Youth may have noticed that the pandemic gives them an unprecedented opportunity to change the course of history and possibly ensure humanity's survival for another several generations. Nobody is saying so, but many young people must be thinking that there's an element of divine retribution in this epidemic. Here's a highly contagious disease that can kill older, less healthy people but is like a bad cold for others. Some might look at it as a culling of the herd by the elimination of individuals who have passed their expiration date. Not only that, but the vulnerable population is an age group that might justifiably be regarded as having squandered its kids' legacy.
You might have heard about the greatest generation, my parents' age group, who won a war. My age group, who made war incessantly and won not a single one, might be reckoned the worst generation. As my age-mates and I come up on 75, we can't be feeling good about leaving the world a better place than we found it. As a people, we've done almost nothing right. If retribution were ever deserved, we deserve it. And, if the epidemiologists' predictions hold, some of us are going to get it.
Among Greta Thunberg's contemporaries, this must look a lot like justice. Sellouts reaping what we sowed. It's win-win for the survivors. Less consumption and shorter lines, plus, with the interruptions to commerce, a reduction in polluting emissions and the potential for a comprehensive shift of political power from the formerly rich to the furious masses.
It's pretty obvious how this can work to the advantage of young people. "Social distancing" instructions notwithstanding, they may think it in their interest, individually and as an age-group, to contract the virus, recover from it, and resume their usual activities. Young, healthy people might choose to heed warnings from media and government--thoroughly discredited institutions among critical thinkers--but there's simply no reason to believe they'll comply for very long. We can hope they'll keep a respectable distance from vulnerables.
In the first place, youth are about to get screwed if they shelter in place. The latest sellout--huge government subsidies to mitigate the failure of private enterprise--is going on their tab. It's a tactic that's been tried unsuccessfully in other countries, but our people don't seem to be heeding the lessons debtors in those countries are now learning. If the pandemic kills off the eldest of the middle class in the midst of this desperate spending spree, is that really such a bad thing? Government officials, who show no disposition to initiate mass testing that could prevent many deaths among the old and infirm,seem to be ambivalent about and maybe even in favor of the "haircut" we're about to get.
Now add a Biden-Trump election to this mess. The elders are about to give youth a choice between two bullying narcissists, both of whom are pledged to keep Americans consuming, wasting, and polluting at current levels. They're also both notorious sexual predators who deserve to be punched in the nose by at least one brother, father or husband. The age group least likely to be inconvenienced by the epidemic will be deprived by the epidemic of any democratic means of preventing the installation of either of these lechers. Young, infected individuals may be the only people in America able to take to the streets safely to protest.
We Americans like to see our enemies eliminated. Democrats and Republicans alike giggled when Saddam Hussein swung and Qadaffi bled out and Bin Laden got dropped in the ocean. We seventy-somethings have, in the aggregate, done more injury to our kids and grandkids than that trio of Arab despots could ever hope to inflict on us. Will our survivors--who don't talk about this but who are enraged--will they grieve long for us? We can only hope that on Grave Defilement Day some years from now, somebody will say, "Don't pee on Grandpa. He tried."