Sunday, December 28, 2014

Best / Worst Generations

It has become common to refer to the World War II generation as the 'greatest generation.' I was reading the always interesting Anne Coulter where she refers to the Baby Boomers as the 'worst generation.' I love the memes that are out now that feature the silver-haired couple with lines about them living the good life while the next generation get nothing. Yes, it's hard for conservative Christians to feel positive about Baby-Boomers, who gave us the sexual revolution and deconstructed every sacred institution along the way.

One point I will make though: how can a generation be the greatest that failed so miserable at the one thing necessary, that is, raising their children properly? No, it's simplistic to reduce all of this to such generalized terms, but my point remains, how can you be great if you failed at parenting?

It's hard for me to hear anything about World War II without welling-up. It's just how I was raised: my grandfather's generation. These were the heroes of Thermopylae...

But the war did something to them, I think. I saw it first with regard to theology. While studying I noticed that 'liberalism' was the almost universal product of people who experienced that war: people like Rahner and Haring. These people were altogether unable to deal in absolutes. Why? Because absolutes get people killed.

So too that generation's parenting? Yes, absolutes are destructive, they seemed convinced. What's the end result? Chaos and suffering. Traditions are meant to protect people, not enslave them, but that was how they were interpreted by Baby Boomers and their wearied parents.

Since my Protestant mother has been visiting us, we had the occasion to introduce her to the whole Latin Mass versus Norvus Ordo battle in the Church today. She naturally assumed it was a generational thing (which it is), but with the elders being the fans of the Latin Mass. Quite the contrary, we told her. Most of the people who "miss good liturgy," never knew it.

The Latin Mass is one little example of our desire to have traditions, the traditions which the 'Greatest Generation' and their children took away from us. I don't blame Latin Massies. I have greater sympathy for them now than I ever have.

And I hate to make this comparison, but the radicalization of Islam is another example of a desire to be a part of something greater, something that objectively matters, something that cannot be relativized and deconstructed away, something with meaning. Even the completely inexplicable protests about racism in the US now are a part of this. These people need to be a part of something. So too FEMEN. In a world of almost universal abortion, FEMEN seems to me to have come out of nowhere. All of the above people want to be a part of something so badly that they have thrown moderation away. People need the world to be warming: to hell with actual statistical evidence. They need homosexuals to be a healthy, persecuted group of innocents, so their lives too can mean as much as those of the 1960s civil rights activists.

But can law give meaning? Can causes provide real meaning? Is meaning ever produced in a courtroom or in a legislature?

No, only God can provide meaning. He is the only on from whom we can ever expect an answer: why am I alive, how does my life have meaning? It has been well-observed that in the absence of God ideologies thrive. The mind abhors a vacuum. In the stead of the 'no religion' of John Lenin comes totalitarianism and anti-human ideologies.

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