Thursday, May 31, 2007

Classics of Conservatism - Part XX - Boomsday

Click here for a previous Classic of Conservatism.

We have been told for generations that social security is insolvent or will soon be insolvent and/or will run out of money someday. We have watched as one Republican president after another has proposed some solution, only to see that solution quickly shot down in a hail of demagoguery. We watch every election cycle as the MSM/DNC tries to frighten seniors into believing that the Republican candidate has a secret plan to cut/deny SS benefits. The social security system started as an illegal ponzi scheme. The political process has turned the system into a parody of itself.

Most of us have known these things for years (unless you trust the government to take care of you in your old age). But now we have something else to keep the social security issue in perspective - a new novel and a new word. "Boomsday" is the name of both the novel and a deadline. Boomsday is the day when baby boomers begin retiring with full benefits to be paid by the next generation. While it is not clear that the disaster will begin immediately upon the retirement of the first boomers, it IS clear (from the novel and from our own knowledge of economics and common sense) that the fuse will be lit on that day and will quickly burn to its inevitable conclusion.

more than just a novel

Boomsday the novel is set against the backdrop of the financial consequences for the United States government and the economy. The novel describes the actions of one principled person with a catchy name who fights back using her even more appropriately named blog.

The reader is treated to stories of riots on golf courses in protest against the boomers' easy retirement lifestyle at the expense of later generations. The reader is further presented with the main character's unique and imaginitive proposals for rescue of the SS system. We share her dismay as her main proposal is compromised away, despite retaining the same name and form.

"Boomsday" is not simply a dry novel filled with statistics and grim warnings. The book is filled with wit and humor and even some fast paced action. As the characters race toward the climax, the reader detects a hint of a John Grisham story.

Boomsday is about more than simply the collapse of social security. Boomsday is about Presidential and legislative politics. The politics and the humor take the story a little far afield of its original mission. The author's antipathy to the "Christian Right" is also misleading and distracting. The book is filled with salty language, probably in an attempt to attract younger readers to find out about their impending fate.

The book is to be celebrated for reminding us of the war in Bosnia, which still occupies American forces and serves as a symbol for so much of what is wrong with our government and its policies.

[The above images do not actually appear in the book (there are no illustrations), but they demonstrate some of the major plot points that guide the story.]

But the most important function of the book is to jump start the discussion of the disaster that awaits us when SS can no longer survive in its current form. The book, much like the main character, seems to want only to begin a "dialogue", during which presumably more Americans will realize the grave danger with which we are faced. The book fulfills that role.

Coining a term that will serve to remind the audience of the impending SS crisis is crucial. With the use of the term "Boomsday", we now have a word that will shorthand the concept and aid our discussion. For too long, the MSM/DNC monopoly not only provided misinformation on key issues, it also prevented any discussion of key issues by refusing to discuss or even identify key ideas or problems. The imminent collapse of SS is one of those concepts. The one word identifier - "Boomsday" - now allows us to warn of the impending Boomsday just as the word "9-11" allows us to warn of future terrorism in our cities.

I recommend the book, but, more importantly, I recommend the word.

update - I have updated the photos above.

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