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Boom Generation

You enjoyed an idyllic childhood, much like the one depicted on Leave It To Beaver. Beaver was basically a good, though by no means perfect kid, who was given the leeway to get in and out of scrapes. But one character on the show, Eddie Haskell, portended a darker future for your generation.

Coming of age, you rebelled against your parents' sterile society, producing a "consciousness revolution," much like other Idealist generations; the Great Awakeners, the Transcendentals of Abraham Lincoln and Nathaniel Hawthorne, and FDR's "Missionaries" (or "Rendezvous"). Despite your internal disagreements, white males briefly closed ranks to provide a united front with women and minorities to fight for their rights, which you all felt was the "right" thing to do.

Your generation produced a bunch of "whiz kids" indeed: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Scott McNealy et. al. Problem was, these were individual successes. After the 1960s, there were few instances of collective action, of a generation working in tandem to show others what it was about. Workplaces became fragmented into squabbling groups during your managerial tenure.

But it's the dark side of the generation that troubles others the most. True, you didn't (or haven't yet) produced a Bernie Madoff (a Silent), but you incubated a bunch of  rogues, financial and otherwise: Ted Kaczynski, the brilliant "Unbomber." Wall Street "promoters" Frank Quattrone and Jack Grubman. Even a very crooked CEO or two, Jeff Skilling of Enron,and Dennis Kozlowski of Tyco.

Even so, the road forks with you still in the driver's seat. Your choices will determine the fate of future generations as much as any since the time of FDR and like-aged Winston Churchill.