Being a boomer myself, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at wide differences in opinion between age groups. But lately some pretty stark comparisons have been pointed out.
For instance, in former East Bloc (communist) countries it appears a latent "nostalgia" for the bad ol' days is creeping into the perceptions of oldsters.
As we look to the future, this final table raises interesting questions. Across the board, younger citizens are both more supportive of the transition to a market economy and to a multiparty political system. Only time will tell whether democracy and capitalism are always more favorable to the young than to the old or if this will turn out to be more of a cohort effect, with aggregate support for democracy and capitalism increasing over time people who have come of age under post-communism occupy an increasingly larger portion of the population. Of particular interest here is Russia, where a very sharp divide apparently exists between those under and over the age of 50 in terms of support for both multiparty democracy and market economies. [More]
Here in the US, a similar pattern has emerged concerning gay rights.
Traditionalists take heart that same-sex marriage has lost every time it's been on the ballot, and that a decisive majority of the public rejects it. The latest poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press finds 53 percent of Americans are against, with 39 percent in favor.
But anyone who denies that "American opinion is shifting" inhabits a fool's paradise, whose walls are sagging noticeably. Opposition to gay marriage is shrinking. In 1996, 65 percent took a negative view. Since then, support has fallen by about one percentage point a year. Put another way, one out of every eight Americans has gone from opposing the concept to endorsing it.
Time is on the side of gay marriage. The heaviest opposition comes from people over 65. Among those under 30, by contrast, supporters predominate—and by a hefty 58-to-37 percent margin. Ask any actuary where this disparity will lead.
The opponents of same-sex matrimony are in ever-worsening straits. Civil unions and domestic partnerships, which provide some or most of the accouterments of marriage, have been provided to gay couples in nine states and the District of Columbia, according to Lambda Legal. Once radical, these are seen today as the sensible compromise between giving gays the right to sacred matrimony and giving them a sharp stick in the eye. [More]
Somehow it's kinda comforting to think maybe we boomers won't have much lasting effect on our world.