Guest Post: The Fourth American Revolution

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform

The Fourth American Revolution

The next Fourth Turning is due to begin shortly after the new
millennium, midway through the Oh-Oh decade. Around the year 2005, a
sudden spark will catalyze a Crisis mood. Remnants of the old social
order will disintegrate. Political and economic trust will implode. Real
hardship will beset the land, with severe distress that could involve
questions of class, race, nation and empire. The very survival of the
nation will feel at stake. 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.
The Fourth Turning - Strauss & Howe -1997


   Harpers Ferry – 1859                     Tucson – 2011

The mass murder in Tucson is another brick in the wall of this Fourth
Turning Crisis. The importance of this tragic event is not what
happened in that Safeway parking lot, but the reaction in the aftermath
of the shooting. Turnings are not about specific events, but how
generations react to the events based on their stages of life. A turning
is an era with a characteristic social mood, a new twist on how people
feel about themselves and their nation.  It results from the aging of
the generational constellation.  A society enters a turning once every
twenty years or so, when all living generations begin to enter their
next phases of life. We entered this Fourth Turning between 2005 and
2008, with the collapse of the housing market and subsequent financial
system implosion.

We have crossed the threshold into a decisive era of secular
upheaval, when the values regime will propel the replacement of the old
civic order with a new one.  The Silent Generation (1925-1942) is dying
off, Baby Boomers (1943-1960) are entering elder hood, Generation X
is entering midlife, Millenials are entering young adulthood—and a new
generation of child Artists are being born. Strauss & Howe have
documented that a long human life of 80 to 100 years makes up a social
cycle of growth, maturation, entropy, and death (and rebirth) known as a
Saeculum. Within each cycle, four generations proceed through their
four stages of life. Every 15 to 25 years a new Turning surprises those
who only think of history in a linear way. Strauss & Howe are historians who have been able to document this generational cycle going back to the 1400s.

The Anglo-American saeculum dates back to the waning of the Middle
Ages in the middle of the fifteenth century.  In this lineage, there
have been seven saecula:

  • Late Medieval (1435-1487)
  • Reformation (1487-1594)
  • New World (1594-1704)
  • Revolutionary (1704-1794)
  • Civil War (1794-1865)
  • Great Power (1866-1946)
  • Millennial (1946-2026?)

The Turnings of history are like the seasons of nature. Seasons
cannot be rearranged, seasons cannot be avoided, but humans and nations
can prepare for the challenges presented by each season. Winter has
descended upon our nation.

We are still in the early stages of this Fourth Turning and
the mood of the country continues to darken like the sky before an
approaching blizzard. Generational theory does not predict the specific
events that will happen during a Turning. The events, personalities, and
policies that become the chapters in history books are not what drive a
Turning, it is how each generation reacts to the events, personalities
and policies. Someone who is 60 years old will react differently to an
event than they would have reacted at 20 years old. The issues that are
driving this Fourth Turning (un-payable
entitlement obligations, Wall Street greed & power, globalization
gutting the middle class, increasing government control, wealth
distribution) were all known and understood in 1997. It took the spark
of a housing market collapse and the generations being in proper
alignment to catalyze the mood of the country.

Chapter one of this Fourth Turning is approaching its end. Chapter two guarantees to be more intense, with more violence, and periods of great danger. Strauss & Howe envisioned this chapter based upon their analysis of the issues looming back in 1997:

The risk of catastrophe will be very high. The nation could erupt
into insurrection or civil violence, crack up geographically, or
succumb to authoritarian rule. If there is a war, it is likely to be one
of maximum risk and effort – in other words, a total war. Every Fourth
Turning has registered an upward ratchet in the technology of
destruction, and in mankind’s willingness to use it. Thus, might the
next Fourth Turning end in apocalypse – or glory. The nation could be
ruined, its democracy destroyed, and millions of people scattered or
killed. Or America could enter a new golden age, triumphantly applying
shared values to improve the human condition. The rhythms of history do
not reveal the outcome of the coming Crisis; all they suggest is the
timing and dimension. The Fourth Turning - Strauss & Howe -1997

American Revolutions

“A Fourth Turning is a solstice era of maximum darkness, in which
the supply of social order is still falling but the demand for order is
now rising. As the community instinct regenerates, people resolve to do
more than just relieve the symptoms of pending traumas. Intent on
addressing root causes, they rediscover the value of unity, teamwork,
and social discipline. Far more than before, people comply with
authority, accept the need for public sacrifice, and shed anything
extraneous to the survival needs of their community. This is a critical
threshold: People either coalesce as a nation and culture – or rip
hopelessly and permanently apart.”
The Fourth Turning - Strauss & Howe -1997



There have been three prior Fourth Turnings in U.S. history: the
American Revolution, Civil War and Great Depression/World War II. The
American Revolution preceded the Civil War by 87 years. The Great
Depression followed the Civil War by 69 years and this Millenial Crisis
arrived 76 years after the Great Stock Market Crash of 1929.
Essentially, each prior Fourth Turning has represented a Revolution in
American history.

The First American Revolution began in 1773 when Parliament’s
response to the Boston Tea Party ignited a colonial tinderbox—leading
directly to the first Continental Congress, the battle of Concord, and
the Declaration of Independence. History always seems easy to predict in
retrospect. This is another of the many faults in human thinking. There
was very little talk or thought of the colonies breaking away from the
mother country during the 1760s. Up until the Boston Tea Party catalyst
event, no one could have predicted the events which would occur in a
chain reaction over the next 21 years. There were dark cold bitter days
during this Crisis winter. In the end, George Washington’s honor,
courage and fortitude symbolized the character of a new nation.  

Historians Charles and Mary Beard described the Civil War as the
Second American Revolution.  The Civil War Crisis began with a
presidential election that southerners interpreted as an invitation to
secede. The attack on Fort Sumter triggered the most violent conflict
ever fought on New World soil. The war reached its climax with the
Emancipation Proclamation and Battle of Gettysburg (in 1863). The epic
conflagration redefined America. The slavery issue was settled for good,
signed in the blood of 600,000 men. The industrial might of the North
was rechanneled toward progress as a world industrial powerhouse. In
retrospect many will say the Civil War was entirely predictable, but
that is completely untrue.

The great compromise generation (Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, Daniel
Webster) of the 1850s passed from the scene, leaving the country in the
hands of firebrands on both sides. John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry
and subsequent execution served to increase the brooding mood of the
country. The bloodiest war in the history of mankind was not predictable
even one year before it began. The aristocracy of Washington DC
actually took carriages in their Sunday best to watch the First Battle
of Bull Run. Shortly thereafter Lincoln mobilized 500,000 men and
unleashed a catastrophic spiral of butchery over the next four years
that exhausted itself with the assassination of Lincoln and the
surrender at Appomattox in the same week. The resolution of this Crisis
felt more like defeat than victory.

Renowned American historian Carl Degler called FDR’s New Deal the
“Third American Revolution”. The Crisis began suddenly with the Black
Tuesday stock-market crash in 1929.  After a three-year economic free
fall, the Great Depression triggered the New Deal Revolution, a vast
expansion of government, and hopes for a renewal of national community. 
After Pearl Harbor, America planned, mobilized, and produced for world
war on a scale never seen in the history of the mankind, making possible
complete victory over the Nazis and Fascists. In 1928 did anyone
foresee an 89% stock market crash, worldwide depression, vast expansion
of government power, a world war more devastating than the prior war,
and the usage of an atomic weapon of mass destruction? Not a chance.
Only in retrospect do people convince themselves that it was

Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929 marked the abrupt unforeseen end of
the Roaring Twenties. The bewilderingly rapid collapse of the worldwide
financial system in the space of three years left the American people
shaken and desperate. With their wealth destroyed and unemployment
exceeding 20%, the American public turned to Franklin Delano Roosevelt
and his New Deal promises of government social and work programs. He
declared “nationwide thinking, nationwide planning, and nationwide
action, the three essentials of public life”. This was truly a Third
American Revolution. FDR’s policies changed the course of American
history. The renewed spirit of American youth during the 1930s was
essential in preparing them for the trials that awaited from 1941
through 1945. It is somewhat ironic that FDR’s revolutionary social
programs, begun during the last Crisis, will be a major factor in the
current Crisis – the Fourth American Revolution.  

Fourth American Revolution

“The US government is on a “burning platform” of unsustainable
policies and practices with fiscal deficits, chronic healthcare
underfunding, immigration and overseas military commitments threatening a
crisis if action is not taken soon.” –
David M. Walker



No one knows exactly what events will transpire over the next 15 to
20 years as this Fourth Turning morphs from regeneracy to climax and
finally to resolution. The mainstream media, most politicians, and self
proclaimed progressives are blind to the cyclicality of history. They
believe history proceeds in a linear upwards path. These are the people
you see on TV talking about toning down the rhetoric, false gestures of
bipartisanship, and soothing words about the financial crisis being a
thing of the past. They fail to understand that once the mood of the
country is catalyzed by a trigger event or events, there is no turning
back the clock. Winter must be dealt with head on. Very few, if any,
“financial experts” anticipated a housing collapse, followed by a deep
recession, a 50% stock market crash, and a financial system which came
within hours of total implosion on September 18, 2008 (as detailed in
the documentary Generation Zero).
Absolutely no one anticipated the extreme measures taken by the U.S.
government and Federal Reserve to “Save” the country from a 2nd Great
Depression. These measures have added $5 trillion to the National Debt
in the last 40 months. It took 205 years to accumulate the 1st $5
trillion of debt.

While it is impossible to predict the exact trials and tribulations
that will confront America over the next decade, the issues that will
drive this Fourth Turning were clearly visible to anyone with their eyes
open, many years in advance of the Crisis.  Strauss & Howe clearly
detailed the easily observable issues that led to the current Crisis
back in 1997. Their book is not prophecy, but historically provable
interactions between generations based upon the circumstances
confronting society at the time.

“Sometime around the year 2005, perhaps a few years before or
after, America will enter the Fourth Turning. A spark will ignite a new
mood. It will catalyze a Crisis. In retrospect, the spark might seem as
ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as
trivial as a Tea Party. It could be a rapid succession of small events
in which the ominous, the ordinary, and the trivial are commingled.” – The Fourth Turning - Strauss & Howe -1997

The authors use their common sense, based upon known trends, to posit potential catalyst scenarios such as:

  • A global terrorist group blows up an aircraft and announces it possesses nuclear weapons.
  • Beset by a fiscal crisis, states begin to balk at Federal mandates
    leading to secession actions, militia violence, cyber attacks on the
    IRS, and demands for a new Constitutional Convention.
  • An impasse over the federal budget reaches a stalemate. The
    government shuts down. The President declares emergency powers. Congress
    rescinds his authority. Financial markets spiral out of control.
    Default looms.

These “theoretical” scenarios were put forth in 1997. The authors
concluded that these were unlikely, but that no matter what the
catalyst, the response by the generations would be predictable. It seems
this Fourth Turning is being driven by a succession of smaller
triggers, rather than one large trigger. The housing collapse, which
began in 2005, ultimately led to the world financial system collapse in
2008. The overreach by government in attempting to repair the damage
done by Wall Street and K Street led to the Rick Santelli Tea Party Rant
heard round the world in February 2009. The Tea Party movement has
since taken the country by storm, surprising the linear thinkers and
stunning the ruling elite. Last week a congresswoman and a dozen
bystanders were gunned down, further darkening the mood of the country
and inflaming passions among competing political ideologies. So what
happens next?

 Strauss & Howe postulated on the possible path of this Crisis and I see nothing to doubt their analysis:

“An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding
responses and further emergencies. The core elements of these scenarios
(debt, civic decay, global disorder) will matter more than the details,
which the catalyst will juxtapose and connect in some unknowable way. It
is unlikely that the catalyst will worsen into a full fledged
catastrophe, since the nation will probably find a way to avert the
initial danger and stabilize the situation for a while.” - 
The Fourth Turning - Strauss & Howe -1997

The CNBC talking heads, mainstream media pundits, clueless Washington
politicians, corrupt Wall Street shysters, and non-thinking robotic
masses have been convinced that the actions taken by Ben Bernanke,
Barack Obama, Tim Geithner and Congress have averted a financial
disaster and saved the world. One hundred years from now when Chinese
historians look back on the period from 2000 until 2025 they will ask
themselves, “what the hell were they thinking?” The causes of this
Crisis are as clear as day to anyone willing to see. A small group of
Wall Street bankers and corporate interests through their proxy, the
Federal Reserve, created the largest housing bubble in the history of
the world generating hundreds of billions in obscene undeserved profits,
while destroying the wealth and futures of millions of middle class
Americans. Once the fraudulent nature of the bankers’ pillaging of the
nation’s wealth came to light, the entire ponzi scheme collapsed, as
they always do. On a parallel track, the Federal government, knowing
full well that its un-payable social welfare commitments could never be
fulfilled, decided to engage in two wars of choice, made additional
un-payable social welfare commitments, and created new bloated
bureaucratic agencies in the name of security and safety.

What will truly amaze future historians is the “solutions” that our
leaders chose to save the country. Despite already being the largest
debtor the planet has ever seen, with a National Debt of $8 trillion in
2005, the President and Congress have added an additional $6 trillion of
debt, with plans to increase that debt at a rate of $1.5 trillion per
year for the foreseeable future. Despite the fact that the housing boom
was created by loose monetary policy and non-enforcement of existing
laws and regulations by the Federal Reserve, our leaders have allowed
this bank owned entity to reduce interest rates to 0%, buy $1.5 trillion
of toxic mortgages from the Wall Street banks that caused the crisis,
suspend requirements for banks to report their assets at their FMV,
monetize the debt spending by the Federal Government, and create
inflation through the printing of money out of this air. The Federal
government’s response to the crisis was to create a mandated healthcare
benefit for 35 million more Americans with no means to pay the untold
trillions in future costs. Our leaders’ solution to a crisis caused by
excessive debt has been to create twice as much debt. A passage from the
Book of Matthew which Abraham Lincoln utilized during a prior Fourth
Turning Crisis is a fitting description of where we stand today:

“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation;
and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.” -
Matthew 12:25

The country is deeply divided. There is a vast swath of America that
has chosen ignorance over knowledge. With 50% of Americans paying no
income taxes, they will vote for anyone who promises them more. The rest
of America is split between those who believe the answer lies in
increased Federal government coordination and control and those who want
a return to liberty, individual responsibility and a vastly reduced
Federal government footprint. As I have tried to figure out the most
likely path of this Fourth Turning I was focused on an external conflict
in the Middle East or an incident on the Korean Peninsula providing the
next spark. After the shooting in Tucson, this Fourth Turning is
beginning to crystallize.

What I realized was that the three previous American Revolutions all
occurred on U.S. soil. The First American Revolution was fought on
American soil by a loose confederation of autonomous states against
the overbearing control of a great European empire. The Second American
Revolution was fought by Americans against Americans and resulted in a
vast expansion of Federal government power and diminishment of state
power. The Third American Revolution took place under the auspices of
saving America from the depths of Depression with government social
programs and the birth of the Nanny State. Each Revolution has further
expanded the power and control of the Federal government. I believe
the Fourth American Revolution will ultimately come down to a battle
between the Liberty movement and the ruling oligarchy of Wall Street,
Mega-corporations and supporters of the Military Nanny State.

I trust that Strauss & Howe correctly assessed the main factor that will drive the next phase of this Crisis – the Great Devaluation:

“It could be a series of downward ratchets linked to political
events that sequentially knock the supports out from under the residual
popular trust in the system. As assets devalue, trust will further
disintegrate, which will cause assets to devalue further, and so on.
Every slide in asset prices, employment, and production will give every
generation cause to grow more alarmed. With savings worth less, the new
elders will become more dependent on government, just as government
becomes less able to pay benefits to them. Before long, America’s old
civic order will seem ruined beyond repair.” -  The Fourth Turning - Strauss & Howe -1997

There is no doubt in my mind that the next downward ratchet in this
Crisis will be caused by Ben Bernanke and his attempt to generate just
enough inflation to make our un-payable debt load less burdensome. His
track record regarding economic forecasting, assessment of housing
prices and anticipation of economic distress is flawless. He hasn’t been
right once. With the top 1% richest Americans controlling 42% of the
financial wealth in the country, an all-time high, the next leg down
will boil over into class warfare. The middle class has been devastated
thus far. Another stock market collapse and more job losses would push
them over the edge. The evident failure of government solutions will
invigorate the Liberty Movement to become even more strident in their
anti-government message. The subsequent battle between the Haves and
Have Nots is likely to flair into protests, riots and increasing
violence. There will be no compromises. The 2012 Presidential election
could incite reactions on par with the election of Lincoln in 1860.
While the country convulsively flails about, foreign adversaries will
take advantage of our weakness. Peak oil will throw a further wrench
into the downward spiral. Out of this tempest, the country will either
turn to a strong leader and more government control or move back toward a
smaller Federal government footprint and a return to rule by the people
and for the people. The outcome is unknown, but the path
is foreseeable. Let’s hope that Ben Franklin was right.  

All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed
frequent instances of superintending providence in our favor. To that
kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on
the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now
forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need
his assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live,
the more convincing proofs I see of this truth-that God governs in the
affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without his
Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid?” –
Benjamin Franklin, To Colleagues at the Constitutional Convention


“History offers no guarantees. If America plunges into an era of
depression or violence which by then has not lifted, we will likely look
back on the 1990s as the decade when we valued all the wrong things and
made all the wrong choices.” 
 - The Fourth Turning - Strauss & Howe -1997


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downrodeo's picture

Spot on! It all boils down to what you want to have happen and where you want this all to go. That will be the single biggest factor informing your beliefs. In the end, all of this is just another way to describe the situation we're in. Winter and shit hitting the fan are both metaphors that describe the cold and messy situation that we're currently dealing with.

MSimon's picture

And suppose the predictions of a 30 year Little Ice Age are correct? Remember sunspots correlate with corn prices. And we are short of sun spots.


Winter indeed.

bronzie's picture

there are two primary categories of posters on ZH IMO: those who believe we are in a fourth turning and those who don't

we have people who understand this:

"once the mood of the country is catalyzed by a trigger event or events, there is no turning back the clock. Winter must be dealt with head on."

and we have people who think that the status quo can continue if we print more money, add more regulation / legislation, appoint more Obama-czars, etc


JW n FL's picture

they have been educated and most cases breed stricktly to extend and pretend... i hope, Pray! that peace here can be maintained and due to the ignorance of the populace i think it will be... but just in case? be a boy scout!

Gully Foyle's picture


Militant: Dig it, dope peddler. We're out here building a new nation for black people. It's time for you to start payin some dues, nigga!
Youngblood Priest: I ain't givin' you shit! I'll tell you what you do, you go get you a gun and all those black folks you keep doin' so much talkin' about get guns, and come back ready to go down, then I'll be right down front killin' whitey. But until you can do that, you go sing your marching songs some place else. Now we're through talkin'.



[Black Dynamite walks into the militant group's hideout]
Black Dynamite: Excuse me, brothers.
Militant #3: [Gets up] The militants turn, startled. This is private. How'd you get in here?
Black Dynamite: I walked in.
Militant 2: So you one of them sneaky brothers, huh? Or maybe you an undercover pig. Or maybe you just a federal hitman.
Black Dynamite: If I was, you cats would already be dead. Now let me speak to the man in charge.
Militant #3: Sarcastically, I'm in charge.
[Exchanges hi-fives with the other militant]
Black Dynamite: If you were in charge, the people might as well surrender to whitey right now, because your survival skills ain't worth a damn.
Saheed: Black Dynamite.
[Walks into the room]
Saheed: It's been a long time, my brother.
Black Dynamite: [Exchanging hi-fives with Saheed] What it is, Saheed?
Militant 2: You know this Uncle Tom?
Black Dynamite: Listen sucka, I'm blacker than the ace of spades and more militant than you and your whole damn army put together. While you out there, chanting at rallies and brow-beating politicians, I'm taking out any money-fronting sucka on a humble that gets in my way. So I tell you what, when your so called revolution starts, you call me, and I'll be right down front showing you how it's done. But until then, you need to SHUT the FUCK UP when grown folks is talking.
Militant 2: I'm sorry.
Saheed: Yeah, we heard about what went down at the Hip Pocket. That was righteous.
Black Dynamite: That was personal, brother.
Saheed: Personal or not, you saved a lot of brothers and sisters. You need our help,
[pounds chest with right fist]
Saheed: we're here.
Black Dynamite: I can dig it.
[Black Dynamite pulls the bullet casing from his pocket]
Black Dynamite: What can you tell me about this?
[Saheed takes the casing, sniffs the inside for gunpowder and licks the outer casing]
Saheed: I ain't seen one of these in a while.
[Black Dynamite and Saheed walk out of the room]
Militant 2: [Whispers] I was gonna fuck him up.



Black Dynamite: First Lady, I'm sorry I pimp-slapped you into that china cabinet. I used excessive force. Oftentimes, I cross the line, but I try to do so in the name of what's right. Most of the time, the ends justifies the means. But in this case, I feel like I betrayed my own code of ethics. And for that, sugar, I apologize.
Patricia Nixon: But I shot at you. I tried to kill you, Black Dynamite.
Black Dynamite: This is true, but you did not connect. You shot a plate. Had you connected, pimp-slapping you into that china cabinet might have been justified. But I feel I crossed the line. And for that, please accept my apology.
Patricia Nixon: I do. I do, it's just... oh, Black Dynamite, you're so righteous.
Black Dynamite: This is also true. Because whenever there's injustice,
[stands up]
Black Dynamite: wrongs to be...
[Gloria suddenly appears and embraces Black Dynamite]
Gloria: Oh, Black Dynamite!
Patricia Nixon: [Tugging Black Dynamite's pants] Go on, honey.
Black Dynamite: [Pulls out his handgun and points it straight ahead] Because whenever there's injustice, wrongs to be righted,
[as Gloria sits down, holding Black Dynamite's left leg]
Black Dynamite: innocents to be defended, Black Dynamite will be there, delivering ass-whuppings. and I will not hesitate to lay the hammer down on any clown that comes around.
[Pulls out his nunchucks]
Black Dynamite: Because if they wanna fight, they best come see me, because I'm Black Dynamite.
[Pat Nixon proceeds to approach Black Dynamite and hold his right leg]


TheMerryPrankster's picture

You left out the most critical line in the "Black Dynamite"/"Saheed" exchange - after Saheed looks at the large bullet handed to him by Black Dynamite and commenting that he hadn't seen this caliber in a long while, he says "That's some heavy shit!"

That's some heavy shit indeed...

Sean7k's picture

I would suggest a third group. One that considers that these historians are using history to to fit their theory, while making predictions that are as vague and opague as they are unbounded in there accuracy. 

They say no one can know the events of the turnings, but they can? The turnings are specific intervals, but then they pick the timeframes? Timeframes that are approximations?

They actually think the tea party is a dramatic force in politics? They wouldn't even qualify as a party of significance in a parlimentary system. Their leaders are minimalized.

Reading this piece, and in all fairness I have not read the book, it describes to me the many machinations of the elites. Each "Turning" was a banker inspired action, created by them to generate more power and control and debt. 

This piece attempts to get you on the predictive bandwagon, one of a group with the "pre-knowledge" of the event, which may actually be a propaganda attempt to create the environment for their next actions.

Everything about the Great Depression was predictable, unless you believed the government and media. Everything about the Civil War was predictable, unless you believed media. Everything about the Great Recession was predictable, unless you believed Bernanke, Greenspan, Clinton and Bush. 

The actions of the Elites in Government and Corporations are not hidden from view. They are merely obscured by rhetoric and artifice. The drive of the elites is to have a passive and hard working slave class. Every action on their part attempts to create this scenario. The drive of the common man is to have the best life possible for themselves and their children. This is the primary confrontation- it doesn't turn, it churns and foments.

Every other action is a natural reaction to the acquisition of power by one group from another. Every action is a strategy created to find new gains and cement their progress. As long as people strive to maintain power and control over people for their own benefit and an opposition resists- there will be "turnings" or episodes or eras. 

Historians are as capable of prediction as economists or political scientists. Meaning they aren't capable at all. Humans always want a formula to explain the variability and chance of life- it gives them a sense of security, but there is no ability to predict the future. Life is infinitely chaotic. It is what gives flavor and spice to life.

downrodeo's picture

"Humans always want a formula to explain the variability and chance of life- it gives them a sense of security, but there is no ability to predict the future."

+1000 very true.



aerojet's picture

Agreed.  I have yet to see any meaningful, genuine grassroots movement.  The Tea Party is, meh, not much.  That doesn't mean there is no hope, but right now it feels to me like the oligarchs have taken it running away.  The shooting in Tucson was, to me, an indication that more Americans are going psycho because social conditions have worsened for them.  If we see yet more shootings of politicians, I might say something is afoot.  As it is, one monkey don't make no show.

MSimon's picture

Your error is to think the TEA Parties are an end result. They are just a beginning. An initial definition of "them" and "us". There is more to come.

chumbawamba's picture

Indeed.  We ain't seen nothing yet.  Tucson will soon be forgotten, swept up in the imbroglio of the next, even more tragic/bizarre/viscerally surreal event.

I was impatient, too.  I used to think that, any day now, everything would break.  And it may well come, any day now.  But I think this, unfortunately, will be more of a long-term project.  Revolution will foment slowly, but it will, someday, break.

And that day will be glorious.

I am Chumbawamba.

DavidPierre's picture

The 4th Turd  is conservative rhetoric ... "bring back tradition!"  it screams.
The 4th Turd  is prescriptive, traditionalist, virtue-cratic mombo-jombo, mixed with puritanism and a dash of Tipper Gore. Bring back values like honour and duty, observe decency in personal conduct, discipline, develop tighter societal standards, traditional virtues.
When it's not talking about early historical eras, the book is bemoaning the ever-branching diversity of choices and lifestyles in modern life or criticizing the edginess of pop culture. All the absurd theory about supposed cycles of the supposed generations, the fabled historical parallels, the dire warning that a new era of crisis is to come, is just an excuse to tell readers to prepare for a crisis era that may or may not be coming by celebrating the importance of authority; cease unconventional behaviour in an era that will demand conformity, and settling down to focus on prescribed values.
Institutions are advised to set up strict regimes of rules, zero tolerance, demands on conduct and dress to make sure that children can grow up to be the next HERO generation... a heavily conservative bent sticking out, no doubt reflecting some of the attitudes and wishes of the SmokeyQuinn.  A hollow diatribe, pushing to get back to trust in public institutions and in the government... more conservative restrictions on personal behaviour. 
The theory about "generations" and "turnings", the quotes and events of early historical generations are only fished out of the shallow AmeriKlan Sea, and, more importantly, ignore the rest of the world. Only to find a few lame examples that will make the generations seem to fit into the imaginary pattern. 
Worse yet, the portraits painted of the four recurring generational archetypes in the whannabee theory, the predications are incredibly vague and  sound like weakly created parodies. Of course many theories will run into a FEW problems like this, but The 4th Turd  is whipped up to sound just convincing enough to sell an authoritarian ideology.  

Though there is an element of truth in The 4th Turd, certainly mankind's recorded experiences have been one of cyclical ebb and flow, one cannot make anywhere near the many pat characterizations and conclusive leaps.  If intended as a work of propaganda, the book is perfect, for all good propaganda contains enough of an element of probable truth to be plausible.

Most everything in this book is arranged and written with the assumption that their thesis is essentially correct, a mode which is overreaching, suspect, and at best sloppy. The wholesale grading & categorization of people is facile, diminishing, and overly fatalistic.
This book is an oligarchic collectivist's wet dream. The warning is that we are but mindless automatons, locked in an endless and stupid cycle of mass destruction, following our collectivist predestination, but that we might fail and then woe is to us. A stock false choice if there ever was one.
Either these guys were commissioned to write this stuff, or they have a more than adequate knack for figuring out which way the wind is blowing and sucking up to it for fun and profit. Best take that ring out of your nose before quoting it. 
Where in The 4th Turd  is the experience of Korea, Viet Nam, the Cold War, Globalism, consumer society, etc. etc.? 

The TRUTH of September 11, 2001, when it is dealt with, will be the pivot to the next TURNING.
If only truth ever finally emerges in the semi-consciousness of writers like SmokeyQuinn?

chumbawamba's picture

Thanks for this response.  I, too, noticed the part about "Far more than before, people comply with authority, accept the need for public sacrifice...", and thought to myself, "Huh!?"  Red flag.

I think your theory is sound.  Either way, these two are statist buffoons with an otherwise variously sound social theory.

I eagerly await the next trigger event.

I am Chumbawamba.

B9K9's picture

Sean, you are one of my favorite posters - right on!

I can reduce your comment to an even simpler observation: predator & prey. If you believe in live & let live, go along to get along, etc, then you are by definition prey. If you are a party to control & dominance (defined & manifested by government), then you are a predator.

While the entire history of all biological beings is defined by this relationship, it is equally true that all species eventually become extinct - including both predators & prey. Theories like the 4th Turning attempt to compartmentalize this evolutionary dynamic into neat, periodic episodes. But as you note, the process is really nothing other than an unrelenting, constant fact of life.

Now, are we to throw up our hands in dismay and give in to our collective destiny? Well, only if you are a completely clueless sheep. As in all biospheres, niches can be carved out that afford relative protection.

In our case, if you understand what is occurring and the natural forces that are shaping these events, then you can possibly ride out the storm. It doesn't mean that you will become a 'winner' ie change your spots to a predator, but it does offer some hope to be left relatively alone.

Sean7k's picture

What I think really creates a problem for humans, is that we are predator and prey. This is a unique juxtaposition in the animal kingdom. It is further hampered by our need to seek security in social units that contain and benefit from the predator. As that security requires trust, we are often in positions where we must trust the predator. Unfortunately, like the scorpion on the back of the frog-the predator can no more change it's instinctual behavior than the prey. 

Haven't seen you around much and that makes this site all the poorer. Hope all is well.

B9K9's picture

Oh, I'm fine, thanx. I still check in periodically to read articles/comments, but really, at this point what more need be said? Actually, it seems all the major finblogs are experiencing the same sentiment in terms of reduced page views & reader comments.

People who know what's going down are essentially watching and waiting. Two years ago, ZH was at the forefront of disclosure porn. Now, well what further revelations could be made that would elicit anything other than a 'so what else is new'?

This baby is done for; all there's left to do is prepare & watch for a (temporary) worm hole that might just afford an escape route.

Sean7k's picture

Well, your sound arguments might enlighten a few more minds. We are going to need them after the essential watching and waiting. I am just about done preparing. Still, there is so much more to be done. See ya around.

chumbawamba's picture

I'll tell ya, B9K9, while I was "away" I was reading your comments, and often found them to shine well above most.

You basically nailed it: what more is to be said?  I feel like everything I now write is tired and passe, because it is.  I mean, how many times can you proclaim, "Any day now...", and yet that god damn day never comes?  These mother fuckers just keep this horror show looping on the penultimate chapter.  They just won't let it crescendo, delaying the inevitable until the inevitable, when it finally does occur, will be meaningless, because the train will long have left the station.  They'll be left their standing on an abandoned platform with the tracks in either direction ending in abject disrepair, long since scrapped to buy a new future somewhere else.

My thoughts now have turned to whether or not I should find a new home on some other continent.  The American experiment is done, and I don't want to stick around to see if the slothful, tedious, mentally atrophied American masses will somehow be able to rise up to the challenge of rebuilding this nation from scratch.

I'd rather get out now while the gettin's good.  Before all the good spots are taken up elsewhere.


I am Chumbawamba.

malek's picture

You clearly either have not lived long enough, or haven't kept your eyes and mind open all your life.

Otherwise you would have found startling evidence before ever hearing about this book. Or before it was even published in 1997.
I stand in awe how their theory connects the dots. It might not be ultimately right, but it is by far the best theory I ever heard of. (And I read the book.)

PigsOnTheWing's picture

Will this revolution be televised?

solgundy's picture

No country in history ever revolted that had Home Theater

PigsOnTheWing's picture

Wow - someone actually flagged that comment as junk. Perhaps a little creative use of the wikipedia will help you out...

Gully Foyle's picture

The fucking original!

Gil Scott-Heron: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised Lyrics

You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions.
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John
Mitchell, General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat
hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be brought to you by the
Schaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie
Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia.
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.
The revolution will not make you look five pounds
thinner, because the revolution will not be televised, Brother.

There will be no pictures of you and Willie May
pushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead run,
or trying to slide that color television into a stolen ambulance.
NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32
or report from 29 districts.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of Whitney Young being
run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process.

There will be no slow motion or still life of Roy
Wilkens strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and
Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving
For just the proper occasion.

Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville
Junction will no longer be so damned relevant, and
women will not care if Dick finally gets down with
Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black people
will be in the street looking for a brighter day.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no highlights on the eleven o'clock
news and no pictures of hairy armed women
liberationists and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose.
The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb,
Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom
Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be right back after a message
bbout a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
You will not have to worry about a dove in your
bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver's seat.

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.

aerojet's picture

It's funny how badly this song has aged.  I was born after most of it took place and I haven't got hardly a fucking clue who any of those people were or what they hell they were so angry about and none of those old tv shows are relevant (or were relevant) at all. 

"Whitney Young being
run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process."


Johnny Cash is still cool, though.

Sudden Debt's picture



50 reporters per soldier!

Troy Ounce's picture


No, the Revolution Will Not Be televised:

Temporalist's picture

There are a couple people that predicted monetization, as well as the economic collapse of RE because of Fed and govt. influence and the unintended consequences.  At least one of those people is saying the worst is yet to come.

Seer's picture

And NO one other than a handful of folks outside of the "approved" media mention anything about us living on a finite planet.   Anyone who thinks that they have some sort of solution and doesn't address this all-key point is a poser.

PigsOnTheWing's picture

You have hit the proverbial nail on the head.

ElvisDog's picture

Yes, excellent point Seer. I'm constantly exposed to pundits saying this country or that country has a bright future because of its high birth rate. And conversely that countries like Japan are screwed because their population might be stable or falling. I never hear anyone in the MSM say "hey, it might be a problem providing food and jobs for these rapidly expanding populations".

duo's picture

If you think we have food problems now, read this:

JW n FL's picture

they have 50% funding for grid power development...

The Mighty Monarch's picture

Perhaps, but a more pressing concern is that Western societies are being outbred at a staggering rate by Eastern ones, a large percentage of whom are those who submit to a violent, oppressive religion. Europe is in the midst of a quiet invasion by Islamists who refuse to acclimatize, and we here in America are either clueless or somehow think that those violent tendencies will be cooled by acceptance and multiculturalism.

DaveyJones's picture

that's the very weakness of most economic theory. Nature builds in tremendous redundancy in its sources and systems. That may not be economically "efficient" but it has a superior survival rate. Don't know whether it's greed, arrogance or ignorance, but we have set up an idiotic and dangerous game

Sudden Debt's picture

The bloodiest war in the history of mankind was not predictable even one year before it began.

this makes it a bit easy to do predictions but this goes for anything.

Like a accident, it's not done on purpose, it just happens.

I don't know how Americans think about this but here in Europe it's a pretty common thinking that all this shit that is happening now will end up in a war.

And if you stick in your head and ride it out, you'll survive. There are about 5000 examples of this in our history.


Like my grandfather said:

Once there is no more coffee in the stores, you better fold the national flag and store it in the basement.


JW n FL's picture

un-employment benefits to infinity and beyond!

TruthInSunshine's picture

"Never let a serious crisis go to waste."

palmereldritch's picture


The bloodiest war in the history of mankind was not predictable even one year before it began.

this makes it a bit easy to do predictions but this goes for anything.


Like a accident, it's not done on purpose, it just happens.


Historically, perhaps statistics are on your side with regards to the organic nature of revolutions but these days, as evidenced in the infosphere (media, finance, politics, entertainment) and continually deconstructed here at ZH, it is probably best to remember the breadth, depth and sophistication of the synthetic control wielded by the TPTB when trying to discern direction and intent of any domestic turmoil... Chronicled by Webster Tarpley regarding the latest Tunisia event and past colored revolutions here:


lamont cranston's picture

We could just settle this with a cage death match between Sarah Palin & Keith Olberman with Bowie Knives.

My money's on Sarah.

JW n FL's picture

send that cold cunt to FL... i hope the crazies feed that bitch to a gator... one knuckle at a time while she watches.

Vergeltung's picture

Keefums does not like to be called a cunt. his boyfriend detests the word. just an FYI.

(PS. you're a douch bag).

JW n FL's picture

you are an insect... now, then and forever... know your place.