Convergence: Pandemic Amid the Seventh Crisis
by Bob MacGuffie and Antony Stark 8-7-20
As the events precipitated by the Pandemic have unfolded over the past six months, their impact on our culture, the economy, and politics have converged with a Seventh Crisis already underway in America.
Why is this the seventh crisis? In their 1997 book, “The Fourth Turning” demographers William Strauss and Neil Howe view Anglo-American history through a generational lens. Their compelling account organizes Anglo-American history into seven repeating cycles starting in the fifteenth century.
Referring to historical cycles as a “saeculum,” they use a Roman term that basically covers a long human life, say eighty to one hundred years. As the generations are born, mature, age and pass, they give each saeculum a seasonal and cyclical quality. The authors note many recurring patterns over the ages giving each saeculum a repeating seasonal pattern. Their study and organization of history along these recurring cycles has informed the names they have applied to identify each of the phases: the High, the Awakening, the Unraveling, the Crisis.
They have also distinguished four generations by the phase into which each was born:
Prophets born in a High, Nomads in an Awakening, Heroes in an Unraveling and Artists in a Crisis. As each saeculum proceeds, the dominant characteristics of each generation are formed by the forces at play specific to the saeculum phase within which it is born. By examining the seven saecula from 1435 onward, the authors make a compelling case that man’s nature as forged by generation, drives history through amazingly similar cycles. The book examines the twentieth century’s conclusion of the sixth “Great Power” and seventh “Millennial” saecula and their generations in detail. They illuminate the “Unraveling” of the 1920s leading to the “Crisis” of the ‘30s, which climaxed with WWII.
They chronicle the new saeculum’s High of the post-war era, symbolically ending on November 22, 1963, at which point the Awakening of the ‘60s and ‘70s commences. They peg the start of the Unraveling at about 1984, and at the time of the book’s printing in 1997 they saw the Unraveling sliding into Crisis in the mid ‘00s, about 2005.
With current hindsight, it’s not breakthrough thinking to realize that between the 9/11 terror attacks and the ’08 financial meltdown, America shifted into Crisis in the first decade of the twenty first century. Whatever one thinks of the authors’ generational analysis, they were indeed prescient in seeing that the Unraveling of the ‘80s and ‘90s would lead to a Crisis early in the new century.
Despite those who still do not accept that America is currently in a consequential Crisis, we believe that Strauss and Howe were really on to something. The generations driving the current saeculum are the Baby Boomers born in the High, lasting from 1946 to 1964; Gen-X born in the Awakening years of 1965 to 1983; Millennials born in the Unraveling from 1984 to 1996; and Gen-Z born from 1997 onward. History is not linear; regardless of the exact length of the saeculum we believe an inflection point was reached at the turn of the twenty first century. At that juncture we entered into a mighty Crisis, a Seventh Crisis, the resolution of which will point the way for the next saeculum or more… and it will force Millennials to make the consequential choices directing the fate of the American Republic in the twenty first century.
Millennials would do well to adopt an inspiration from our nation’s Founders as their own “animating spirit” to guide their choices as they engage to resolve the Crisis. The concept of Ordered Liberty was strongly advocated by Enlightenment thinkers such as John Locke, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke and Charles-Louis Montesquieu and put into full practice by the Founding Fathers.
But what is Ordered Liberty? Ordered Liberty is the primacy of the Individual over the Collective and the embrace of Western Enlightenment political values including Capitalism, Judeo-Christian Morality, de-centralized as opposed to centralized power, and a democratic Republic under Constitutional law rather than a majoritarian Democracy at the mercy of Mob Rule. All these elements work together to create a society constituted on a national rather than an international basis that protects its own history, its own ethical and religious values, its own myths, its own heroes, its own holidays and its own national heritage. It does not seek to impose these values or views on others, but it refuses to deny and denigrate its own distinct contributions to mankind or to immerse itself into a transnational, globalist construction governed by multinational corporate elites. All these things make up Ordered Liberty and everything that undermines them, undermines it.
The first thing one needs to understand regarding Ordered Liberty is the difference between freedom, which is the absence of responsibility, and liberty, which is the shouldering of it. Shouldering Liberty requires that one maintain some level of critical thinking so that when, for example, one is using tools – cars, guns, medicines – one cannot simply accept that any such tool can be employed in one’s favor without knowing how to use them responsibly; moreover, as such tools carry potential danger if misused, rational rules and laws are required to prevent or at least minimize such misuse.
Of all the tools mankind uses to order and stabilize society, Government is the most dangerous tool of all. Of course, as the Founders realized, for Government to function properly, it must be required to operate in a negatively regulative sense; that is, to regulate negative aspects of life that impinge on the Liberty of its citizens rather then become, as Washington warned “…a fearful master.” By creating an ever more powerful government, Americans jeopardize their ability to control its excesses and consequently endanger the maintenance of Ordered Liberty.
Only Ordered Liberty, which requires rational application to the use of potentially dangerous tools, can reign in the most dangerous tool of all: government. In the hands of wealthy, powerful and influential individuals or corporate entities, government becomes an especially dangerous tool wielded by those who seek a symbiotic, neo-fascistic relationship with their partners in the Leviathan State at the expense of the average citizen. In such hands, Government can act improperly… or even criminally…all in the name of addressing some “emergency” or “crisis.”
The opening stages of violent confrontation seem to have begun and worse, are apparently being justified by what was formerly considered to be “mainstream” media opinion makers and even politicians themselves.
After two months of daily rioting in Portland, and extended violence in many other cities, the plan behind the pandemonium is being revealed. There’s always a plan – and in recent weeks it has been escaping from the seditious mouths of the likes of Pelosi, Schumer, AOC, their stormtrooper squads in the streets and their apologists and enablers in the Enemedia. While downplaying the seriousness of the violence, they have begun implying it will cease should voters return Democrats to absolute national power (that is, control of the Presidency, the Senate and the House.) They are counting on an exhausted American public to turn away from Trump to end the violence – in other words, they are engaging in an act of national extortion.
And the titans of business are paying up! The most high-profile instigators, especially BLM, have put the squeeze on corporate America and Big Tech. Their intimidation, express and implied, has delivered historically rich returns in the form of both cash and public support. Amazingly, close to $2 billion has been pledged to racial equality and social justice organizations by the likes of Walmart, Apple, Bank America, Comcast, Amazon, Google, NetFlix, PepsiCo, and Facebook. In lieu of donations, others are singing in harmony with the BLM movement – Twitter management retweets paeans to BLM regularly to the entire user base. All these corporate cowards are lining up to buy protection. They think they can avoid the shaming, the boycotts, and hopefully the burning and destruction of their headquarters. But we know that in the Marxist playbook no one is spared, and in their rage they always devour their own.
In fact, the kinetic violence in the streets of America’s cities is also a metaphor for the national mess the Left is perpetuating and exacerbating throughout the pandemic response, the economy, and the culture.
The pandemic itself has long been politicized. The statistics are being manipulated to give the impression of new serious COVID outbreaks in an endless succession of states and cities without underscoring that the virility of the virus has significantly attenuated. Pitched verbal battles are launched daily over masks, virus testing, reopening businesses, Hydroxychloroquine, and whether youth should return to schools from kindergarten to universities. Fear continues to be the underlying drumbeat of mainstream news coverage, prolonging the crisis from month to month. And of course, everything that goes wrong in the pandemic is presumed the fault of President Trump. By creating enough mess and misery they hope to turn the people against the man in charge and thus, as the Left’s radical mentors Richard Clowen and Frances Piven advocate, stress and overburden the system until it breaks.
The pandemic-driven business closures and their destruction during the extended rioting has wreaked terrible damage on the economy. GDP declined 9.5% from the first to the second quarter, but the Enemedia chose to select and publicize the annualized number, 32.9%, as if the next three quarters would experience a similar contraction. Even with an irregular recovery that concept and that number are preposterous. Yet it was picked up and repeated incessantly by Leftist mouthpieces in the Enemedia, business circles and among politicians for several news cycles. So that they could get another crack at this juicy deception in October, most Democrat governors, and some RINO Republicans, are arguing for keeping the schools closed in the fall. With schools closed, parents will be significantly less productive, impairing their income – and all the businesses, contractors and workers (other than the protected teachers) who rely on open schools for their incomes will also be deprived. The goal is to make the economic recovery look like a failure…and blame it on Trump.
America’s culture and the freedom of thought of its citizens are being censored by a new form of Leftwing McCarthyism: Cancellation Culture. People are canceled daily for speaking their minds: a professor was fired for making a post suggesting police be retrained rather than defunded; a Boeing exec was forced to retire for opposing women serving in the military, some 30 years ago. Even a Democrat who circulated a poll indicating “race riots reduced Democratic vote share” was fired, along with NY Times editor, James Bennett, who deigned to print an op-ed by a sitting Republican U.S. senator. History itself is being “cancelled” as statues dealing with the American past are being systematically removed by terrified local authorities and are indiscriminately destroyed by the Mob if they are not. American heroes are routinely trashed, American values vilified and the censorship has become so virulent that when people wear a Trump hat or plant a Trump sign on their lawn they are subject to violent, physical attack for being “racists” or even “Nazis” who have no right to “hate speech” that is defined as anything disagreeing with the censors.
The Chaos and fear will probably be ratcheted up in the run-up to the election. The Left is gambling that the stressed-out electorate will defeat Trump in order to end it all. This is a history-making crisis Millennials face and the clock is ticking on their generation. Unless Conservative-minded Millennials drive a massive wave of their brethren to the polls, the Seventh Crisis will engulf them. There can be no excuses! They all need to get out, get vocal, pin the blame where it rightly belongs, go to the voting booth and deliver an incontrovertible landslide for the Ordered Liberty that is rightly theirs, and vanquish the menacing Marxist revolution that threatens to forever change their lives for the worse!