Wednesday, 9 May 2018
At a time when western societies are in turmoil - wracked by liberal white guilt over the plight of third-world shitholes, even when some of their denizens come here illegally, with an avowed intent to subjugate suppress and destroy us; shoring up crumbling physical infrastructures built in an earlier age when honest toil was valued and common values really were common; hysterically rending garments about the fate of the planet and telling ourselves horror stories about apocalyptic climate events to follow – what better time could there possibly be to stoke up the generation wars?
Positing a yawning chasm between the baby boomers and millennials, the Resolution Foundation – an organisation which appears to exist purely to stoke up such perceptions – is suggesting reparation. In similar vein to proposals such as a Citizen’s Basic Income they are floating the idea of a ‘Citizen’s Inheritance’: yes, more free stuff. I’m guessing that somebody at Resolution must have been listening to the Corbyn/McDonnell circus because it will be funded from - you guessed it - inheritance tax. Yes, well, of course, inheritance tax is a moral tax, right? I mean, you’re dead so, hey, your stuff should be up for grabs.
But what do you actually want, millennials? We boomers had prospects based on the mores of our own day. We went to school and then to work and became part of the machine pushing Britain towards the current century. Many jobs were a drudge, but if you didn’t put in it was widely recognised that you couldn’t take out. Now though, you demand your somewhat nebulous ‘rights’ as well; long before you have done anything to earn them. There are jobs today which never existed back when we valued each other, rather than valuing whispy notions of equality and diversity and ‘social justice’. (Have you any idea how silly that all sounds to us?)
I’m of the later baby boomer generation, but I have no second house, no ‘gold-plated’ pension, etc. I am frugal and fair and I know the value of what I have worked to acquire. It’s not much but I earned every penny, and far from slowing down I’m working longer hours now than ever before – and this from a past of working a seven-day-week, ten-weeks-on cycle for years. But in doing that I reckon I’ve learned a few things. I know, for instance, that you can’t buy friendship. That charity doesn’t engender respect. And that there really is no substitute for doing the hard miles. I don’t begrudge anybody what they have, still less do I want to take it from them.
Every generation has its own challenges and opportunities and it is human nature to value less the challenges of others. If we want to use what we have accumulated through our graft to help upcoming generations it strikes me that the most valuable gift we have to bestow is knowledge. We should be preparing young people for the world of productive work, not the world of entitlement; what does a £10k gift teach in comparison to the real education of making choices and learning for yourself?
One day, son... one day.
So, for me at least, this headline grabbing soundbite is just that. A faintly ridiculous, virtue-signalling expression of yet more liberal guilt which, if it did anything at all would just objectify older people as piggy banks and deepen the divide. There’s nothing wrong with pondering the situation of young people, but why damn them with the soft bigotry of low expectations? Instead of teaching them to hold out their hands out we should be saying: “You want what I have? Good... off you go and work for it.”