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By Leonard Steinhorn


While Brokaw saw the World War II generation as the "greatest," Madison would doubtless have evaluated his own that way because of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. Lincoln probably would have nominated his generation, which abolished slavery and saved the Union. A hundred years from now, after decades of war between radical Islam and the West, many Americans may view our current generation as the "greatest," having in a nuclear age saved civilization from nihilists.

Thus, because differentiation between "great," "greater," and "greatest" depends on the evaluator’s values, it is little more than a merchandising gimmick to bestow these titles on an entire generation. Indeed, because a "generation" is composed of literally countless individuals, each having their own values, "great, greater, and greatest generation" anointment is even more useless, let alone presumptuous.

A quintessential example of this folly is Leonard Steinhorn’s The Greater Generation, which not only so anoints the "Baby Boomer" generation (those born between the mid-1940s and early 1960s, making them today between 60 and 44 years old), and which not only attempts to defend their so-called "legacy," but which also proudly hails that legacy as having "fought a great [!] cultural war to expand and advance liberty."

Unfortunately, the cultural war for liberty that Boomers are supposed to have fought has left far more casualties than victors. Let’s examine just three fundamental categories of American life.

During the last thirty years, the Boomers have succeeded in destroying an institution that for millennia constituted a bulwark against societal/cultural anarchy: the family. The "legacy" of the Boomer’s anti-family values, and their endorsement of the welfare/entitlement state, bequeathed an overabundance of divorce-on-demand, latchkey children, teenage sex, youth violence, unwed mothers. Boomer values have left us uninhibited, irresponsible parents, and their children as beneficiaries of "liberation" from traditional family values.

A large number of Boomer cultural authorities claim their generation as the real patriots. They proudly claim responsibility for pulling the United States out of Vietnam, and are now attempting the same coup against our effort in Iraq. This preening is contemptible. The Boomers conveniently forget that when many of them caused Congress to defund our South Vietnamese allies in 1975, the gates of hell opened not only to Saigon and the rest of South Vietnam, but to all of Southeast Asia, swallowing literally millions of innocent Vietnamese and Cambodians into horrific gulags and mass graves. Today’s Boomers also conveniently forget that our war in Iraq, costly in blood and treasure, has freed tens of millions of innocent Muslims, may well liberate countless more, and is the front line in our war against Islamofascism.

Finally, in perhaps the most perverse claim of all, many Boomers claim responsibility for the civil rights advances of the last three decades. But they conveniently forget that in the early days of the civil rights movement, most boomers couldn’t even vote, let alone did they have the political power to enact any legislation in general or the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act in particular. Worse, they claim as another "legacy" decades of affirmative action, which has bequeathed racial animosities second only to the racism of past years.

The "greater generation"?

Only if one considers destruction of the American family, surrender to our nation’s enemies, and fostering racial strife to be achievements of which one can be proud.