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Thoughts On Where We Are, and Where We're Going
(08-18-2018, 08:01 PM)justpassingthrough Wrote: I haven't thought about S&H much for a while, but had a few random thoughts after some time away from it. I've had doubts about various aspects of their theories, especially the more specific details, but I think the more you zoom out, the more credibility it has. It doesn't fit exactly under any category, so I chose General. With that in mind, this is how I see things right now:

1. The Boomer Left, which had been on a relentless 50 year march, reached its apotheosis from 2008-2016. It reached its phase of maximum influence, and maximum decadent excess. In 2016, the dam broke. The Left's shock and incredible hysteria at Trump becoming president was based on their cult-like dogma about the inevitability, and linear "progress", of their idiosyncratic obsessions. Their faith was shattered. Cyclical pendulums swung and smacked them for a loop like an anvil landing on Wile E. Coyote.

No, the influence of the Boomer Left peaked about 50 years ago when Nixon's "Silent Majority" made its statement on what sort of America was to be. Young Boomer culture drifted from the profound to the awful (like Disco in music). People with any brains held it in contempt for its emptiness irrespective of their spots in the political spectrum. Then Generation X took over.

Quote:2. It's unclear exactly where we sit in the cycle, and there are echoes of many past cycles. There is division in the US like the Civil War, with the extremes embracing the discredited and cataclysmic ideologies of WWII. Totalitarianism is back in fashion, especially on the Far Left, which increasingly calls openly for socialism, and has taken up a cause of Nazi-like systematization of "identity" groups, and a Maoist Cultural Revolutionary determination to completely erase and remake society, culture and history by any means necessary. The fact that freedom of speech and other First Amendment protections are now openly opposed by the radical left, not merely a few cranks, but systematically in major institutions (academic, media, internet behemoths) is a relatively new feature of truly dangerous militant extremism. Orwell is rolling in his grave about the ideas increasingly dominating Silicon Valley, which makes them look like they're following 1984 as if it's a textbook.

No two Crisis Eras are alike. The American Revolution is not the Civil War is not the Depression and World War II and is not our contemporary muddle. White 'Identity' groups are typically fascist, and they often dream of making America "white" again while failing to explain what they would do to those that they do not consider white. The only relevance of Marx in American politics today is that we have people who endorse a mirror-image of Marxism -- one in which a Marxist depiction of capitalism is to be endorsed irrespective of the human cost. The difference between those mirror-image Marxists and Marxists is that the mirror-image Marxists endorse the nastiest things that Marx has to say about capitalism instead of seeing such as abominable. They love exploitation, so long as they are the exploiters!

Freedom of speech does not imply exemption from the consequences of such speech. Speak sympathetically of any form of socialism in most for-profit workplaces, and you will be fired. Remember, of course, that as a worker in such a place, your sole reason for existence is to make someone already filthy-rich even filthier rich or to indulge the desire for opulent splendor or exquisite hedonism of those already rich. Use the word that rhymes with the name of Roy Rogers' horse in front of a black person, and expect trouble. Freedom of speech does not mean that one has a right to make changes in the text of a magazine or newspaper.

Arendt and Orwell would both be shocked at the pervasive lying (even if it is merely delusional recklessness) of the President -- and the large number of people gullible to believe such.

Quote:On the Right, there have been minuscule but amplified outcroppings of moldy white supremacism, and the weird internet trolls of the "alt right", all of which amount to a real phenomenon, but a very limited one, with no real power and influence. As you move towards the center, there has been a clear shift away from the heavily libertarian ideology that dominated Republicans in the 3T towards a more traditional conservatism. 

The 'moldy white supremacism' is as toxic as it was when it came from Hitler, Goebbels, Streicher, et al. The libertarians are not so attractive to the Corporate Right when crony capitalism is more effective at ensuring that the 'right people' get everything and the rest of us have only responsibilities. Libertarian thought offers room for small business as alternatives to bureaucratic corporations that crony capitalists would prefer be impossible.

Quote:Donald Trump defies categorization in various ways, but in the broadest sense, I think Obama is analogous to FDR, and Trump is analogous to Truman and/or Eisenhower. 

Obama, clearly not a Boomer (his temperament shows such) acts much like the best of the Lost (like Truman and Eisenhower) dd when they were in their 60s -- no free-flowing anger, emotional maturity, and little desire for new big programs. In the scope of things he is pre-seasonal, which creates problems that Howe and Strauss failed to recognize. Trump may have the vulgarity of Truman, but not the maturity or humility. Trump is about as undisciplined, incautious, abrasive, irrational, pecuniary, and flamboyant as Eisenhower wasn't But I see far more in common between Eisenhower and Obama in style of leadership and political result than I see between Eisenhower and  Mr. Bone Spurs.

Quote:As said above, we have continued to see reiterations of Boomer obsessions from their youth. The Iraq War was their replay of Viet Nam. The actions of the Obama Administration in 2016 increasingly look like a replay of Watergate, on steroids. The attempt by the DoJ and other players to interfere with the election, wiretap the opposing party, and then run a campaign of leaks against a sitting president is unprecedented. The complete corruption of the executive branch that occurred under Obama is increasingly impossible to ignore.

Obama didn't see Trump  winning the election, and he acted too late and too ineffectively to thwart the rise of his successor. The difference that history might recognize between Eisenhower and Obama could be that Kennedy (personally flawed, but an above-average President) followed Eisenhower and that Trump (a thoroughly evil man) followed Obama. I see Obamacare as the equivalent of Ike's Interstate Highway system (yes, the Interstate Highway System has had some bad consequences, too) and same-sex rights as Obama's analogue to desegregation under Eisenhower. You try telling me what Obama's equivalents of overthrowing Arbenz and Mossadegh are. Obama is X, and Eisenhower is Lost -- both members of Reactive generations.

Quote:Whether that results in cleaning house and resetting the country on more honest footing, or is merely the political "establishment" warming up, along with Silicon Valley and other institutions, to impose true totalitarianism remains to be seen.

At this point I am more concerned about Donald Trump's despotic and dictatorial tendencies, the sorts that arise when people fall for demagogues who promise everything to everyone and can never deliver because their promises conflict. Even if Trump implodes politically, Americans have shown that they can fall for demagogues. Count on this: there could be a left-wing demagogue like Hugo Chavez biding his time until he can promise to pick up the pieces in return for stripping us of our freedom.

Quote:The agenda of radical social leftism and economic globalization cannot hold, and the US will collapse and disintegrate if it is not turned back permanently. You cannot combine globalization with identity politics without disaster. The jury is still out on whether it continues to its inevitable end. Trump is certainly an attempt to stop it. And they know it, which is why they are trying so hard to destroy him. I am optimistic that people have begun to wake up in time to repair the damage and prevent disaster, but the jury is still out. 

Free trade has its merits, namely that people get cheap stuff. Autarky is the decision that obsolete and overpriced stuff will create enough jobs to offset a lower quality of life. Trump is such a complete muddle that he can solve nothing. The world, including Americans, simply waits him out.

Quote:3. If we are in the 4T, and 2008 was the main Catalyst, has there been a Climax? The recent elections in the West, from Brexit to Trump and others, while a decided break point in a new direction, don't seem sufficient. On the other hand, if the 4T began earlier, say on 9/11/2001 as I have long suspected, the present could be, very simply, the beginning of the 1T. Perhaps 9/11 was the Catalyst, and the 2008 crash the Climax?

Crises can last ten years or more. It took nearly a full sixteen years from the Great Stock Market crash to the surrender of the Japanese leadership on the Battleship Missouri. Maybe the flawed Obama recovery calmed things down a little, only for Donald Trump to muck things up. 

The Crisis did not come to an end when the political climate congealed in the 1930s in America. Maybe the congealing of the political reality will come last. One thing is sure: Donald Trump is not the new FDR, the new Truman, or the new Eisenhower. The Bad Boomer -- the arrogant @$$hole who believes that his exploitation is benevolence and that failure of others to recognize such is a great crime against God and Nature  -- needs to be shoved aside so that we can have a sane and humane social order in which politics and commerce serve Humanity instead of exploiting Humanity.

Quote:4. What should be made of the Millenials, and the following generation which is now coming of age? The Millenials don't seem to fit many of S&H's predictions, but they certainly fit some. Their conformity to hierarchical control is clear, where they have dutifully allowed themselves to be dominated by the Boomer Left. Their obsession with the "wonders of technology" is clear, like Civics before them. They obviously seek some kind of rationalization, stability and regimentation, even if it's subconscious, and they don't know what that is. 

I expect Millennials to be as conformist as society demands, and for such to create habits in young adulthood that mark them for life. They love technology, even if it is miniaturized (cell phones with more computing power and utility than the gigantic mainframe computers that GIs knew in the twenty years or so after the Second World War) instead of displaying awesome gigantism like Hoover Dam. The Boomer Left has practically no remaining influence upon anyone. It is just as well.

We are not through the Crisis Era, so we really have no idea what the First Turning will be like in politics and culture -- except that it will be bland and conformist. We will all be ready for it, whatever our age (from the Homeland Generation still at the oldest in adolescence up to Boomers). 

The next generation ("Homelanders" in past 4T forum-speak) are definitely looking more like Xers, who are primarily the parents of the early cohorts now coming of age. How that translates into Artists is an interesting question. Overpowered by Millenials and Boomers at this point, they are probably more self-contained and cautious than other groups, biding their time, waiting to see how things turn out. As Boomers age out (which has begun to happen rapidly), the new Artists and their Xer parents will dominate, while the new Prophets are born. 

Quote:While many of S&H's specific predictions about the future remain suspect, these are my guesses at this point, when it comes to where we go from here:

1. The first question that has to be settled is whether we are half way through the 4T, or at the beginning of the 1T. I'm not completely sure one way or the other. If the Climax has yet to come, there are only two possibilities I can foresee. 

At least halfway through. The youngest Silent, like the recently-deceased Aretha Franklin, are 76. Boomers are now an old generation, so the Adaptive-Idealist line will be at the same age (76 on January 1, 2019) as it was on January 1, 1936. To be sure, 'septuagenarian' does not mean quite the same thing today as it did in the 1930s because people have gotten into old age differently (fewer people work as long as they can for ungodly hours, only to die of  premature old age because they are poor and overworked, and people are staying active and avoiding such bad habits as cancerweed use -- Boomers may have been the lightest smokers in a long time, perhaps until the Millennial Generation takes over that role). This said, the birth dearth among the Silent limits their influence on public life.

Quote:One is the collapse of the United States and the West in general, due to internal division. The Radical Left inside the US has become genuinely extreme, and they exert heavy influence over many societal institutions. They are now unopposed within the Democratic Party, which has been purged of moderates, or whose moderates have been cowed into subservience to the Far Left. They completely control much of academia, and the media. And they have an influence on big business which no one would have predicted, thanks in no small part to the economic dominance of Silicon Valley, which is right outside San Francisco, the most far left place in the US. 

The  Hard Right has far more relevance in making America extreme, in coarsening the level of political discourse, and debasing the culture and vocabulary. It has far more power over even such non-profit institutions as colleges and universities. It has its own publishing houses and its favorite means of disseminating its propaganda (FoX News, Breitbart, Newsmax, and talk radio with such luminaries as Rush Limbaugh). It includes Sinclair (as I call it, "Stinking Liar" Broadcasting). It has think tanks to supply the memes of the day.  It has such groups as Freedom Works, Americans for Prosperity, and Club for Growth supplying money to right-wing politicians and guiding them along the official line once elected.

When the people who really rule us act as if no human suffering can ever be in excess so long as it turns, indulges, or enforces a profit, power may have a right-wing bias, but reality on all other things has a left-wing bias. That is a huge contradiction, and it will not resolve itself through some gentle reconciliation. You might want to read or read about Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, who explains how social contradictions work themselves out in history. To put it in the succinct vernacular -- it ain't pretty.

Quote:Geopolitically, the primary threat to the US and the West is China. In recent decades, and in the extreme in recent years, the US economy has been intertwined with China's.

So long as Donald Trump or someone similar in Weltanschauung is President and he has compliant majorities in Congress, the American political system is the worst threat to Americans. This is the President most similar to a dictator or despot that we have ever known here. China simply sells the cheap consumer goodies that the capitalist class and the executive Nomenklatura have been offering workers as anodynes for exploitation and debasement. Now those elites want to squeeze the worker even more.

Quote:The combination of "globalization" with the Boomer Left's radical, authoritarian, and racist social leftism can only lead to the collapse of the United States, splintering into balkanized enclaves of warring groups.

If anything, what passes as the American Left has been trying to unify America across lines of ethnicity, religion, and even class.

Quote:Russia, while overblown due to its tiny economy and heavy reliance on fossil fuel exports, appears to want revenge for the collapse of the Soviet Union, and would love to see nothing more.

The Russian people would rather have prosperity and freedom than see Russia as the core of some empire extending from Kielce (Poland) and Tornio (Finland) in the west to Juneau (Alaska) in the east.

Quote:Their dabbling in US politics did not elect Donald Trump - what has been shown instead is their involvement in trying to encourage extremists across the spectrum, like Black Lives Matter, white supremacists, and the "Resistance" of the radical left, to heighten divisions and instability in the US. Their most recently discovered attempts involved trying to help organize and promote anti-Trump protests outside the White House. 

Just think of it -- the Soviet Union had its dream of 'world (Marxist) revolution'  encompassing the United States of America, but it could never appeal to American capitalists who knew that in the wake of such a world Marxist revolution they would be dispossessed and murdered. Putin does not have the ideological burden of Marxism to scare off a rich-and-powerful useful idiot like Donald Trump. Putin has no obvious ideology  other than Russian nationalism. He is well versed in the craft of the old KGB -- like exploiting vanity and anger. It doesn't take much of an adaptation to learn how to exploit the greed of American patriots who would sell out the rest of the world to Putin in return for monopoly power in the American economy and the complete obliteration of such Left institutions as labor unions.

Trying to manipulate anti-Trump protests? He can have it both ways.

Quote:So the bad outcome involves the Radical Left in the US seizing power, and pushing the doomed combination of globalization and identity politics even farther forward to its logical conclusion, which would result in the effective dissolving of the US, and the domination of the world by Communist China for the coming "saeculum".

I look at the Millennial generation, and the only way they can have a Radical Left revolution will be a model of the French Revolution of 1789. They won't need Boomers as inspiration; such is the work of a Civic generation that sees a corrupt, cruel, inequitable, and absurd regime that frustrates the normal desires of the common man. Such a revolution would be rational -- perhaps so coldly rational that it would become robotic -- and it would have no need for the psychedelic expressions of the Boom Awakening. A Boomer like I can formulate such a slogan as "Donald Trump is harmful to children and other living things" (yes, it is in a way a plagiary) -- but that is in no way Millennial.

Quote:The other, more positive outcome, which I think is more likely, is that we are at or near the 1T, and the movements across the West generally defined as "conservative populism" are society slamming on the brakes after a period of chaos.

Conservative populism has built-in, ruinous contradictions.

Quote:I think the generational alignments argue for this interpretation. Boomers, despite the persistence of visible leaders like Trump, are almost completely in retirement now in society at large, and the post-Millenial generation is coming of age.

Trump is among the oldest Boomers, and Boomers of the cohort that includes Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump is approaching the end of the line. Late-wave Boomers are not all that old, and won't be in time for the 2020 election (early 60s). Donald Trump is not the last act of the Boom Generation in political life and creative activity, although Boomers are probably through as laborers and clerks. So what? Laborers and clerks rarely make history. Trump is creating much dissent, and mass dissent is not a sign of the end of a Crisis Era.

Quote:The economy is finally reviving after a decade of suffering, which followed a decade of decline.Real median household incomes have just recently returned to where they were in 1998, after two decades below that peak.

Check the stock market, usually a coincident indicator of the economy. Obama got that right. The economy failed to improve for working people while the Right was doing everything possible to squeeze the common man and enrich elites while in control of one or both Houses of Congress. There was some heavy retail activity while tariffs were being suggested. Once the trade war starts in earnest, the only good that will come to Americans will be that they can buy cheaply what America used to export -- while real income plummets.

Did you wver hear of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff" How did that work?

Quote:Trump's actions geopolitically are showing a clear pattern of putting out fires. He effectively ended ISIS within months of taking office, and has engaged with North Korea. He uses leverage to force people to the table, and then makes deals. His goal is not some new major war (he ran on opposition to Iraq, and has been called an isolationist), but rather peace and stability, with the US remaining a superpower, unthreatened. 

The plans for the obliteration of ISIS were those of the Obama Administration. The talks with Emperor Kim Jong-Un are empty words without some means of enforcement.

Everyone is for peace and stability. Even Hitler was for world peace -- after he won everything that he wanted to conquer in war. Whether leaders get it is not a matter of personal will.

[Image: 260px-MunichAgreement.jpg]

Peace in our time, Neville Chamberlain proclaimed. Trump is even more foolish, and more unjustifiably optimistic.

Quote:2. Provided the second outcome, and the beginning of the 1T, I can see a few trends emerging. The new Artists will seek some sort of stable, negotiated settling of the Boomer divides, which will be provided by their Xer parents in Midlife. The recurring eruptions of leftist outrage will be receding aftershocks, increasingly rejected by society at large. Millenials will quiet down, settle down, and build their careers, homes and families, being shaped more by Xer leadership than Boomer, which will have a moderating impact on them. Xers will finally catch a break, and will enjoy peace and prosperity in leadership, then retire into the 2T, which they will simply ignore. The culture, robbed of all meaning by the groupthink control of discredited leftist extremism, will be a relatively exhausted wasteland. The new Artists (if their S&H name has any meaning) will want to fill the void, and grow up with enough protection and prosperity to pursue it.

This can happen, but we have much to resolve before we get even a taste of a 1T. Culture could be a wasteland, but it will be such because people will want no culture except the sentimental, easily-digested pap of a 1T. Nobody can predict how the 4T will be resolved -- or how quickly.

Donald Trump is a big part of the problem, and none of the solution.

Quote:In the 2T, the Millenials will emerge into leadership, with their trademark hubris and faith in technology at the forefront. They will seek to carry out their programming, but their children will rebel against them.

We will need to get through the Crisis to have any idea of how it turns out.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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RE: Thoughts On Where We Are, and Where We're Going - by pbrower2a - 08-19-2018, 12:12 AM

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