we’ve ever been constantly exposed to what is happening socially on every corner of the earth 24/7. I feel like that likely has some impact on how our culture is shifting now, because we interact on a much larger scale than ever before, most of us are constantly connected to information and contact with others from all over the planet all of the time at a fast pace.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@DigitalBlue I don’t doubt you think you are special.

But the fax machine?

In 1843 in England, Alexander Bain (1818–1903) devised an apparatus comprised of two pens connected to two pendulums, which in turn were joined to a wire, that was able to reproduce writing on an electrically conductive surface.

cheebdragon's avatar

Personally, I choose to blame justin beiber and all the other shitty pop stars for creating a generation of airheads.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Friggin kids today just want to listen to loud music, play on their computers and cell phones, and not work. Oh crap, that’s me.:) Relax @DigitalBlue There are some amazing kids coming along. There’s some that suck but that always happens.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

I don’t blame the children of whatever present we are visiting. I blame the older generation and the generation in power for whatever it is we are blaming folks.

The older guys set it up and played along and set us down this path. The present rulers, the 60’s and 50’s born, have followed closely to the path laid out by their parents and grandparents and have all but ruined the world, setting us off on a global depression a way back yonder in 2008.

The kids played along, but the banker elders are entirely to blame.

CWOTUS's avatar

Totally foolish. All of our problems are because of the last generation.

JLeslie's avatar

Seems to me the old guys in charge are the ones making policy that affect our economy. Young people are barely in the workforce and there aren’t a tikn of them in congress.

Of course it is complicated, but usually people prefer to think in simple terms.

The whole corporal punishment in schools I heard all the time when I lived in Memphis. They had gotten rid of it not to long ago in the Memohis schools, and a lot of people thought it should be brought back. It’s still legal there, just not allowed according to school policy now. Ironically, I heard it mostly from people in Memphis who were black and democrats. But, usually it is republicans who are in favor of it. It’s the Christian thing. Not that all Christians are pro corporal punishment, but many churches and communities think it is the right way to go. Memphis was like bazaro land for me in many ways. The people who want to bring corporal punishment back blame the wrong things for why children act out.

rojo's avatar

@DigitalBlue I have live my life to get to this point where I can blame those “damned kids”. It was my generations fault last time; now it is your fault. Don’t try to weasel out of it! Forty years from now you will be blaming your grandkids generation and you know it.

But, to be perfectly honest, it is not to be blamed on a particular generation, but on a particular personality type. Every generation breeds the same type that eventually goes into politics and has the same fucked up effect. If we would only learn that the people you want in power are the people that don’t want the power, we would be so much better off but it is only the assholes that want, and apply for the job and they are the ones that get into the positions of power. Never elect anyone running for the job.

Symbeline's avatar

I don’t know if people always blame serious problems on the next generation, but aye, next generations certainly do get a lot of needless criticism. I’m not sure what it’s about, besides older people of current generations feeling that what they valued is forgotten and left behind.

(and I’m not being mean or insulting; my generation is long gone)

Sometimes I’m wondering if culture and fashion changes remind people of their mortality so bad that they dismiss everything that isn’t pertaining to what was in at their time.

Like I hate it when people dismiss modern cartoons and say that what they had as kids was better. Really, do you even watch cartoons anymore? You have nothing to say if you don’t. And I don’t care if you have kids who watch cartoons, if you only see five minutes of it then walk out of the room, you don’t watch cartoons. Period. And even if you do…were your cartoons really that better? Remember what it was like when you were a kid filled with imagination? You do not perceive things today as you did back then; probably your parents thought that YOUR cartoons were bull droppings, just as much.
Or pop artists. Like what, Madonna and New Kids on the Block were any better than Justin Beiber or Lady Gaga? Please. My guess is that this phenomenon is merely the biggest form of mass dismissal that exists.

I am not a fan of smartphones, yet many adults today have them too, and I can see why. They are cool tools. I just personally don’t care about technology, if they don’t play video games. But kids today all have the smartphones, how is that any different than when kids had their own landlines in their rooms? Or their Nintendos? Or am I watching too many 80’s movies?

But if people are blaming wars and political decline on kids today, those people are the last ones on Earth you should even pay any attention to. Go live in some other country that is only known to you because there’s always a war in it, or find a time machine and be a kid in the fifties where teachers were allowed to hit you for not knowing something, then get back to me.

@rojo _ Forty years from now you will be blaming your grandkids generation and you know it._

No I won’t. As I said, my generation left years ago, what I see now in kids is SO different, (is it really?) and I blame them for nothing.

TLDR School shootings have been happening since like 1800 something. Human nature is what it is, and kids are certainly not to blame. If they ARE, it’s the fault of grownups.

LuckyGuy's avatar

All are at fault. In 1950 there were 16 workers per Social Security Beneficiary. In 1960 there were 4.9. In 2000 there were 3.3. Today there are around 2.5. Source
Older people are living longer, retiring earlier, and collecting much longer than the SS had planned. Yet most do not want to delay retirement , or increase the contributions.

More current workers are quick to jump on the disability bandwagon with he help of lawyers who get a cut. Depression, repeating hand injury, overweight? Call the office of Shyster and Shyster.

Obesity rates are almost as crushing as the added weight puts on the knees yet people are quick to say “It’s in my Genes and I have a disease.” Check out the obesity rate for the past 50 years 3×4x 5x! Source Genes did not do that in so short a time . Repeated hand movement from plate to mouth did it.

Young women are having more kids out of wedlock. In 2012 40% of births are to single women. (most in poverty.) 72.6% Hispanic, 62% Black, 32% White. Source, CDC
Single mothers have higher rates of school drop out, higher unemployment, use more social services…. And they expect current workers to pay for it.
And don’t get me started on drug use and how it wastes resources.

So, all age groups are guilty. Are we going to do anything about it? Nah.
We’ll keep doing what we are doing until we can’t, and then we’ll stop.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@LuckyGuy Thanks Mary Ray of Sunshine. :)

Kropotkin's avatar

@LuckyGuy The increasing ratio of social security beneficiaries to workers, and the number of pensioners is more than off-set by the vastly increased levels of productivity. There’s far more wealth being created now than in 1950, and it’s the wealth—the economic output—that a society consumes. The distribution of that wealth is a whole different story….

bolwerk's avatar

Social security isn’t even a handout. Those people paid into it, and they’re probably getting less back than they paid in.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@bolwerk There are an awful lot who take out way more than they put in. That is why the system is going broke. It is like insurance. If a worker dies early the spouse and family get compensated. It covers disabilities and illnesses.
We are living longer and retiring earlier in life but they are not adjusting the rates we pay fast enough. Why? Because that would be very unpopular. “Back in the day” a person worked until they were 65 and then died when they hit 67. My life expectancy is 96! That means there is a 50% chance I will live longer than that! Maybe my fair retirement age should be closer to 75 instead of 65. A 65 year old today is the 55 year old from 3 decades ago. We are in so much better shape. (Most of us are anyway.) The obese ones kick off quicker. Unfortunately what they save in social security gets eaten up by the extra medical expenses.

@Kropotkin If the wages and wealth followed productivity maybe there would be a way .to balance it. The fact is, with 1 worker for every 2.5 collecting Soc Security benefits, a larger and larger burden is placed on the worker’s backs. Soon they will start complaining of back pain and Shyster & Shyster will take their disability claim. We’ll find them sitting on the couch eating Cheetos, watching the Maury show and betting on “Who da Baby Daddy”.

And what are we doing about this train wreck? Nut ‘n honey.
The wealthy elderly will continue to argue they deserve the SS payment
The soon to be retired will argue the age should not be changed.
The workers will argue the rate should not be increased
The disabled will continue to say they can’t work and deserve to be paid by others while they watch TV or surf the net. inst paying tax
The young will say it is “their bodies, their choice” while they file paperwork for EBT cards, Section 8 housing, HEAP, subsidized meals, tax credits and a dozen other benefits. Society will pay because “we must think of the children!”.
The children will do poorly in school because they don’t have the support at home. How can we expect them to have good paying jobs?

If everyone stood up and took responsibility we’d have a chance. I’m not holding my breath.

bolwerk's avatar

@LuckyGuy: it literally can’t go broke unless the government deliberately lets it.

LuckyGuy's avatar

If the government doesn’t change the input and output rates it will go broke. Or… since no obvious solution is popular, they can pull a fast one and print lots of worthless cash to reduce the value of money. They can make inflation go up faster than SS cost of living increases. That would slow the train wreck down without most people realizing they were getting poorer.

bolwerk's avatar

@LuckyGuy: printing “lots of worthless cash” is only offensive to bankers and people with nonadjustable fixed incomes. Nobody else (that is, pretty much the entire 99%) has anything to lose in the long run from higher inflation.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

It’s more foolish to expect them to pay, literally, for our mistakes.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@bolwerk Higher inflation can destroy the economy. There are plenty of examples.

People with money in the bank find that it won’t buy as much. Commodities, (oil, food, etc) soon cost much more. The prices of Imported and foreign made goods go up. US property values begin to look cheap to foreign investors.
The “winners” are those people in debt. They pay back their loans with cheaper money. Everyone else starts to see prices rise while their income remains the same.

bolwerk's avatar

@LuckyGuy: In the present scenario, your “everyone else” is your “those people in debt,” whether it’s personal debt or government debt. Such debt and an inability to pay it off, imposed politically, is what is holding back aggregate demand.

It’s true that there is some “pain” associated with higher inflation, but that pain is spread over the entire economy. In the long-run, economic growth can erase that pain. In the alternative austerian grin and bear it scenario, sacrificial lambs are arbitrarily chosen to suffer unemployment, lower wages, constrained credit, and a diminished social safety net – things which in turn keep demand low. The people who made the policies that led to the debt overhang in the first place aren’t asked to sacrifice anything.

The kind of hyperinflation that “can destroy the economy” is just way out of context here.

rojo's avatar

Oh, could This be more appropriate?

No, BTW, it couldn’t be.

cheebdragon's avatar

All pop music sucks.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

^Trent Reznor’s “Closer” falls under the umbrella of pop music.

It is the greatest work that popular music has EVER produced, the same can be said of it’s it’s unabridged video.

It’s earnest, intellectually honest and the product of an obsessive perfectionist. It makes it’s thinking listeners think.

Reznor knows that “Guns, Bitches and Bling were never part of the 4 Elements and never will be.”

Nine Inch Nails is music of a higher order yet easily accessible (at least in terms of acquiring the work itself, not necessarily in terms of the lesser mind comprehending it).

Symbeline's avatar

NIN FTW

rojo's avatar

Are NIN fans collectively known as NINnies?

SecondHandStoke's avatar

^You don’t get it.

And that’s okay.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@SecondHandStoke “Thou shalt not put musicians or recording artists on ridiculous pedestals no matter how great they are or were.” :P

rojo's avatar

@SecondHandStoke You are mistaken. I too am a fan. Every once in a while you have to poke fun at yourself.

rojo's avatar

^That’s “Kill” and, that is cute. ^

SecondHandStoke's avatar

“The Sex Pistows, just a band…”

rojo's avatar

No, now The Sex Pistols really were/are crap.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

^Does that mean they weren’t “just a band”?

rojo's avatar

just a crappy band.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

Wait so we are all agreed with @LuckyGuy that they raised us in such a way that all age groups below his were raised poorly and are therefore equally at fault for the decline of civilization? Just want to make sure I understand which generation thinks they are leaders but who feel no responsibility.

rojo's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought Yep, I think you have it right.

The generation below me are a bunch of ungrateful ingrates and it is not our fault, we did the best we could. Hell, we did everything for them and gave them every break in the book but they chose to be assholes anyway even though we did everything in our power to get them to turn into thoughtful, rational adults.

cheebdragon's avatar

All pop music sucks….....with or without Trent Reznor.

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