Here Thar Be Monsters!

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7.6.17

A Cultural Tidal Wave

There's an intriguing demographic shift going on the the West, and particularly in the US.  As a child of the 1960s, I vividly remember the counter-culture liberals activating against an entrenched conservative elite.  Issues included ecology, economic inequality and the drug culture.  Free sex and feminism - yes, they were once related and exploded due to the Pill - were the catch phrases of my peers in the Baby Boom generation.

The Baby Boom was a unique phenomenon in world cultural history.  A huge group of post-WW2 children grew up in a world where economies always boomed, the US was the undisputed leader of the "Free World", and the majority of the population was no longer rural.

Freed from having to work the farm and milk the cows, and dripping with Daddy's money from the post-war boom, an entire generation was afforded the ability to turn in on itself and navel-gaze.

For better or worse, the liberal Baby Bommers made significant changes to society and culture.  In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was set up, marijuana is finally becoming more acceptable, and a mini-Boom of babies - commonly referred to as GenX - were the results of Boomer influence.

The Boomers also managed to elect two of the most corrupt presidents in US history: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.  The former was elected because he was young, handsome, loved free sex, smoked dope and played the saxophone; the latter because he was black, which apparently was his only qualification - not to mention that many suspect he was the son of a radical 60s Marxist.

As these generational things do, the Boomers were Marxists because their parents grew up in a time when the US was dabbling in Marxist/Communist philosophy - the 1920s and 1930s, during the Great Depression.  The Boomers echoed, and then carried their parents' dabblings to the extreme.

GenX became the Greed Generation, immortalized in Oliver Stone's Wall Street film, while the Boomers themselves cashed in on organic grocery stores, herbal teas and environmentally-friendly plastics ( a la The Graduate).

Each time a new generation echoes their parents' politics, things got just a little more extreme.  The Capitalists went overboard in the Reagan years with derivatives and paper assets, while the Marxists went overboard with Identity Politics and Share The Wealth schemes, like Global Warming, etc.

What seems to be happening now is a blend of ecological consciousness with kinder, gentler capitalism, self-identifying as the new counter-culture.  In other words, the current emerging generation is creating a synthesis of the two extremes, while eschewing the more radical ends of the spectrum.

Now, you have the YouTube millionaires spouting anti-Liberal rhetoric while working out of their parents' basements.  They are anti-consumerist, preferring to rattle the economic order with cyber currencies and a Digital Revolution.  They are shunning Old Media like broadcast networks and Hollywood movies, in favor of producing and consuming each others' projects, and sharing the wealth through crowd-funding organizations.

Culturally, they are leaving the club scenes, swapping underground band MP3s and amateur film projects, and paying for it all with Bitcoin and Etherium.

It's really a bizarre amalgam of preceding philosophies, at least to the eyes of a geezer, and quite fascinating to watch.  These folks don't buy anything the social institutions tell them, and instead actually seem willing to do the work to research information for themselves - not the mention proudly crow their findings on YouTube.

In the end, the revolution that the Boomers promised, but never delivered, is coming out of their great-grandchildren.  The digital world has empowered them to the point that they can do with a phone what us geezers used to do with multi-million dollar rooms full of equipment and distribution licenses and Hollywood studio monopolies on media, and New York brokers.

In other words, there is a shift occurring that hasn't been seen since the Enlightenment and the birth of the Scientific Revolution.  The Gentleman Scientist of yore is now the YouTube producer.  The great composers of yore are now the synth track creators.  The great artists of yore are now the PhotoShop jockeys.

It is an explosion is slow motion.  This new generation is slowly discovering just how much power is at their fingertips.  They are re-evaluating things like college degrees, when all the materials (books, lectures, etc.) are available online for free.  Who needs an investment house when you can get $1 from one million people?  In fact, the Enlightenment ideal of the educated individual is coming to fruit 300 years later, as the technology catches up to the concept, and this new generation, many with no concept of the philosophical roots of their discoveries and efforts, is inheriting the wind.

It is quite a remarkable thing to watch, as the Liberals become the Conservatives, the Conservatives become the radicals, and both are panicking because there's a whole new deal on the horizon that they never considered.

What is truly gratifying is that all of it is moving toward a libertarian ideal that empowers the individual in a self-correcting marketplace of ideas, where feedback from consumers is immediate and the rewards are direct to your pocket with no middle men.  Better yet, they are impervious to the divisive machinations of the withering elite and have no concept of national borders, racial separation and economic boundaries.

Get your popcorn warmed up.  The show is just beginning.

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