The one group we can teach our children to loathe

Scott Gilmore on why baby boomers are the most destructive generation in history

(Robert Deutschman/Getty Images)

(Robert Deutschman/Getty Images)

I’ve taught my young children that all races and creeds are equal. I’ve tried hard to instill in them a profound sense of empathy, to help them understand that regardless of how someone looks or talks, they deserve to be heard. And, I’ve tried, with varying degrees of success, to practice what I preach—to give them a role model who is accepting and compassionate.

I have been equally clear with my children that there is one exception to the golden rule, that there is one group of people who deserve to be loathed and for whom bigotry is not only acceptable, it’s necessary. I am talking, of course, about baby boomers.

I imagine a shudder just went down your spine. You’re not alone. We all feel that way. I find it hard to understand how we’ve managed to stomach them for as long as we have. Surely, by now, we could have safely moved them into their own homeland, perhaps somewhere in the swamps around Orlando or in the desert? But no. They still walk among us. Sometimes, tolerance can go too far.

Has there ever been a more cynical, hypocritical, and destructive generation? It’s hard to know where to begin. How about with the fact that they are such utterly self-absorbed asses? There has never been a generation so fixated on itself. Right from the moment they bought their first Beach Boys album, they’ve being telling everyone in earshot how unique and important they are, these vanguards of a new century.

The audacity of this narcissism is awesome to behold. These are the sons and daughters of veterans of the Second World War, a generation of people who sacrificed everything and literally saved the world. They are even called the “Greatest Generation”! But the baby boomer response was, “Sure, but we invented tie-dye and disco.”

They are surely the most destructive generation in history. Their cult of consumerism has left our climate in tatters. And, staying true to their hypocritical routes, they are the first to complain about a carbon tax. In fact, while they drove our national debt into the stratosphere, they can’t abide even the smallest tax. As Maclean’s recently reported, in Vancouver, millionaire boomers couldn’t even stomach a reduction of their $570 home owners grants. Their greed is mythical in its proportions. After having accumulated more wealth than any other generation ever, and poised to inherit billions more from their elderly parents, they are still refusing to retire, keeping other generations out of the workforce.

But their hypocrisy is surely their greatest crime. This is the generation that cut its teeth protesting civil rights and Vietnam, who never stops talking about the Summer of Love, then gave us Iraq, Afghanistan and Donald Trump. They know all of Jimi Hendrix’s guitar solos, but are twice as likely to oppose a mixed marriage. These are the people who built massive, bankrupting pensions and social safety nets to coddle their own aging butts, and then are the first to roll their eyes when millennials complain a bachelor’s degree now requires $50,000 of debt.

It’s long past time we grasped the nettle and did something about baby boomers. Now is the moment. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, someone who clearly recognizes the threat these horrible people pose, has been systematically eliminating Boomers from his cabinet. Quite rightly, he sent John McCallum and Stephane Dion to China and Germany respectively—as far away as they could go without a rocket. Trudeau’s hands are free; he can finally act.

But how? Trump’s new border restrictions will make it very difficult to ship them south. And, we can’t send them north to be set adrift on an ice floe—their carbon-spewing lifestyles have made that impossible. What’s left? I recommend we consider labour camps—somewhere they can put their 20th-century skills to work. They could repair typewriters, program old VCRs, or sell macramé plant holders. And all proceeds would be used to reduce the massive national debt they’ve left us, to replant the forests they paved over for box malls, and to purchase and bury all remaining Anne Murray records.

It’s simply not enough to teach our children to revile them. We must act now.


The one group we can teach our children to loathe

  1. Scott Gilmore: watch your back, sonny. Watch your back.

    • I am hoping that this article was written in style of CBC’s “This is That”….i.e. tongue in cheek, as alternative facts and as satire. If not, I say the following;

      Mr Gilmore is only with us today due to (and, in retrospect, the questionable judgement of) his baby boomer parents. I wonder what his parents think about his incoherent ramblings. Respectfully, I am sure they are great folks but I personally hope that they are no longer with us or living in a monastery, in order to spare them the embarrassment of their sons rants.

      FYI Mr Gilmore, baby boomers have managed to prevent a third World War…..which is more than the previous two generations can state. Despite the fact that the world is not at peace (and probably will never be), I would say that boomers have saved the planet (so far) from destruction. Lets hope Gilmores generation and successors can do the same!

      Despite his warped thoughts, baby boomers have carefully preserved his right to free speech, at least in in sufficient quantities to allow Gilmore to make a fool of himself in public. My personal recommendation would be to wash his mouth out with soap but he would say that would be very “boomer” of me. That said, the principles of truth and accountability appear to be foreign concepts to Gilmore!

      I defy Gilmore to unfavourably compare our current standard of living, our health care system and our social safety net (all advanced by boomers) to that enjoyed by any previous generation. Given the lack of financial and social responsibility shown by current (and clearly post-Boomer dominated) governments I would would be concerned that this high standard of life is not sustainable! If boomers can be faulted its that we spoiled Gilmores generation into believing these achievements are “rights” and that they will never have to work hard or plan for the benefits they have inherited.

      As to the environment, possibly his only semi-valid point, much of the damage began before boomers took the reins i.e. atomic/hydrogen bomb testing, unremediated mine sites, clear cut lumbering, coal fired power and heating plants. It was the boomer generation (once we assumed control) that started putting the brakes on these destructive situations and have learned and implemented much more effective current practices. If we knew then what we know now, progress would have been more rapid and effective. I would say to Gilmore that hindsite is 20-20 and would quote to him what a very wise and respected man said……“let he without sin cast the first stone”! Might I suggest that Gilmore flies in fuel guzzling aircraft, drives a CO2 emitting car and lives in a home that is larger than he actually needs! To say that environmental activism is solely the domain of Millennials and younger folks is self serving and just plain wrong.

      Importantly, I have to say that I would be concerned for the welfare of Gilmores kids if he thinks teaching his kids to loathe anyone or anything is a good thing! I hope that he actually teaches them that every generation has the responsibility to make life better for those who follow. I am completely comfortable in saying that boomers have done this job extraordinarily well and that Gilmores issues with our generation are smug, self righteous, inward looking and first world in nature.

      Finally to Macleans magazine…I thought you were better than to allow this kind of tripe to be published….shame on you! I definitely will never read another copy of your rag in print or on-line!

      • I whole heartedly agree with HAWKSIN 2015!!!

  2. I wasn’t especially happy in Viet-Nam, but because I was a medic and knew my job I saved dozens if not hundreds (I wasn’t counting) of lives: American, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Korean, Chinese, and one fellow who, I think, was Russian. I was raised in poverty on the farm. I worked double shifts and took loans (paid ’em all off) to put myself through university, and at 69 am still working.

    What’s your story, junior?

    • canada wasnt in vietnam

      • We were…..quietly.

  3. Ah. We’re supposed to instantly switch on the self-loathing. Like any good snowflake. I realize that thgis is an attempt at satire, but coming from Maclean’s, it’s hard to separate it from the other dross that isn’t an attempt at satire.

  4. Teehee…..we have had the good life……whatchagonnadoaboutit

  5. The generation that goes to sleep fretting about how global warming might make the world a little less hospitable in 100 years is complaining about the generation that went to sleep wondering if they would die in a thermonuclear war before morning? Compared to what the Boomers inherited from the “Greatest Generation,” you’ve got it good.

    The generation that doesn’t even consider the possibility that they or their children will be drafted into fighting a war somehow feels it’s their right to criticise the people that said enough was enough and made that happen? A generation that thinks nothing of mixed marriages, in every conceivable way, that thinks nothing of women astronauts, scientists, or leaders is, instead of being thankful for those that made it happen, complaining about student debt?

    The world is a lot better off now that it was. If you can’t see that then you are beyond ignorant, you’re wilfully blind. Maybe you should stop complaining and improve things as much as your parents did. If you made half the progress they did, there would be no more war, no famine, no genocide. At the very least, stop whining about not getting your fair share of the money.

    • Mr. English, as a baby boomer I am astonished to discover that we have done so much. The nuclear threat abated largely thanks to the efforts of politicians somewhat older than ourselves. Those of our generation have not been that successful in making the world safer or more peaceful. An exception may lie in the attempt of Barack Obama, not quite a baby boomer, to make a rapprochement with Iran — an effort which the new president, with the self-satisfied bluster of many of the boomers who elected him, is eager to unravel. The younger generation won’t be singing our praises, much; and yes, many are indeed concerned about levels of student debt that were inconceivable when we came of age.

  6. This is the typical mid-Winter facile article, an attempt at creating some fun with alternate factoids. Sure blame the boomers and next week they will blame the millenials and then generation X. It’s a rotation of who do we blame now. So tired of such articles, they serve no purpose and are pure drivel, this guy is a nut advocating killing millions and being published in MacLean’s. Well we live in the age of Trump and PM Selfie it says it all.

    • It’d actually be refreshing if someone remembered Gen X.

    • That is where you are wrong. This kind of thinking is very important in such things as tax policy as you need to look at the very generations and make sure that they are being supported evenly. For instance if one generation is taking on massive debt for school while another generation is getting exceptional retirement benefits then it needs to be corrected. The reason being if the generation that has all the debts and does not believe the benefits will be there in the future may change their outlook about working hard today for a fruitful retirement. Then the whole system would collapse.

      Now I do not know if this is the case but it needs to be discussed.

  7. Sounds like Gilmore is teaching his kids to hate their grandparents.

    The Boomers are the people who brought the human, civil & labour rights we enjoy and which have eroded over the past decades by some boomers….the ones who think, as he does, that the 1% should have everything. He advises clients to donate to large already well-funded charities and tells them not to donate to cause which affect people with low-numbers, such as ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease. People with ALS die, much more research is needed, so of course their numbers are small.
    Gilmore is a nasty man who thinks he is the genius in the room. Um, haven’t we seen that south of Canada?

    • So what you are saying is that they enjoyed the human civil and labor rights but now that they are older those things are not as necessary as ensuring their pensions are safe. After all the boomers have run the show until very recently.

  8. I’m 68 and still work every day to support myself as a potter so never thought about it, but guilty as charged. In addition to mindless excess in the past, I can easily imagine my cohort will continue to blow away any inheritances or advantage on ourselves till we are in our collective grave.

  9. The ‘Greatest Generation’ got us INTO the worst war the world has ever seen…so I’m not particularly grateful.

    • Actually Hitler got us into the worst war ever seen. Be grateful he was defeated by many brave Canadians.

  10. Obviously his wife, in her new job, is slowly corrupting his thinking. I recall reading articles buy this scribe that made sense.

  11. Look at grandma and grandpa kids, don’t you just hate them. Without them we wouldn’t be here to whine.

  12. Can I get my five minutes back. I was halfway expecting a pithy article with some wry humour. But then again I have never hung out with the Toni set sipping Chardonnay in Ottawa, so what could I possibly know? I do know I have paid my dues and worked 40+ years, and if that deserves vilification then so be it. If this was intended as satire then I would suggest Scott sign up for “Humour Writing 101”.

  13. I don’t know what to make of this article. Is he telling us that baby boomers are worse sinners than those born later? If so, he ought to look in the mirror. Baby boomers contributed to the well-being and growth of society as much as those born after them. Baby boomers have their faults as do everyone born later. Nobody is perfect. He should look at himself and stop being a hypocrite.

  14. Wow, what a great piece, I always find your writing an education, in perspective, thanks It wakens our staid thinking.

  15. You think they’re bad: what about their kids – the so-called “Me generation”? Oh, that would be you, Scott, wouldn’t it?

  16. Wow. Why don’t we just have ourselves a big hate-in on every other preceding generation too so we can all feel important and innovative and justified in feeling hard-done-by when we realize we inherited an imperfect world! One thing is for sure: if women – boomer or otherwise – had said with gilmore’s style of unmitigated condemnation “men are entirely responsible for the paternalistic, repressive, violent circumstances we’re living in; “we must teach our children to revile them”; let’s oust them from government, maybe place them in labor camps – just get rid off them – well then gilmore and his own self-righteous hatred might never have come to exist. I’m chilled to think that this is the ethos which is cultivated among the selfie circles (narcissist you say?) of Trudeau’s government (Isn’t gilmore married into that?) Truly good reason for the genuine liberal to do some hard thinking come election time.

    • We have been hearing these comments about men for the last 20 years.

  17. the comments here are sort of proving the point…

    • Bigotry in the extreme.

    • The essay itself proves the point: extremists use hate to recruit other haters to their bandwagon and feel entirely justified in their actions. Proactive criticism/helpful dialogue are to be expected in a healthy society. But virtue signalling, the blame game and stirring up animosities with divisive blah blah have become hallmarks of the neo “liberal” mindset. As husband of the Environment Minister, gilmore’s apparent inside knowledge of Trudeau’s feelings re a large swath of the population (instead of “deplorables”, Canada has “nettles”?) won’t go unnoticed. Looks like a Clinton effect there, considering also the pay to play rumbles etc. That’s how the world got Trump, after all, loathe as the dems are to admit it.

      • Hey I guess Scott did learn all that (blame, stirring up animosities etc) from many Aboriginals!! he is shameful

  18. “This is the generation that cut its teeth protesting civil rights and Vietnam, who never stops talking about the Summer of Love, then gave us Iraq, Afghanistan and Donald Trump.”

    Not ONE Canadian example in Canada’s national newsmagazine! Who has a good swift kick in the arse coming?

  19. Scott Gilmore — I AM a baby boomer and you have crossed the line of ignorance, stupidity and discrimination against a certain group. You obviously need a lesson in morals, manners, and respect for your elders and how you gen xer’s and millennials have rejected such things while becoming rude and classless!!! I suggest you watch your back and retract your article, even apologize for it and to baby boomers. You are not deserving of my respect!! Shame on you!!

  20. Satire is often a very effective tool, but this piece doesn’t meet the test of truly effective satire, in my opinion.

    Unfortunately some people might believe it.

  21. Scott Gilmore. Your divisive article is a dismal failure and shows not only true ignorance but also shows how unprofessional journalists can get their hateful rhetoric published. I am ashamed of you and Maclean’s. If this article is a” Satire” it is also a dismal failure! Demand a refund of any education expenses you have spent as it is obvious you learned nothing!

    • He’s very disappointed that some are taking it for satire. He says so himself on twitter.

  22. Hey a–hole! I worked hard to get an education, build a business, put two kids through university without any loans and passed the business on to my daughter, who is now putting her two kids through university without loans… let’s see if any of you whimpy assed journalists can do even half of that. Middle finger rises dramatically! Salute, jerk!

  23. Good fun, for sure. Permit me to be serious. Boomers are as easily stereotyped as any group but they are not monolithic. A good 40% have little money or are poor. As they age through their 70s and 80s, boomers will personally have to navigate a health system that is being stretched to the limit, not something which they look forward to. And the process of maturing, discovering your soul and deepening your personal relationships becomes more urgent for all of us in the latter half of life. My own experience as a boomer is that I seem to be more tolerant but I also have less patience with bullshit.

  24. In the last decade, I have read every single edition of Macleans front to back (well, except most of the articles about the US, so I should say I have read maybe a third of each edition) and this is by far the best piece written yet. As I watch Baby Boomers actively, painstakingly and intentionally destroy all of the elements in our society that made raising their own children possible, to suit their own needs. Everything was less expensive, restrictive, rules-based, litigious and an overall pain-in-the-ass than it is now. In their obnoxiously selfish ways they have changed every policy to serve their own interests, making raising a family of any size where I live on the West Coast now virtually impossible. And they couldn’t care less. They will even argue otherwise saying it was tougher for them as interest rates were way higher. I realize that it must have been a difficult few weeks when they went over 20%, but I think seeing their house values raise ten, twenty or thirty times since they first bought them, on the backs of their children, has made up for that singular challenge. I’m hoping they will soon all take their $200,000 RVs and emigrate to their beloved Unites States and we can somehow turn this country back into a place that understands the imperative and value of the next generation.

  25. I believe what offended me most about this article is that it borders on hate of a particular group. If we were to use the human rights code this would be considered discrimination. Shame on you…

  26. Dear Scottie – Intersting scribble drival. God speed…your quest to change the world for the better…unlike “the failed attempt” of your parents and their (my) generation. Hopefully, you’ll be spared the indignity of your kids teaching their children, to loath you. Let me know how it all turns out.

  27. Racism, sexism, ageism… what do all of these things have in common? Hatred. The above rant could only have been crafted by a self-indulgent person who has led a privileged life. The proverbial pot calling the kettle black.

    FYI… We Boomers did not create ourselves… our parents did. We arose out of the ashes of WWII, created by parents reeling from the effects of war and trying to reconstruct a life for themselves and their families.

    Approximately 1M Canadians took part in the war effort, many women working alongside men, whether in the military or providing labour for the war industry. Some returned to their more traditional roles afterwards while others hung up their aprons and embarked on careers. Thus began the slow shift in dynamics between men and women.

    This was a time of adjustment for everyone. With the Great Depression and WWII under their belts, our parents felt lucky just to be alive. They were ready for a new beginning and better life – not only for themselves but their children. The burgeoning middle class changed the world as it wielded an increasing amount of influence as it gained affluence.

    As Boomers, we came of age at a time when our country was struggling with differing views on politics, war, religion and social justice. We were the last generation of children who were meant to be seen and not heard.

    After relatively obedient childhoods, many of us wiped the stardust from our eyes and rebelled against the Establishment – a generation that brought us Hiroshima and Nagasaki and that brought about the death of 50-80M mostly innocent people.

    The validity of war in our modern ‘enlightened’ world was seriously questioned. Some of us defied the authority of those who would lead youth to battle like lambs to the slaughter, as in the case of the Korean and Vietnam wars, with the threat of a Cold war always hovering in the background. In this way, the generational battle lines were drawn.

    However, our protests were relatively peaceful ones – whether anti-war, anti-nuclear testing or just challenging the status quo by burning our bras. “Make Love not War” became our motto as (with the advent of birth control), women were at last free to express their sexuality and gain some control over their own bodies.

    Some of us became acquainted with Mary Jane and Lucy along the way. Our generation changed the world of music, developing its own language and subculture (as every generation does) but with the strength of our numbers.

    More children from middle-class families attended post secondary institutions than ever before. However, there was little if any financial help from parents back then.

    In the early ’80’s we experienced a financial crisis as interest rates peaked at more than 20%. The financial burden this posed (as banks became nothing more than glorified loan sharks) proved devastating to many of us. In my own small town many businesses went under and many also lost their homes. Not quite as trivial as Mr. Gilmore suggests in his article.

    As generations before us, we have built a life for ourselves and a future for our families. We have helped them in their pursuit of an education and encouraged them to follow their dreams. Many of our kids continue to live at home long after finishing school (unlike our generation).

    Others migrate further afield in pursuit of an education or career (as many of our generation had to as well), They are generally waiting longer to have families,establishing themselves first and in the process creating a greater generation gap than ever before.

    And as our children continue to rely on us for support, many of us have the added responsibility of caring for our aging parents as well. Thanks to medical advances and good nutrition, people are living longer now than ever before. We are left wondering how this situation will play out as the younger generations are wrapped up in careers and families of their own and will themselves be older as well.

    No parent wants to be a burden on their children, but judging by their ingenuity, I am sure that Gen X/Y/whatever will come up with some creative (hopefully more ethical than Scott’s) solutions.

    Unfortunately, the added cost of paying for our children’s education/living/housing expenses leaves many Boomers far from well-off. Fewer of us have had the good fortune to receive financial assistance and post secondary education in order to line our pockets.

    From my own experience, the financial debt I see many of the younger generation carrying is not due only to the cost of education. Often it comes with high credit card debt due to the prerequisite partying during these years and the binge shopping that the younger generation seems to have honed to a fine art. Every latest fashion and the latest devices, spa treatments and frequent big ticket holidays… starter homes that are bigger than many of our generations final homes… There are those in your generation that need a lesson in financial planning and self-restraint as well.

    I am a Boomer who still shops at 2nd hand stores, still makes homemade things whenever possible, still protests… even though we are comfortable (but not well-off).

    My generation did not create wars. We did not create greed. All we did was our best. We loved our children and gave them a good start in life. If Scott Gilmore understood the world better, he would realize that it is the 1% that is destroying jobs, our economy and the world at large. Also those who play along with this game.

    However, I am confident that the next generation will continue to advance the world with their education and the tools we have handed down to them. They will undoubtedly be faced with new challenges as well – as each past generation before them. We all make mistakes and hopefully we learn from them.

    Over the years, I have come to understand that no generation wants to be overshadowed by the previous one. Each wants to leave its own unique mark on the world. And so, the universe is unfolding as it should.

  28. Satire in the vein of Swift’s A MODEST PROPOSAL, but the author doesn’t expect us to eat our babies.

    On the serious side, however, I do believe that my parents’ and my generation have failed our democracy.

    Yes, I admit I am a Baby Boomer. I took my freedoms and our democracy for granted, for the most part, although I was more an activist in my 20s and 30s, but I was exhausted, and I dropped out. My bad.

    But it’s also our collective bad, not only the Baby Boomers’. If we don’t want a Trump-style government, each of us must take more interest in what’s happening in our beloved country: hate crimes are on the rise; the Conservatives just elected Scheer (whose beliefs are more aligned with the alt-right than with centrists, despite his recent changes to his website); we, too, are often deluded by fake news; and not enough of us research and fact-check before deciding for whom to vote (if we do vote, that is).

    Since I don’t want to become exhausted again, I am choosing my issues: voter reform and money in politics. I hope that each of us picks one or two issues and spends at least a couple of hours a week becoming more informed, writing or faxing or calling our MPs and MLAs, calling our politicians out when they mislead us, and reaching out–politely and with respect–to those who disagree with us.

    It may be too late for the US, but it’s not too late for us.

  29. As a Canadian born in 1950, one guesses you would be lumping me into the group you claim to so revile.

    Still you may be pleased to learn that not all of the members of my generation have availed ourselves of the same destructive, largely white, North American privilege that you accurately tie to the ongoing misuse of our planet.

    This “boomer” has never bothered to learn how to drive a car, yet one worked daily for more than a quarter century in a modern urban population centre, delivering goods and documents on foot, bicycle and transit.

    I have never flown in a plane. Nor have I ever owned an air conditioner, etc.

    How does your carbon footprint compare to mine, one wonders.

    I have also spent decades speaking truth to power on many of the blindly accepted behavioural issues that you raise against those of my ilk, helping to create numerous grassroots organizations aimed at lessening the impact of the transgressions of our age, eventually being asked to run for Parliament in 2008 and 2011 by the GREEN Party of Canada. I gladly accepted these invitations and ran against HARPERLAND knowing there was no chance of winning, but as part of a wider attempt to better inform the larger debate.

    And throughout the past fifty years, I have also tirelessly worked to promote this country’s more non-popular artistic and musical culture, without any unrealistic expectation of financial compensation.

    I mention all this just to suggest that the general irresponsibility that you abhor might not be so much a result of birthdate, as of a larger selfish hollowness that sadly transcends the generations.

    That said, one is truly sorry that my own humble efforts over the years haven’t had more of an impact on those with whom I’ve shared the planet.

    I sincerely wish you – and my grandchildren’s children’s generation – better luck moving forward.

  30. Gilmore is hilarious some days. He hangs around entitled Liberals too much, then stereotypes everyone else as entitled pain in the arses.

  31. I’m a boomer. And yes, I agree with the comments, and so, I am volunteering to be shipped off to a labour camp, but with one non-negotiable condition:
    I get to take my Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” CD with me.

  32. When all the “boomers” fade away and die, will all the rich businesses, houses, cars, etc., be destroyed, or will it all be taken over by the “Millennials”? Just asking.