Friday, February 13, 2015

Turn, turn, turn ... turn again?

I am dubious about cyclical theories of history, such as those ginned up by Hegel, Marx, Toynbee, and Spengler. The latest here-it-comes-again carousel is known as the Fourth Turning, and Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform has a go at using it to extrapolate our future. Actually, long-winded as it is, his piece is the only the third of four parts. It's a little easier to read on Zero Hedge, which republished it without all those click-bait teasers in the margin.

Early on in his screed, Quinn supplies a sensible look at the background and overview of the current state of play.

The seeds of the next crisis are always planted during the climax of the previous crisis, when the new social order is established. The American Revolution Crisis created a new nation, but left unresolved the issue of slavery. This seed grew to become the catalyst for the Civil War Crisis. The resolution of the Civil War Crisis greatly enhanced the power of the central government, while reducing the influence of the States.
The rise of central authority led to the creation of the Federal Reserve, the implementation of income taxes to fund a vastly larger Federal government and the belief among the political class that America should intervene militarily in the affairs of other countries. The Great Depression was created by the monetary policies of the Federal Reserve; the New Deal programs were a further expansion of Federal government; FDR outlawed the ownership of gold; and America’s subsequent involvement in World War II created a military and economic superpower. 
After sixty-two years of ever increasing debt; ever increasing taxes to support an ever growing governmental bureaucracy; ever expanding laws, regulations, and rules; currency debasement by the Federal Reserve; complete abandonment of the gold standard; and never ending wars of choice around the world, the next Crisis grew and blossomed from the seeds planted during the previous Crisis. The New Deal social programs, along with the extension of the welfare state by LBJ and subsequent administrations, have swelled to unprecedented unsustainable levels with unfunded liabilities exceeding $200 trillion.
The promises cannot be fulfilled. The $18 trillion national debt increases by $2.3 billion per day; $96 million per hour; $1.6 million per minute; $27,000 per second. Does that sound sustainable? The legacy media sycophants cheer when consumer debt outstanding surges past $3.3 trillion, as their warped worldview applauds spending versus saving, consuming versus investing, and living for today rather than striving for a sustainable future.
Whether all this followed a "turning" template written in the stars, or it just worked out that way, makes little practical difference. 

Quinn scores another palpable hit in describing the loss of individual freedom and growth of government control.
The overbearing, militarized, captured Federal government has treated citizens like suspects since 2001. ... What kind of government clandestinely spies on its citizens; militarizes local police forces; conducts military training operations in major cities; wires its streets and highways with surveillance cameras; disperses peaceful protestors with water cannons, tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets; and treats the U.S. Constitution like toilet paper? An authoritarian regime treats its people like this. Authoritarian regimes treat everyone like a potential enemy. They trust no one.
 Besides that, he says:
The American people have lost their ability to think, reason, question, do math, control their urges, defer gratification, or realize when they are being lied to by the people they elected to public office. A culture of ignorance, celebration of the absurd, salutation of stupidity, honoring of the inane, being mesmerized by electronic gadgets, and satiating their egocentric shallow impulses on social media, is a sure recipe for societal collapse.
The paragraph makes admirable reading until the iron cell door slams -- "a sure recipe for societal collapse." There are no sure recipes, even for cooking dinner, much less for societal collapse.

Societal, financial, political, any or all kinds of big-time collapse take more than a single causal factor. Quinn favors the "corporations are buying the government" explanation. "I now believe the focus of this Fourth Turning will be the conflict between the government and its supporters, and those who oppose the welfare/warfare surveillance state controlled by Wall Street vested interests," he says. And so on. It's all down to a "ruling elite ... desperate to keep their despotic bacchanal empire of debt from disintegrating in a catastrophic apocalypse of derivative time bombs, bank failures, corporate bankruptcies, and denial of their guilt."

That is, unfortunately, part of the story, but only part. Another force is the hegemony of the cultural Marxist Left over practically every American institution, which Quinn doesn't so much as mention. 

An empowered Left has already made sure what is taught in schools, from kindergarten through graduate school; what facts and ideas must and must not be transmitted through the mainstream media; expanded centralized power in Washington, aiming to reduce states and municipalities to functionaries of the Super State; and dissolved national borders, turning the U.S. into a prize for immigrants -- particularly the unskilled and uneducated from failed countries -- to vote themselves (whether citizens or not) a big portion of the debt-fueled largesse Quinn rails against.

The system is unprecedented in history. Capitalist potentates work hand-in-hand with the Marxist Left for regulatory capture and a division of the spoils. The racial grievance industry kicks in with its own demands. Fourth Turning? More like an all-star team against a group recruited from the league basement.

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