Some words of advice to the few Quaker Friends born after 1960
US National Debt Clock, 6th Avenue @42nd St, NYC
February 5, 2000 ($5.6 Trillion Debt)
Projected by February 2012 ($15.0 Trillion Debt)
Dear Young Friends,
The elders - the weighty and influential in Quaker Society today - are of a generation which can be called ‘The Aquarians’. The Aquarians came of age (were mostly 12 – 29* years old) in the consciousness-raising Summer of Love, 1967.
Beginning that fateful summer, the moral authority previously held by the adult ‘establishment’ - began to shift to the youth 'counter-culture'. These youth sometimes called 'hippies' were one half of the politically polarized Aquarian generation. By then, the message of Martin Luther King, Jr. had been validated, and the Viet Nam War began to go badly for the U.S. That summer in San Francisco invaded and changed the hearts and minds of the youth of the world.
Whether they were the long-haired-war-protester half or the crew-cut-ROTC-recruit half - the Aquarians came of age in a period of mass economic plenty. The Aquarians' parents, however, came of age during the period of mass economic deprivation called the Great Depression and World War II. In 1967, the economically inflated Aquarians became further inflated by an over-30 adult authority that began to back down in the face of youthful rebellion.
In 1967, the adult way of life had quickly and totally lost its legitimacy in the minds of youth in a way that it never had in previous generations. A new morality in a New Age (of Aquarius) filled the vacuum where the old authority of white racism, male sexism, and liberal domination of the environment – had suddenly fallen away. The ‘totally discredited’ Establishment also lost its moral authority in its not-so-hip fidelity to the principles of committed marriage, hard work, personal responsibility, deferral of gratification, fiscal conservation, and honor in achievement.
Do the math and the Aquarians are 53 - 70 years old in 2008.
(Click on image to enlarge)
Please also consider the moral authority of our Quaker religious government(s)**. The Aquarian Quaker protest marchers and some younger Friends they influence, might forget about the Church's ambient concerns, lay down those useless political protest signs and consider what happens internally and morally when a person, a nation, or even our Quaker Church goes into financial debt or deficit. Consider also what happens to YOU. People, nations, churches - even YOU- can do dubious things you wouldn't have done without the stress of having to find more and more money to repay money, plus interest, you spent before it was yours.
** The Religious Society of Friends is governed by independent decentralized regional bodies called 'Yearly Meetings'.
In other words: debtors - those who don't save and spend more than they make - go through life with a dark cloud over their heads by borrowing money institutions and other people are more than eager to lend them.
The average American has $10,000 revolving credit card debt.) In fiscal year 2008, the U.S. government will have spent over $600 Billion on national defense including Iraq and Afghanistan. It will also have spent $1.4 Trillion on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid combined. It will have spent over $250 Billion just to pay the interest on the National Debt. (Total 2008 Federal Government Income will have been $2.66 Trillion) Aquarians who now run our country, whether they are Republican or Democrat never really 'had to' and hence usually didn't live within their means. Guess which generations will pay these debts?
Federal Government Expenditure
Source on 12/1/2008:
Aquarians also run our Quaker religious governments, Quaker schools and political action committees. The Aquarians are sometimes half-correctly called the 1960's 'hippie' generation. One-half of this sometimes-called 'Boomer' generation were the crew-cuts who enlisted, got drafted, or simply went out and got one of many available jobs to occupy their free time. But, the hipper half of the Boomer generation took up vans, motorcycles and protest signs. They hit the road in their VW microbuses, took a psychedelic trip, tuned in and dropped out and took refuge in communes and Quaker meetings. But, like a tsunami, hippie-Aquarians rushed into Quaker Meetings, during the late 1960s and early 1970s, because their elder Quakers at that time were very tolerant people. Then the hippies mostly left as fast as they rushed in - again like a tsunami, when the Vietnam War was over and the recession of the mid 1970s was under way - pulling out many of the older Friends. Some hippies stayed. These are now your immediate elders in Quaker Meeting in 2008. They were the counter-culture in the 1960s and 1970s, and are now the Quaker Establishment - some say as intolerant, or even more intolerant of diversity of opinion as the 'Establishment' they criticized in the 1960s. What is at the core of Aquarian religious government (or civil government) malfeasance is the continuous dishonesty of living outside of our means.
The next older generation of Friends (and of the public) came from what some call the 'Greatest' Generation, sometimes called the 'Silent Generation'. These are now the Quakers over 72 years old (updated in 2011) who had to go through the Great Depression in the 1930s as children or even as young adults.
What many of you experience today in your Quaker Meeting is the hollowed out shell of what was forty years ago a thriving local community of loving people who knew personally and socially of mass deprivation and want. Almost everyone was poor until 1946 when the Aquarians have their first childhood memories in their coming of age, in an age of prosperity.
The evidence today in 2008 shows the total membership decline of the Quakers over the years since 1970. This rate of decline, especially with reference to Philadelphia and New York Yearly Meetings of the Religious Society of Friends, is twice or three times as high as the rate of decline of mainline churches. All the while - the Quakers continued to spend more and more money over the same period.
Aquarians over the age of 50 through about the age of 70, in 2008, continue to expect excess. Aquarian Friends who came of age during Haight-Ashbury in the summer of 1967 have the childlike expectation that someone else should and will pay for the largesse of government - religious or civil - that they approve. Like those in history who felt the sun revolved around the earth, Aquarians correspondingly must feel that a government is something that has a reason-to-be and a life of its own, rather than what the constituent people say it is, beginning from zero each year.
What I've said, in more words over the last year is that the Aquarian hippies - and some of them are surely lovable - as the elders 'running' today's Religious Society of Friends, have already begun to spiritually and financially bankrupt Quakerism for the next generations. The physical and the spiritual are interconnected in our Faith.
I've experienced first-hand a group called New York Yearly Meeting as just one example of an apathetic degeneration into governmental unaccountability. Its membership has declined for almost 40 years, and has been in budget deficit for 3 of the last 4 years after a few Friends, and now a Quarterly Meeting, have stood up and said - enough. The NYYM religious 'government' is not connected to the people. Its budget is perennially padded and its life unaccountable to the populous behind an iron curtain of propaganda. Accurate and detailed sharing of the income and expenditures, if transparently provided, describe the life in an organization. The 'life' in the Quaker Meetings - New York and Philadelphia - is being determined by a paid and or an emotionally rewarded elite. These Friends continue these apathetic and dying, trust-funded bodies. Sadly, it is hard to say which came first - the decline, the apathy of the populous, or the professorial elite?
This religious governmental malfeasance is very similar if not just like those who spend more money than is collected in taxes by our federal and state civil governments. The hippies and the ROTC neo-conservative children don't feel like they have to pay for the government that they themselves approve. This privileged or entitled dishonesty is the most negative attribute of the grown-up Aquarian generation. When we have been given something or money, for example, we don't value it as much as if it were hard to come by. Its hard to fly Coach after you've flown First-Class.
If you - the few Generation X, and Generation Y Friends, born between 1960 and 1990 - survive into your august years as a Quaker - you will have been schooled by the hippies in all the wrong ways. You will have been schooled in the attitude of unquestioned economic entitlement. You will have been schooled in the operation of inflexible trust-funded centralized government tethering together weak, interdependent local communities. This, as opposed to emphasizing strong, independent, cohesive local communities in a bottom-up grass roots fashion, giving rise to wider-body mandates - only when needed. You will have been schooled in vain protest marching and the funding by someone else for wealthy private Friends schools and for Quaker political action organizations screaming incessantly and self-righteously about lofty and faraway 'justice'. Justice - as a sliding scale far removed relative concept - is opposed to the historic Quaker emphasis on absolute individual integrity, and its difficult implementation in each Friend's day-to-day life. You will have been schooled in viewing the 'system' as the oppressor, in viewing depression as 'spiritual' and supporting ongoing entitlements for the poor to stay poor and for the wealthy to feel good about 'helping' them. All the while, you will have been schooled by a lifetime professional or hierarchal class of career Quaker (over) paid minister, which will be constantly 'needed' while their messages ring flaky, frequent and self-serving (to make sure they continue to be paid).
These instead of being schooled in what Friends over the age of 70, born before 1938, will mostly remember - when Friends worked hard at their integrity with individuals, face-to-face as volunteers in the course of everyday life. During this era, emotional depression and other mental illness were treated to be ameliorated or cured as such in the community, not nurtured. This was the generation in which instances of poverty were countered with individual education in how one should live and work properly in order to exit poverty. This, Friends, was the difficult and the hard work of honesty.
What you face in the next years as the hippies run your meetings - is a ministry of use of other people's money from debt, from a few wealthy, and from trust funds set up by dead Friends in the totality of the new righteousness. Go to the business meetings and you'll witness your elder ministers taking the easy, mono-cultural, politically partisan way out of tough situations.
Reprinted with permission:
Signe Wilkinson, Philadelphia Daily News,
Washington Post Writers Group
Follow the civil and religious governmental malfeasance to the privilege and entitlement of the Aquarians. Follow the money to this dishonest way of life. Take responsibility to let your personal resources and your life speak: with your money, your time, and your talent.
Seek out birthright Friends and your more distant elder Friends over the age of 70 who can tell you what Friends and Friends Meetings were like before 1967. These people are your role models. Then engage the Aquarian elders and ask Generation X and Y type questions: How much will that cost? Who is going to pay for that? Listen to how many words are used to answer. (Hint: like George Fox said, "More is less".)
* You've heard the reminder, "Don't trust anyone over 30." or "Not to be a Socialist at age 20 is proof of want of heart. To be a Socialist at age 30 is proof of want of head." or "When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years."
The author turned 8 years old during the Summer of Love. He went on family trips across the U.S. as a child in a VW Microbus and rode a motorcycle across the U.S. as an adult.