Which generation is more selfish?

Which generation is more selfish?

December 4, 2012

I read the recent letter to the editor “Young lose their sense of morality” and was reminded of similar claims in the 1960s.

At that time the “silent majority” was convinced that the drug, music and sexual culture of the young would bring the country to its knees. One could certainly argue that we baby boomers have brought irreparable harm to the American polity, but for quite different reasons. Most of us cashed in our radical chips and took our turn at running things. The result has not been all that spectacular.

I believe that the cultural tension between our youth and adults has always been a positive force in our nation’s history. In the 1960s this tension lead to the end of an unjust war, an expansion of civil rights and the increased role of women in society. Today, young people are leading the charge in social media, sexual equality and globalization.

On a personal level, my parents were as horrified of Woodstock as I am of tattoos and body piercing. Our youth will outgrow their hedonistic and selfish tendencies, hopefully with more grace than we did. If we old folks can tear ourselves away from the Viagra and Botox commercials, maybe we can provide a great example of unselfishness to the younger generation. How? By supporting the higher taxes and lower entitlements necessary to level the playing field as they begin to clash with their own children. Generational inequality is a much larger problem facing our society than the moral indiscretions of our youth will ever be.

Gary Stout Washington


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