I learned this week that our good friend Sue Bradley has gone home to be with Jesus. She went into the Lord's arms early in the morning on April 26, 2013.
In 2008 and again in 2012 with input from Steve Quayle and I, Sue began working on one of her last articles titled The Fourth Turning: The Protocols and The Gray Champion. A couple months back, she had emailed me from her hospital room and said she was about to expand this Fourth Turning work based on some “Zenith 2016” material I had just shared with her. Unfortunately, like with the passing of David Flynn, the world will probably never know what Sue was about to reveal. What we do know is her work was partially based on a book published in 1997, The Fourth Turning, which describes itself as “a book that turns history into prophecy.” It explains cycles of life and generational archetypes through the examination of Western historical paradigms over the past five centuries. By surveying the past and identifying contemporary markers, William Strauss and Neil Howe, the authors of the work determined an astoundingly prescient forecast in which they saw a cascade of incidents that would ultimately lead to chaos and the “Fourth Turning.” Keep in mind they made these predictions over sixteen years ago, long before the September 11, 2001 attacks on America or the financial issues of today. Among the scenarios they foresaw were:
The first could be economic distress with a government beset by fiscal crisis, the state laying claim to federal tax monies, federal marshals enforcing orders, tax rebellions, special forces and an ensuing constitutional crisis:
The second is a terrorist attack, involving an airliner, a military response, authorization for house to house searches and false flag accusations against the administration;
A third scenario is an economic disaster involving Wall Street and a federal budget impasse which results in a stalemate;
The fourth consideration is Eco-environmental malaise with the Centers for Disease Control announcing the spread of a new communicable virus with quarantines and relocations;
The fifth projection is geopolitical in nature with growing anarchy throughout the former Soviet republics prompting Russia to conduct training exercises around its borders, a Russian alliance with Iran, soaring gold and silver prices and global military responses.
In describing these insightful scenarios, Strauss and Howe felt a catalyst would unfold as a result of a specific dynamic and, “An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding responses and further emergencies” (the war on terror?).
According to Strauss and Howe in 1997, this chain reaction was already prepped to unfold as the result of natural cycles or “Turnings” in which generations are doomed to forget—and thus to repeat—the mistakes of the past. The authors describe a Turning as “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 generation [before it].” A society enters a Turning once every twenty years or so, when all living generations begin to enter their next phases of life. The living generations or “saeculae” comprise four cyclical “Turnings”, characterized as:
The First Turning (THE HIGH), an era of enthusiastic collective strengthening and civic development, having burned the brush and swept the ashes of preceding structure.
The Second Turning (THE AWAKENING), is built on the energies and accomplishments of the High but finds increasing yearning for introspection with a high tolerance for spiritual expression outside the parameters of predetermined standards.
The Third Turning (THE UNRAVELING), begins as the “society-wide embrace of the liberating cultural forces” loosed by the Awakening shows signs of civic disorder and decay, a heightened sense of self-reliance and an increasing withdrawal of public trust. This builds to a near crisis of downcast pessimism and a palpable pall that can only be remedied by yielding to the next.
The Fourth Turning (THE CRISES and the era we have now entered), is by far, the most perilous as societies pass through the greatest and most dangerous gates of history. As desperate solutions are sought for “sudden threats” on multiple cultural fronts, confrontation is passionate and decisions are often reactive, aggressive. “Government governs, community obstacles are removed, and laws and customs that resisted change for decades are swiftly shunted aside. .. A grim preoccupation with civic peril causes spiritual curiosity to decline… Public order tightens, private risk-taking abates, and... child-rearing reaches a smothering degree of protection and structure. The young focus their energy on worldly achievements, leaving values in the hands of the old. Wars are fought with fury and for maximum result. [i]
Through the examination of an enormous amount of political and cultural history, Strauss and Howe processed over five hundred years of Anglo-American cultural nuance into remarkable, well-organized and predictable cycles and it is from this reservoir they finally stake an uncanny claim:
Just after the millennium, America will enter a new era that will culminate with a crisis comparable to the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression, and World War II. The very survival of the nation will almost certainly be at stake. [ii]
Strauss and Howe saw the United States of that time (1997) in the Third Turning, “midway through an Unraveling,” roughly a decade away from the next Crisis or Fourth Turning:
America feels like it’s unraveling. Although we live in an era of relative peace and comfort, we have settled into a mood of pessimism about the long-term future, fearful that our superpower nation is somehow rotting from within.
The next Fourth Turning is due to begin shortly after the new millennium… 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 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 efforts — in other words, a TOTAL WAR. [iii]
The striking details contained within The Fourth Turning illustrate the precision that was distilled with a close examination of historical patterns and contemporary application.
Although the authors note that the events described are not absolute, they also insist that the cycles, these Turnings, cannot be interrupted. As summer follows spring, an Unraveling precedes a Crisis of Faustian proportions:
It will require us to lend a new seasonal interpretation to our revered American Dream. And it will require us to admit that our faith in linear progress has often amounted to a Faustian bargain with our children.
Faust always ups the ante, and every bet is double-or-nothing. Through much of the Third Turning, we have managed to postpone the reckoning. But history warns that we can’t defer it beyond the next bend in time. [iv]
While a “Faustian bargain” sounds ominous, Sue wrote, there is little evidence that the Anglo-American “Dream” has undergone the introspection and discipline necessary to buffer the arrogant recklessness of this generation and its administration.
NBC’s Chuck Todd noted on the evening of November 4, 2008 that Barack Obama was a changing of the guard in the United States from the Baby Boomer presidencies of William Clinton and George W. Bush. The Toronto Globe and Mail referred to President-elect Obama as being a member of Generation X, being born in 1961. And Strauss and Howe assigned Generation X—the Thirteenth Generation—to those who would bring us to chaos and the start of the Fourth Turning . . . culminating in a Zenith of events scheduled for the year 2016.
Stay tuned. Part Two coming soon.