Thursday, August 19, 2004

Baby boomers and the “New Class”

When it comes to having prejudices – Blaming the Other – it is better, I think, to always go wide rather than narrow when in doubt.

Thus I find myself in the unusual situation of generally agreeing (once again) with fellow oddball Jack Strocchi here (comment on August 18, 2004 at 5:27 PM), yet blanching at his terminology, and especially its implications.

Where Jack writes “New Class”, I would happily substitute “baby boomers” – although with the qualification/acknowledgement that many of the lead actors, especially in the economic revolution that started in the late 70s, were much older (a la Reagan and Thatcher). This fact doesn’t undermine boomer "ownership" of this revolution because, to the extent that boomers weren’t the prime beneficiary of it (a point John Quiggin has repeatedly emphasised, although I think the jury is still out on it), it clearly couldn’t have happened without the earlier (“1968”) cultural revolution having softened up institutional society.

At this point, Jack and I diverge. In terms of apportioning blame, I’m only interested in it for constructive, remedial reasons: i.e. “You [boomers] broke it [liberal society], so you fix it”. In contrast, Jack’s fixation on the “New Class” – a group necessarily much narrower and yet murkier than boomers at large – seems to be simply an open-ended process of identification and denunciation of the Other.

From there, is it a short trip to what seems to be Jack’s ideological home ground – websites like Steve Sailer and Gene Expression. The latter especially creeps me out for its casual racism and humourlessness (Sailer, in contrast seems to often have his tongue planted in cheek, as here). FWIW and to my surprise, there appears to be an (unnamed) author shared between Catallaxy Files and Gene Expression, judging by the latter’s blogroll.

Even more off the scale is re-making the “New Class”/boomers as "The Aquarian Conspiracy” (link via FX Holden). I very much doubt that Jack Strocchi would be a fellow traveller to this extreme, but I guess the point I’m trying to make is that intellectual unorthodoxy is more of a journey than a destination.

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