My Generation?

27 09 2009

I’ve often contemplated the subject of hypocrisy on this blog but I want to veer off to something that is not quite hypocrisy but something not far from it.

I’ve recently been browsing an article on TimesOnline where the writer was considering the angry younger generation. He quoted a young man who wrote into the Guardian last week (sorry about quoting a quote that quoted…..) and who asked, “How is it that your generation feels it can continue to shaft my generation? …. I am 23  and have many friends who are unemployed due to the economic crisis caused by your generation.” Three times he spoke of “your generation.”

Now I realise that this is an ‘angry young man’ but this generalising through careless language and even more careless thinking does him “and his generation” no favours! Where does this crazy idea that a ‘generation’ is responsible for the woes of our society come from? I am not a banker and I am not a politician. I am a minor social commentator and over the past few years warned on blogs that if ‘society’ continued as it was, we would be in serious trouble.  No, I am not up to my neck in debt and no I am not a rampant materialist who purposefully seeks to use up the resources of the earth.

Now there is no doubt that I do use up the earth’s resources – as does the young writer – because the retail industry is pouring out goods using up resources regardless of whether I buy them or not. Moreover I have not been part of this present government or previous ones that have ploughed this country into the morass that it is in. We do seem to be suffering from deja-vu as this government takes a pounding in ways similar to the Conservative governments before them.  I have no say over the way our government leads us and leads the economy – don’t tell me I can vote them out, I will if everyone else does as well. My one vote does very little on its own. Most of us feel powerless. Democracy may be better than the alternatives, but it isn’t always all it is cracked up to be!

But where did this collective ‘generational guilt’ come from? It’s the generation below mine, if not two below mine, that caused the havoc of last year, a generation a lot nearer the 23 year old than me. But even so, the actual causes of the financial meltdown of last year was caused by people who probably numbered a few thousand, not the millions of us who now feel the brunt of it. It wasn’t any ‘generation’, it was greedy and negligent representatives of several generations.

Stop sounding so hard done-by please and stop blaming the many of us who feel adversely affected by what happened, in some cases far more than this young man who has still got years to redeem his situation. The older generations are stuck with it, if you really want to think about generational justice.

But now this is a faith blog so what does faith and the Bible have to say about this?  We’re all hypocrites, play-actors, and this angry young man is no different from the rest of us. His mask is just anger that he tries to pretend  is righteous. Sorry it is not.

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