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The Backwards Generation

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Fashion goes in cycles where styles from bygone eras return as the cutting edge trend. I believe I heard that the 1970’s fashions were coming back in style; that would be a crime against humanity. We always encourage younger generations to educate themselves about the past and learn from it. But this generation seems to want to divorce itself from human advancement and take us back to yesterday’s technology -- which was and remains deficient.


I was starkly affronted by this when my son turned over his shaving blades and cream to me. He had deserted them for an old-fashioned straight razor and shaving soap. My 26-year-old- son, who is very smart and is my source for electronic/computer innovations, had decided to go totally retro. Notwithstanding the fact that he has a beard, I can’t imagine what would cause someone to desert the innovation that has saved men from bleeding and permanent scars during haphazard shaves while barely clear-eyed. His new method turned into a semi-disaster when he nearly severed the top of his finger and had to see a doctor to stop the bleeding. I asked him what he was thinking.

What has gotten into the mind of these deeply-confused generation?

This question has confronted me in the past when I was making the transition from my albums (vinyl) to cds. I was gradually preening my collection of close to 1,300 albums to make way for my burgeoning CD collection and my electronic music devices. My long-time partners in collecting music had researched to see whether the classic vinyl had any value on the open market, to which we found very little (think eight-track tapes). There is a reason. Vinyl was and remains a horrible way to listen to music. First, it transports poorly. It transfers to another form disastrously. And, as diligent as we were, our albums deteriorated from external conditions and turntable needles that destroyed the grooves and obliterated our listening experience. Of course, there were the scratches that ended up right in the middle of the penultimate moment of Stairway to Heaven. Who in their right mind would want this system?


Leave it to this generation to convince themselves that somehow vinyl is a “purer” sound than MP3 files. When I was tossing my albums and replacing them with music files I could access anywhere, my son’s friends were dumpster diving to get to the decrepit albums. I now have a Sony Walkman with 35,000 songs on it that I can listen to joyfully whenever and wherever I wish to do so and it sounds beautiful with my Bose headphones. Thank God for modern technology.

Yet this anti-advancement attitude has penetrated our society in more serious ways. We are amidst a debate about whether vaccines should be required for children. This burst onto the scene in a major way after the outbreak of measles at Disneyland. When my peers were children we all had the childhood diseases – mumps, measles and chicken pox. At first, I thought big deal – measles. Then I read that an estimated 145,700 people died from measles in 2013. Measles had been eradicated in the United States through effective vaccinations. Now a group of parents were asserting their right to not have their children vaccinated.

My first thought went back to when our pediatrician told us it was time to give a shot to our kids – we did not debate the wisdom. We told him to shoot away. What did we hire this guy for other than to protect our children? In fact, my doctor recently told me I needed a shot for shingles despite having had chicken pox. He told me the anti-bodies had worn off. I got the shot.


I then read about a Seth Mnookin who wrote a book entitled The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science and Fear. He stated “I talked to a public health official and asked him what's the best way to anticipate where there might be higher than normal rates of vaccine noncompliance, and he said take a map and put a pin wherever there's a Whole Foods. I sort of laughed, and he said, ‘No, really, I'm not joking.’ It's those communities with the Prius-driving, composting, organic food-eating people.” That is where the anti-vaxxers could be found.

We have worked for generations to exterminate these diseases and through the brilliance of scientists we had rid ourselves of diseases. I could only come to the conclusion these people are either nuts or depraved and against medical advancements. In olden times you would think they would be the barely educated. No, they are the ones who have some kind of advanced college degree and think they are smarter than our medical community that has worked miracles. Individual and parental rights are limited when issues of public health enter the discussion.

The current scorch for this backward generation is genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food. This is despite the fact that there has not been one study -- not one -- that has shown any harm to humans from these scientific miracles developed by companies like Monsanto and DuPont. Poor people in underdeveloped countries all over the world are producing levels of crops to feed their communities they could never have achieved or conceived of before GMOs. Yet there is a raging hysteria from these elitists who want us all to return to farming our own food. They want us to go backwards while insisting we live in ever-tighter quarters and ride bicycles to work.


Maybe it is because these people did not live through the space race and marveled at the landing on the moon. We now have leadership that does not seem to want to provide hope for advancement and established the only tax in the world on medical devices.

Personally, I believe in God and I believe in science and medicine. I trust in the human ability to advance our living conditions. I only have scorn for this backwards generation.

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