Gerald's Corner: "Baby Boomer"

The failure of the "Baby Boomers" or what we should not learn from Luisa Neubauer

An extremely monochrome view of the currently much-discussed generational difference between Millenials and Baby Boomers could look like this:

The "baby boomers" are often accused of not having made important decisions - e.g. on climate change - in time or not at all, of moderating where decisiveness is needed and of wanting to understand and analyse everything rationally without subsequently evaluating it consistently, let alone changing it. They will probably go down in history as the generation of the "indecisive know-it-all".

Millenials, on the other hand, are finally bringing the important issues to the fore, making demands instead of debating, preaching renunciation and setting new, "sensible" taboos. Even language is subjugated to political sentiment; rational consistency clearly takes precedence over aesthetics. The living room - or more classically: the agora - of the Millenials is the digital space. This is where campaigns start that often end in a shitstorm. Here, fringe opinions can be pimped into illusory giants if one knows how to use the manipulation possibilities of the digital space. Presumably, history will one day speak of "digital Jacobins".

Distinct from the "public servants" are the "state leaders" who mark their territory in the awareness of full, "holistic" responsibility and quite obviously take pleasure in the visibility of their regional and local solo efforts. The detail is shied away from; instead, one pleases oneself as an announcer of guidelines and sponsor of Bazooka-like rescue umbrellas. In such a serious situation, is it permissible to accuse them of vanity and profiling? As an observer in the "Corona AC" (and in the election year 2021) one even has to.

So much for the clichés.

As a classic baby boomer, I understandably can't help wanting to understand what is actually coming together in this field and what opportunities can be developed from it.

As a learned disciple of Schulz von Thun, I have taken the liberty of using the square of values and development to methodically visualise the contrast described above. This requires not only the devaluing exaggerations/unvalues, here possibly "indecisiveness" vs. "Jacobinism", but also the positive values contained in these clichés.

In addition, of course, we need real "models" on which we can practice this analysis. I thought of two people who sometimes meet in the relevant talk shows and have obvious difficulties in entering into a dialogue: Armin Laschet and Luisa Neubauer.


Admittedly, it is not easy to discover the positive kernels in the monological attack style of discussion of Luisa Neubauer or in the sterile, boring uncle rhetoric of Armin Laschet. Both are obviously 100% convinced of their political style. Which brings us to the "von Thun" sister virtues. Let's start with the candidate for chancellor: Mr. Laschet obviously distrusts any form of rhetorical emotionalisation. For him, facts, organisation and tactics are the core elements of successful politics. With this attitude, he is possibly a future guarantor that polemicists and demagogues in Germany will continue to have no chance of getting near the levers of power.

Luisa Neubauer, on the other hand, shows us how important it is to fight for one's positions in a democracy with passion and perseverance. She relies on rhetoric, emotion and a fighter's heart.

In the values and development square, this analysis could be summarised as follows:

So what would we recommend to both of them (because, as we know, understanding alone is not enough)? I would wish Armin Laschet - in case he is elected - to interpret the role of chancellor more emotionally, to position himself resolutely and not to freeze in the corset of office. He should use the role of chancellor to show a surprisingly different side of himself that refutes clichés and creates new scope for dialogue. This is not a call to develop the vanity of some of the chancellor's predecessors, but a little more positioning and attack - let's call it "fighter's heart" - would probably do him good.

I would like to discuss with Luisa Neubauer her view on the organisation of real - i.e. electoral - majorities. She probably can't be taught much more about "pleading", but "exploring" in the sense of analysis and tactics can certainly be developed.

And in the end, I can't let it go: as a self-confessed Baby Boomer, I find one thing particularly important: guys like Laschet and Neubauer are the energy sources of a living democracy. Differences of opinion and polarities are not a reason for exclusion or disparagement, but an opportunity for further development. This requires dialogue, this requires "understanding" and this requires determination. So Baby Boomers and Millenials still have a job to do. We are happy to moderate them.