Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: G.K. Chesterton on Generations

 

“I believe what really happens in history is this: the old man is always wrong; and the young people are always wrong about what is wrong with him. The practical form it takes is this: that, while the old man may stand by some stupid custom, the young man always attacks it with some theory that turns out to be equally stupid.”
– G.K. Chesterton, Illustrated London News, June 3, 1922

A constant in electoral politics is pitting the generations against each other. Many Boomers thought the Greatest Generation was too staid and traditional. Gen Xers found Boomers self-indulgent and profligate. Since Generation X is famously a forgotten generation, Millennials content themselves with bashing the Boomers as well.

The cohort that endured the Great Depression and won the Second World War understandably focused on duty, resolve, and all those other outdated notions of right and wrong. Boomers reacted with untrammeled idealism which worked in some respects (racial equality) and failed miserably in many others (drugs, lack of bathing).

Being a member of Gen X, I must say we’ve done nothing wrong, at least not on the big stage, since we haven’t yet had the chance to lead. (Okay, sorry about the grunge era.) As for Millennials, they’re still finding their way and likely to skip us middle-agers on their road to the White House.

But to correct the excesses of the past, one has to focus on all the good they did, then tweak around the edges. To declare the present Year Zero and toss out everything that came before is far more disastrous than anything an older generation came up with.

One more relevant quote from the great man:

“Men invent new ideals because they dare not attempt old ideals. They look forward with enthusiasm, because they are afraid to look back.”
– G.K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong With The World

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There are 12 comments.

  1. DonG Coolidge

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: The cohort that endured the Great Depression and won the Second World War understandably focused on duty, resolve, and all those other outdated notions of right and wrong. Boomers reacted with untrammeled idealism which worked in some respects (racial equality) and failed miserably in many others (drugs, lack of bathing).

    The greatest error of the Boomers was that they failed to instill the lessons of their parents on their children. Freedom is not free. Prosperity takes a lot of work and sacrifice. Capitalism is the source of prosperity and they should be thankful every day for their God-given blessings. The USA is the greatest idea for a country that was ever conceived and everyone must defend and promote the ideals of liberty and equal justice for all. 

    • #1
    • October 18, 2019, at 8:29 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  2. Michael Minnott Member

    “Since Generation X is famously a forgotten generation…”

    No one blames us for anything, because no one remembers we were ever here.

    Yay?

    • #2
    • October 18, 2019, at 8:34 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  3. Vectorman Thatcher

    DonG (View Comment):
    The greatest error of the Boomers was that they failed to instill the lessons of their parents on their children. Freedom is not free. Prosperity takes a lot of work and sacrifice.

    While true on the surface, members of the previous “Greatest Generation” and their 1900’s Progressive parents set forth the seeds of destruction. In the 1930’s, Washington DC was was run by Communists and Leftist sympathizers, and the Elites followed along. As previously discussed, many Baby Boomers were raised by their parents following the book Baby and Child Care (1946) by Dr. Benjamin Spock:

    Spock was an activist in the New Left and anti Vietnam War movements during the 1960s and early 1970s. At the time, his books were criticized for propagating permissiveness and an expectation of instant gratification which allegedly led young people to join these movements—a charge that Spock denied.

    For us Boomers who were not raised by following Dr. Spock, we received the correct lessons.


    The Quote of the Day series is the easiest way to start a fun conversation on Ricochet. There are many open days on the November Signup Sheet. We even include tips for finding great quotes, so choose your favorite quote and sign up today!

    • #3
    • October 19, 2019, at 4:42 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  4. Valiuth Member

    The “Greatest Generation” is by far the most responsible for today’s problems. They both created the government programs that are now threatening to ruin us financially and failed to properly raise their SOB children known as Boomers. They get high praise for fighting the Nazis, but half of them were Nazis. You don’t get credit for cleaning up the mess you made. Now conveniently they are dying off to further avoid responsibility for their mess. 

    What G. K. Chesterton fails to acknowledge is that the real problem is people. People are what is wrong with the world and it has ever been thus (name one problem that people aren’t responsible for). We need to get rid of people, and replace them with cold, logical, machines. 

    • #4
    • October 19, 2019, at 5:37 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  5. Western Chauvinist Member

    I believe Chesterton also coined the phrase “chronological snobbery.” It’s always been around (Chesterton was writing in the late 19th, early 20th century), but it really gained steam when the Boomers declared “never trust anyone over 30.” If it makes the younger age cohorts feel any better, now that Boomers are the disrespected elders, we’re reaping that whirlwind. 

    • #5
    • October 19, 2019, at 8:56 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  6. Zed11 Lincoln

    I just wanna live inside sometimes
    Don’t wanna have to beg you to subscribe
    Are you a man before your father dies?
    “But what’s a man these days?” I hear you cry

    And are we raising up our children right?
    Is my career gonna reignite?
    See all the virtue signalers tonight
    I want that bandwagon to pass me by

    Well, I’ve been scratching around in the dirt
    Looking for meaning in the cold, cold earth
    To gather in what’s left of your self-worth
    Cause only love is what survives of us

    Cause I hold onto you
    And you hold onto me
    A tiny victory in the Age of Anxiety
    ~Jamie Cullum

    • #6
    • October 19, 2019, at 9:51 AM PST
    • 1 like
  7. Lois Lane Coolidge

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    The “Greatest Generation” is by far the most responsible for today’s problems. They both created the government programs that are now threatening to ruin us financially and failed to properly raise their SOB children known as Boomers. They get high praise for fighting the Nazis, but half of them were Nazis. You don’t get credit for cleaning up the mess you made. Now conveniently they are dying off to further avoid responsibility for their mess.

    What G. K. Chesterton fails to acknowledge is that the real problem is people. People are what is wrong with the world and it has ever been thus (name one problem that people aren’t responsible for). We need to get rid of people, and replace them with cold, logical, machines.

    Well… maybe not that machine thing, Mr. Spock. Let’s not get hasty.

    • #7
    • October 19, 2019, at 9:56 AM PST
    • Like
  8. MarciN Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: The cohort that endured the Great Depression and won the Second World War understandably focused on duty, resolve, and all those other outdated notions of right and wrong.

    I’ve often wondered if the best of us died in World War II. It would explain a lot of what transpired afterward. 

    • #8
    • October 19, 2019, at 11:39 AM PST
    • Like
  9. Mike Rapkoch Member

    Vectorman (View Comment):

    DonG (View Comment):
    The greatest error of the Boomers was that they failed to instill the lessons of their parents on their children. Freedom is not free. Prosperity takes a lot of work and sacrifice.

    While true on the surface, members of the previous “Greatest Generation” and their 1900’s Progressive parents set forth the seeds of destruction. In the 1930’s, Washington DC was was run by Communists and Leftist sympathizers, and the Elites followed along. As previously discussed, many Baby Boomers were raised by their parents following the book Baby and Child Care (1946) by Dr. Benjamin Spock:

    Spock was an activist in the New Left and anti Vietnam War movements during the 1960s and early 1970s. At the time, his books were criticized for propagating permissiveness and an expectation of instant gratification which allegedly led young people to join these movements—a charge that Spock denied.

    For us Boomers who were not raised by following Dr. Spock, we received the correct lessons.


    The Quote of the Day series is the easiest way to start a fun conversation on Ricochet. There are many open days on the November Signup Sheet. We even include tips for finding great quotes, so choose your favorite quote and sign up today!

    When I was in 8th grade a friend sold me a poster with a picture of Dr. Spock slapping a kid.

    • #9
    • October 19, 2019, at 2:05 PM PST
    • 1 like
  10. Podkayne of Israel Member

    Mike Rapkoch (View Comment):

    Vectorman (View Comment):

    DonG (View Comment):
    The greatest error of the Boomers was that they failed to instill the lessons of their parents on their children. Freedom is not free. Prosperity takes a lot of work and sacrifice.

    While true on the surface, members of the previous “Greatest Generation” and their 1900’s Progressive parents set forth the seeds of destruction. In the 1930’s, Washington DC was was run by Communists and Leftist sympathizers, and the Elites followed along. As previously discussed, many Baby Boomers were raised by their parents following the book Baby and Child Care (1946) by Dr. Benjamin Spock:

    Spock was an activist in the New Left and anti Vietnam War movements during the 1960s and early 1970s. At the time, his books were criticized for propagating permissiveness and an expectation of instant gratification which allegedly led young people to join these movements—a charge that Spock denied.

    For us Boomers who were not raised by following Dr. Spock, we received the correct lessons.


    The Quote of the Day series is the easiest way to start a fun conversation on Ricochet. There are many open days on the November Signup Sheet. We even include tips for finding great quotes, so choose your favorite quote and sign up today!

    When I was in 8th grade a friend sold me a poster with a picture of Dr. Spock slapping a kid

    Hey, I actually READ Spock. He says that smacking a kid is not the worst thing, and may be better than taking it out on him verbally.

    • #10
    • October 19, 2019, at 2:20 PM PST
    • Like
  11. Mike Rapkoch Member

    Podkayne of Israel (View Comment):

    Mike Rapkoch (View Comment):

    Vectorman (View Comment):

    DonG (View Comment):
    The greatest error of the Boomers was that they failed to instill the lessons of their parents on their children. Freedom is not free. Prosperity takes a lot of work and sacrifice.

    While true on the surface, members of the previous “Greatest Generation” and their 1900’s Progressive parents set forth the seeds of destruction. In the 1930’s, Washington DC was was run by Communists and Leftist sympathizers, and the Elites followed along. As previously discussed, many Baby Boomers were raised by their parents following the book Baby and Child Care (1946) by Dr. Benjamin Spock:

    Spock was an activist in the New Left and anti Vietnam War movements during the 1960s and early 1970s. At the time, his books were criticized for propagating permissiveness and an expectation of instant gratification which allegedly led young people to join these movements—a charge that Spock denied.

    For us Boomers who were not raised by following Dr. Spock, we received the correct lessons.


    The Quote of the Day series is the easiest way to start a fun conversation on Ricochet. There are many open days on the November Signup Sheet. We even include tips for finding great quotes, so choose your favorite quote and sign up today!

    When I was in 8th grade a friend sold me a poster with a picture of Dr. Spock slapping a kid

    Hey, I actually READ Spock. He says that smacking a kid is not the worst thing, and may be better than taking it out on him verbally.

    Now wait. I yelled at my kids and they all turned out as normal as their dad. Oops…

    • #11
    • October 20, 2019, at 3:33 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  12. TallCon Coolidge

    Being a member of Gen X, I must say we’ve done nothing wrong, at least not on the big stage, since we haven’t yet had the chance to lead. 

    Um. Didn’t we have the Speaker of the House?

    I realize President Obama would be on the edge of either the tail end of the boomers or the leading edge of Gen X.

    So I might dispute “nothing”. (But I’m just an aging Gen Xer so get off of my lawn.)

    Oh and I think that whatever the generation that comes after the Millennials will also rail against the Boomers. The Boomers will not be gone until people stop listening to Frank Sinatra at Christmas. A Pyrrhic victory, I fear.

    • #12
    • October 20, 2019, at 9:23 AM PST
    • Like