I was thinking about this recently and let me first say this has nothing to do with the possibility of people under the 40's or 30's being genetically smarter. Evolution doesn't work that quickly.
I have noticed that with the access to information that we now have that young adults (I'm referring mostly to people 18-30 years old or so) don't seem to be buying the bull**** that previous generations did. Sure younger people tend to be more liberal but in general it seems like this age group looks upon the older generations almost with ridicule.
I noticed a HUGE gap between ideologies of the average 40+ year old (more like 50+ year old) vs 18-30 year old when it came to the recent Presidential race. While the older generations considered the election of a black President "historic" or "historical" (which I'm still not convinced is even a word), the younger generations almost unanimously didn't give a **** what race Obama was. Young people got excited about Obama because he was young, he was cool, and most importantly he was intelligent. I didn't vote for Obama, I hate his ideologies but I'll be damned if he isn't a smart and well-spoken guy.
As a 22 year old when I talk about Obama as President the issue of race doesn't even really come up. To us it has absolutely nothing to do with race but rather that a young intelligent guy (albeit with a dubious VP pick) was up against a warhawk idiot whose VP was dumb as rocks. Heck McCain even admitted he doesn't know how to use the internet whereas Obama, like most young adults, thrives with technology and can't help but love doing stuff on his BlackBerry.
Many of us young adults grew up with computers. I grew up playing old-school games like Civilization, Colonization, Doom, and even Treasure Math Storm. I couldn't get enough of computer and I still can't get enough of them. I, like my fellow generation x/y-ers realize the power and importance of computers whereas most of our parents don't know how to use speakerphone or even what a text message is. I used to be 12 years old and having to teach my father, the one who bought the computer in the first place, how to do the simplest of tasks.
The technological advances have created a huge gap between kids/young adults and their parent/grandparent generations and based on my experience it has almost reached the point of resentment. I have dated girls outside of my ethnicity while my grandfather seems to think they are all criminals. I've befriended gay people whereas when my grandfather or possibly even my father were my age an open homosexual would be persecute and quite possibly beaten up simply for their sexuality.
I guess my question is: to you older members here (I don't mean old old, just over the age of 40 or 50), did you notice a growing disconnect between your generations and the preceding ones? To be honest we probably don't even have anyone over the age of 50 on here (which just proves my point) who visits regularly but another question might be whether our young generation might undergo the same tension or disconnect when we become older?
In general I think the older generations, especially government officials, might want to be more careful about the sorts of things that they do. They appear to sometimes forget that the quality of their twilight years will depend upon the relationship between their generation and the younger ones. For instance Social Security for the Baby Boomers will fall on our shoulders. We will most likely foot the bill but realize the unsustainability of the system and minimize/abolish it for ourselves. I may be wrong but I believe we will be able to make sacrifices for what is right and just where other generations have failed.
I suppose I'm blabbering. My generation might be as bad as any other but based on my experience I know there will be a larger portion willing to always do the right thing than generations in the past... in any given situation. We are armed with more information than any other in the past and boy the older generations better hope that this information doesn't lead to their condemnation.
Older generation people might say or think that our generation is no different from theirs, aside from the environment in which we were brought up. They may say it because they don't like the idea of a generation being better than theirs but when I look ahead at myself as an 80 year old man... nothing would make me happier than my children, grandchildren, and their generations one-upping me. It at least means the world we're living in is going in the correct direction.
PS I know this is a ramble but I must repeat once again that evolution doesn't drastically change within a few generations. I'd like to think my generation is innately smarter and better than the ones in the past but scientifically speaking that's very unlikely. I guess in the end what I'm asking is whether increasing technology and (for lack of better terms) globalization is increasing the gaps between subsequent generations.