In 1997 a prophetic book hit the nation’s bookshelves entitled The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy – What the Cycles of History Tell Us about America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny.
The book was penned by William Strauss and Neil Howe, two historians who posited that all empires go through what they called “four turnings.” In their book, Strauss and Howe described a four-stage cycle of social and political eras that they called “turnings.” Those turnings included: “The High,” “The Awakening,” “The Unraveling,” and “The Crisis.”
They argued that all empires pass through distinct patterns or cycles, each one lasting about the length of human life, and each composed of four twenty-year eras—or “turnings”—that comprise the sequences of growth, maturation, disorder, and rebirth—or decline.
According to Strauss and Howe, the First Turning is a High, which occurs after a Crisis. During a High, institutions are strong, and individualism is weak. Society is confident about where it wants to go collectively. According to the authors, the most recent First Turning in the US was the post–World War II American High, beginning in 1946 and ending with the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.
The Second Turning is an Awakening—a time of spiritual and physical exploration and rebellion. This is an era when institutions are attacked in the name of personal and spiritual autonomy. Just when society is reaching its high tide of public progress, people suddenly tire of social discipline and want to recapture a sense of “self-awareness,” “spirituality,” and “personal authenticity.” Young activists look back at the previous High as an era of cultural and spiritual poverty.
Strauss and Howe wrote that the U.S.’s most recent Awakening was the “Consciousness Revolution,” which extended from the campus and inner-city revolts of the turbulent 1960s to the tax revolts of the early 1980s.
The Third Turning is an Unraveling, in which personal selfishness triumphs over crumbling institutions. The mood of this era, the authors say, is in many ways the opposite of a High: Institutions are weak and distrusted, while individualism is strong and flourishing and society breaks into enfeebled fragments.
The most recent Unraveling in the US began in the 1980s and ran until 2004. It was defined by the Neo-Liberalism Culture Wars, the tech bubble, the 9/11 attacks, and the war on terror.
Finally, we enter a time of Crisis—the Fourth Turning—when society passes through a great and perilous gate in history, often toward decline. This is an era of destruction, often involving war or revolution, in which institutional life is destroyed in response to a perceived threat to the nation’s survival, such as the unremitting cult of Climate Change and the ongoing decline of morality.
After the Crisis, civic authority may revive, cultural expression may redirect toward community purpose, and people may begin to see themselves once again as members of a larger group. If that doesn’t happen, decline and collapse await.
The authors say the most recent Crisis in the US began with the Great Recession of 2008 and climaxed with the 2019 COVID Pandemic/recession. It continues today as America appears about to enter the Fourth Turning.
“Where we once thought of ourselves as collectively strong, we now regard ourselves as individually entitled,” the authors write. “Sometime before the year 2025, America will pass through a great gate in history, commensurate with the American Revolution, Civil War, and twin emergencies of the Great Depression and World War II.”
In previous posts, I have suggested that America’s decline parallels that of ancient Rome—an empire that lasted a thousand years, while the American empire is not even three-hundred years old. Like a lot of people of my generation, I based that opinion on the writings of Edward Gibbon, author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire–” a pivotal book published in 1776 that once was required reading in American high schools and colleges.
“After a diligent inquiry, I can discern four principal causes of the ruin of Rome, which continued to operate in a period of more than a thousand years,” Gibbon wrote.” I. The injuries of time and nature. II. The hostile attacks of the Barbarians. III. The use and abuse of the materials (resources). And IV. The domestic quarrels of the Romans,” Gibbon wrote in his seminal work.
“The emperors, anxious for their personal safety and the public peace, were reduced to the base expedient of corrupting the discipline which rendered them alike formidable to their sovereign and to the enemy,” Gibbon wrote. “The vigor of the military government was relaxed and finally dissolved, and the Roman world was overwhelmed by a deluge of Barbarians.”
I am not the only one who sees the parallels between ancient Rome and a declining America.
Recently American talk show host Jim Quinn published an essay entitled: “The Fall of American Empire and Descent into a New Dark Ages.” In his essay Quinn traces the many similarities between Edward Gibbon’s observations and analysis and the state of America today.
“As in the years leading to Rome’s demise, moral depravity in America is rampant, while civic virtue has evaporated,” Quinn wrote. “An overextended military gallops from one area of operations to the next, fighting costly wars with few long-term strategies. A vast and profligate bureaucracy that has spent lavishly on buying votes and bribing various constituencies is forced to devalue its currency in order to pay the interest on its unsustainable debts.
“An entrenched Deep State dedicates itself to plots, coups, and personal enrichment. A land rich in resources produces nothing. A regime dedicated to conquest abroad ignores domestic suffering. Debased currency and crumbling infrastructure ensure future economic calamity. Traitorous officials cover up their treason while persecuting those who notice.”
Quinn notes that just as with ancient Rome, barbarian hordes are streaming across our southern border and being escorted into communities across the country on government-authorized planes and buses. These mostly uneducated and unskilled males from Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia are not going to strengthen our country, Quinn argues. Instead, they will contribute to its decline. But, as Nancy Pelosi once aloofly asserted in Congress, at least the ruling class will have maids and gardeners, while Big-Agra will have cheap labor to pick their crops.
It is a sad fact today that American society and culture have plunged into a cesspit of decadence and iniquity. The morality and societal norms which kept America relatively unified since its founding are being attacked and eradicated by deviants and degenerates and the noble ideals that America once stood for are being demolished by the growing cadre of “America haters” among us.
All that is lacking in America today is the Roman Coliseum, where throngs of degenerate, pitiless individuals watch impassively as doomed men and women hack themselves to pieces in bacchanalias of bloodlust and depravity. We aren’t quite there yet. But I have the feeling we are getting damned close.
Just think about what is going on today. We are distorting normality. Our corrupt and dissolute media venerate drag queens, pedophiles, transgender fanatics, drug addicts, felons, race hustlers, and decadent organizations like Antifa and Black Lives Matter that encourage lawlessness, looting, and violence.
The dishonest propagandists who control today’s newsrooms refuse to report the truth about our demented president and the rapacious crime family he heads. Instead, the weaponized FBI and Department of Justice, along with an acquiescent media, persecute ordinary parents who dare to speak out at local school board meetings.
Then, last week, in a classic despotic move that Joseph Stalin would exuberantly endorse, our imperious president ordered that his chief political rival be indicted and arrested.
Is a Gulag in Siberia next?
Can a country survive in which transgender cultists and sexual deviants who control schools and the mass media encourage vulnerable and confused children to cut off their breasts and penises?
And what of the disgusting groomers, including some loathsome parents, who compel toddlers to watch transgender zealots and drag queens twerk and perform sex acts on stage and who provide library books for innocent first and second-graders that graphically illustrate anal sex, masturbation, and other perversions?
Why are we allowing malevolent socialists and communists to indoctrinate our children with dishonest Critical Race Theory and the debunked 1619 Project while teaching them to hate our country, its founders, and its hard-won freedoms?
Why do most of us watch passively as test scores in reading, writing, and math tumble to all-time lows while twisted teachers inform impressionable white children they are oppressors and gullible minority children are their victims?
Have we gone completely insane?
It took the Roman Empire 1,000 years to fall. The British Empire collapsed in approximately 300 years. America has been around for about 235 years, and at this rate, I doubt if we make it to 250.
But not to worry. China is in the wings waiting to assume the role of global super-power that we Americans seem so eager to discard.
While we ignore thousands of years of established science and squabble inanely over how to differentiate a woman from a man, China laughs at our collective stupidity, our deceitful and iniquitous political leadership, and our grotesque moral erosion—and prepares to depose us.
Meanwhile, the Fourth Turning looms as the American Empire continues on a suicidal trajectory which will end when the greatest nation ever created crashes and burns.
What can I say? We deserve it.
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