Tuesday, November 21, 2023


This isn't about Biden or Trump, really, though they are part of it. It's certainly good that people with access to good health care (should be everyone, of course) have a chance of living  long relatively healthy lives, but it isn't entirely good that people over 70 cling to power everywhere in society.
That this was odd and less than desirable didn't require much justification, once upon a time.
As the Brezhnev era ended, the average age of the 13 Politburo members was a few months under 70, the oldest group ever to rule in the Kremlin. Few of them had anything like a rounded modern education or had seen much of the world outside Eastern Europe. Most were like Mr. Brezhnev himself, bureaucrats who made their careers during the years just before or after the war, profiting by Stalin's purges to clamber up the party ladder. Faced with pervasive evidence of the country's malaise, they seemed too immured in power and privilege to be capable of challenging the system that had nurtured them. he potential successors were all in their late 60's and early 70's, and none had been allowed to emerge as an assured heir. Yet a close reader of Pravda could tell toward the end that it was likely to be either Mr. Andropov or the doyen of the Brezhnev loyalists in the Politburo, 71-year-old Konstantin U. Chernenko, an apparatchik in the classic mold whose instincts seemed to run unerringly toward the status quo. Whatever slim hope there was of reform after the transition, it appeared to rest with Mr. Andropov.
My very general take is that I hope people live long and productive lives and stay in work as long as they wish (though ideally they wouldn't have to!), but people in positions of power - everywhere - should be pulling back from asserting their authority over time. Give the Kids (people under 60) a chance.
Again, I'm not talking about Biden, or even politics, specifically.

The unwillingness to cede power also accompanies an unwillingness to mentor their successors.