Generational Issues

Friday, 24th October 2008 at 13:00 UTC Leave a comment

Had a situation recently when various older people were practically trying to make me out to be a terrorist. One of the opinion’s expressed was that older people didn’t fight the 2nd World War so young people could go round dragging the country to grinding halt (sic). Trying to figure out a way of dealing with this not-uncommon arguement got me thinking.

2 generations ago, the second world war was “the issue”. Every bit of physical and emotional energy was being thrown at it, and it became a completely hegemonic battle; everyone was thinking about it, everyone affected by it, and those who wished to express dissent from it were treated as outcasts. The generation that fought the second world war, at least as far as residents of Britain are concerned, will largely be gone by the time the real punch of Climate Change’s ill-effects strike home.

These are people who’s formative experiences feature a situation where personal security and national security were so closely identified. In explaining the urgency of Civil Society Action, explaining that the government’s actions to protect businesses from disruptive structural adjustment aimed at almost eliminating CO2 emissions is not in line with the individual interests of ourselves as individuals lies completely at odds with these experiences. Given that most of the individuals in this situation that I meet are the same people who attend Church as a place of stone-strong resistance to change, its hardly surprising that this paradigm-shift is so utterly detestable to people, but it exists, and so the challenge is to work out how to deal with it.

I don’t feel I can offer some all-round acceptable answer on this (not that I ever can). But perhaps if we look further back into history we can find something that helps us put this in a wider context. I was thinking maybe the French Revolution, in which there was a demand for private property; I would say I’m supportive of them in their historical context, however I now realise that liberty and equality isn’t best served by property; perhaps a rather tenuous link, but one example where historically something was probably the right thing to do (or at least, I can’t fault people for their intentions) but in which I think the ensuing reality calls for a very different demand to be made.

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Entry filed under: Politics.

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