Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s (former) chief strategist, reportedly believes that war is coming soon. (Jim Lo Scalzo/European Pressphoto Agency)
Steve Bannon’s plan for America is based on exactly the opposite of what William Strauss and Neil Howe’s book The Fourth Turning warned against. And, one of the authors of the book strongly suggested in a column that Bannon is trying desperately to speed up — and he’s left Trump and Steven Miller in the White House, while he happily sauntered away, to complete his plan.
The book warns that while the 1990s brought about wonderful creative ideas, diversity, and new technologies: there is plenty to guard against. Diversity is producing new racial enclaves. The pop culture at its worst is violent and debasing. New technologies are eroding traditional human interactions, manners, and civic duties. The gap between rich and poor is daunting. America consumes more than it produces and goes ever more deeply into debt.
Using this idea and Bannon’s thought process, it’s best to remember when George Costanza from Seinfeld was becoming successful it was by doing the opposite of his regular instinctive behavior — and don’t forget Bannon still makes millions from Seinfeld.
I will put it in simple bullet formatting (italics all directly from the book):
- Eschew values: isolate citizens and debase culture. Speeches will become public sermons; schools, civic churches; and art, motivational propaganda.
- Work to separate culture warriors and ensure they do not create ‘pragmatic alliances’
- A decadent or nihilistic culture is a seedbed for fascism. The less self-control the media or public exercises now, the more likely it becomes that some outside authority will impose despotic control tomorrow.
- Ignore institutions: ensure that everything is cluttered while also only focusing on large scale productions (the border wall, etc.)
- Erect constitutional obstacles to legislative action or executive fiat … by delaying effective action, courts could in fact encourage an authoritarian overreaction.
- Stress rights over duties and attempt reforms that are beyond immediately accomplishing.
- Encourage cynicism, negative campaigning, and apathy.
- Discourage voter turnout among the young, discourage better civic attitudes from the media, and keep the public away from public life.
- Attempt vast civic projects that will not pass, will not work, and make sure to breed contempt for politics.
- Discourage community teamwork to solve local problems
- Encourage community teamwork on a national scale
- Encourage civic dysfunction
- Discourage liberals and conservatives from working toward a consensus on civic engagement of the young
- Discourage communities from improving their own institutions such as schools, housing, transportation, safety, justice, and social services
- Discourage public meetings an citizen involvement
- Discourage ethnic integration and encourage group niching
- Treat children as the lowest priority
- Decrease spending on safety nets and social services for children in need
- Tell future elders they will need to be more self-sufficientand be sure to make deep cuts to aid
- Ensure Medicare, and other elder benefits programs will lie in history’s dust bin
- Ensure the American economy experiences the most extreme shocks to asset values, production, employment, price levels, and industrial structure in living memory
- Discourage high-tech innovation and and competition
- Encourage policy picking of winners and losers
- Over Consume
- Decrease public-sector savings
- Decrease budget surplus
- Imagine everything is rosy
- Be complacent
- Motivate toward a war whose scale, cost, manpower, armaments, casualties, and homefront sacrifices far exceed anything the nation can tolerate
- Don’t invest diplomatic energy
- Don’t invest in research and development
- Overspecialize manpower and deployments
And the book says:
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 right of passage for an entire people, requiring a liminal state of sheer chaos whose nature and duration no one can predict in advance. It could involve episodes of social dislocation (and enforced migration), total mobilization (and youth transcription), economic breakdown (and mass joblessness), communications blackouts (and household isolation), or social breakdown (and committees of public safety). most likely it will involve more than one of these elements.
Ignore classic virtues
- Ignore emerging community norms
- In a Fourth Turning, the nation’s core will matter more than its diversity
- Team, brand, and standard will be new catchwords
- Ignore building personal relationships
- When the Crisis hits, anonymity will be associated with discredited Unraveling-era vices
- Don’t prepare yourself or your family for teamwork
- Don’t look to your family for support
- Don’t diversify
- Millennials should not have hope
- Millennials should be cynical
- Millennials should only provide peer pressure to ill end and not positive (neo nazi/alt right)
Alt right descriptions of ‘Boomers’ isn’t even apt since they’ve not read the book. Basically, if you’re not following the book, you’re a Boomer. If you’re not falling in line to the OPPOSITE of what the book says, you’re a Boomer — and that’s what they’ll call you. Every. Single. Time.
Listen to the authors, don’t fall in line.