Remember Y2K? Oh we were so relieved that nothing happened. But it did. Something big happened. It was just more subtle, yet more important than we thought.
Rationalists who prided themselves on saying the year 2000 was just a number were right that it’s just a number. But turned out to be wrong about its signicance. The turn of the century, and of the Millennium, turned everything over. Just in slow motion. The pending attack of 9/11 was only the beginning. 9/11 taught us that our relationship to the rest of the world was very different than we thought. We STILL are arguing over what if anything we have learned about that, but everybody agrees on this: Very Different.
The Bush Administration, whether it got into office properly or improperly, marked a huge transition in American political history. In foreign policy, if nothing else, we re-learned the Law of Unintended Consequences. In domestic policy, we re-learned the Law of Don’t Trust Economists Who Tell You That Giving All the Money to the Rich Will Have a Good Outcome. Both these lessons are still a bit slow sinking in, but of course we can blame the schools for that.
Lastly, in this new Millennium, are the Millennials. Have you noticed them seeping into the economy and culture and gradually taking it over, as new generations always do? Yes, they are ridiculed, like every new generation is, for being ignorant and self-focused and lazy, but Yelling at Kids has never been successful at accomplishing anything. If you must feel that they are insufficiently disciplined and need to be punished, take your schadenfreude at the thought that they’ve been trying to make it in a blasted economy and earn enough to pay off their huge student debts and fund your retirement without knowing if there will be anything left for them.
But it actually IS about them now, or will be soon enough, and before you spend too much energy being mean to them, think about what they will put in your gruel when you expect them to be feeding it to you in your dotage. Personally, I’m investing in a robot for that.