How international gerontocracy prevents climate change tackling [part 1]:
Millennials and zoomers oppose boomers fiercely on the vast landscapes of The Internet, and the generation gap was never so big.
Me, (barely) the Jeanne d’Arc of the les milléniaux: end the boomtatership! Read why. In this part: boomers’ place in the food chain.
What happened? Meet the boomas.
Generations are quite a questionable construction, but as Wikipedia defines:
Baby boomers are the demographic cohort following the Silent Generation and preceding Generation X. The generation is generally defined as people born from 1946 to 1964, during the post–World War II baby boom[…] Baby boomers are often parents of late Gen Xers and Millennials.
And here is the generation map from the same wiki article:
Long story short: the war was over, the economy was prospering, people were happy and had much sex, resulting in many babies being born. Now the years have passed, and those babies have grown old.
Oppalens, you earn everything!
Due to technology's progress and the general increase of labor productivity, the overall amount of value available to the boomers' generation was immense.
The European countries leaning toward the socialist political course have effectively redistributed the wealth among the generations, making that value comparably easily available to all society members. Still, the middle class shrinks as millennials approach their mid-age, signalizing the generations' increasing inequality. Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and Cyprus face the complications caused by the recent financial crisis with astonishingly high youth unemployment.
The US's housing bubble, which was the major reason for the 2007–2010’s recession, had not only financial nature. As social inequality in the US surges, the millennials are simultaneously pushed to follow the “American dream.”
The boomers compare their own experiences of the youth to their children, failing to understand that they are trapped in the cognitive bias and failing to see the inapplicability of it to the modern world. The common criticism towards the younger generations is concentrated around its inability to build up the wealth the boomers had at the same age, which misses the fact that that has become twice as hard.
This circumstance is a result of their own action.
The gerontocratic plug
After decades of technological progress, power and money were continuously concentrating in the hands of a single generation nearing their 70s now. That generation keeps the younger generations away from decision-making, which is urgently necessary for tackling the climate crisis.
Gerontocracy has become a real problem in American politics. Both presidential election candidates of 2020 are in their 70s: Biden is 78, and Trump is 74. The second candidate of the Democratic Party, Bernie Sanders, is 79 years old. The average age of the congressional representatives is 59 years old. And there is no reason to think that America doesn’t have young politicians, talented and ambitious enough to represent the progressive ideas on the main stages of American democracy. This is plain and simple hazing and gatekeeping.
In comparison, German Chancellor Angela Merkel celebrates her 15th anniversary in her position at the age of 66 years. This is probably going to be her last legislation period as a chancellor. Why doesn’t it happen in America?
The 90s were turbulent times for Germany. The country had to merge the political streams of its both capitalist and ex-communist parts, resulting in the pluralism of opinions so important for the liveliness of democracy. There was no platform for creating the clique, as mammoths of German politics clashed over the normalizing people’s lives and equalizing lifestyle all across the country. Besides that, United Europe is the project of Helmut Kohl and Angela Merkel as his protégé.
Unlike the US. The bipartisan political system of the US polarizes society. What the GOP does, the Democrats don’t, leaving no place for shades of gray. The bipolar nature of the American political landscape pushed the population to the extremes, making even moderate citizens vote for the conservative party because of the missing alternative in the middle. Easily said, even if the boomers don’t want to deny climate change or deny its importance completely, the liberal agenda is too progressive for them.
The scars of the cold war and the ghost of the communist enemy, dead for so many years, don’t let American politics establish minimal social security mechanisms. The mechanisms proved working in other countries get stigmatized as “communist” by the boomers, sabotaging the progress towards a more justiciable society. Universal health care, free education for all, and the already existing huge student dept reduce the vertical mobility of the younger generations, erasing the chances for the youth to influence the country's political course. The negative connotation of the “communist” stigma and American politics' bipolar nature make the reforming practically impossible.
On the other side, Trump showed up on the scene and offered “easy solutions.” He said exactly what boomers wanted to hear, downplaying the climate change and talking the sense of guilt small. He opposed the country's political elite for the last decades and addressed those who have felt left alone with their struggle. He made it plain and simple, unlike the progressive left's long and depressive speeches, full of wicked sentences and doomsday predictions. Trump gave them the validation they needed so much.
Under Trump’s Administration, America has left the Paris Agreement, jeopardizing the global initiative to tackle climate change and wasting the most valuable resource we have — time. How much of that can be undone is yet to see.
Alzheimer? Always forget what that means…
Besides the gatekeeping, there is one obvious problem with boomers being on the top of the political pyramid: intelligence. There is plenty of evidence that fluid intelligence declines with age. Why is it important?
Psychologists divide general intelligence into fluid and crystallized intelligence:
Fluid intelligence is the ability to solve novel reasoning problems and is correlated with a number of important skills such as comprehension, problem solving, and learning. Crystallized intelligence, on the other hand, involves the ability to deduce secondary relational abstractions by applying previously learned primary relational abstractions
Ergo: the older people get, the less ability they have to learn new skills and to understand the rapidly changing world. Instead, they try to project the previous knowledge and find the solution based on the ones they have experienced before. Decreased analytic thinking abilities were proven to be linked to the conspiracy theories believing. Climate change denial is the most dangerous conspiracy theory out there, so genuinely believed by the boomers.
The boomers are co-responsible for the climate crisis, knowingly ignoring the evidence that carbon emission causes global warming. That is the experience they want to base their solutions on. Do we let the wolf pasture the sheep?
We could have started taking measures decades ago, but it didn’t happen. Why? Spoiler: people prefer not to bother. At least not to bother about somebody else.