Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

I study people, technology, and the worlds they make

Grover Norquist on the Greatest Generation

[T]he age cohort that is most Democratic and most pro-statist, are those people who turned 21 years of age between 1932 and 1952–Great Depression, New Deal, World War II–Social Security, the draft–all that stuff. That age cohort is now between the ages of 70 and 90 years old, and every year 2 million of them die. So 8 million people from that age cohort have passed away since the last election; that means, net, maybe 1 million Democrats have disappeared–and even the Republicans in that age group….

This is an age cohort that voted for a draft before the war started, and allowed the draft to continue for 25 years after the war was over. Their idea of the legitimate role of the state is radically different than anything previous generations knew, or subsequent generations. Before that generation, whenever you put a draft in, there were draft riots. After that generation, there were draft riots. This generation? No problem. Why not? Of course the government moves people around like pawns on a chessboard. One side spits off labor law, one side spits off Social Security. We will all work until we’re 65 and have the same pension. You know, some Bismarck, German thing, okay? Very un-American. Very unusual for America. The reaction to Great Depression, World War II, and so on: Centralization–not as much centralization as the rest of the world got, but much more than is usual in America. We’ve spent a lot of time dismantling some of that and moving away from that level of regimentation. (Grover Norquist, quoted in the Weekly Standard)

It reminds me a bit of the scene in Dr. Zhivago where the military commander and political officer of the unit that Zhivago was dragooned into are arguing over whether the doctor should be released or not. The political officer warns that in the future, every soldier will be judged not just by his service, but by his political purity, too. Never mind what you’ve sacrificed: do we think you have the right politics?

Forget saving the world. They became Democrats. They deserve to have their Social Security privatized.


  1. Think of this as the opening salvo of a new generation gap.An irony- in ’68, we were told not to trust anyone over thirty- Now it’s don’t trust anyone over 70.

  2. They certainly do deserve to have their Social Security privatized! It’s about time they got a decent break — and some real money! — for all their service. The Democrats have kept them eating dog food far too long.

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