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So Trump isn't THAT BAD? - Printable Version

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So Trump isn't THAT BAD? - pbrower2a - 06-22-2020

(Posted in a very different web site)

The fault with Trump is not that he is an idealist. His fault is that he has the wrong ideas. It is not mandatory that one understand the cyclical pattern in American history, but it certainly helps.

Trump does something terribly wrong that neither Bill nor Hillary Clinton, "Baby" Bush, nor Obama ever did: he romanticizes the past, alleging that above all, America suffers from the loss of some Golden Age. I can think of people for whom social characteristics not fully modern in American life were anything but golden. If one is black, especially in the South. then American 'greatness' implies that Jim Crow is killed once and for all. It is hard to imagine any competent and intelligent woman seeking a full return to the old patterns of male supremacy. A bit over a century, women did not have the vote, and men were commonly beating  their wives after drinking up their pay in the saloon... and did not have the opportunities of employment so that they had some control of the purse-strings.If one is a homosexual, then for LGBT rights alone this is as close to a Golden Age as there ever has been.

Much of the fault of Donald Trump is his extreme narcissism, something to which elite Idealists are especially prone. Figure that someone like "the Donald" has always been able to ensure that someone else pays the price if he fails. He assumes the reward and pushes the risk onto others. Such is pathology in economics.Those elites have become an exclusive club that ensures a homogeneous clique loyal to itself and containing nobody with empathy for those who might get hurt. Thus if one has ever known hardship one is corrupt in the sense of having empathy for others one gets locked out of responsible roles in life. Lack of empathy? Such characterizes narcissism at best and either sociopathy or psychopathy at its worst.

American progress depends upon the system clearing out vices before they become entrenched. Go in the direction that Trump promotes, and we end up with a hereditary hierarchy of the sort that entrenched social rot and ensured that people who suffered from it had no recourse other than revolution (likely futile), a focus on the Next World (which does nothing to improve things in This World), or defeatism (awaiting liberation from conquerors not as pathological as the oppressive elite), 

(more, and not relevant to that site but relevant here)

The generational cycle has kept America from going too far in any one direction by forcing change, much of it disconcerting. America has tended to be as militaristic as necessary when facing a 4T Crisis, has tended to put a focus on commercial prosperity in a 1T recovery or High, has led in innovative thought in a 2T, and has had the most intense hedonism in a 3T that allows Americans to explore the means of enjoying life as they might not enjoy it in other times and places . One consequence is that we Americans never develop a permanent character or the perception of a Golden Age. All Turnings are flawed, and such becomes more evident as society goes deeper into each turning. 

It is best that America break off any tendency to empire building once it has won the peace. Militarization of the culture degrades the culture. Just contrast Sparta to other Greek city-states in the Hellenic golden age, as does Toynbee. All Greek cities from antiquity have their historical museums, but that of Sparta shows a sudden decline of creativity at the point at which it becomes a garrison state -- which is about the time in which other Greek City states are reaching for the stars in science and are creating great literature and art. The Spartans had their priorities but those cane at a cost. A society that has expansion as its objective and finds peace simply a time in which to seek out opportunities to push its way in places in which such is unwelcome but possible due to intrigues and brute force eventually finds itself a dangerous enemy that can maul that society badly. Preserving 4T ways beyond a generation that need those for survival is one way to ensure that society fails to innovate and imagine its ways into making itself morally better than it was. 

A 4T typically leaves much wreckage behind and makes people want to make up for life put on hold during a Crisis.  Because work is reliably available, this is a good time for starting careers and family life. Such is the most obvious direction, and in a free society that is the direction that most people want. at the time. Philosophical depth? Such is a pointless distraction from the need to build a recently-neglected outer world. Intense feeling in culture? There was plenty of intensity in the militancy that made the previous 4T such a danger. A healthy society can certainly meet its dangers, but it generally seeks to mitigate any potential apocalypse.The highly-organized society necessary for meeting a demonized enemy gets in the way of commerce, stultifies the  raising of precious children who are more to be indulged than to be regimented, and of course in the way of making up for time. People in their mid-twenties who gave up their early adulthood for their country or their civilization have some catching up to do. 

A 1T is commercially successful. People know what is best done with military-style regimentation (let us say law enforcement and fire-fighting) and what is not so easily done (creative work, education, and collegial politics). People are scared of intense passions, those having recently making the previous 4T.. Blandness becomes the norm even in cuisine. So does meat loaf supplant Szechuan cuisine as something desirable to eat out in the 1T as the opposite happened in the 3T? Who knows?

I will make a prediction on popular music: if the most daring trends in 1T music were either "race" music (blacks could seemingly get away with more)  or sheer whimsy (Oh, Mr. Sandman... bring me a dream!") then I would expect something parallel.

About twenty years after the Crisis is over, kids who never knew the Crisis but instead knew relative safety get bored  and seek something very new.... and what might have been stale forty years earlier. In an Awakening Era, "commercial" styles start to seem dowdy.Intense feeling  looks safe enough for people who have never known it being used as a pretext for apocalypse. After all, Idealist kids can't imagine themselves being as "uptight" as Hitler or Mussolini. Sexual strictures that promote  exclusivity in relationships breaks down. Those who cannot think much often grab the seemingly-easy enlightenment of hallucinogens. Communes start looking attractive. Industrial work becomes unattractive,and much of it will disappear to the detriment of the people of little education who have made their incomes off a strong back and a good work ethic at "the plant".   On the other hand... a healthy society allows its assumptions to face a needful challenge. 

So what can go wrong in a 2T? Drug use flourishes, as does crime, Economic opportunity lessens, and people still want some semblance of the Good Life. Maybe Americans refine their principles, but perhaps refine them too much. Mysticism appears as a solution. Mysticism has solved nothing. The children of this time get neglected because Mommy and Daddy are contemplating everything but children that they take for granted.

So keep going the 2T way and society goes the way of the shaman, perhaps a competent thinker but a foolish  incompetent  at all else;. Society forgets its material basis and poverty ensues.

So it is off to materialistic hedonism as the Awakening era. One marker is that the popular culture quits pretending to have any high purpose. Thus Peter, Paul, and Mary give way to Michael Jackson and Madonna. The kids growing up have no use for philosophical depth; they want to have fun, and they insist upon its material basis. Big Business is delighted to offer such. On the other hand, society atomizes even more. Poli9tics becomes a means of enriching extant elites while real wages fall. Trickle-down economics become the sole offering in political life. Underpaid and overworked? Then solve that problem with another job! Corporate profits and executive salaries bloat as never before, and the elites in command of the economy and even non-profits become increasingly demanding, oppressive, and exclusive."Greed is good". Although the 3T might at first allow people the fullest enjoyment of life because nothing gets in the way, such is the lull before the storm. Because honest-to-proletarian work pays badly, people of talent start to seek speculative bubbles that promise high rewards on small investments. Speculative booms invariably go bust while bringing out the worst in commercial ethics. 

Along comes failure and the 4T. But you would not want a 3T to continue indefinitely.The system would become increasingly repressive, exploitative, and inequitable. Who wants a feudal economy? Who wants fascistic corporatism? Who wants to live in a society in which talent must defer to an entrenched hierarchy capable of imposing its economic ways upon everyone?       

RE: So Trump isn't THAT BAD? - User3451 - 06-22-2020

What website?

RE: So Trump isn't THAT BAD? - pbrower2a - 06-23-2020

I'm keeping that hidden to protect the privacy of a fellow poster.

RE: So Trump isn't THAT BAD? - Eric the Green - 06-29-2020

I have another diagnosis. Your website poster is correct about a lot of things, especially that the USA has never developed a character or had a golden age because of this saeculum cycle. That is a clue that it is dysfunctional. The USA and its culture is still primitive, and cannot endure as it is. Perhaps it won't; most powers and empires arrive at their prime and then fail, and new ones arise. I think ours is much like Rome; it will continue for another 400 years, but it will go through constant decay from now on, or at least so it appears. Our chance for a real golden age came in the late 20th century, and we blew that chance.

Mysticism never fails, though. It is not just a 2T fad. It endures as the basic truth of all. It doesn't matter if USA people don't pay attention to it, except that, in not paying attention to it, we fail. Your writer did not dwell on the failures of the 1T, just the other turnings. I think the 2T is the best. Mysticism and spirituality is the ground of all being and the basis of societies that last. It is the spiritual basis of life and society, not the material, that the USA neglects. That is ultimately fatal. Other societies have always had this basis, and not just for one turning, but throughout. Properly understood, it forms the basis of success in all endeavors, and during all turnings. Properly understood, it informs all activities and motivates them, including the needs of what we call physical or material life. It provides the needed guidance at all times. It is not escapist, but life itself.

The USA is materialist, and materialistic. That is its undoing.

Donald Trump is Exhibit A.

Jesus said, seek first the glory of God, and divine righteousness, and all else will be added. Words to live by.

RE: So Trump isn't THAT BAD? - pbrower2a - 06-29-2020

I wrote the material in response to someone whom I am not mentioning. That person is welcome to say who it is.

The 2T is innocuous to the extent that those taking the Voyage to the Interior recognize that reason is necessary for making sense of the journey and that that voyage is best done with an intent to offer some interesting 'tales of the traveler'. So if someone gets psychedelic visions and can put them into coherent form for the entertainment of others, then such is wonderful. But much of the Voyage to the Interior involves a deep dive into booze and hallucinogens.

If there were ever a Golden Age it would be one of a balance between the positive virtues of all four turnings with none of the vices. That is a pipe dream. We are stuck with the generational cycle a s a way of compelling us to adapt to the time and respond as quickly as possible to a needful trait that we neglect. Bad as a 3T goes, it at least forces us to pay attention to the children again so that they not become cynical and helpless and that people enjoy some hedonistic delights that give them some memories just in time for recollection for the upcoming era of stark deprivation.