Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Failure of the Boomer Generation

...of which I am one. Walter Russell Mead details our sins - and castigates both Left and Right for being selfish narcissists:

My generation has some real accomplishments under its belt, especially in the worlds of science and technology. And we made important progress in making American society a more open place for people and groups who were once excluded. In every field of American life, there are Boomers who have made and are making important, selfless contributions: in hospitals, in classrooms, in government, in business, in the military. You name it and we are there.

But at the level of public policy and moral leadership, as a generation we have largely failed. The Boomer Progressive Establishment in particular has been a huge disappointment to itself and to the country. The political class slumbered as the entitlement and pension crisis grew to ominous dimensions. Boomer financial leadership was selfish and shortsighted, by and large. Boomer CEOs accelerated the trend toward unlimited greed among corporate elites, and Boomer members of corporate boards sit by and let it happen. Boomer academics created a profoundly dysfunctional system that systemically shovels resources upward from students and adjuncts to overpaid administrators and professors who by and large have not, to say the least, done an outstanding job of transmitting the cultural heritage of the past to future generations. Boomer Hollywood execs created an amoral morass of sludge — and maybe I’m missing something, but nobody spends a lot of time talking about the towering cultural accomplishments of the world historical art geniuses of the Boomer years. Boomer greens enthusiastically bet their movement on the truly idiotic drive for a global carbon treaty; they are now grieving over their failure to make any measurable progress after decades spent and hundreds of millions of dollars thrown away. On the Boomer watch the American family and the American middle class entered major crises; by the time the Boomers have finished with it the health system will be an unaffordable and dysfunctional tangle — perhaps the most complicated, expensive and poorly designed such system in the history of the world.

All of this was done by a generation that never lost its confidence that it was smarter, better educated and more idealistic than its Depression-surviving, World War-winning, segregation-ending, prosperity-building parents. We didn’t need their stinking faith, their stinking morals, or their pathetically conformist codes of moral behavior.

Mead goes on to point out that the culture of narcissism and entitlement can be found on the left and the right. And since I always thought Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich are basically twins of different mothers (Mead only cites Clinton, which is an oversight) ..... well, those two politicians - brilliant, wonky, undisciplined, and whiny - basically sum up the Boomer generation.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Jennifer Rubin nails it

...about Herman Cain and the sexual assault allegations that have been revealed.

She goes on to talk about the upcoming CNBC debate, to be moderated by Maria Bartimoro. Here's the money graph:

The next debate, hosted by Maria Bartiromo of CNBC, is Wednesday. I’m sure she’ll ask about the candidates’ tax plans. She should grill Perry on his crony capitalism and views on property rights. She should ask Newt Gingrich about his leadership failures as speaker of the House. She needs to delve into Mitt Romney’s claims about job creation both as governor and at Bain Capital. And, yes, she should explore Cain’s liabilities as well, including lack of familiarity with China’s nuclear capability, his inability to answer questions about his own tax plan and, yes, a pattern (three is a pattern) of alleged sexual harassment and failure to be straightforward with the American people.

If Cain can’t hack it, he should go back to the book tour. If he wants to be the nominee, he needs to show voters he can take the heat. Otherwise, he’s got no business being in a presidential race.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ross Douthat is ON today...

...when he talks about the mistakes of the so-called meritocracy, using Jon Corzine's meltdown as an example. He could also be talking about Hank Paulson or Ben Bernanke or....Barack Obama.

The lesson is simple:

What you see in today’s Republican primary campaign is a reaction to exactly these kinds of follies — a revolt against the ruling class that our meritocracy has forged, and a search for outsiders with thinner résumés but better instincts.

But from Michele Bachmann to Herman Cain, the outsiders haven’t risen to the challenge. It will do America no good to replace the arrogant with the ignorant, the overconfident with the incompetent.

In place of reckless meritocrats, we don’t need feckless know-nothings. We need intelligent leaders with a sense of their own limits, experienced people whose lives have taught them caution. We still need the best and brightest, but we need them to have somehow learned humility along the way.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Link of the Day

From Investor's Daily:

The gap between rich and poor was most wide during the CLINTON Administration. Rich people got poorer during the Bush II Administration, and so far during the Obama Administration, the gap between rich and poor has widened, not shrunk.

Just goes to show that Mark Twain was right when he said: "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."

Quote of the Day

From Victor Davis Hanson at NRO: "a confident, successful society neither idolizes nor demonizes its rich, but instead believes that wealth can be created rather than taken from others. And it simply judges the better-off by the content of their characters, not the size of their wallets."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Link of the Day: from Noemie Emery at the Washington Examiner, about the mediocre candidates the Republicans have put up. The real talent is on the sidelines, and that's a pity.