I've heard of racism, and sexism, and even speciesism. But I would like to propose a new variety-generationalism. If racism is the discrimination against people of a different race, then generationalism is the discrimination against people of a different generation.
The mistreated generation I have in mind is the future generation. They are that remote and faceless vapor that will take our places on this writhing globe-when we are outahere! If we're this good at cheating people we can see, it is even less difficult to stiff people who are yet hypothetical.
The remarkable thing I have noticed about the present financial catastrophe is that it is hard to find anyone talking about how this stinks for our children's children. We used to talk about that when the debt was merely one trillion dollars for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and $700 billion over 10 years for the drug benefit added to Medicare, and 43.5 percent of the federal budget that is Medicare and Social Security.
The only thing I can conclude about the eerie cessation of hand-wringing regarding "future generations" with respect to the $700 billion bailout is that we are all feeling so unspeakably guilty that we have tacitly agreed to not even mention them.
King Hezekiah brought disaster on his people by an act of vanity during a visit by Babylonian envoys. Isaiah told Hezekiah that for his folly "the time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your fathers have store up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon."
But when the King learned that this would happen only in the next generation, he cheered up: "'The word of the Lord you have spoken is good,' Hezekiah replied. For he thought, 'Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime!'" (2 Kings: 16-19)