Sadly, her rant now forms an essential plank of Green Party policy, trotted out day after day by the ‘Generation Zero’ lobby group that peppers the ranks of Auckland Council bureaucrats. It is designed to provoke, and provoke it does. I have been disgusted at the ageism of Gen Z millenials and have been know to retort by naming them Generation Snowflake but really it’s a futile exercise in name-calling. They are just a group of immature individuals with a chip on their shoulder.
The silliness of this societal ‘debate’ is called out in an article in today’s NBR by Rob Hosking Jonesing for solutions to the generation divide by Rob Hosking
… generalisations about generations are starting to dominate the political debate. Housing, most obviously, but I worry it is only the start of this messy and, ultimately, immature, development.
Babyboomers’ parents generally didn’t talk about being a generation; they just got on with it. True, there has been some talk of being “the greatest generation” in the US. That label though was retrospectively given to the generation that came through the Depression and World War II – and it was imposed by a babyboomer journalist.
Mostly, that older generation was too busy and sensible to worry about such nonsense.
Generalisations about generations are to be distrusted, for a lot of good reasons.
Combining all the worst attributes of sociology and astrology, without any of the upsides of either of those two rather dubious “disciplines,” they are sloppy and, ultimately, damaging.
My main objections to all this are twofold: One is that such generalisations are sociological. It is an approach that presumes the influence on behaviour and attitudes is all one way and that generations are primarily products of the economic and social pressures.
This makes no allowance for individual character, or the way they will respond – inevitably – in different ways to social and economic change – or non-change if it comes to that – on them.
It not only looks at people as a dehumanising mass, it then also dehumanises them further by ignoring their ability to make individual, and very different, responses.
It is the epitome of collectivist thinking.
And even if (which is just not so) these influences and life experiences were all important and all one way, it makes some pretty large and ludicrous presumptions.
To imply the experience of someone born in 1950, joining the workforce in the late 1960s, will be the same as somebody born in 1964 and joining the workforce in the early 1980s, is not only nonsense: it is just plain dumb.
It is a particularly crude form of collectivist thinking.
And worst of all, as soon as problems are viewed in generational terms, it becomes harder to actually solve them. It becomes yet another round of “we had it tough/you had it easy” – a standoff that has probably been going on since human beings developed language.