Baby Boomers are extremely aggressive creatures who don't take criticism very well. When confronted with the facts regarding their 'legacy', a certain physical reaction is first exhibited: a stiffening of posture, a haughty and self-righteous glare, a compression of the mandibles. This is usually followed by a rapid flapping of the lips, during which time words are pronounced. These words seem to compose arguments, excuses, and insults, but they are in fact devoid of any substance. To those who have had only limited exposure to the Boomers, this may be news, so the following is intended as a guide. The defensive mechanisms that the typical Boomer exhibits are just that; you shouldn't be taken in by them. Study these well and possibly memorize them, so that when you are out in the field, you can avoid being bitten by the Boomers... again.
1. Claiming ownership of the Civil Rights movement. This is perhaps the most popular Boomer defense mechanism. Things are much better now than in 1950, they claim, because of all their hard work on the Civil Rights trail. In the 1950s, they claim, America was very racist. Now, it is not. Now, the country has a black president (and we are responsible). So there. A typical example of this narrative can be found in a Washington Post opinion piece:
If most Greatest Generation Americans had their way, American life would have remained frozen in the '50s. They were not the agents of change that built the far more inclusive, tolerant, free and equal America we have today ... [The Boomers] almost immediately started breaking down the restrictive codes and repressive convictions of the Greatest Generation's era. From the moment pollsters began recording their attitudes in the 1960s, boomers stood diametrically opposed to their elders on the core issues ...
At first glance, this might seem plausible. And, when one thinks about the 1950s today, one inevitably thinks of inequality — thanks in large part to the Boomers themselves, who have for decades flooded the media with caricatures of their parents as "narrow-minded squares". But the fact is that the Civil Rights movement didn't begin with the Boomers — it ended with them. The "racist" 1950s were, in fact, when the Civil Rights movement began (pioneered by the preceding generation). During the 1960s, the Boomers simply appropriated it for themselves, transformed it into another narcissistic enterprise (cf. Al Sharpton),and used it to gain political power. Now, they exploit it as a rationalization for all the destruction they've caused. To be clear: the Baby Boomers couldn't care less about the real welfare of so-called minorities, and if you have any doubt about that, take a look at the current living conditions of any of those groups in any major urban center.
Anyone who believes that the Boomers advanced Civil Rights should answer this question: How did we move from Brown vs. the Board of Education (1954) to a 47% illiteracy rate for black Detroiters (2013)? Is this "progress"? Clearly, something has gone wrong in the interim.
In reality, the Boomers only achieved the repression of outward expressions of racism, at the cost of de facto censorship (political correctness). They now want to convince you that just because people are forbidden to use racist words in public, racism has largely been defeated.
2. Claiming victimhood and demanding pity. This is the tactic that the Boomers originally used on their parents, in order to guilt them into submission during the late 1960s. Today, it takes the form of an argument like this:
You think I'm happy about the way things are now? I'm about to lose my pension and I may lose my Social Security. We retirees are the real victims here, and we don't even have anyone to stand up for us...
Essentially, the claim is that the Boomers are the ultimate victims of social problems that seem to directly affect other groups (e.g. student debt). It's an attempt to shift public pity from the real victims to themselves (the original creators of the problems). In extreme cases, they will even claim they are being oppressed. Because the elderly are routinely victimized today, it is sometimes easy to mistake the Boomers as victims too. However, anyone with any knowledge of recent history can immediately recognize the real cause of Boomer "problems" (and why they seem more like a form of justice than an injustice). So I won't go into a detailed explanation here. Suffice it to say that Boomer benefits are in jeopardy because the institutions intended to provide them have already been eviscerated by the Boomers.
3. Blaming their children and/or their dead parents. In the 1960s, the Boomers were wont to blame all "social ills" on their parents. This trend has persisted to some degree, but now it is more common to hear Boomers blame their own children. For instance: "It is the kids who are responsible for Obama. They chose to be ignorant, they decided they didn't want to learn to read or understand basic math." This argument on its face tells you all you need to know about the Boomers. The idea that a group of adults would try to blame their problems on the children they were responsible for raising beggars belief. But it does, however, eloquently express the Boomer understanding of "responsibility" — they are, and have always been, responsible for no one else and nothing, other than a very narrow conception of themselves. In fact, you are the only person who can ever be responsible — to them.
When confronted with problems that children clearly couldn't be responsible for (like pollution or international warmongering),they switch back to blaming their (long dead) parents. This argument is so tenuous that it usually borders on conspiracy theory. "We tried to improve this country, but somehow, the worldview of my evil capitalist and racist parents still wins victories against us." Often, more specific forms of this argument involve blaming cultural phenomena that haven't existed in any substantial form for decades. "The KKK is responsible for Obama's failure." Or: "It's the Republican fatcats who own the media and big business." These scapegoats, which they associate with their parents' generation, are brought back from the dead to be beaten as straw men, in an attempt to prevent scrunity of their own affairs.
4. False Moralizing. This is related to (2) in that it involves claiming victimhood, but here there is an added emphasis on the moral character of others. When confronted with the fact that a certain party can't live up to a corrupt and invalid obligation crafted by a Boomer, the Boomer appeals to morality — a morality he doesn't believe in and has no knowledge of. "But you are obliged to pay me that $120K in student loans for your bachelor's degree. Never mind that the lending system was a total scam and that your employers are only offereing you an unpaid internship... It's your duty to honor your obligations." Or: "The people of this country promised me my Social Security. Seriously, you guys promised you would pay me. I don't care what kind of financial situation everyone is in: breaking a promise is a moral evil." Because responsible people often feel guilty about not being able live up to an obligation, this kind of moralizing is sometimes successful. But let it be known: you owe these people nothing. NOTHING. As soon as it is revealed that one party to an agreement is perpetrating a fraud or is a con-artist, the contract is automatically annulled. And there can be no valid contract that results in the destruction of one of the two parties. "I'm sorry, but you're going to have to sell yourself into slavery... you promised to pay for my retirement. So buck up and do the right thing..." As a general rule, you should always stop listening whenever a Boomer starts lecturing about morality or about "right and wrong".
5. Claiming parental authority and demanding respect on that basis. Baby Boomers often have such little respect for younger people, that when confronted with criticism by a younger person, they simply refuse to listen on the grounds of the age difference. "I'm older than you, I know better. Your argument, however valid, means nothing because I'm one of your elders and your elders are always right. You'll do as you're told." An archetypal example of this is David Brooks' fatherly dressing-down of Edward Snowden in one of his boilerplate NYT opinion pieces. This argument is usually a last resort, when all else has failed, or when the Boomer has become exhausted. And it's inherently weak: of course, the truth or falsehood of a statement has absolutely nothing to do with the age of the person making it. Or at least, that was the case before the Boomers started writing the rules.
6. Claiming to be the victim of a "blame game". (For a good example, see the comment by "Bob" below). It's pointless to blame us, the Boomers argue, because "we're all in this together." This is another way of saying: we're not letting young people off the hook, or even willing to admit any responsibility — instead, we'll use a popular cliche from contemporary politics as a distraction. A variation of this argument sometimes appears: "You can't blame an entire generation." To which the proper response is: "Of course, that's why you can't hold an entire generation of Millennials responsible for your profligacy..."
7. Blaming Immigrants, when they should be blaming our Boomer-crafted "immigration policies".
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Those are the current top defenses. But Baby Boomers, like viruses, have shown a tendency to adapt in hostile environments. So these might change, or additions might have to be made in the near future. We'll keep you updated.
And if you think we've missed any, let us know in the comments. We'll be happy to add them — for the sake of the safety and security of the Homeland.