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

    • 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!

  1. 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?

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    • 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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

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

  11. 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”.

  12. 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.

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

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

  15. 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.

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

    • 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

  17. “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?

  18. 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!!

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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!

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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…

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