Wednesday, December 2, 2020
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Ageism, the new racism

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RECENTLY I happened across an article in the Financial Times by an Emma Agyemang. She is clearly of a Marxist bias, and in the diatribe that constituted her piece she berated people she described as ‘Boomers’, blaming them for many of society’s ills.

I find the term ‘Boomer’ extremely offensive. It has caught on in recent years especially with the Left-leaning, ‘green’ eco-warriors and woke virtue signallers.

The term is nothing short of age discrimination and age hatred. Age is a protected characteristic and as such, using ‘Boomer’ could be a crime. An email was sent to Ms Agyemang, who has not replied. One wonders what the outcry would have been if other groups were referred to in an article in this way, for example ‘Blacks are responsible for  . . .’

This is not the first time that the Financial Times has stooped so low in its attacks on business, the older generations, people with less pigment, President Trump and anything that does not align to Greta Thunberg.

The FT used to be quite an interesting and informative read but now so often its articles are like passages from a textbook for year 7 pupils. One finishes the article to ask ‘Is that it’? Or where was the substance in that piece of writing? For a once-esteemed journal, the decline is sad. No doubt the speed of change, the surge to the Left and the dumbing down have something to do with the new editor, Roula Khalaf, formerly the FT’s deputy editor. She succeeded Lionel Barber in January. TCW reported this week on changes at the Times, and it would appear similar things are in train at the FT.

The article written by Agyemang got me thinking about what is going on in wider society. There is definitely resentment of those who are older, which often translates into hatred. I spent some time considering if the young have a point. Thunberg for one is very vocal regarding older people. She has ranted about how they have destroyed her childhood. I struggle to see how a group of people classified by their age have destroyed her childhood. The build-up of CO2 has apparently been going on for centuries. It started at the same time as the Industrial Revolution. This is exactly the same time as the world’s population started to grow rapidly. Thunberg often talks about ‘Boomers’ or flying but never tackles population growth as a factor in global warming in countries such as India and Bangledesh; population growth is a huge factor in C02 emissions.

I recalled when I was growing up: we had three recessions, one of which was really bad. Then of course we lived with the constant threat of nuclear war. Civil defence information was provided on how to ‘survive’ a nuclear attack; incidentally for all you young ’uns reading this, it was your precious Marxists who threatened to destroy us all in the name of promoting peace. People have such short memories of the horrors of socialist states. I do not bear any malice towards elderly former residents of the GDR or the Soviet Union etc for destroying my childhood with the threat of nuclear war. We also had the constant threat in cities of IRA bombs, but I am not hostile to Irish Catholics.

I then considered finance. Yes, I thought, we are often told how older people had it all. When I was a student we did not get free travel on buses. I had to walk as I did not have the bus fare. If you went to college to do A-Levels you had to pay for the tuition and exam fee. As for being paid a weekly sum to attend college by the government, that was not even thought about. I remember my first house purchase. I had worked for some years and lived a life of unadulterated austerity to save a deposit. To secure what was at the time a huge mortgage, I had been subjected to an interrogation in person at the building society. Interest rates of 10-15 per cent were normal. So hang on, how did we have it so good?

Conclusion: we didn’t have it so good. We had some opportunities then that youth do not have now. However, this writer asserts that there are myriad wonderful opportunities now for young people that we could have only dreamed of. We never had crowdfunding, the many business and social opportunities that exist on the internet, opportunities to do paid work experience in overseas countries, freedoms and travel opportunities.

Every generation has challenges and opportunities. The BLM supporters would be wise to consider the young generation of 1940 who certainly had many more challenges than opportunities.

Humans are by nature tribal. Many scholars have written about how groups find security in identifying others outside that group to hate. My message to the young is: if you really believe you are so virtuous and so woke, cut the age discrimination – it stinks! My message to victims of age discrimination is: stand up and fight it all the way. It must not become the new racism.

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Heiko Keitel
Psychologist, Management Consultant, Commentator on World Economic Affairs.

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