'Generation Must Show Itself'

"A Generation Must Show Itself" by Alan M. Webber (Editorial Page, Jan. 2) is an excellent analysis of where the upcoming American leaders, the baby boomers, have come from and where they are now--all of which is very disturbing. Surely their parents (I am one) must share the blame because what they see now is merely an extension of themselves.

At the risk of oversimplification, the main problem goes back to the parents' era. The American victors of World War II who, afterwards, greatly benefitted from fortuitous economic circumstances, developed a collective superiority complex that has distorted their perspective for 42-plus years.

We have heard a lot about the "new interdependent world economy," but all our actions are toward being the master of, or the "engine" for, the world economy. If our concept of master or engine is being the excessive and heavily indebted consumer of the world's exports, then no wonder we are in deep trouble.

A solution to the problem is to tone down frivolous entertainment and excessive commercialization, and shift the emphasis to education of all Americans and also the people of Third World countries. This is the best new business we could devise and for which we, by our size and diverse ethnic makeup, are better equipped to accomplish than any other industrialized country.

The most obnoxious manifestation of American superiority to the outside world is trying to compensate for economic decline with military might. This is viewed not only as futile, but the waste of valuable resources along with the resulting indebtedness may lead to the economic instability of the entire industrialized world.

As Webber alludes to, the bottom line for Americans is not to get bogged down with the petty politics of domestic self-interests and, I add, illusions of our world importance. We must develop realistic attitudes of ourselves and our country and how we all can participate in a peaceful world.


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