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A generation’s passing

Tom Hayden, one of the founders of the Students for a Democratic Society in the 1960s, is dead. Some will be familar with the SDS in connection with Bill Ayers.

Hayden may also be known to some people as the ex-husband of Jane Fonda.

Now, just for those who keep track of these things (namely the ‘boomer-haters, who are cheering on the deaths of their favorite villains) Hayden was born in 1939. Do the math. Or to make it easy, he was a member of the ‘Silent Generation‘, the one before the hated baby-boomers, who were born beginning a year after WWII ended. From what I remember reading, that generation was the ‘don’t rock the boat’ generation, a sort of go-along-to-get-along group of people. This source credits that generation with giving America ‘Civil Rights’, and it is a fact that the Civil Rights coup took place well before the boomers were out of grade school.

And speaking of the Sixties and the influential figures of that era, many of them were not political activists as such. For instance Bob Dylan, born Bob Zimmerman, or (((Bob Zimmerman))), as if anyone does not know, just won a Nobel Prize in literature of all things. Whatever. I confess I listened to Dylan when I was young, although from the first his song lyrics seemed opaque and excessively arty, but then in the Sixties ‘folk’ music was all about messages and social causes and protest; it was not meant to be just music to dance to or to express teen-age angst, like rock ‘n roll.

Dylan was for obvious reasons a hero to the left in the 60s and on into the 70s and even the 80s. Somewhere along the line he professed to be a born-again Christian, but in time that passed and he was reported to be involved in the Lubavitch sect of orthodox Judaism. Who knows what his beliefs are; he seems truly to have no fixed beliefs. It is odd that among many ‘traditionalist’ conservatives he is revered; why, I don’t get. Tastes vary.

Whatever he is or was, Christian, Jewish, ‘progressive’, conservative, he was not a baby-boomer, though to many people he will likely always be a symbol of that generation, rightly or wrongly.He was also a ‘Silent Generation’ member like Hayden. His politically-tinged songs, often with themes of the downtrodden, minorities, social justice, etc., did more to advance those causes, in my opinion, than did the work of the political activists like Hayden and the SDS, who were on the fringe.

It is odd that many figures on the left, or who spearheaded the social upheavals that gave birth to the counterculture, were members of older generations. An example: Timothy Leary, the LSD guru and pioneer, the ‘turn on, tune in, drop out’ guy, was born in 1920.  1920! He was a ‘Greatest Generation’ member — and possible government agent, according to the link just above.

Does it matter, this categorizing of people by their year of birth, or by an arbitrary generational label? It certainly matters to a lot of younger people, who are eager to apportion blame for all that is wrong in today’s world.

We live in a world which forbids us to notice obvious patterns, or to make sweeping generalizations. That’s bad, for reasons which are self-evident. We are not to notice race or ethnicity or color, and now we are told that our sex, determined at conception, is not to be defined; we are to pretend there are no patterns. But there is such a thing as making overly sweeping judgements based on something as vague as generational categories, which are, after all, arbitrarily defined

But whoever is responsible for what (going back to Adam and Eve, if you want to be thorough about this blame-fixing), what’s done is done. And as I’ve repeatedly pointed out, during this election season, the older generations are less likely to vote Democrat and liberal in general than are each of the successive generations. Those facts need to be noticed and taken to heart, rather than be ignored as lefties are wont to do.

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One thought on “A generation’s passing

  1. I can’t say I ever gave much thought to Tom Hayden’s specific “generation” per his birth year. What I’ve never forgotten is that, at his son’s marriage to a Negress, he toasted them for helping to bring about that which he most desired – the disappearance of the White race.

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