Paul McCartney's Error
In 1974 Paul McCartney came up with a song called "Live and Let Die." This song stated, "What does it matter to you? If you've got a job you gotta do it well. You gotta give the other fellow hell." This mentality has had a lot of influence, and it was not the better kind of influence.
There is everything to be said for doing one's job well; there is nothing to be said for giving the other fellow hell. All this does is make life ugly for everyone, including the people who have such attitudes. And the result is a worse world for everyone.
Paul McCartney had a legitimate grievance. John Lennon got more credit for the work of Beatles than did he, even though apparently McCartney wrote a number of the songs that were attributed to Lennon. But to generalize this on all of humanity and teach people to give each other hell is completely wrong. And unfortunately these wrongful conclusions had a lot more influence than they ever deserved to have.
What we see with McCartney and his wrongful conclusions is an influence on a generation that started from the position of caring, to being completely un-caring. The result was a worse world for everyone. Many among baby boomers see the change they underwent as themselves going from youth to adulthood, with the appropriate changes in attitudes to adapt to realities of the world. But the greatest reality of the world is that people make the bulk of it; and when people develop wrongful conclusions then that is reflected in the reality of the world that they create.
Having a life-and-let-live attitude is not a function of youth; it is a function of conviction. I, for one, did not start with a live-and-let-live attitude; I started out as a Virginia-educated yuppie and became convinced of the rightfulness of live-and-let-live mentality from realizations and interactions that I've had in life. It may very well be said that McCartney and I moved through life in opposite paths, with him starting with "live and let live" and going on to "live and let die" and with me going in the opposite direction.
Paul McCartney can be credited with producing a number of brilliant songs; but one thing he can't be credited with is giving his followers rightful direction. He made a wrong choice, and the world suffered for it. A generation that started from the position of caring went to a position of aggressive non-caring. And that was just as bad for his generation as it was for the rest of the world.