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The Fourth Turning - Skies Darkening

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Recommended Individual Preparations

  • Rectify: Return to classic virtues.
  • Converge: Heed emerging comunity norms.
  • Bond: Build personal relationships of all kinds.
  • Gather: Prepare yourself (and your children) for teamwork.
  • Root: Look to your family for support.
  • Brace: Gird for the weakening or collapse of public support mechanisms
  • Hedge: Diversify everything you do.

How Individuals Prepared

Only you would know whether you are prepared for the Fourth Turning. Can you be counted on by your neighbors? Do you have a reputation as a person of honor and integrity? Are you a good citizen? Lone wolves will not fare well during a Fourth Turning. Team, brand and standard will be new catchwords. Appearances will matter. Society will deal justice in a brutal way. You need to know people who can help you. Personal relationships will be crucial. Face to face interaction with neighbors, fellow workers, the public, and the police will determine whether you are a good guy or bad guy.

People who work well in teams will more successfully navigate the Crisis. Children will need to be taught to excel in groups. They are likely to be indoctrinated by the government when danger rises. Your family members will be essential to your survival. Being a loner will not bode well for you during the Fourth Turning. Young and old will likely occupy the same household as other supports will disappear.

Government benefits are likely to be dramatically cut. Dependence on authority should not be assumed. You will need to protect your wealth. Healthcare services could be limited. Being physically fit will be important. Being a generalist that can do many things well will make you more valuable during the Crisis. Having less debt will allow you more flexibility. The USD is likely to be devalued, so hedging your bets will be important. If the financial markets crash, will you survive?

As a country, we were completely unprepared for the onset of the current Fourth Turning. We were warned in 1997. We had time to prepare. Instead, we did the exact opposite of what needed to be done. We pressed the accelerator to the floor. Our actions have ensured that this Fourth Turning will be more deadly and brutal than it needed to be. Considering the two previous Fourth Turnings were Depression/WWII and the Civil War, the next 15 years will be grim. As Strauss & Howe point out, this test cannot be avoided:

"Don't think you can escape the Fourth Turning the way you might today distance yourself from news, national politics, or even taxes you don't feel like paying. History warns that a Crisis will reshape the basic social and economic environment that you now take for granted. The Fourth Turning necessitates the death and rebirth of the social order. It is the ultimate rite of passage for an entire people, requiring a liminal state of sheer chaos whose nature and duration no one can predict in advance."

The economic news worsens by the day. Worldwide tensions grow. There are fingers of instability throughout the system. All it will take is a grain of sand falling on the wrong part of the pile to initiate an avalanche of pain and suffering. Our Archduke Ferdinand moment awaits.

"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.

A Fourth Turning harnesses the seasons of life to bring about a renewal in the seasons of time. In so doing, it provides passage through the great discontinuities of history and closes the full circle of the saeculum. The Fourth Turning is when the Spirit of America reappears, rousing courage and fortitude from the people. History is seasonal, but its outcomes are not foreordained. Much will depend on how tall we stand in the trials to come."

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James Quinn is a senior director of strategic planning for a major university. James has held financial positions with a retailer, homebuilder and university in his 22-year career. Those positions included treasurer, controller, and head of (more...)

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We must develop approaches like those described he... by Rob Kall on Wednesday, Sep 1, 2010 at 12:26:48 PM
With 1% of the country holding 95% of the wealth a... by macdon1 on Wednesday, Sep 1, 2010 at 10:38:20 PM
The society we have today has little chance to sur... by Philip Pease on Wednesday, Sep 1, 2010 at 1:23:38 PM
Excellent commentary, but there's one important wo... by Edward Ulysses Cate on Wednesday, Sep 1, 2010 at 1:33:51 PM
You are correct, except that "sociopath" is no lon... by Richard Posner on Wednesday, Sep 1, 2010 at 1:55:36 PM
I'll be even more pedantic and split hairs. Neithe... by racetoinfinity on Thursday, Sep 2, 2010 at 2:35:10 AM
As far as I know here in Europe "Psychopathy" was ... by Stefan Thiesen on Thursday, Sep 2, 2010 at 3:31:40 AM
On Thom Hartman the other day, he analyzed what it... by Bia Winter on Thursday, Sep 2, 2010 at 11:54:26 AM
I know little about this particular cyclical theor... by Bill Samuel on Wednesday, Sep 1, 2010 at 1:38:26 PM
Commentators and analysts from within the united s... by Stefan Thiesen on Thursday, Sep 2, 2010 at 5:30:12 AM
This sounds like a call to focus the purpose of su... by Richard Posner on Wednesday, Sep 1, 2010 at 1:47:00 PM
Beautiful essay: Well, well done. Remember that a ... by SM Kovalisnky on Wednesday, Sep 1, 2010 at 1:53:20 PM
In order for "We the People" to get our Country ba... by greg timmons on Wednesday, Sep 1, 2010 at 2:17:44 PM
The book sounds like it contains great ideas for a... by Freddie Venezia on Wednesday, Sep 1, 2010 at 2:25:02 PM
"The elderly have not become more self sufficient... by Declinetostate on Wednesday, Sep 1, 2010 at 2:50:07 PM
Medicare Part D was passed by Bush. It created a $... by Jim Quinn on Wednesday, Sep 1, 2010 at 3:34:24 PM
The purpose of passing Medicare Part D was to bank... by Freddie Venezia on Wednesday, Sep 1, 2010 at 6:12:15 PM
How sad that in the face of a looming disaster, we... by Nana P. on Thursday, Sep 2, 2010 at 8:02:30 AM
I'm wondering if the Amish accept converts?... by Harold Hellickson on Wednesday, Sep 1, 2010 at 3:47:08 PM
to have to say this but you are completely mistake... by Archie on Wednesday, Sep 1, 2010 at 8:24:29 PM
The oceans, from which all life emerged, including... by Phil Rockstroh on Wednesday, Sep 1, 2010 at 8:53:39 PM
Considering the size and inertia of the globalized... by Stefan Thiesen on Thursday, Sep 2, 2010 at 3:47:06 AM
everything that has been done (or not) was signed ... by jason on Thursday, Sep 2, 2010 at 12:52:38 AM
And it is due to the fact that money from special ... by Philip Pease on Thursday, Sep 2, 2010 at 9:32:24 AM
Quote: "If America plunges into an era of depressi... by Arthur Avalon on Thursday, Sep 2, 2010 at 10:25:06 AM
Only one man I know of provides good and ample rea... by Ruth on Thursday, Sep 2, 2010 at 8:05:23 PM