Governed by adolescents

Recently, Greens MP Chloe Swarbrick shut down an interjector with “OK boomer”.  It was reported in Stuff:

Ideally, when an MP is speaking in Parliament, no-one interjects.  However, interjections are in fact extremely common and are tolerated to a large degree.  The MP speaking sometimes responds to the interjector.  The Speaker will intervene if the exchange gets out of hand or the interjection itself warrants intervention.  The MP speaking has no authority, only the right to speak.

On this occasion, there was an interjection and the interjector was silenced with “OK boomer”.  I don’t know who interjected but I assume, in the interests of the shut down being meaningful, it was an MP who is old enough to present as a baby boomer.  Swarbrick is quite young, a shining light of the Greens.

It is difficult to see how the age of the interjector might have been relevant to proceedings or how it would make sense to expound on “OK boomer” by saying, “You should not interject (or, your interjection is without merit) because you’re a baby boomer”.

We all know what a furore there would be if an interjector was silenced with “OK youngster” or “OK madam”.  In the case of “OK boomer”, there is no furore: instead, there is an article that explains and attempts to justify the blatantly ageist remark.

Far from apologising (simple enough) or acknowledging that she misspoke by delivering an ageist shut down, Swarbrick considers “OK boomer” to be “relatively innocuous”.  We all know that, for the elite, there is no such thing as “relatively innocuous” sexism and racism:  it is all condemned on reflex.  Nonetheless, she stands by her conduct and Stuff (of course) agrees.

However, she knows that she has misspoken and this is why the fascinating explanation continues.  She says the expression is a “simple summation of collective exhaustion”.  This “exhaustion” results from –

  1. a decade of jibes about the need for millennials to “pull their socks up”;
  2. the fact that millennials are facing environmental and social challenges;
  3. “you cannot win a deeply polarised debate – facts don’t matter”. This is eventually explained as meaning that a lot of baby boomers don’t accept facts.  (It’s news to me that this characterises boomers in particular, but never mind.)

And I suppose the collective nature of the exhaustion means    4. “It isn’t just me”.

Dehydrating the language, we have –

  1. I’m allowed to be rude if it’s retaliatory.
  2. I’m allowed to be rude because life is hard.
  3. I’m allowed to be rude in a polarised debate – especially since it was polarised by “them” (as everyone knows, “we” are really nice).
  4. Anyhow, I’m not responsible for anything I say when acting out my special and enormously powerful “collective” emotions.

It would be difficult to invent a rationale that is so self-righteous, so averse to accountability and so fanciful.   And Swarbrick is one of the more talented Greens.

Then there is the particular focus of this contempt – older folk.  This  contempt on the part of the elite has been around for a while and is now becoming more blatant.

For example, age is represented by “stale” in the caricature of society’s great villain – the stale, pale male.

The only time we’ve heard the “dignity” of older folk mentioned in recent years is in connection with euthanasia.  And, when Diversity is spoken of, age is not mentioned – although the young are starting to appear in that favoured gathering.

We are being governed by toxic adolescents.  I don’t see it turning out well.