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'OK Boomer' What happened to Honor thy Father and Mother?
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There's a viral new generational insult, but what does it means and do the youth have a point?
OK Boomer is the latest viral generational insult. What does it mean, and why?
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The insult, "OK Boomer" has gone viral and is appearing everywhere. The insult is directed at members of the "baby boom" generation, born in the postwar years between 1946 and 1964. Members of the generation are collectively referred to as "boomers" for short. The insult is partly a reaction to the widespread use of the term, "millennial," to refer to people born in the 80's and 90's.
For some time, boomers have criticized the millennial generation for its supposed laziness and attitude of entitlement. Meanwhile, millennials are criticizing boomers for creating a world with shrinking economic opportunities and accelerating environmental decay. In other words, the problems faced by millennials have been created by the boomers who do not understand or appreciate that pulling yourself up by your bootstraps is much more difficult in the present world. While growing up, boomers enjoyed broad economic prosperity brought about by high marginal tax rates, labor union participation, and low tuition costs. Blue collar jobs paid enough for a person to buy a house and take vacations. Much of this is denied to the current generation.
Boomers commonly retort that they did not have easy experiences, pointing out that they served in war, started businesses without a safety net, and did much to provide their children with everything they wanted. To them, the younger generations are simply spoiled, lazy brats who lack work ethic.
In reality, little of this is true. Productivity continues to grow, despite shrinking wages, inflation, and the fact that the United States does not require paid maternity leave, paid vacation time, or universal healthcare. These are standard policies in almost all other western nations. This is the reason why Wall Street continues to grow and expand at a record pace. The younger generations are being worked and squeezed harder than any generation in a century. The data itself reveals this, but somehow the boomer generation dismisses the data. To accept the data as true would imply they themselves are at some degree of fault, for creating the political and economic conditions in which the youth suffer. It's easier to call them lazy, in spite of the data.
The youth are not lazy. They are more productive than ever. Yet, wages remain flat thanks to low marginal tax rates at the top and corporate influence over politics which shifts burdens onto small business, the middle class and the poor.
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In response to boomers telling millennials and others they just need to work harder and save more, the youth reply, "OK Boomer." But is this okay?
Absolutely not. It's disrespectful, dismissive, and a violation of the Fourth Commandment. It is sinful.
This does not excuse the conditions created for the youth. The elder generation will have to answer for that as well. But two wrongs do not make a right.
The boomer generation has worked quite hard. They have started businesses and struggle to keep those businesses afloat and their workers employed and paid. Others worked in shifts, picking up overtime where they could to provide for the same youth who are thanking them with insults. They deserve credit for their achievements, which we tend to take for granted.
The problem with the insults of "millennial" and "OK Boomer" is they are fallacies, errors in logical thinking. Specifically they are hasty generalizations. People are individuals, and it's a mistake to judge them by the lot.
There are plenty of hardworking people on both sides of the generational divide. And there are plenty of people who are lazy, self-entitled, and snobbish. But we are not called to judge one another or to treat one another with contempt.
The young have an obligation to respect, care for, and honor their elders, no matter what sins they ascribe to them. No generation is blameless, and that's true for millennials as well.
As Catholics, we should refrain from generational insults such as "millennial" and "OK Boomer." At best, they are unbecoming. Instead, we should focus on what we can do as individuals to make the world a better place. Insults hinder, do not help, and they are contrary to our Christianity.
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