Profile image
By silveristhenew (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views

Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:

“Welcome To The Next Awakening” – Author Of Steve Bannon’s Worldview Explains The Path Ahead

Monday, February 27, 2017 4:56
% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

(Before It's News)

“Where did Steve Bannon get his worldview? From
my book…”

* * * by Neil Howe via ""

Neil Howe is the author, along with William Strauss, of
title="" target="_blank">Generations
,” “ "nofollow" href=
title="" target="_blank">The Fourth Turning
” and
title="" target="_blank">Millennials

The headlines this month have been
alarming. “Steve Bannon’s obsession with a dark theory of history
should be worrisome” ( ""
title="" target="_blank">Business
). “Steve Bannon Believes The Apocalypse Is Coming And
War Is Inevitable” ( ""
title="" target="_blank">the Huffington
). “Steve Bannon Wants To Start World War III” ( "nofollow" href=
title="" target="_blank">the Nation
A common thread in these media reports is that President
Trump’s chief strategist is an avid reader and that the book that
most inspires his worldview is “ ""
title="" target="_blank">The Fourth Turning: An
American Prophecy

I wrote that book with William Strauss back in
It is true that Bannon is enthralled by it. In 2010,
he released a documentary, “ ""
title="" target="_blank">Generation Zero
,” that
is structured around our theory that history in America (and by
extension, most other modern societies) unfolds in a recurring
cycle of four-generation-long eras. While this cycle does include a
time of civic and political crisis — a Fourth Turning, in our
parlance — the reporting on the book has been absurdly

I don’t know Bannon well. I have worked with
him on several film projects, including “Generation Zero,” over the
years. I’ve been impressed by his cultural savvy. "more-2506739"> His politics, while unusual, never
struck me as offensive.
I was surprised when he took over
the leadership of Breitbart and promoted the views espoused on that
site. Like many people, I first learned about the alt-right (a
far-right movement with links to Breitbart and a loosely defined
white-nationalist agenda) from the mainstream media. Strauss, who
died in 2007, and I never told Bannon what to say or think. But we
did perhaps provide him with an insight — that populism,
nationalism and state-run authoritarianism would soon be on the
rise, not just in America but around the world.

Because we never attempted to write a political
manifesto, we were surprised by the book’s popularity among certain
crusaders on both the left and the right.
When “The Fourth
Turning” came out, our biggest partisan fans were Democrats, who
saw in our description of an emerging “Millennial generation” (a
term we coined) the sort of community-minded optimists who would
pull America toward progressive ideals. Yet we’ve also had
conservative fans, who were drawn to another lesson: that the new
era would probably see the successful joining of left-wing
economics with right-wing social values.

Beyond ideology, I think there’s another reason for the rising
interest in our book. We reject the deep premise of modern
Western historians that social time is either linear (continuous
progress or decline) or chaotic (too complex to reveal any
direction). Instead we adopt the insight of nearly all traditional
societies: that social time is a recurring cycle
in which
events become meaningful only to the extent that they are what
philosopher Mircea Eliade calls “reenactments.” In cyclical space,
once you strip away the extraneous accidents and technology, you
are left with only a limited number of social moods, which tend to
recur in a fixed order.

Along this cycle, we can identify four “turnings” that
each last about 20 years — the length of a generation.

Think of these as recurring seasons, starting with spring and
ending with winter. In every turning, a new generation is born and
each older generation ages into its next phase of life.

The cycle begins with the First Turning, a “High” which
comes after a crisis era.
In a High, institutions are
strong and individualism is weak. Society is confident about where
it wants to go collectively, even if many feel stifled by the
prevailing conformity. Many Americans alive today can recall the
post-World War II American High (historian William O’Neill’s term),
coinciding with the Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy presidencies.
Earlier examples are the post-Civil War Victorian High of
industrial growth and stable families, and the post-Constitution
High of Democratic Republicanism and Era of Good Feelings.

The Second Turning is an “Awakening,” when
institutions are attacked in the name of higher principles and
deeper values. Just when society is hitting its high tide of public
progress, people suddenly tire of all the social discipline and
want to recapture a sense of personal authenticity. Salvation by
faith, not works, is the youth rallying cry. One such era was the
Consciousness Revolution of the late 1960s and 1970s. Some
historians call this America’s Fourth or Fifth Great Awakening,
depending on whether they start the count in the 17th century with
John Winthrop or the 18th century with Jonathan Edwards.

The Third Turning is an “Unraveling,” in many
ways the opposite of the High. Institutions are weak and
distrusted, while individualism is strong and flourishing. Third
Turning decades such as the 1990s, the 1920s and the 1850s are
notorious for their cynicism, bad manners and weak civic authority.
Government typically shrinks, and speculative manias, when they
occur, are delirious.

Finally, the Fourth Turning is a “Crisis”
This is when our institutional life is
reconstructed from the ground up, always in response to a perceived
threat to the nation’s very survival. If history does not produce
such an urgent threat, Fourth Turning leaders will invariably find
one — and may even fabricate one — to mobilize collective action.
Civic authority revives, and people and groups begin to pitch in as
participants in a larger community. As these Promethean bursts of
civic effort reach their resolution, Fourth Turnings refresh and
redefine our national identity. The years 1945, 1865 and 1794 all
capped eras constituting new “founding moments” in American

Just as a Second Turning reshapes our inner world (of
values, culture and religion), a Fourth Turning reshapes our outer
world (of politics, economy and empire).

In our paradigm, one can look ahead and suggest that a coming
time period — say, a certain decade — will resemble, in its
essential human dynamic, a time period in the past. In “The
Fourth Turning,” we predicted that, starting around 2005, America
would probably experience a “Great Devaluation” in financial
markets, a catalyst that would mark America’s entry into an era
whose first decade would likely parallel the 1930s.

Reflecting on the decade we’ve just lived through, we can
probably agree that the 1930s parallel works well.
In the economy, both decades played out in the shadow of a global
financial crash, and were characterized by slow and disappointing
economic growth and chronic underemployment of labor and capital.
Both saw tepid investment, deflation fears, growing inequality and
the inability of central bankers to rekindle consumption.

In geopolitics, we’ve witnessed the rise of
isolationism, nationalism and right-wing populism across the
Geostrategist Ian Bremmer says we now live in a
“G-Zero” world, where it’s every nation for itself. This story
echoes the 1930s, which witnessed the waning authority of
great-power alliances and a new willingness by authoritarian
regimes to act with terrifying impunity.

In social trends, the two decades also show parallels: falling
rates of fertility and homeownership, the rise of
multi-generational households, the spread of localism and community
identification, a dramatic decline in youth violence (a fact that
apparently has eluded the president), and a blanding of pop youth
culture. Above all, we sense a growing desire among voters around
the world for leaders to assert greater authority and deliver deeds
rather than process, results rather than abstractions.

We live in an increasingly volatile and primal era, in which
history is speeding up and liberal democracy is weakening. As
Vladimir Lenin wrote, “In some decades, nothing happens; in some
weeks, decades happen.” Get ready for the creative destruction of
public institutions, something every society periodically requires
to clear out what is obsolete, ossified and dysfunctional — and to
tilt the playing field of wealth and power away from the old and
back to the young. Forests need periodic fires; rivers need
periodic floods. Societies, too. That’s the price we must pay for a
new golden age.

If we look at the broader rhythms of history, we have reason to
be heartened, not discouraged, by these trends. Anglo-American
history over the past several centuries has experienced civic
crises in a fairly regular cycle, about every 80 or 90 years, or
roughly the length of a long human life. This pattern reveals
itself in the intervals separating the colonial Glorious
Revolution, the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the Great
Depression and World War II. Fast-forward the length of a long
human life from the 1930s, and we end up where we are today.

America entered a new Fourth Turning in 2008. It is
likely to last until around 2030. Our paradigm suggests that
current trends will deepen as we move toward the halfway

Further adverse events, possibly another financial crisis or a
major armed conflict, will galvanize public opinion and mobilize
leaders to take more decisive action. Rising regionalism and
nationalism around the world could lead to the fragmentation of
major political entities (perhaps the European Union) and the
outbreak of hostilities (perhaps in the South China Sea, the Korean
Peninsula, the Baltic states or the Persian Gulf).

Despite a new tilt toward isolationism, the United
States could find itself at war.
I certainly do not hope
for war. I simply make a sobering observation: Every
total war in U.S. history has occurred during a Fourth Turning, and
no Fourth Turning has yet unfolded without one. America’s
objectives in such a war are likely to be defined very

At the end of the 2020s, the Fourth Turning crisis era will
climax and draw to a close. Settlements will be negotiated,
treaties will be signed, new borders will be drawn, and perhaps (as
in the late 1940s) a new durable world order will be created.
Perhaps as well, by the early 2030s, we will enter a new First
Turning: Young families will rejoice, fertility will rebound,
economic equality will rise, a new middle class will emerge, public
investment will grow into a new 21st-century infrastructure, and
ordered prosperity will recommence.

During the next First Turning, potentially the next “American
High,” millennials will move into national leadership and showcase
their optimism, smarts, credentials and confidence.
Sometime in the late 2030s, the first millennial will be
voted into the White House, prompting talk of a new Camelot
Let a few more years pass, and those
organization-minded millennials may face a passionate and utterly
unexpected onslaught from a new crop of youth.

Welcome to the next Awakening. The cycle of history
keeps turning, inexorably.

"" />

height="1" width="1" alt="" />


Report abuse


Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Top Stories
Recent Stories



Top Global


Top Alternative



Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.