I have lived in the shadow of the baby boomers and a few things have stood out for me. First that this generation will never get over the 60s. The level of nostalgia and longing to return to that time is palpable. I´m sure that it was a nice time full of youthful optimism, prosperity, a sense of being able to change the world, and a new hedonism of sex, drugs and rock and roll. The baby boomer generation was right to oppose the Vietnam War, and they instituted some necessary reforms, but there is a dark side to the 60s mentality which has shaped this generation. Despite all of the hippy talk of being selfless and enlightened, that fact is that too many of that generation interpreted self realization as an excuse to be selfish, self centered, irresponsible. Living for the moment and seaking pleasure underminded many of the traditional values of responsibility and self control.
One of the attendees at Woodstock commented that their generation at Woodstock showed the world a new way of doing things based on selflessness. Really? So going to a free concert and having several days sex, drugs and rock and roll, and leaving the place a disaster area is a model of how we are supposed to run our societies? I am sure that it was fun, and I am glad that people enjoyed it, but the hedonism of Woodstock is hardly a way to organize a society. It´s a way to organize an orgy.
The main reason that the 60s was is so fondly remembered is that it was a golden period in American history when the post WWII prosperity had not left us, but there were also new fresh breezes of reform, possibilidades, and freedom. Societies have these periods from time to time when everything seems to come together. Spain in the 80s was like that with a new sense of freedom and possiblities. It is like the beginning of a party when everyone is enjoying the first buzz of alcohol, before the party gets ugly with a fight and then everyone ends up with a hangover. The 60s was like the first half of the party, and the 70s was when it went to far. The whole counter culture movement ended up with loud shirts, bell bottoms, Saturday Night Fever and a sense that decadence and drugs were out of control.
Read this article for a negative view of what the boomers have become. I believe that it isi mostly right-at least in general terms. One of the points is how unhappy this generation is. Having grown up with the prosperity and comforts of the post war era, and having an overwhelming sense of possibilities as youths, the current reality must be depressing.