‘OK, Boomer’ mentality: Academics want to label old age a disease, in case you had any respect left for the elderly

RT – by Frank Furedi

Prominent academics are pushing for the World Health Organization (WHO) to include old age on its list of diseases. They say it will improve old people’s lives – but in reality, it will give everyone the excuse to write them off.

In their wisdom, 30 experts – from prestigious universities like Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Cambridge Imperial and UCL – have decided that ageing is no longer a normal feature of life. They want the World Health Organization to classify ageing as a disease. This diseasing of old age represents another blow to the moral status of the elderly.

The experts claim that the transformation of ageing from being a natural part of the cycle of life into a protracted phase of illness will ensure that the medical treatment that the elderly receive will improve. No doubt these medics actually believe that they have the best interest of the elderly at heart. But by rebranding the process of ageing as a form of illness these experts unwittingly contribute to the weakening of the moral status of the old and contribute to the ongoing erosion of the authority of adulthood.

Being old is already considered to be an unattractive and undesirable stage of life. The call to diagnose ageing as a form of illness will merely enhance its negative image.

Wise elders cast down

Once upon a time growing old possessed the positive connotation of gaining maturity and wisdom. Indeed, old age was associated with moral authority. In most societies people turned to the elderly for advice and guidance. Ageing was rightly perceived as a natural process that need not lead to physical demise or social death. On the contrary, ageing provided a unique avenue for gaining respect from the younger members of the community.

In contrast, contemporary Western society rarely associates old age with any positive attributes. At best, the elderly are dismissed as out of date and irrelevant people, whose archaic views ought to be ignored. At worst, the elderly are demonised and scapegoated for robbing the young of their future and condemned for being responsible for the environmental crisis facing the world.

In some instances the elderly are not simply condemned as the cause of young people’s problems, but as unworthy of the kind of esteem given to other groups in society. In a world where acts of prejudice directed at groups are universally condemned it’s still OK to demonise the elderly. In recent times, uninhibited derision is being heaped on older generations by the British media for supporting Brexit. A journalist writing in GQ was not joking when he proposed a “total ban on anyone of retirement age voting in the Brexit referendum.” He claimed that senior citizens were not able to exercise their democratic rights responsibly and concluded that “we take pensioners’ driving licences away… Why not their right to vote?”

Dehumanising the old

The scapegoating of the elderly amounts to a form of gerontophobia, which dehumanises the old. Unfortunately, this unflattering representation of the elderly has become normalised to the point that many old people feel culturally isolated and constantly devalued. In my own research of the process of ageing I was struck by the profound sense of alienation and estrangement that many of my elderly respondents communicated to me. In particular they expressed a deep sense of cultural distance from the young.

The authority of old people is even devalued in the one area where their contribution has always been respected throughout the world. Even in the domain of child-rearing, the experience of elderly people is regarded with scorn.

Consequently, the experience, customs and insights of grandparents are increasingly derided and ignored. Older people are castigated as far too old-fashioned to offer modern advice to parents struggling to bring up their children. Time and again, experts lecture mothers and fathers not to bring up their offspring in the same way as their parents or grandparents did. From the perspective of the Western parenting professional, grandparents offer a negative model of child-rearing – a moral contrast to the supposedly up to date parenting promoted by 21st century technocrats.

Some experts even go so far as to insist that the behaviour of grandparents constitutes a risk to grandchildren. In 2013, a report published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology  concluded that grandparents can be a threat to their grandchildren’s health. The report asserted that its survey found that one in every three children aged three who were cared for by their grandparents were obese.

This report, like the statement issued by the 30 university experts, totally overlooks the human qualities and needs of the elderly. Diagnosing ageing as a disease will not improve the health of the elderly, it will contribute to the diminishing of their well-being. The elderly will become even more isolated from their communities if they are perceived by definition as ill. And it is their isolation from community life that constitutes the greatest risk to their health and well-being.

The negative attributes attached to ageing have already exacted a great cost to society. Do we want to make the situation even worse by diseasing the old?


6 thoughts on “‘OK, Boomer’ mentality: Academics want to label old age a disease, in case you had any respect left for the elderly

  1. Sounds like “Soylent Green” had an impact on these “experts”…or is it all about “ok boomer” types being pissed off because they keep being told by those “experts” (actually criminal psycho elites, CPEs) that unless the elderly (aka “useless eaters”) are killed off (or “purged”) they’ll never get that social security and medicare? And “ok boomer” types want to kill off their parents and grandparents…why? Because not enough of them died (being drafted and all) in Vietnam? Right. So “ok boomers” want to kill off the folks who gave them life in the first place? After all, it is “immoral” to live until you are in your 90s when in the ancient days some folks lived into their 600s and more…

    BTW, my mother died 4 months after she started collecting Social Security she put into for about 30 years, at age 65. Thanks to the tobacco oligarchs that put poisons into cigarettes, and the feminists who fought for women to smoke tobacco so they could end their lives earlier than otherwise. I myself haven’t smoked since the days before I got married–since 1982. One of the best decisions I ever made. (And my hubby’s mother died of COPD–cigarettes of course!)

    Finally, remember the movie and book “Wild in the Streets” written in late 60s? This is where some 20-something year old becomes president and consigned everyone over 30 to concentration camps…isolation, eh? Is this what the “ok boomer” wing of the CPEs have in mind? Being out where I am, I am glad I am “isolated” from these psychos and their “Ok boomer” minions!

  2. The Simpson’s cartoon helped shape far more than adolescent brats. Grandpa S. was as funny as can be, although he was poking fun at us and making us laugh, he was shaping social values in a negative view of the elderly.
    “Tied an onion to my belt”
    Episode: Last Exit To Springfield

    We can’t bust heads like we used to, but we have our ways. One trick is to tell ’em stories that don’t go anywhere – like the time I caught the ferry over to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe, so, I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on ’em. Give me five bees for a quarter, you’d say.

    Now where were we? Oh yeah: the important thing was I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn’t have white onions because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones…

  3. Damn, this story stings. Thoughts… Communism has to kill those who might inform the young of the myriad of threats out there. Granted, not all elders have this awareness, but most have a clear sense of right and wrong, true and false, natural and unnatural. Communism hates wholesomeness. Communism hates common sense. Communism hates.


    1. Be it my 40 year old son, my 30 year old son, or my 15 year old grandson, they never would, but if they treated me with disrespect, I’d take my belt off and I’d whip the whole room full of them.
      When my grandfather was old, I respected him because I loved him, but up until his dying day at 86 years old, he could still lift that .32 Special Smith and Wesson and shoot a man right between the f-king eyes at 50 feet.
      Again, all I can say to these communists is, just quit your pathetic mealy mouthing and f-king do it if you think you can, because the truth is you know you can’t, and any one of us elderly folk that gives this nonsense one ounce of credence, didn’t raise their children right.

    2. Yep. That there is some disturbing s__t!
      Each and every commie deserves my vote.
      Did I mention that I vote with a 30/30?
      Soft tips of course 😉

  4. “Children of the Corn” mentality at its finest! Of course these psychopaths will cry bloody murder when their time comes up, kind of the way cops do the rare times they get arrested.

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