Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Beck Glenn Beck


“Because the average Democrat is not the California hippie, Marxist, socialist, communist, progressive sticking flowers in the barrel, sitting around smoking dope all day during college and talking about how they can destroy the evil American empire. That's not what the average Democrat was doing or the average American. But that is what a lot of people in our government were doing in the 1960s. And I bet—what time it is now? A lot of them are still doing it.”
             - Glenn Beck

"I am become a name..."
              -Tennyson, from Ulysses

When he's not calling Obama the Anti-Christ, this Beck guy can be pretty amusing at times. He's now re-re-fighting the culture wars of the 1960s. (You know, first as tragedy, then as farce, and through Beck, low farce.) Whichever, it is certainly odd to see and hear oneself eulogized, lionized and vilified while still living.

Even those of us who were alive and kicking, joking and toking, laughing and scratching back then are sick of the culture wars. Why isn't he? Could be because he's mistaking his minority opinion for what the majority really thinks and does.

Just to review some facts:

Vietnam War - Opinion 

(Apparently quite a lot of Americans wanted to stick flowers in the barrels of guns, and older people, not Baby Boomers, led that opinion charge.)

In October of 1969, 58% of Gallup respondents said U.S. entry into the war was a mistake.

A Gallup poll in May of 1970 shows that 56% of the public believed that sending troops to Vietnam was a mistake, 61% of those over 50 expressed that belief compared to 49% of those between the ages of 21–29. (The so-called Greatest Generation was more anti-Vietnam War than the stereotyped "Hippie Generation.")

By May of 1971, the poll said that 72% of all Americans disagreed with the War in Vietnam.

Iraq - Opinion

Interestingly, the percentage of people in 2009 who thought the war in Iraq was a mistake was 58%. Not much changed in our view toward adventurist wars between '69 and '09, evidently. Over 65's were clearly against, Baby Boomers were - surprise - split, Gen Xers thought the war was a good idea and Millennials were overwhelmingly against.

GDP Growth 

Boomers started entering the workforce around 1965. At the time, per capita income was $3,664 per person. By 2009, as Boomers begin their retirement, the corresponding figure was $46,443. That is about 12-1/2 times larger.

In constant dollar terms, the per capita GDP went up by almost 40%, in spite of the fact that the US was not alone in its lock on world wealth creation as it was in 1965. We were joined along the way by some fierce competitors from around the world.

2009    $46,443

1965      $3,664


Among 18-to-24 year-olds 39.6% were enrolled in college as of 2008, according to census data. (This is up from 24% in 1973.)

Although the trend has been up for the last 37 years, the Millennials, largely the children of Baby Boomers, will end up being the most educated in American history.

Social Values

It is the children of Baby Boomers who began the long march (oops, I must be a Maoist!) away from serious drug abuse, teen pregnancy, and high crime rates. Gee... I wonder where they learned those values? 

Joe Biden

I don't know who Beck has in mind when he talks about people in the administration smoking weed. Most of them look sufficiently tense to me to prove they aren't inhaling. Now Joe Biden... hmm, we know he's been smoking SOMETHING! Maybe the President turned him on in Hawaii: We gon go get high of da pakalolo, braddah veep. You like try come?

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