American Thinker: So far as I’m aware, none of the big leaders of the Greatest Generation was a member of the Greatest Generation. Sure, the Greatest did the grunt work — but was Patton one of them? Was Churchill, or Eisenhower, or MacArthur, or Roosevelt? The Greatest Generation’s chief work during the Great Depression was the suffering required, many times as dependents, to harden them for World War 2. No great accomplishments were made by them until then, and almost no notable philosophy. The great films we know from their period, such as It’s a Wonderful Life, The Wizard of Oz, and Gone with the Wind, were made (mostly) by men significantly older than them — men who did the grunt work in the ’20s and the ’30s, and many of whom, in the case at least of Frank Capra and Michael Curtiz, were born in Europe in the 1800s. The Greatest read Hemingway and Faulkner but were neither Hemingway nor Faulkner. Walt Disney, born in 1901, barely made “the cut.”
We owe the Greatest a great debt. But beyond World War 2 and the ’50s, we got little out of them except a brake on the nut-job political theories of their children — who derided the Greatest as we in turn deride the Boomers. These children, the Boomers, accomplished little really heroic for us — but then again, who were the leaders of the Boomers? They get too much blame for what appears to be a case of bad parenting. We all know that easy times produce weak children, but beyond this, who was really writing, thinking, and shaping the thoughts of Americans during the so-called Boomer years?
I submit a theory: that it was in many ways the members of the Greatest Generation. And I submit a second theory beyond this: that what America had achieved, to that point, was as high as we were ever going to get. Our technology would improve — but our fighting spirit? Our culture? Our sense of beauty? Our sense of national cohesion, or civic know-how? In many aspects of life, there was largely nowhere left to go but down. We’re in a better position to accomplish things today because there are more terrible things about America to destroy. We may have more heroes than the Boomers simply because we’ve got more villains. We can bring back beautiful things because, currently, there are too many popular ugly things. The dumber the ruling philosophy, the more brilliant the rebellious intellectuals. read more