Elderly baby boomers - the selfish, arrogant bane of civilization. http://www.sfweekly.com/2007-05-02/news/boomtastrophe/ Boomtastrophe "Baby Boomers hoped to die before they got old. They lied. And now theyâre dragging the whole country down." By Martin Kuz Published: May 2, 2007 "...Since last year, when the oldest among them started turning 60, Boomerganda has blitzed the country. A mix of self-promotion and historical fantasy, this pro-Boomer hype recasts them as The Greater Generation, to borrow the humble title of a recent book touted as a "defense of the Baby Boom legacy." On TV and Web sites, in news articles and windy tomes, generational shills aver that the nation rode the Boomer rebellion into an enlightened age, freed at last from the tyranny of Pat Boone. But as sure as Woodstock's free love gave way to Altamont's bloodshed, the promise of Boomers succumbed long ago to egotism. Beneath the middle-class nostalgia lies an American dystopia of their making, a state of disgrace now laid bare by social critics and the online hordes. Boomers traded tree-hugging for money-grubbing and unraveled the social welfare net. Their refusal to reform Social Security and Medicare threatens to bankrupt federal coffers, while their talk of "reinventing" retirement conceals the bleak fact that almost half of them can't afford to quit working, thanks to deficient savings. Their budget woes derive, in part, from checkbook parenting, an indulgent manner of child-rearing that has yielded a cultural anomaly once thought impossible â a generation of young adults more narcissistic than Boomers. Not that Mom and Dad would utter a mea culpa for their blunders, either as parents or as members of the generation that popularized the Smothers brothers, bad credit, and wife-swapping. After all, it's the Boomer century. We just curse at it. State Senate leader Don Perata proposed a ballot initiative last month demanding removal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Explaining his rationale, the Oakland Democrat evoked the blood spilled by his generation during an earlier war of choice. "A lot of us Baby Boomers, we've been here before," he said at a press conference. "We lost our moral center in this country because of what happened in Vietnam. I'll be damned if I'm going to let that happen again." Memo to Sen. Perata: Vietnam started happening again four years ago, and this time, the Texan in Chief sending young Americans to die hails from your age bracket. Yet as Boomers voice faint concern about the widening economic divide â everything's fabulous on our side, thanks â they persist in lionizing their role in the civil rights crusade. "They don't like to admit hypocrisy," says Males, who's writing a book titled Boomergeddon, an analysis of his generation's influence on America. "They like to think, 'We are good, we are just, we do almost no wrong.'" The tendency of Boomers to claim the moral high ground as their private domain explains the popular perception that they alone agitated for civil rights. In fact, their parents and grandparents, the Silent and G.I. generations maligned by Boomers as social conformists, supplied the movement with brigades of foot soldiers and its most visible leaders â Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Stokley Carmichael, and Rosa Parks, among others. "Boomers take the credit, but the Silent Generation should get it for civil rights," says social historian and author William Strauss, an expert in generational studies. "What the Boomers were doing was starting riots." ...Boomer apathy toward the economic underclass parallels their disregard for the green movement, one more cause they deserted in favor of that other kind of green. Starting in the mid-'80s, seduced by greed's goodness, hippies "evolved" into yuppies and cashed in with most everyone else in their generation. Soon enough, Boomers were driving Ford Explorers and living in McMansions, their memories of VW vans and communes dissolving like bong residue. Boomers piously insist that conservation remains high on their to-do list. After all, they haul their recyclables to the curb each week and volunteer to clean up riverbanks every Earth Day. They saw An Inconvenient Truth (Al Gore is one of theirs, don't you know). Some sat in a Prius once. Over on the "Killing Earth" side of the ledger, fully one-quarter of Boomers own a second home, and roughly half of the SUVs and RVs on the road belong to them. To this generation, conservation means buying a smaller Cessna. ...The two Boomer presidents may stand on opposite sides of their generation's undying cultural war, but their shared arrogance bridges the gorge. "Bush is a feckless Boomer who thinks he's never made a mistake," says Martin Nolan, a San Francisco author and social historian. "And Bill and Hillary had that attitude of 'Aren't you lucky to have voted for us?'" ..."Boomers have this thing where they say, "We gotta hate kids at the same time we try to behave like them,'" Males says. He points out that the crime rate among people age 25 and under has dropped in most major categories in recent years. "But Boomers just say, 'I feel like kids today are worse.' They knock down younger generations so they can feel good about themselves." Disparage your parents, demonize your kids. Greater Generation, indeed. ...More than other generations, Boomers feel compelled to inflate their legacy, a collective chest-thumping that belies their insecurity about what they wrought. They want to believe that without their daring to light up, get laid, and pass out, America would still wallow in the benighted '50s. The Age of Aquarius transformed history and transcended time ... in their own mind. But as Males says, "A lot of this celebrating of the past seems like more than nostalgia. It's like trying to turn the past into some super-morally conscious era, and using that to condemn subsequent generations." Boomers were blessed to be born into a country of bountiful prosperity, when opportunity presented low-hanging fruit. With their numbers, they couldn't help change America. Yet they have handed down a divided, divisive culture that holds far less promise than the one they inherited, selling their ideals for a summer home in the Hamptons. Not that they would utter a mea culpa. As noted Boomer and Spinal Tap frontman David St. Hubbins once observed, "I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation." For too long, Boomers have lived trapped inside their own hallucination. "