What prompted the legendary libertarian satirist P.J. O’Rourke to write a book, titled The Baby Boom: How It Got That Way (And It Wasn’t My Fault) (And I’ll Never Do It Again),summarizing his early life and the impact the Baby Boomer had on American history? O’Rourke’s generation, by all accounts runs the world — what does he have to show for it?
“It’s the timing,” O’Rourke began, referring to why he wrote his book when he did. “The youngest baby boomer is turning 50 this year as we speak. Michelle Obama just had her 50th birthday this year — she is at the very at the tag end of it. It’s a good time for a sum up. I wasn’t going to do a proper memoir, or an autobiography. It’s been beaten to death. Besides, neither of my parents tried to kill me with an axe. So I just didn’t have the hook.”
Anytime something big happens anywhere, O’Rourke writes in his book, someone over 50 writes the check — which can lay much of the blame of the financial crisis and other economic disasters at their feet.
“Rightly, quite rightly,” O’Rourke said. “We are the generation who invented playing with money, you know. People use to save it or lose it, but mostly they spend it, not often, but if you could. We were the first t0 come up with playing with money. In fact, a lot of what has gone on in the world has to do with the baby boomers infinite, youthful sense of play. We are forever the puppies of the universe, and sometimes thats good. You know, we don’t fight for real, like grown-up dogs do, very much. We include all of the other puppies in our play.
“But on the other hand, when we are given serious duties of responsibility — you want to pick and choose among us very carefully, before you give us any serious duties of responsibility,” he continued. “Funnily enough, we turned out to be excellent in the military, after a rather rocky start in the war of Vietnam. [A]s adults, senior officers in things like the Gulf War, and Iraq War and Afghan War — whatever one may think of the war — the conduct of the us military officer class… [W]e may have had our slip-ups in our personal lives, in typical baby boomer fashion, but I mean, on the battlefield, there have been no Lieutenant Calleys from the baby boom. Who would have thought that? But when it comes up to group responsibility of money…Hah! [I]t’s live for today.”
Catch the rest of TheDC’s featured segments from the exclusive interview with O’Rourke this week, and be sure to review previous parts of the interview.