17.5.16

THINKING ABOUT THE FOURTH TURNING.

Christopher Chantrill is in tumbrels, pitchforks, and torches mode.
The next stage after Obama and his social-justice-warrior reign of terror is Thermidor and Trump as dictator. The French did it after Robespierre; the Chicoms did it after Mao’s Red Guards; Now it’s our turn.

But I wish we could skip the “foreign conquest” bit. How about we just send a [metaphorical] whiff of grape across Harvard Yard and launch a trillion-dollar RICO suit against every college president in the land for conspiring against the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the First Amendment, and the presumption of innocence? Not to mention the American Way of Life?

I have been as dumb as anyone about the 2016 election, and feel the sense of loss that good old Reagan Republicanism is as dead as can be, killed by Obama’s fundamental transformation. The old conservatism was based on the idea of reforming the New Deal in a contest with Kennedy-Johnson liberals.

Obama’s lot have destroyed the old political culture because their Alinsky rules mean not compromise but politics à outrance. That is French for get in their faces. To the Obamites every activist agenda should be pressed to the limit, because that is what they do.

Having destroyed the old politics, they may get a nasty shock as Dem. intelligence starts to identify the new formations of the new Trump-era politics that have moved up to plug the hole in the line.
Michael Barone is less pessimistic, but he sees parallels to a perilous time a saeculum ago.
The Americans of 1910 faced terrorism and globalization, too. Anarchists murdered President William McKinley in 1901 and set off a bomb that killed dozens next to J.P. Morgan's 23 Wall Street in 1920. This America was interlaced with the global economy and, with its growing economic and demographic might, risked being drawn into any world war.

So, America in 1910, with nearly 100 million people, was in important ways less like the postwar America of 150 million than like today's America of 300 million. Studying how Americans handled -- or mishandled -- similar challenges may prove more fruitful than yearning to restore the unique and non-replicable America of Charles Murray's, Robert Putnam's and my youth.
We've heard this song before.  Strauss and Howe's Generations, which appeared an era ago, also led to an article in Atlantic suggesting that the crude, trashy Thirteenth Generation echoed the crude, trashy Lost Generation of the pre-Depression era.  And the first world war the United States got drawn into since 1814 had a less-than-definitive outcome.  It took a terrible resolve to settle the world war that followed, and among the victory dividends were the America that Worked(TM) that Mr Barone has old heads on both sides of the neither-relevant aisle still using as a paradigm. "Postwar America was the result of unique circumstances -- economic dominance when competitor nations were devastated, cultural uniformity that followed from a universal popular culture and the common experience of military service (16 million Americans served in the wartime military; the proportional equivalent today would be 38 million)."  Yes, and in saecular analyses, there is no restoration of a previous High; there can only be the emergence of a new High, with new saecular challenges, after the old order is shattered beyond recognition.

Here, Mr Barone invoking the pre-Depression parallels is at once frightening and encouraging.  Frightening, as the saecular crisis might still be emerging, its major challenge yet to be seen.  Encouraging, as Barack Obama is not the young Gray Champion, nor are any of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, or Mitt Romney the figure of an ancient man, combining the leader and the saint.

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