P.J. O'Rourke on Millennials vs. Baby Boomers


"Just this whole process of going through the baby boom's history, I began to realize what a nicer society—kinder, more decent society—that we live in today than the society when I was a kid," says P.J. O'Rourke, best-selling author of Holidays in Hell, Parliament of Whores, and many other titles.

O'Rourke sat down with Reason's Nick Gillespie at Freedom Fest 2014 in Las Vegas to discuss his new book, The Baby Boom: How it Got That Way and It Wasn't My Fault and I'll Never Do it Again. As the father of three kids born between 1997 and 2004, he also lays down some thoughts about millennials, noting that they live in a much nicer, more tolerant world than the one in which he grew up. "I don't think my 10-year old boy has ever been in a fist fight," says O'Rourke, who was born in 1947. "I mean there might be a little scuffling but I don't think he's has ever had that kind of violent confrontation that was simply part of the package when I was a kid."

He also feels that the internet "fragments information" in a way that destroys the sweep of history, at least at first. "You end up with mosaic information," he says. "Now, I think over time the kids put these mosaics together but I don't think the internet itself lends itself to the sweep of history."

The interview also includes a tour of O'Rourke's long and varied career in journalism, from his humble beginnings writing for an underground alt-weekly to his time as editor of National Lampoon and his incredible work as a foreign correspondent for Rolling Stone to his current position as columnist at the Daily Beast. 

A prominent libertarian, O'Rourke also discusses the difficulties in selling a political philosophy devoted to taking power away from politicians.

"If libertarianism were easy to explain and if it weren't so easy to exaggerate the effects of libertarianism—people walking around with 'Legalize Heroin!' buttons and so on—I think it would've been done already," says O'Rourke, the H.L. Mencken fellow at the Cato Institute. "But the problem is, of course, is that libertarianism isn't political. It's anti-political, really. It wants to take things out of the political arena."

Watch the entire interview above, or click below for downloadable versions of this video. About 35 minutes. Edited by Zach Weissmueller. Interview by Nick Gillespie. Shot by Meredith Bragg, Jim Epstein, and Weissmueller. Music by Antiqcool.

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Below is a rush transcript of this interview. Please check against audio for accuracy.

REASON: Hi I'm Nick Gillespie with Reason TV and today we're talking to P.J. O'Rourke, the great libertarian humorist. His most recent book is The Baby Boom: How It Got That Way And It Wasn't My Fault And I'll Never Do It Again. P.J. O'Rourke:, thanks for talking.

O'ROURKE: Oh, you're very welcome.

REASON:  Early on, you talk about the difference between baby boom and other generations. "What makes the baby boom different from other generations is the way everybody was feeling we could be or do anything. What unifies the baby boom is the way we talked everybody into letting us get away with it." Where did the feeling that the baby boom could do, would do anything come from?

O'ROURKE: Economics. I actually did do a little research for this book and one of the things I found out was that in inflation in adjusted dollars, the median family income for baby boomers was $10,000 per year more than the median family income for the greatest generation.

REASON: And this is the generation that was born, maybe raised in great depression, fought World War II.

O'ROURKE: That's right.

REASON: And these were our parents, I mean I'm a baby boomer as well, or some people's grandparents. They grew up in a pretty grim world.

O'ROURKE: They did and not only were they poorer and of course faced a number of impositions on their freedoms such as the depression and the war. When you look at the GDP per capita, when you look at the greatest generation it goes sharply down after World War I, way up in the 1920s, then even more sharply down and for a long time during the Great Depression, and then only starts to ramp up as we begin to rearm. That's not the kind of economic ramp-up you want. You put those two things together and simply the fact that baby boom children had more money their families had more money, and the stability of that money. If you look at GDP per capita from 1946 really until the Arab oil embargo, it's a study upward ramp. So the greatest generation suffered both from relative poverty and from income insecurity.

REASON: You're making a crass Marxist argument here that at a certain economic base, more wealth gives you a certain cultural superstructure, which makes you feel you can do anything.

O'ROURKE: Absent externalities, and the period where the baby boom grew up was until the Vietnam War, largely absent of externalities.

REASON:  Was it the parents who were telling their kids, "You can be anything," or was it the kids who said, "Look at me, I've got money in my pocket and I'm five years old?"

O'ROURKE: We didn't know that, I mean you can only know the conditions that are around you. Children have not too much sense of futurity and no sense of history. So we we didn't feel that, but our parents were really urging us to act out a lot of things that they themselves felt they never got a chance to do. Whether it was go to college, whether it was start a business, whether it was playing the trombone, they were saying "You can be anything you want," which in the case of my dad meant being an engineer. They were saying "You can be anything you want," and we thought, "Wow! Drunk, stupid, stoned!" The message of the greatest generation to the baby boom got through all too well.

REASON:  Do they resent the fact that people your age did get to go to college, you did to do drugs and have a dissolute lifestyle. You did get to have premarital sex openly. Were they aghast because it was immoral or were they pissed because you were doing that they wanted you to?

O'ROURKE: I think it was more pissed than aghast. After all, they were veterans of the war and wartime era. And come on; tell me that when a guy was going off to Iwo Jima he spent the last night with his girlfriend on the front porch swing cuddling mildly.

REASON: You talk about, "What unifies the baby boom is the way we talked everyone into letting us get away with it." So it wasn't a particularly hard sell?

O'ROURKE: No it wasn't really in a sense, society was moving in a very permissive direction. Whatever great Victorian inhibitions between the depression, World War II and to a certain extend the Cold War, those things were already under attack.

REASON: Obviously it was a fight enjoyable to fight, but is it better to live in a permissive society than a repressed one?

O'ROURKE: To be determined. That's probably a question that needs to be asked 100 years hence. There were a couple of blowbacks from the permissive society. One was drugs. While I'm libertarian, I'm theoretically at least in favor of drug legalization, nonetheless to say that widespread drug use did not have a deleterious effect on American society would be a palpable lie.

REASON: What are the obvious effects of that?

O'ROURKE: Marijuana did turn out to be a gateway drug, not in the sense that people who smoked marijuana went on to heroin or crack. But a gateway drug in the sense that once you lower the social shaming and against the social inhibition against one drug, the others tend to sneak through the door. The society that winks at smoking marijuana or even applauds it is probably asking for a little bit of trouble with abuse of drugs that really hurt.

REASON: When you convene your Hague Court of war criminals Cheech and Chong will be up there?

O'ROURKE: Well far be it for me of all people, no I'd be in the docks with them. No I'm not blaming them. Marijuana is fine with me. I have teenage daughters. This is a drug that makes teenage boys drive slow. Maybe is does a little brain damage but so does almost everything else a teenage boy would do.

REASON: The chapters in the baby boom where you talk about your drug use in college and after are very funny and very insightful, but you also make a special case that beer was the drug of choice of the baby boom. Talk a little bit about that.

O'ROURKE: Well beer was always the fallback. Probably always will remain. Alcohol will remain a fallback drug because it makes you uniquely stupid while remaining pretty mobile. There are drugs that will make you more stupid than beer but you can't move.

REASON: You say one of the other great cultural contributions of the baby boom to American pop culture thinking is that life is like high school. This is a kind of framing device in the book, talk a bit about that.

O'ROURKE: What we think about when we think about high school is the way people self-organize. And I'm a Hayek, and I truly believe in human self-organization but I don't have a perfect faith that that self-organization is a good thing, and maybe that's because I was shoved in my locker a lot.

REASON: I'm guessing Hayek wasn't exactly the captain of the football team.

O'ROURKE: I'm guessing Hayek got shoved in his locket a lot but he came out with an admirable faith in self-organization.

REASON: He used that time trapped in his locker to think?

O'ROURKE: He did, instead of using that time to pound on the door. Of course, Hayek's real point is not that self-organization is wonderful, it's that it's preferable to being organized by others. Of course if you've been to high school when it came to dealing with the mean girls versus dealing the the principal, you pick the mean girls every time. That bring us back to another jury is out area of the permissive society which is the breakdown of the traditional family structure. A remarkable number of kids are born out of wedlock. A remarkable number of kids are raised by a single parent and usually a financially pressed mom. Is this a good thing? People seem to be surviving this better than they might have in the 1900s.

REASON: Youth crime is down, school bullying is down.

O'ROURKE: It's down after being very up for a long time. The baby boom had a lot to do with youth crime. And we're aging out. The youngest baby boomers are turning 50.

REASON: Do you think there's a social learning curve there that with, say, beer or pot there's a learning curve how to drink beer where you learn how not to drink it too fast or too slow. Is society like that?

O'ROURKE: We see that with crack-cocaine, which was panicking the nation for about a decade. And its usage went down, and its usage went down because the younger generation of kids watched an older generation destroy themselves with crack-cocaine. Now we have an opiate problem which seems to have originated in an over prescription of pain pills, which are very expensive and even more so on the black market, which has in turn driven people to heroin as a cheaper alternative. 

REASON: The governor of Vermont early this year devoted his state address to how there was a nearly doubling of the number of heroin deaths and when I actually looked at the numbers it was like from 8 to 14 in the state of Vermont. Is this one more "Hey kids, don't do drugs" hysteria?

O'ROURKE: I don't think so. I think it will have, like crack did, a natural cycle where the younger generation will come around and see the older generation of kids who have destroyed their lives with this. This is a huge human price to pay though, to wait these things out, but I'm not sure there's anything to do but still, big price.

REASON:   Towards the end of the book you say, "Given all the liberties the baby boom has taken we ought to be libertarian. We should be adhering to the Clinton rules. That is, the rules that the Clinton exemplified. Mind your own business, and keep your hands to yourself. Hillary: Mind your [own business. Bill: Keep your hands to yourself." It's a good line but then let's focus here, Reason's a libertarian magazine, you've been a long adjunct scholar at Cato, is America more libertarian now? Is it at about the right place?

O'ROURKE: We're certainly more libertarian on a social level, things like gay marriage. I mean, we elected Barack Obama, are we libertarian on the fundamental government issues which are in some ways more important?

REASON: Are economic issues more important that social issues?

O'ROURKE: Not economic issues, but political issues are because you create a political situation that is much harder to modify, escape from, change, than social issues. This is Hayek's argument, is that while we may not self organize well, when people do it for us it's always a mess. And so, we're creating a national political system upon which everyone is dependent. In fact, the liberals seem to be working very hard to be sure that everybody- old people, young people going to college, anybody who has any medical problems- that everybody is dependent upon the state. And this is ultimately more dangerous than an individual state.

REASON: This tendency is being pushed by baby boomers. How does that match up with a high 60s liberation?

O'ROURKE: It doesn't, and this is what puzzles me. You would think that after the Vietnam war and the exuberance of the 60s that the baby boom would be strongly libertarian in its political orientation. I think there are three things that have kept that from being true. One is that dependence which has been fostered at least since the New Deal if not the progressive movement more than a century ago. Another is that at a crucial time in our political education, big federal government was on the right side of a extremely important, vital question which was civil rights.

REASON: Well talk about that, because libertarians all the time will step in it all the time of how if being free means having large parts of the country segregated, that's a price I'm willing to pay with.

O'ROURKE:  It's not a price I'm willing to pay. We watched the federal government battle [in air-quotes] "conservatives" and indeed libertarians. I mean Barry Goldwater famously wrong footed himself by supporting states' rights, not because he was a racist but because of his constitutional principles. Those constitutional principles were budding up against a really ugly reality and there are times when you simply have to make the best of the situation as it is. And so, Barry Goldwater was wrong about that, and not only did cost him votes, but it cost the whole reputation of the conservative/libertarian movement. There was, in Paleolithic conservatism quite a bit of racism, anti-Semitism. Bill Buckley basically devoted his life to getting that stuff out of the conservative movement.

REASON: Even until late into the 60s National Review was still talking about how "segregation was not always a bad thing." He had trouble really waiving goodbye to this.

O'ROURKE: He did. He managed to get the anti-Semitic nuts, and he defended McCarthy for a little while until he realized he was a nut who had grabbed hold of a real problem but had distorted it and perverted it. People had slow learning curves on this sort of stuff. So we watched the federal government step in and do something about this. Now, at the same time we also watched the federal government conduct the Vietnam War, and you would think that would out way the other. But one had to do with the permanent structure of American society and the other had to do with a military misadventure. Plus, our parents really saw the New Deal and Franklin Roosevelt as being heroic. Not heroic in the sense that it actually worked, but here was at least someone who was trying to do something about the depression, of course he wasn't doing the right thing. And of course people have long forgotten that much of the stuff he did was started by Herbert Hoover himself, a progressive Republican. But nonetheless they came away with a feeling that the federal government was benign. They might be personally quite conservative, certainly they voted for Ike rather than Stevenson, but they still had a feeling that federal government was beneficent.

REASON: It's easy to create a heroic enterprise of the federal government or of a communal society, where we're throwing everything we can against poverty, we're throwing everything against racism, Islamofascism. A real problem with the kind of libertarian point of view seems to be that it has trouble coming up with- we're fighting for freedom so we can sell our artisanal cheese. We can sell raw milk directly to people without bullshitting around. Is there a way to craft a heroic vision of libertarianism that really gets the majority of people pumping in that direction?

O'ROURKE: It's tough, or it would have been done by now. There really is a strong streak of libertarianism and if libertarianism were easy to explain, and if it weren't easy to exaggerate the effects of libertarianism- people walking around with "legalize heroin" buttons on- I think it would have been done already. There's certainly enough smart people that have, I'd like to think you and me included, have really applied themselves like Charles Murray. Many many intelligent people have applied themselves to crafting an agenda that people could grab a hold of. But the problem of course is that libertarianism isn't political. It's kind of anti-political really; it wants to take a lot of things out of the political arena. It isn't ideological, or when it is ideological you can get excessively pure libertarians that can get a little-

REASON: And we are taping this at Freedom Fest so that's on the front burner right now.

O'ROURKE: We're taping this in Las Vages, which probably isn't the best example of people doing exactly what they want.

REASON: Is that for you the core-selling proposition of libertarianism, that it takes things out of the political arena?


REASON:  And it squeezes politics down, because there are places where we need a consensus, and we need to be on the same page.

O'ROURKE:  And we need a government. I covered Mogadishu. Any time I talk to an anarchist I say, "Let me just take you over to Mogadishu, see anarchy at work."

REASON: So the essence is really removing as many things as possible from an arena of coercion or a forced consensus to self-organization.

O'ROURKE: This is a practical matter too, when you task the government or any government, say, the federal government with righting all wrongs, fixing all things. Making everything swell for everybody physically just can't be done.

REASON: How many millennial children do you have?

O'ROURKE: Three, I suppose. I've got one born '97, I've got one born smack on 2000 and one born in 2004.

REASON: One of the things that is great about this book and your work in general is that it is dipped in history.

O'ROURKE: Very much, intentionally.

REASON: The millennials, maybe it's because of the internet but do you feel like they're more connected to a sweep of history? They seem to be more globalized.

O'ROURKE: No actually, because what happens with the internet is that it fragments information. In trying to get information to write our school papers and so on, we would of course be copying from the world book.

REASON: My parents bought the Encyclopedia Britannica so I was an A student.

O'ROURKE: Oh, you were copying from the good stuff, the stuff the teachers hadn't even read. But on our way to trying to find out something, we ended up finding out a lot of other things. I wish I could remember who this was but somebody said something very wise about the internet which is that "you do not question the internet; you depose it. And the internet tells you only what you ask." So if you just type in "riots in Brazil" you get the entire history of riots in Brazil, but that's not what you meant. If you're not careful, you go "Brazil defeats Germany" and find out that Brazil was an ally to the US in World War II and Germany defeats Brazil in this case. So you end up with mosaic information. Now, I think over time the kids put these mosaics together but I don't think the internet itself lends itself to the sweep of history.

REASON: You mention in your book that you feel the baby boom not only used up not only all of the drugs, but it used up all the peculiar, all the weird. I forget the exact phraseology. Talk a little bit about that, and what do you mean by that?

O'ROURKE: Well every generation of adolescent kids has to do something to shock their parents. This is something that been going on- it's been mentioned by the ancient Romans.

REASON: So you could say "I think Cain and Abel shocked their parents!"

O'ROURKE: Yes, Cain definitely. Yes, but there is something to the baby boom using up the weird so now kids have to hurt themselves badly on skateboards and get piercings and face tattoos.

REASON: You're gotta love that though, right? When your kid comes home with a face tattoo you're going to be like, "y'know what? I've gotta give it to you."

O'ROURKE: I think personally at my house that's probably not going to work that way but in the abstract I appreciate their efforts to set themselves apart.

REASON: Did we kick free of a certain kind of historical cycle with the baby boom? The book is caustic towards the baby boom, it has a lot of fun, but it the end you really do come down on the idea that the baby boom is the greatest generation.

O'ROURKE: I wouldn't go quite that far but in the end I come around. I actually started the book hostile to the baby boom and in the end I came around to the fact that a lot of problems baby boomers caused were simply demographic. You can't blame that on anybody. Low birthrate before the baby boom came along and low birth rate after.

REASON: Although I suspect you agree with this: the baby boom really owes it to the next generation to get off the government tit in terms of social security and Medicare so that our kids are not paying for us.

O'ROURKE: It doesn't look like we're delivering on that. That's one of the things that started me off hostile to the baby boom. But in the end I think I just realized that just this whole process of going through the baby boom's history, I began to realize what a nicer, kinder, more decent society we live in today then the society when I was a kid. It's been years since I've seen a bar fight. I don't think my 10-year old boy has ever been in a fist fight. I mean there might be a little scuffling but I don't think he's has ever had that kind of violent confrontation that was simply part of the package when I was a kid.

REASON: Let me talk about a slightly different cycle over time which is of your journalism career which is also covered in depth in the book and it is kind of great and also parallels a lot of things. You more or less got your professional journalism start working for an underground weekly when they were still called underground or…

O'ROURKE: I don't know if you'd call it professional but I certainly got my start.

REASON: At a magazine called "Puddles?"

O'ROURKE: Well the actual name I changed, but its name was every bit as bad, it was called "Harry" and not even "H-A-I-R-Y-" but it was "H-A-R-R-Y."

REASON: In the context of the book you call it "Puddles." You write "Combat (combat was a World War II underground resistance paper) was edited by Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre, Puddles was edited by Harry, Bob and me. Combat was in constant danger of being raided by the Gestapo seeking viscous reprisals, Puddles was in the occasional danger of being raided by Baltimore cops."

O'ROURKE: For drugs, not for free speech.

REASON: Underground newspapers or alt-weeklies started in the 50s but they became one of the defining media of the 60s. Talk a bit about what it was like to work for an alt weekly back in the day.

O'ROURKE: A great place to get started because there was no quality control whatsoever. We had to fill up a newspaper and put it out once a week. And of course it didn't quite get out quite once a week. Trying to look back on it, I can't remember whether it would finally get published when we were out of marijuana and needed to buy some more or whether it would not get published when we got some marijuana because we were too stoned to do anything. But at any rate, it gave me a chance to do all sorts of things and any sort of grammar that you wanted and so it was a great training round though in a way although the end product was pretty dreadful.

REASON:  You've moved on from there, and I'm skipping some stuff but to National Lampoon and National Lampoon was a massive magazine. It was a cultural touchstone. It changed the way that people felt they could talk about sensitive topics and ideals and things like that. Talk about your experience at National Lampoon, how you came to be there and then what was the essence of it? Did that demonstrate some kind of great boomer juice in American society?

O'ROURKE: It did. I came to work there because I wanted to be a writer, I moved to New York. Basically I hung around the office until they gave me some kind of job. I'm pestering people, trying to write in a lampoon style. It was my first experience with people who were really well educated doing kind of the thing we were doing with the underground newspapers but much more apolitical. National Lampoon was there to all turn down, no building up.

REASON: Arguably the best magazine cover of all time by this magazine was "If you don't buy this magazine, we'll shoot this dog," what I remember was "if Ted Kennedy was driving a Volkswagen he'd be president by now." What was your most scabrous essay or piece that you wrote?

O'ROURKE: Probably mine was How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink a libertarian cry from the heart.

REASON: Matty Simmons, the publisher in his book about the magazine's history identifies you as a turd in the punchbowl because of your politics [in his book about the magazine]. National Lampoon at its best it's like the Onion or the Daily Show where it takes on all targets equally.

O'ROURKE: Long before I was in charge we ran a cover of that famous Che Guevara poster with him getting a pie in the face in the "nothing is sacred" issue.

REASON: Do you feel like possibly American humor or American avant culture at some point decided instead of being thoroughgoing and making fun of everybody- punk music was kind of like this. It was very broad-based in its target- and then there was moment where it said, "we're gonna be Avant-garde but we're going to be politically de rigueur in a very specific way." Was there something that caused that or do you think it's a misperception?

O'ROURKE: I don't think it's a misperception. What caused that is show business. In fact, what killed off the Lampoon was the movies, essentially. In 1978, Animal House came along and it resulted in almost everybody who was on the National Lampoon getting offers for movie or television. And then of course what had already been going on was Saturday Night Live. Anyways, all of a sudden the talent pool had been getting sucked. When the Lampoon had started, it was the only game in town it terms of making a living making fun of things.

REASON: You say that like "there was only one." It was kind of great that there was at least one place to make fun of things.

O'ROURKE: I mean you could go to Mad but that was more for kids. The New Yorker had lost its sense of humor some place back in the early 50s or something. And so people who wanted to make fun of things for a living were drawn to the National Lampoon.

REASON: And then you moved to Rolling Stone, which is fascinating because your work there is like a masters class for journalism. It's the later edge of the new journalism. It's heavily reported, serious work. It's funny. It's totally readable. How did you go from writing stories about "getting your wing wang squeezed without spilling a drop" to going to Mogadishu and going on raids with the Guardian Angels and things like that?

O'ROURKE: In 1980 Doug Kenney died and he was the guy who had basically brought me into the National Lampoon. He was my best friend there, but the other thing was that he was- and it sounds funny to say it now but it sounded old at the time- he was 33. I was a year younger than Doug. I was 32 and I thought, "Y'know, this making fun of everything is a lot of fun, and I do enjoy it, but it's kind of a kid's game. It's standing outside in the flower garden and peeking in the dining room window making faces at the grown ups." Wasn't it maybe time to have a place at the grownup table? So I said, "Do I want to keep doing this for the rest of my life?" I laughed, and I tried some movie stuff, and I just didn't like the world. I had a good time and it paid well. I worked on Rodney Dangerfield's first feature movie Easy Money and I just didn't like the world. I didn't like the oppressively collaborative- anyway, out of the blue, Michael Kinsley who was then editor of Harper's, asked me to go to USSR with a group of leftists. It was a crew sponsored by The Nation and he thought it would be very funny for me. Michael and I knew each other a little bit. He knew what my politics were and he thought it would be funny to send a Republican along.

REASON: It helped define Rolling Stone in that period but also what it meant to be a new journalist, somebody who was interested in telling stories using fictional elements being present.

O'ROURKE: I mean it's always fun to be in on the beginning of things, but it was fun to be on the tag end of new journalism because I could learn from its errors. I used fictional devices but I never used fiction. I kept strictly to the rules of reporting while putting some life in not denying my own role as an observer. The Heisenberg principle is that by observing anything you change it. You could allow for all that, and not have to do AP-Style copy. New journalism had been around for long enough that I could not longer avoid the excesses.

REASON: When you were developing as a writer, who were your models, or did you have such?

O'ROURKE: I don't know if I really did. I would say that Tom Wolf and Hunter Thompson of course impressed me.

REASON: What I would find interesting about Wolf is that the story is never about him, he's always researching stuff but then Thompson-

O'ROURKE: It's all about him.

REASON:  And yours actually threads that needle pretty neatly because with you you're there and you're an interesting character but it's not always about you. It's serious.

Now, among other places, you write for the Daily Beast. And I guess one of the things that's interesting is that, just looking at the span of this, you start with an alt weekly and now you're at a publication that is only online. Do you feel like over the past 40 years or so journalism has changed? Is the media getting better or worse? You hear people constantly talking about how there's no good writing out there anymore, the economic base is not there etc. Are you optimistic about print or are you optimistic about media or are these totally different beasts now?

O'ROURKE: I just don't know. I'm just glad I'm not starting out now because the model that I understood, the magazine business essentially and the book business offshoot of that, is just so different now. I think it is harder to make a living. It was always hard to make a living, and now it pays less. There are probably more outlets but it pays less, in your "price per word." It was never lavish. Playboy was famous for paying "a dollar per word, woo!" Newspaper editorial sections still pay about that for an Op-Ed. The business model is strange and I think it will sort itself out in time. The internet started by amateurs, it never really quite figured out a business model, I hope they'll get around to doing it. It's probably easier to get published today but harder to make a living at it. Does the shift in media cause people to have shorter attention spans? Yes, I think so. I think it would be hard for something like "Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas" to blow the public away today the way that it did at the time.

REASON: To close out, in the baby boom, you talk about how, "The baby boom didn't invent bullshit, but they became expert in it." You also talk about how words are the pheromone of the baby boom generation. Has the baby boom passed that on to the rest of the world?

O'ROURKE: I think so, it seems that way. We certainly are a chatty and communicative society.

REASON: And as you say, a nice one? Or a kinder one?

O'ROURKE: I think so. Certainly more tolerant. In fact tolerance I think isn't even a good word anymore because tolerance means, "Well, I'll put up with you if I have to." It's more enthusiastic about people's differences of plotting them and embracing them as it were, and that's good.

REASON: The author is P.J. O'Rouke. His latest book is The Baby Boom, How It Got That Way And It Wasn't My Fault And I'll Never Do It Again. P.J. thanks for talking to Reason.

O'ROURKE: Well thank you.

REASON: For Reason TV, I'm Nick Gillespie.

NEXT: A.M. Links: Pentagon Preparing Military Options in Syria, CBC Members Want "Police Czar," Space Probe Crosses Orbit of Neptune

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  1. Maybe that was true in O’Rourks world but the real world where my grandchildren and great grandchildren live, it is much more intolerant than my world was at their ages. They aren’t allowed to have an opinion different than what the so-called ‘liberal system’ dictates, for goodness sake, without being criticized severely and maybe even having their lives ruined by leftist gangs who make sure their careers are ruined or being kicked out of school if they bite a piece of bread into the image of a gun.

    This country is more tolerant? Phah!

    The Left even PAYS people to surf websites to harass people who don’t agree with their politically correct BS which, by the way is the most intolerant and hate-filled BS in the last 70 years of my life.

    And another thing, they’re the most poorly educated people in the last 70 years because they had to have school curriculum “dumbed down” a number of time so they could “succeed” without having their pathetically over-sensitive self esteems damaged and yet…

    They “know everything” to the point they seem to think they have the ‘right’ to tell the rest of us how to think and behave.

    But do they actually think? Well… not so much. They are simply mentally identical “clones” like they’re part of the Left’s Borg Collective who can’t get along without their ‘Control’ reassuring them they’ll be taken care of by the government.

    It’s not pretty.

    1. Ehh I think it’s much easier to say anything you want with advent of the internet and anonymity.

      1. Sure, you can say whatever the hell you want, just be ready for the backlash when it’s not what is considered “right”.

        1. Well yeah.

        2. And when it’s stored in a facility someplace for future Orwellian examination.

          1. Mr. Anderson are you aware that in 2014 you said that and I quote “I hope that slash and burn the department of Education and the DOD”? Why do you hate the children and the soldiers? You will be processed for reeducation immediately.

        3. Sure, you can say whatever the hell you want, just be ready for the backlash when it’s not what is considered “right”.

          So what? It was worse in the past. People were jailed for criticizing the government during the heyday of progressivism. And before that, people were shunned and lynched for expressing doubt about other people’s supernatural beliefs et cetera.

          If the worst you have to worry about is the PC police bitching at you when you say politically incorrect things, I can live with that. It’s tremendously annoying, but it’s not evidence of public discourse circling the drain, there’s lots of other things making that happen.

    2. This really seems like boilerplate “get off my lawn” cliches.

      1. Needz moar “scare quotes”

      2. Well all you had to do is see the name of the author and know it was going to be a colossal get off my lawn screed.

    3. Active laws against minorities is the same as a mean tweet if you aren’t PC. Nice try grandma. Do you need me to come over to set your VCR clock for the 9th time because you can’t figure out the instructions?

          1. Active laws against minorities is the same as a mean tweet if you aren’t PC.


            What does that even mean? And what does it have to do with grandma’s post? And what was the basis for the ad hom?

            1. Granma’s point was that because, essentially, the Left pays people to hurl mean tweets at people, that somehow demonstrates that this country is less tolerant than those halcyon days when the National Guard had to forcefully integrate a school and Bull Connor sicced dogs on black people.

              1. Thank you tone. Her equating people with tweeting dumb things to people they don’t agree with is not the same as segregation and laws against interracial marriage. The ad hom is a response to all millenials being clones, so I used the tired stereotype of old people being scared and confused about technology.

              2. So it’s the “much more intolerant” part you disagree with, I take it?

                Perhaps, FM could take exception to that phrasing without the insult? …in keeping with the theme of tolerance, of course.

                And it still doesn’t explain how this phrase:

                Active laws against minorities is the same as a mean tweet if you aren’t PC.

                Makes any sense.

                1. I just explained it. She said, “it is much more intolerant than my world was at their ages”, and offered internet insults as an example, juxtaposed against a previous generation where black people were told to take different buses.

                  Come on man.

                  1. DUDE…STOP


                    Active laws against minorities is the same as a mean tweet if you aren’t PC.

                    Makes no sense.

                    What does “if you aren’t PC” have to do with the phrase “Active laws against minorities is the same as a mean tweet”, which I’m assuming was meant to be sarcasm. Thus my confusion and thus my wtf reply.

                    In addition, GG wasn’t insulting kids, she was blaming left wing intolerance for their attempts to brainwash them, to which they’ve been, by and large, successful over the last generation.

                    I disagree with her about the “much more intolerant” phrase, as well. But the rest of her point is spot on.

                    1. FDA, I didn’t find it difficult to understand, and judging by the other comments, it doesn’t seem like most people did. The statement is mocking GG by showing how ridiculous she is for saying that the latter is as bad or worse than the former. I think the “if you aren’t PC” part was making fun of how some critics of political correctness say ridiculous stuff in the opposite direction.

      1. What’s a VCR?

        1. It is what your parents watched porno on.

          1. My dad had to learn to work a projector.

    4. Hogwash. Your selective memory is misleading you. There was just as much political correctness back then, it was just different. There have always been problems speaking truth to power. People were thrown in jail just for writing about contraception. Interracial marriage was illegal until sometime in the 70s, I think.

      1. Grandma clearly wasn’t alive during the Wilson Administration. Try being anti-war back then and see how ‘pleasant’ they were.

  2. I began to realize what a nicer society?kinder, more decent society?that we live in today than the society when I was a kid,

    I’m gonna have to assume that’s sarcasm.

    1. He has a point. The world was a pretty nasty intolerant place back then. Things like interracial dating was considered shocking and would get you beat up.

      Our popular culture is insufferably intolerant and filled with fascists and their toadies. But our general culture is different and more tolerant today.

      1. More tolerant wrt certain issues. Yes, more tolerant of different races, genders, sexual practices… which is a good thing.

        Not so much with other issues. Tell me people are tolerant wrt free business practices or global warming or religion?

        1. Most people don’t believe in global warming. There are sectors of society that are bat shit crazy, but there always have been. Generally most people outside of Hollywood and academia don’t give a shit about global warming.

        2. You think global warming isn’t religion?

        3. I can tell you young people are more tolerant of religion. It is more personal now than my parents generation. With them it was always about showing how deep their faith was to every stranger, now I don’t know the religion of most of my friends and most of my friends don’t know I’m an atheist.

          1. I can tell you young people are more tolerant of religion. It is more personal now than my parents generation. With them it was always about showing how deep their faith was to every stranger…

            And, by golly, if they do start throwing their religion in your face, you’ll have them fired!

      2. Yeah, the good news is that pretty much everyone in society except the far left, the 80% or so of the country that is more or less normal, is nicer and more tolerant today than at any time in our history.

        The bad news of course is that that 20% far left segment is little by little taking control of everything, and they are meaner, angrier, and more intolerant and unhinged than ever.

        1. That is about right Mike.

        2. Well, the intolerant bastards in earlier times would have just kicked the 20%’s asses. There’s irony in there somewhere.

      3. After reading a few dozen posts about which generation was more tolerant than the other, I’m wondering what’s so wonderful about tolerance. As Aristotle put it, “Tolerance and apathy are the last virtues of a dying society”.

        1. tolerance is wonderful if you want to run roughshod over people

  3. Ugh, again with the Millennials. I have to say I was pretty disappointed that the October print edition features this bs. I have always appreciated that the print edition content is for the most part separate from H&R content. Except this issue where you have decided to continue beating me over the head with Millennials! Millennials!. Also, thanks for putting that hipster with the extremely punchable face on the cover.

    1. Do you wanna know what truly annoying about all this boomer millenial knobslobbering?

      There’s a whole generation between them that’s–once again

      1. I got skwerld.

        …being ignored.

        Or maybe two.

        If boomers are 40-60, and gen x is 60 to 80, then gen y is 80 to 00—but were calling them, and 00 onward ‘millenials’ now.

        And Nick’s told us that the ‘milennials’ got us Obama.

        And gen X? Paul, Massie and Amash.

        So, choose. Paul, Massie and Amash or Obama. Which is the better path?

    2. Millenials – the Pepsi Generation of the 2000s.

  4. Parliament of Whores should be required reading for all high school civics classes.

    1. damn straight. a work of genius.

  5. This country is more tolerant? Phah!

    Are people generally more tolerant of gays, retards and people of other races? I think so.

    Are people more tolerant of ideas that deviate from politically correct groupthink? Most definitely not.

    1. Are people more tolerant of ideas that deviate from politically correct groupthink? Most definitely not.

      Idk. Lettme go axe my friends.

    2. ^^This. It seems like people have a finite amount of tolerance. Being tolerant of gays, etc… means they have to take a tablespoon of tolerance out of, say, economic freedom. BTW, Mogadishu. Glad it’s midnight here. Cheers.

    3. That is about right. But people have always been prone to group think. It is just the nature of the group think changes, but it is always there.

    4. Or to elaborate, tolerance means tolerating things that people cannot change. Like their sex, sexual orientation, race, intelligence, and things of that nature.

      What tolerance increasingly does not mean is tolerating ideas. Ideas that deviate from politically correct groupthink are deemed to be intolerant, making the person with those ideas intolerant, and good tolerant people do not tolerate intolerance.

      1. Maybe if you repeat this for the millionth time someone will finally laud you for your clever insight.

        1. When I want your opinion I’ll go take a shit.

          1. Stale joke. D-. Get new material.

            1. It’s not a joke.

            2. I’m sure each dump is fresh. I doubt he recycles them.

      2. They can change their sexual orient’n, just not deliberately. They can change their intelligence too, mostly by lowering it via brain damage.

    5. Meh. People are generally more tolerant of everything. A few loud assholes think Fahrenheit 451 was a manual.

    6. Are people generally more tolerant of gays, retards and people of other races? I think so.

      Maybe, but no one can really be sure.


      Are people more tolerant of ideas that deviate from politically correct groupthink? Most definitely not.

      Because the price of deviating from politically correct groupthink is astronomical.

      Plus, as long as you mouth the right groupthink, you can deal out intolerance with impunity.

    7. I don’t think people were as tolerant of other beliefs back in the day as you seem to think.

  6. *places another hash mark in the millenial column*


  7. For the record, if you have never read O’Rourke’s essay about the Nation Trip to the USSR, you should. It is one of the best humorous essays of the last half of the 20th Century. It absolutely pegs a certain bread of insufferable east coast Prog. They essay is just as relevant today as it was thirty years ago because its subjects haven’t changed a bit. It is amazing how much funnier, better written and more interesting it is than shit like David Foster Wallace that is pawned off as serious essay writing today.

    1. Did some quick googling and couldn’t find it. Do you have a link by any chance?

      1. It is not online sadly. I think it is in this collection of his essays.


        1. Here’s a link:


          It’s called “Ship of Fools”

            1. ditto

  8. I think there may be a small kernel of truth to this most libertarian generation thing, but it needs some perspective. I think there are more libertarian millenials as a percentage than previous generations, but even if a millenial is twice as likely to be libertarian than a boomer or a gen xer that’s still an incredibly small number. So of 10% are libertarian what about the other 90? IME they are decidedly statist to the point of socialist without even realizing it. The middle ground seems to have disappeared.

    1. The problem is that it doesn’t do any good to be skeptical of government if you lack the intellectual ability to understand why the government is such a failure. Without that, you end up being skeptical of “this government” and prone to fall for the next strong man who comes along promising to make government work.

      The problem with the millenials is that, while they are starting to understand that their prog teachers and parents have failed them, thanks to that Prog education, they don’t have the intellectual tools necessary to understand what is happening to them and why and are going to be primed to believe the first demagogue who comes along and offers an easy and believable explanation.

      1. I think that is some what false, as it’s not just prog education. But the fact that you have to go out of your way to find libertarian/so called conservative voices anyway in readily available news and print. Every news story takes a sort of left sided lens at problems.

        1. Look how they fell in line for Obama. Had Obama been anything but a two bit crook out of the Chicago machine, he could have molded them into a no shit fascist movement. They were dying for it. He just lacked the imagination and skill to give them what they wanted. Next time we might not be so lucky.

        2. His hands may be idle but he speaks the truth. The whole Prog Edu as the root cause of statism is over done.

          Most private schools ape the public school system in essential ways. Religious schools (which are most private schools south of the Mason Dixon line) preach/teach sacrifice, redistribution of wealth, social justice and the like CONSTANTLY. The religious schools that don’t do this consistently tend to be bat shit crazy in other ways.

          We homeschooled our kids. I didn’t meet a single homeschool mom or dad that wasn’t teaching the same liberal statist bullshit you find in the public schools.

          (The problem is compulsory schooling, period).

          The media, the universities (public and private), and the two party system are the main culprits here.

      2. Part of it is that Gen X’ers and Boomers grew up with the Soviet Union and the threat of nuclear war. We saw first hand the differences between the collectivist utopia of Eastern Europe and the relatively free West. We saw a China and India that were starving by the millions.

        The millennials can believe in Progtopia because the endgame isn’t as highly visible anymore.

        1. Or they saw right-wingers who would rather spend money on instruments of destruction than medical care for poor people, or sanctimonious politicians who told us that marijuana was a gateway drug to certain death.

          How did the standard of living do in Eastern Bloc countries after the terrible menace of Communism was eradicated in 1989. It got better, right?

          1. yes it did. It got a lot better. And fuck you for pissing on the graves of the hundreds of millions of victims of communism by implying that other people’s slavery was somehow better than freedom.

            You really are an appalling human being.

            1. Yeah, in most former communist countries they were back to where they were in 1983 by about 2005. That’s some argument for Libertopia.

              I think the next time I hear someone accuse me of being– intellectually, I’m assuming– responsible for millions of deaths I’ll post this… http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news…..90115.html

              “As many as one million working-age men died due to the economic shock of mass privatisation policies followed by post-communist countries in the 1990s, according to a new study published in The Lancet.”

              1. The same Lancet that published the study saying that immunizations cause autism? It must be an accurate study then.

          2. As we all know, the Soviet Union spent very little on weapons. Much like North Korea today, defense was a low priority on the Soviet budget.

            You couldn’t be a bigger tool if you were on the Soviet payroll.

            1. Was I talking about the Soviet Union? No. I was talking about Reagan. Tell me again why libertarians should look to his deficit spending on the military to fight his phantoms of communist supremacy for inspiration.

              1. You are a blast from the past. I didn’t think they made full-on, empty-headed, morality-free, commie apologists like that anymore.

                Or are you some 50 year old loser sitting in your basement dreaming of how Grenada could have been a paradise if it weren’t for the evil capitalist class?

                Forget it. I don’t really care.

        2. At my favorite Thai restaurant the new waitress was wearing a T shirt that said: FSLN. Though I had to google it, there was something familiar about the letters (I went to undergrad in the 1980s).

          Yep, this 20 year old revolutionary loves the Sandinistas. I asked her if she knew who Daniel Ortega was. He’s her “hero.” She was not sure she had ever heard the Mosquito Indians, however.

          I must say, her ass was revolutionary. In that you would do most anything to support it, up to and including summary executions of dissident poets.

          Yes, I’m middle aged. Deal with it.

    2. a small kernel of truth to this most libertarian generation

      I don’t. I think there is a demand for license for a growing number of things. I think that the concept of real liberty is dimmer now than ever.

      1. I think that the concept of real liberty is dimmer now than ever.

        I wouldn’t disagree with that, on the whole. But the growing libertarian movement is the backlash to the repression that’s been prominent since 1933.

        1. Does that repression extend to people that shot at Iraqi nationalists? I certainly called it repressive when I was arguing with right-wingers back in 2004. I was called a traitor. I’m glad times have changed.

          1. How many Hit’n’Runners were in favor of the Iraq war in 2004?

            1. I would bet you $10,000 it was a greater proportion than at any random liberal website.

              1. Considering how many liberal websites were spreading the meme that Saddam (and/or the Taliban in the case of Afghanistan) was almost as mean to teh wymyns and teh gays as the Republicans were I’d take that bet, except that since this is the intertubes there’s no way I’d ever collect, I won’t.

                Fuck off, Toady, it would have been impossible for Dubya to rouse the country to war if it had not have been for the fertile soil that Clinton/Gore had spread.

                1. Not sure what that last bit was about. Seems pretty obvious that he was able to go to war because 9/11. Let that be a lesson to any potential terrorists: fuck with the US, and we’ll lash out at some random oil-rich country.

              2. And given the overwhelming support for the Iraq war by Dem politicians, it is quite likely that a randomly selected site would lose you that $10,000 dollars.

            2. It certainly wasn’t zero. I gained at least some respect for some people on the Right for their principled opposition to the Iraq War. Justin Raimando immediately comes to mind. I can’t say that I felt the same thing about Reason, who mostly were writing articles on how legalization of marijuana was awesome and how icky Leftists were back in 2003.

              1. No amount of foreign adventurism is nearly the threat to libertarianism that liberals are with their, like, logic and evidence. Stupid wars prove libertarians right. “Leftist” policies prove them wrong on a constant basis. What’s the bigger threat, that which serves your cause or that which undermines it? It would be a true coup for libertarianism if the welfare state actually failed spectacularly in the ways they fever dream about. Until then, leftists must remain thoroughly icky.

    3. I think that the young people who would normally trend republican are now trending more libertarian than ever before, that’s all I have to say about that.

      1. Yes, this exactly. The younger people who are more inclined towards the right side of politics are more likely than ever to be libertarian — but young people as a whole are less likely to identify with classical liberal politics, in either the social or political realm.

    4. The other problem is that these libertarians tend to be heavily outweighed by their dipshit leftist peers in a way that wasn’t necessarily true in the past. Goldwater and Reagan both had significant support from younger people; in contrast to those movements there really isn’t much of a non-ideological mass movement of young people to get government off their backs. It’s nice that libertarianism per se has ratcheted up a couple notches among young people, but not if it means that libertarians will be getting 4-6% of the vote compared to 66% in favor of #FullCommunism.

    5. Young statists are always more radical. They soften as they age (because they’re exposed to the failure of their policies).

      Libertarians just become more cynical (because they’re exposed to the near constant imposition-then-failure cycle of statist policies).

      Wait 20 years, and see the mushy middle reappear in that cohort.

  9. ‘Mogadishu’ is theocratic-warlordist. Nothing to do with anarchy.

    1. Somalia!

    2. That bugged the shit out of me, too. It was kinda like hearing your grandpa, who you really like, spit out the word “Negro”.

      1. Like I just gave 20 dollars to the united negro college fund?

      2. straffinrun, If your grandpa is over 60 years old he is simply using the word he learned was considered polite usage when he grew up. Old habits die hard.

        I find the other N-Word offensive too but using “Negro” is simply anachronistic, just as using the word “gay” in its pre-1970s meaning, namely, “joyful, laughing, merry”, is in 2014.

  10. My younger peeps are usually shocked (in a good way) when I show them old issues of National Lampoon. That mag was way ahead of its time, humor-wise.

    Some of my more sensitive acquaintances at the time considered it vile and bordering on hate crimes (a term not around at that era).

  11. Has The Jacket evolved from leather to crushed velvet?

  12. Maybe the reason so many polls say that young people are economically liberal relative to their parents is that they’ve looked around and seen what 40 years of right-wing economics has done to the country. I’m an Xer so I grew up with Reagan and Clinton and watched areas of the country come to resemble the poorer parts of Africa that I’ve visited. Maybe Leftist Millenials are just simply observing, watching the atomized political culture yield the fruits it always have, and come to the conclusion that knee-jerk ideologies about government aren’t such a hot idea.

    1. I’m an Xer so I grew up with Reagan and Clinton and watched areas of the country come to resemble the poorer parts of Africa that I’ve visited.

      LOL. What “poorer parts of Africa” have you visited? I’ve lived most of my life in the “developing world”, and you’re an idiot if you think any part of the US resembles “the poorer parts” of the developing world, which often lack running water and electricity.

      Curiously, most of these “poorer parts” are run by self-described socialists and have been for some time. What a strange coincidence.

      1. The Chicago school was extremely influential in the policies of Mugabe, Amin and Mubarak. Damn right-wing economics.

      2. I was just a tourist so I didn’t get to see as much as you did, but I would say I saw analogies of what it looks like in the Rift Valley and the Mississippi Delta.

        Was Kenya headed by a dreaded commie? If you notice above I used the phrase “knee-jerk economics” so I can’t really be faulted for Stalinist dictators. I put those guys in the same category as people who think that taxes are the same thing as theft.

        1. You are a complete ignoramus if you think the Mississippi Delta looks today anything like it did in the 1960s or hasn’t steadily improved, materially at least, pretty much every decade since 1900.

          It is really indescribable how fucking stupid you are if you honestly believe that anything in Mississippi looks like the poor parts of Africa or that it somehow got that way because of Reagan. What is it like going through life being that ignorant? It must be an odd experience.

          1. somehow got that way because of Reagan.

            You don’t understand, John. Not giving is taking and not taking is giving. By lowering taxes on the rich, Reagan cause a massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich. Which is really difficult to understand, being that the poor by definition don’t have any wealth to transfer, but that’s what these retards really believe.

        2. Was Kenya headed by a dreaded commie?

          Why, yes, yes, it was.

          Except, of course, for when it was headed by a kleptocrat who used his communist predecessor’s policies to enrich his own cronies.

          1. Kenyatta was a communist? Maybe you are confusing him with Patrice lumumba?

        3. “I’m an Xer so I grew up with Reagan and Clinton and watched areas of the country come to resemble the poorer parts of Africa that I’ve visited. ”

          OMG. I would not normally recommend that someone consider suicide based on a single comment they made. But in this case please consider it a viable choice.

          If you exercise and make healthy choices you MIGHT live long enough to realize that this was probably the dumbest thing you ever said in your life.

          And that’s saying something.

          Maybe Rand was right: the failure to recognize reality can be criminal.

    2. cool story, bro

    3. I’m an Xer so I grew up with Reagan and Clinton and watched areas of the country come to resemble the poorer parts of Africa that I’ve visited.

      I’m an Xer as well, and what I’ve seen is poor people get cellular phones, internet access, flat screen televisions, and a host of other things that were science fiction only thirty years ago.

      That’s the thing about economic ignoramuses like you. You look at income in terms of money, not what the money can buy.

      When you look not at wages in terms of dollars, but in terms of what the dollars can buy, you’ll see that poor people in this country are much better off today than when we were kids.

      1. Such ignoramuses also look at poverty as strictly a monetary problem instead of a moral one. If it was a monetary problem, writing checks would have solved “poverty” long ago.

        1. Show me someone living in poverty and I’ll show you someone who spends everything they earn. It’s that simple.

          1. Everything they receive I should say. Charity is not earned, and neither is welfare.

          2. Yup. See for example how 90% of all professional athletes who have made more than $15 million in their careers end up bankrupt. They never left poverty. They just got some great checks and were able to have some fun for a while.

            1. Similar story with lottery winners.

          3. Show me someone living in poverty

            Define poverty. I grew up very poor money wise, but never once did I feel I was living in poverty.

            1. Poverty is something that doesn’t exist in this country. Poverty is when people starve not because of poor choices, but because there simply is no food to eat. That’s poverty. And that doesn’t exist in the Western world.

              What the left feels is poverty in this country is when parents who can afford a flat screen television don’t have food for their kids because they’re too proud to go to the local church and ask for a bag of groceries. That’s American poverty.

              They want to fix it by giving these people someone else’s money, and then expect that money to be managed wisely because it was intended to be managed wisely.

              It’s nothing short of insanity.

              1. Completely dumb. Maybe ignorant libertarians make such arguments because they are ignoramuses– and arrogant to boot.


                1. That article you reference is a great example of what I’m talking about.

                  They don’t have enough money for food, yet their too proud to ask for charity. So they’re hungry. By choice.

                  Nobody goes hungry in the USA unless it’s by choice.

                  1. *they’re*

                2. Ymelda Alvarez, her husband and their two daughters live in a tiny one-bedroom apartment…

                  [apartment description]

                  For this they pay $1,000 a month.

                  But it’s currently their only option. Antonio, her husband, can’t land a full-time job and only makes about $1,200 a month from stringing together part-time work at a school nearby.

                  So, what does Ymelda do for work? If they are in such a financial situation why do they have two kids? Why don’t they move to a more affordable location?

                  The situation they find themselves in is totally of their own making.

                  1. The situation they find themselves in is totally of their own making.

                    Yep. But the left will never accept that. It’s the corporations, or the rich, or they have no other choice, or whatever else. But it’s certainly no fault of their own. There’s always someone else to blame.

                  2. So, what does Ymelda do for work?

                    And why is that lazy fucker Antonio only working one job? God forbid!

                    FUCK, people are pathetic.

                    1. FdA,

                      Way to miss the point. Which by the way was the last sentence.

                    2. IP, time to recalibrate your sarcasm detector.

                    3. Then my apologies to FdA. He is normally level headed so it caught me off guard. Besides, my sarc meter is gov issued, it can’t be off.

                  3. No, damn you! It’s my RIGHT to live in San Francisco! So what if I have a degree in Sociology? In a just world I could live comfortably in Geneva with that degree!

                3. On a more somber note, in the past eight years, 143,000 new renters have entered the Los Angeles market ? many of them displaced by the foreclosure crisis caused by the government

                  american socialist is american moron

                  1. “crisis caused by the government”

                    Hi bigT,

                    Since this is a comment board I’m not a big stickler for punctuation and grammar. It’s ideas we are trying to hash out, not whether a comma or semicolon goes between two independent phrases. However, I do think it is deceptive to use the quote function in a response when it doesn’t appear in the original article.

                4. Man, you’re an idiot of Herculean proportions.

              2. Citation for any of that boilerplate quasi-racist bullshit you’re spewing?

                Citation for the claim that owning a TV means you can afford to feed your family 3 square meals a day every day?

                Citation for your psychoanalysis of hypothetical people?

                It must make it easier to be a simpering whore of the kleptocrats when you can lump the poor (and they do really exist in this country) into a giant stereotype.

                And why do you think the poor might be better off here than 3rd world shitholes? What do we have that they don’t? Morals? Or could it be a fucking safety net, you ridiculous jackass?

                1. Tony’s right, of course. If the poor have a flat screen TV and cable, own a smart phone rather than a flip phone, eat out rather than prepare meals at home, refuse to move when the cost of living and job opportunities are better elsewhere, this means absolutely NOTHING.

                  And you are a ridiculous jackass for thinking otherwise.

    4. I’m an Xer so I grew up with Reagan…

      The only people who believe that Reagan “slashed spending on social programs” are diehard liberals and diehard conservatives; the liberals because they think it was bad thing, the conservatives because they think it was a good thing.

      On the other honest observers conclude that while the rate of increase was slightly reduced, the net result was still runaway spending with most of the increase being in entitlement programs.

      Reagan was, after all, a New-Dealer at heart.

      1. ^^^I’m sorry, but you are not allowed to say this out loud.

        Destroys the narrative.

    5. I saw my hometown lose its industrial base and probably a third of its population between 1970-1980. I wonder if that was Reagan’s fault, or the fault of current House Republicans? Then again, I’m pretty sure Sean Hannity could somehow connect it to Obama.

      Working in the worst parts of one of the worst cities in the midwest, the only thing I’ve seen rivaling the wretched sort of third-world poverty my wife grew up in was perhaps the potholes. Visiting the village where she grew it wasn’t like visiting Detroit; it was like visiting the 19th Century.

      1. *Grew up*. Not “grew it.” I said the word “pot,” and look what happened.

  13. The worst legacy the baby boomers left is the tyranny of the cool. The problem with the entire baby boom culture is that it was built on the idea that art had to be subversive to be of any value. That worked fine for a while when there was still an old structure to subvert. Eventually, that structure was gone and the act of subversion was all that was left. That produces at best boring and self indulgent art and at worst really dangerous and fascistic art. This tendency has repeated itself both in art and society writ large. Take race relations. We start out in the 1950s with a real problem with racism in this country. So people and art defines itself as fighting against that old structure. You don’t call people racial slurs anymore and such. Well, it was great and necessary for a while. But since it was built on subversion, it couldn’t stop even after it had succeeded. So once we stopped sticking black people on the back of the bus and calling them the N words, there had to be some other practice that was deemed just as bad so the struggle could continue. This goes on and on until finally you are fighting about the NFL having a team named the Redskins. If you could go back to 1958 and tell people that some day the name of the Redskins football team, people would think you were insane. Yet here we are. At some point, there has to be an aesthetic that is built on something besides subverting an old order that has been gone for 50 years now.

    1. The Chiefs, Indians and Braves will all be next. People say I’m crazy for saying that, but the writing is on the wall.

      1. Maybe. I think people are perhaps getting tired of every single thing being politicized and are starting to push back. The Redskins haven’t lost a single dollar in revenue because of this bullshit.

        The 60s Lib baby boomer aesthetic is dead and molding. There is nothing more tiresome and oppressive. It no longer has any answers or offers anything but bland conformism. Its power is going to start to recede at some point.

      2. And the Bears. Enviro wackos will explain that bears aren’t really inherently violent or dangerous, unless you’re a salmon. It’s just plain unfair to depict these cuddly critters as vicious animals.

      3. Hell… there’s been protests and complaints about the Indians since the late 80’s.

      4. Couldn’t the Chiefs just become the chiefs of something else, and the Braves brave for some other reason?

        1. And the Indians could honor people from India – who might feel honored.

        2. +1 Braveheart

      5. And Blackhawks.

    2. The problem with advocacy groups, both private and public, is they will continue to strive to be relevant long after their cause has been accomplished. So, as you say, they look for more mundane targets to avoid disbanding the group and firing all the workers.

      What will Reason do once libertopia is achieved?

      The down-side of public advocacy.

      1. What will Reason do once libertopia is achieved?

        I think Reason is safe.

      2. It used to be they disbanded. The Temperance Movement went away when they got Prohibition. Today, they would move on to banning salt or something.

        1. John, the Temperance Movement is still around in twelve-step programs, MADD etc.

          The reason it went away as a political movement is due to the failure of prohibition due mostly to its unpopularity.

  14. Millenials are shaping up to be the wussy generation. I graduated college in 1994. I took a job for 26k and had 30k in student loan debt. I lived in my buddies unfinished basement for 2 years while I scrimped/saved to pay down my loan debt, save a nest egg and buy my first condo – at an 8.5% interest rate on a 30 year.

    I continued to scrimp/save in order to completely pay off my debt, then purchased a bigger home. I moved up the ladder in my profession, I saved my money and today my family and I are just fine and continue to improve financially. We have our home, a vacation home, a couple of fuel efficient cars (all insured for $25/month with Insurance Panda), and what’s best – they are all paid in full. Ahhh the beauty of hard work and patience!

    Millenials want free education, 6 figures straight out of school with a “work/life balance” and 0 risk investments.

    Bust your a**, take some calculated risks and climb the ladder like generations before you. Despite what many will lead you to believe, the world owes you nothing. You owe yourself.

    1. Bust your a**, take some calculated risks and climb the ladder like generations before you. Despite what many will lead you to believe, the world owes you nothing. You owe yourself.

      Then pass laws that transfer wealth from the young to the old and grow business and license regulations to the point it is impossible to open their own business. Have the government fix tuition loans so college gets exponentially more expense. Then you can live large boy, so large.

  15. “I don’t think my 10-year old boy has ever been in a fist fight,” says O’Rourke, who was born in 1947. “I mean there might be a little scuffling but I don’t think he’s has ever had that kind of violent confrontation that was simply part of the package when I was a kid.”

    I’m not sure this is a good thing. First-world elites live in a bubble, an ephemeral bubble. A rational, non-violent society is a fragile anomaly in human history. It’s not unique, it’s not necessarily a product of evolution.

    There are barbarians at the gates. If your son has never learned to raise a fist in his own defense, how will he fight them?

    1. Exo-suit with chain cannon?

      1. And flamethrowers! Can’t forget them.

  16. Intolerance has moved to a different arena, and has different targets.

    Now, it is ensconced in relatively unaccountable bureaucracies of various kinds, both in government and academia. It identifies a new group of second-class citizens (white males, tea party conservatives) and persecutes them with the death of a thousand cuts (delays in permits, audits, investigations, kangaroo courts, etc. ad nauseum).

    Is this “nicer”? Who the fuck knows. Its roots run deeper, and into harder soil, I know that much. It will be more difficult to uproot the proggy PC legions who infest universities and bureaucracies than it was to get rid of Jim Crow and school segregation, I know that.

    1. “It will be more difficult to uproot the proggy PC legions who infest universities and bureaucracies”

      Well, maybe, but we have libertarians to thank for this. There are things to be done, as many as your imagination allows, but O’Rourke puts his finger on it on the first page:

      “But the problem is, of course, is that libertarianism isn’t political. It’s anti-political, really. It wants to take things out of the political arena.”

      As long as libertarians shy away from political conflict, they are bound to be on the losing side.

  17. ” I mean Barry Goldwater famously wrong footed himself by supporting states’ rights, not because he was a racist but because of his constitutional principles.”

    It’s ironic because of racism that freedom minded folks can’t have nice things. Jury nullification tainted by defending murderers of black people. Federalism tainted because of Jim Crow. Secession because it was used to defend slavery(Yes, I know we can argue this over a deep dish pizza).

  18. I think a lot of comments here are failing to distinguish between tolerance and approval. Millenials don’t strike me as particularly tolerant so much as more approving of (or at least okay with) things that were previously tabboo. It’s an important distinction. If the tabboos and mores of the milleials are simply different from those of previous generations, they can still be wildly intolerant. Remember, this is the gneration that is gifting our civilization with “trigger warnings”, “microaggressions”, and “cis-“. In whose book is that the mark of tolerance?

    1. “Millenials don’t strike me as particularly tolerant ”

      Good point here. What you are missing though, tolerance is over-rated, anyways. If you say you tolerate blacks, women, foreigners etc, You are implicitly condemning them as somehow lacking or defective. Look up the meaning of the word some time.

      “Remember, this is the gneration that is gifting our civilization with “trigger warnings”, “microaggressions”, and “cis-“. In whose book is that the mark of tolerance?”

      If you are unwilling to label the targets as deviant, then tolerance is not the word you are looking for.

      1. If you say you tolerate blacks, women, foreigners etc, You are implicitly condemning them as somehow lacking or defective.

        No, lacking, perhaps for your goals or iterests. But not necessarily inherently. And so what if it were? On what world does anyone have a right to others’ perceptions?

        If you are unwilling to label the targets as deviant, then tolerance is not the word you are looking for.

        Care to clarify? I’m not quite sure I’m following your critique.

        1. “Care to clarify? I’m not quite sure I’m following your critique.”

          If millennials accept the idea that there are any number of acceptable ways to express sexuality, for example, ones that go beyond the traditional heterosexual roles, then tolerance doesn’t enter the picture. Tolerance would only come in when one has recognized something erroneous, something undesirable in non traditional sexuality.

          I’ve never heard of blacks, women or foreigners demanding to be tolerated. Look at the demands of the protesters in Ferguson. Tolerance was never on their agenda.

          Not quite sure what you mean by having a right to others’ perceptions.

          1. You seem to be hung up on the denotation of the word “tolerance.” Yeah it’s misused, but everyone knows what the sentiment is: acceptance of different types of people as full equals.

            1. “Yeah it’s misused, but everyone knows what the sentiment is”

              So everybody knows. Everybody black and white? How do you account for the fact that here, predominantly white or otherwise sympathetically inclined toward white, the word ‘tolerance’ is bandied about so readily, and in the Ferguson demonstrations, I’m yet to discover a demonstrator holding a plea for tolerance placard. Blacks are asking for a lot more than to be tolerated. That’s where all this fear, evident here, comes in. Or do you think the blacks don’t really get the meaning of the word somehow…

              1. I can’t speak to whether the word was used in Ferguson. I don’t use it personally, but I’m a grammar/usage nazi.

                The word of black rights movements seems to be “justice,” which is a very good word albeit an ambiguous one. What are people owed, and by whom? Practical questions. I like those.

                1. “I can’t speak to whether the word was used in Ferguson”

                  Ferguson? I bet if you checked the major speeches and writings of MLK, Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, Al Sharpton,etc. you’d find a similar absence. You want a black leader or person of influence calling for tolerance? I think your best bet would be Oprah, or maybe Obama, someone who is arguably not firmly rooted in African American mainstream.

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  20. O’ROURKE: Marijuana did turn out to be a gateway drug, not in the sense that people who smoked marijuana went on to heroin or crack. But a gateway drug in the sense that once you lower the social shaming and against the social inhibition against one drug, the others tend to sneak through the door. The society that winks at smoking marijuana or even applauds it is probably asking for a little bit of trouble with abuse of drugs that really hurt.

    PJO’R missed this one. The gateway that marijuana opens is the gateway to crime. Once one associates with criminals it is easy to get sucked into more serious crime. His argument would support keeping marijuana illegal, but that is exactly wrong. Legalize drugs, keep them for adults, and about half of the crime in the US evaporates along with at least half of the violence. Drug kingpins are killing each other over territory ($$$) not because they are high. Drug runners carry weapons to protect their product.

    It’s Prohibition deja vu all over again. Have we learned nothing?

    1. I don’t think PJ missed it. If drugs were legal then drug users wouldn’t be dealing with criminals to get their drugs. Go to Colorado.

  21. I loved this video. You can tell Nick is a real admirer of PJ. Nick must take good care of himself, he looks younger than a boomer. But one of Nick’s favorite points is that millennials are libertarians and I wish it was true but I don’t think it is. This is a Harsanyi article debunking that point: http://thefederalist.com/2014/…..t-arrived/ Here is one of the telling quotes from the article “74 percent of millennials say government has a responsibility to guarantee every citizen has a place to sleep and enough to eat?” and “66 percent say raising taxes on the wealthy would help the economy?”

  22. The Boomers will be the worst generation for what they’ve chosen to prioritize. O’Rourke is obnoxious and dismissive on the subject of climate change, but nothing else really matters. Medicare is a piece of cake compared to that. It should worry you guys that this is literally the smartest person you have on your side. And his philosophy is just variations on the theme “taxes suck,” like all libertarianism. It’s not sophisticated. It’s not instructive. It’s absolutely pointless. So he’s for somewhere between the US’s welfare state and Mogadishu. Grand. Helpful. Of course everyone who doesn’t agree on whatever that means is an evil red wannabe tyrant.

    1. Move to Cuba and find out what your enlightened way gets you.

      1. I’m a liberal not a communist or supporter of autocracy. See, you did just what I said you’d do.

        1. Cuba got rid of all their rich people. Cuba has no private property. Obama could do whatever he wants in Cuba. I claim there is a connection between this and the fact that they live under a dictatorship (read Hayek).

          1. I suspect there is a connection between the success of dictators and their promises of socialism. But none of this is relevant to anything we’re talking about.

            1. So you want enough free enterprise to get you a cheap cell phone and no more, right? I actually believe that if every government in the world had gone Cuba in the 60’s, we wouldn’t have cell phones right now.

              1. You’re probably right. I want enough free enterprise to get out of it whatever its maximum value is, meaning not so much that it becomes destructive. Sure it motivates innovation and plays a role in increasing standards of living (the same thing, really). But it allocates resources (hence well-being) poorly by itself, and has always needed pushback from “socialist” redistributive efforts to make society better than it is with just capitalism. Just free enterprise tends to reward already having wealth (which is counter to the role of rewarding innovation or entrepreneurship). Should that, at least, not be actively countered?

                1. Yes. By TOP MEN!

    2. And by the way even though I am personally surprised by this, communist governments have some of the worst ecological records going. You would think it would be one thing they could do right (You would think a government that controls all the resources could enforce environmental laws (environmental laws are valid when there are externalities)).

    3. It’s like you took three different but equally stupid essays and cut and pasted parts of them together.
      Boomers suck, therefore climate change is all that matters, therefore libertarianism is just hating taxes. LOGIC!

      1. Climate change is all that matters in that if it’s unaddressed, nothing else will. O’Rourke dismisses the problem with a glibness that’s even more caustic than usual. So it makes his doddering “taxes suck” routine seem petty.

        1. We have been doing a very good job of keeping the climate from changing despite rising CO2. Flatlined for 14 years.

    4. “It should worry you guys that this is literally the smartest person you have on your side.”

      Says you. I like O’Rourke and all, but I wouldn’t put his work on the same intellectual plane as, say, Richard Epstein.

    5. “O’Rourke is obnoxious and dismissive on the subject of climate change, but nothing else really matters.”

      *Tries to speak, but is speechless*

  23. Permissiveness if a function of the M/F ratio. Weimar. Roaring 20s. And look up the 60s. Of course ‘Nam helped.

  24. This article is shit.
    You can help by proofreading it.

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