Category Archives: POLITICS

George Washington was the first farmer politician but Lincoln was the last.

Heroes, Artists, Prophets, & Nomads

Authored by John  Mauldin, originally posted at MauldinEconomics.com,

Psychologists from Sigmund Freud forward have generally agreed: our core attitudes about life are largely locked in by age five or so. Changing those attitudes requires intense effort.

Neil Howe and William Strauss took this obvious truth and drew an obvious conclusion: if our attitudes form in early childhood, then the point in history at which we live our childhood must play a large part in shaping our attitudes.

It’s not only early childhood, however, that forms us. Howe and Strauss think we go through a second formative period in early adulthood. The challenges we face as we become independent adults determine our approach to life.

These insights mean we can divide the population into generational cohorts, each spanning roughly 20 years. Each generation consists of people who were born and came of age at the same point in history.

These generations had similar experiences and thus gravitated toward similar attitudes.

Four generational archetypes: Heroes, Artists, Prophets, & Nomads

In their book The Fourth Turning, Howe and Strauss identified four generational archetypes: Hero, Artist, Prophet, and Nomad. Each consists of people born in a roughly 20-year period. As each archetypal generation reaches the end of its 80-year lifespan, the cycle repeats.

Each archetypal generation goes through the normal phases of life: childhood, young adulthood, mature adulthood, and old age. Each tends to dominate society during middle age (40–60 years old) then begins dying off as the next generation takes the helm.

This change of control from one generation to the next is called a “turning” in the Strauss/Howe scheme.The cycle repeats on a “fourth turning” as a new hero generation comes of age and replaces the nomads. Each fourth turning, however, is a great crisis.

(The turnings have their own characteristics, which I describe in detail in this article. Today’s economic and political landscape, unfortunately, makes it clear we are about halfway through the fourth turning.)

Now, let’s get back to the archetypes and see how they match the generations alive today.

The characteristics of each archetype aren’t neatly divided by the calendar; they are better seen as evolving along a continuum. (This is a very important point. It’s why we get trends and changes, not abrupt turnarounds. Thankfully.) People born toward the beginning or end of a generation share some aspects of the previous or following one.

Hero generations are usually raised by protective parents. Heroes come of age during a time of great crisis. Howe calls them heroes because they resolve that crisis, an accomplishment that then defines the rest of their lives.

Following the crisis, heroes become institutionally powerful in midlife and remain focused on meeting great challenges. In old age, they tend to have a spiritual awakening as they watch younger generations work through cultural upheaval.

The G.I. Generation that fought World War II is the most recent example of the hero archetype. They built the US into an economic powerhouse in the postwar years and then confronted youthful rebellion in the 1960s.

Further back, the generation of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, heroes of the American Revolution, experienced the religious “Great Awakening” in their twilight years.

Artists are the children of heroes, born before and during the crisis. They are, however, not old enough to be an active part of the solution. Highly protected during childhood, Artists are risk-averse young adults in the post-crisis years.

They see conformity as the best path to success. They develop and refine the innovations forged in the crisis. Artists experience the same cultural awakening as heroes but from the perspective of mid-adulthood.

Today’s older retirees are mostly artists, part of the “Silent Generation” that may remember World War II but were too young to participate. They married early and moved into gleaming new 1950s suburbs.

The Silent Generation went through its own midlife crisis in the 1970s and 1980s before entering a historically affluent, active, gated-community retirement.

Prophet generations experience childhood in a period of post-crisis affluence. Having not seen a real crisis, they often create cultural upheaval during their young adult years. In midlife, they become moralistic, values-obsessed leaders and parents. As they enter old age, prophets lay the groundwork for the next crisis.

The postwar Baby Boomers are the latest prophet generation. They grew up in generally comfortable times with the US at the height of its global power. They expanded their consciousness when they came of age in the “Awakening” period of the 1960s. They defined the 1970s/1980s “yuppie” lifestyle and are now entering old age, having shaped the culture by virtue of sheer numbers.

Nomads are the fourth and final archetype. They are children during the “Awakening” periods of cultural chaos. Unlike the overly indulged and protected prophets, nomads go through childhood with minimal supervision and guidance. They learn early in life not to trust society’s basic institutions. They come of age as individualistic pragmatists.

The most recent nomads are Generation X, born in the 1960s and 1970s. Their earliest memories are of faraway war, urban protests, no-fault divorce, and broken homes. Now entering midlife, Generation X is trying to give its own children a better experience. They find success elusive because they distrust large institutions and have no strong connections to public life. They prefer to stay out of the spotlight and trust only themselves. Their story is still unfolding today.

Millennials are a new hero generation

After the nomad archetype, the cycle repeats with another hero generation: the Millennials (born from 1982 through about 2004) are beginning to take root in American culture.

They are a large generation numerically, filling schools and colleges and propelling new technology into the mainstream. If the pattern holds, they will face a great crisis. It will influence the rest of their lives… just as World War II shaped the G.I. Generation heroes.

It’s not going to be a short period of difficulty. It will be an existential crisis, one in which society’s strongest institutions collapse (or are severely challenged and stressed) and national survival is in serious doubt. The Crisis can be economic, cultural, religious, military, or all the above

Trump has served as the Che Guevara to Tulsi Gabbard’s Fidel Castro.

MILLENNIALS MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU

First Turning: A High

The First Turning is a High. Old Prophets die, Nomads enter elderhood, Heroes enter midlife, Artists enter young adulthood—and a new generation of Prophets is born. This is an era when institutions are strong and individualism is weak. Society is confident about where it wants to go collectively, even if those outside the majoritarian center feel stifled by the conformity. America’s most recent First Turning was the post-World War II American High, beginning in 1946 and ending with the assassination of Hero John Kennedy (29 May 1917) in 1963, a key life-cycle marker for today’s older Americans. Coming of age during this High was the Artist archetype Silent Generation (born 1925 to 1942). Known for their caution, conformity, and institutional trust, Silent young adults embodied the ethos of the High. Most married early, sought stable corporate jobs, and slipped quietly into America’s gleaming new suburbs.

In Parsons’ terms, a First Turning is an era in which both the availability of social order and the demand for social order are high. Examples of earlier First Turnings include the post-Civil War Reconstruction Era, sometimes called the Victorian High of industrial growth and stable families, and the post-Constitution Era of Good Feelings, when Thomas Jefferson celebrated the advance of science and empire.

Second Turning: Awakening

The Second Turning is an Awakening. Old Nomads die, Heroes enter elder hood, Artists enter midlife, Prophets enter young adulthood—and a new generation of child Nomads is born. This is an era when institutions are attacked in the name of personal and spiritual autonomy. Just when society is reaching its high tide of public progress, people suddenly tire of social discipline and want to recapture a sense of personal authenticity. Young activists and spiritualists look back at the previous High as an era of cultural poverty. America’s most recent Awakening was the “Consciousness Revolution,” typified by Bernie Sanders 8 Sep ’41 which spanned from the campus and inner-city revolts of the mid-1960s to the tax revolts of the early ‘80s. Coming of age during this Awakening was the Prophet archetype Boom Generation (born 1943 to 1960), whose passionate idealism and search for authentic self-expression epitomized the mood of the era. 

In Parsons’ terms, a Second Turning is an era in which the availability of social order is high, but the demand for such order is low. Examples of earlier Second Turnings include the Third Great Awakening around 1900, marked by labor protests, Billy Sunday evangelicals, and “new woman” feminists, and the Transcendental Awakening, which Henry David Thoreau described as a period “when we have lost the world…and begin to find ourselves.” 

Third Turning: Unraveling

The Third Turning is an Unraveling. Old Heroes die, Artists enter elder hood, Prophets enter midlife, Bill Clinton 19 Aug ’46 and Hillary Clinton 26 Oct ’47 Nomads enter young adulthood—and a new generation of child Heroes is born. The mood of this era is in many ways the opposite of a High. Institutions are weak and distrusted, while individualism is strong and flourishing. Highs follow Crises, which teach the lesson that society must coalesce and build. Unravelings follow Awakenings, which teach the lesson that society must atomize and enjoy. America’s most recent Unraveling was the Long Boom and Culture Wars, beginning in the early 1980s and probably ending in 2008. The era opened with triumphant “Morning in America” individualism and drifted toward a pervasive distrust of institutions and leaders, an edgy popular culture, and the splitting of national consensus into competing “values” camps. Coming of age during this Unraveling was the Nomad archetype Generation X (born 1961-1981), whose pragmatic, free-agent persona and Survivor-style self-testing have embodied the mood of the era. 

In Parsons’ terms, a Third Turning is an era in which both the availability of social order and the demand for such order are low. Examples of earlier Unravelings include the periods around the “roaring” 1920s of Prohibition, the Mexican War in the 1850s, and the French and Indian Wars in the 1760s. These were all periods of cynicism and bad manners, when civic authority felt weak, social disorder felt pervasive, and the culture felt exhausted.

Fourth Turning: A Crisis Nomads

The Fourth Turning is a Crisis. Old Artists die, Prophets enter elderhood, Nomads enter midlife, Michelle 17 Jan ’64 Barrack Obama 4 Aug ’61Heroes enter young adulthood—and a new generation of child Artists is born. This is an era in which America’s institutional life is torn down and rebuilt from the ground up—always in response to a perceived threat to the nation’s very survival. Civic authority revives, cultural expression finds a community purpose, and people begin to locate themselves as members of a larger group. In every instance, Fourth Turnings have eventually become new “founding moments” in America’s history, refreshing and redefining the national identity. America’s most recent Fourth Turning began with the stock market crash of 1929 and climaxed with World War II. The generation that came of age during this Fourth Turning was the Hero archetype G.I. Generation (born 1901 to 1924), whose collective spirit and can-do optimism epitomized the mood of the era. Today’s Hero archetype youth, the Millennial Generation (born 1982 to 2004) show many traits similar to those of the G.I. youth, including rising civic engagement, improving behavior, and collective confidence.

In Parsons’ terms, a Fourth Turning is an era in which the availability of social order is low, but the demand for such order is high. Examples of earlier Fourth Turnings include the Civil War in the 1860s and the American Revolution in the 1770s—both periods of momentous crisis, when the identity of the nation hung in the balance.

 

MILLENNIAL MESSIAH

Fourth Turning Archetypes PROPHET, NOMAD, HERO & ARTIST historical record from the Civil War through the Great Depression to the approaching Millennial Big Bang.

I end with a new word, at least new to me. A friend called it to my attention. It speaks of the moment we’re in. It is “kakistocracy,” from the Greek. It means government by the worst persons, by the least qualified or most unprincipled.

Civil War Archetypes

PROPHET NOMAD HERO ARTIST
Civil War Era of Good Feelings
(1794–1822)
Transcendental Awakening
(1822–1844)Grant 1822
Mexican War & Sectionalism
(1844–1860)Lincoln 1843
Civil War
(1860–1865)
PROPHET NOMAD HERO ARTIST
Great Power Archetypes  Reconstruction & Gilded Age
(1865–1886)Stalin 1878 Hitler 1889

Mao 1893

Franco 1892

Mussolini 1883

Third Great Awakening
(1886–1908)
World War I & Prohibition
(1908–1929)JFK 1917 Reagan 1911

Carter 1924

Nixon 1913

LBJ 1908

Great Depression & World War II
(1929–1946)Bernie 1941 Dylan 1941

Greenspan 1926

Thatcher 1925

MLK 1929

PROPHET NOMAD HERO ARTIST
Millennial Big Bang Archetypes American High
(1946–1964)George ‘W’ 1946Hillary 1947

Bill Clinton 1946

Trump 1946

Putin 1952

Xi Jinping 1953

Merkel 1954

Consciousness Revolution
(1964–1984)Michelle O 1964Obama 1961
Long Boom & Culture Wars
(1984–2008)Zuckerberg 1984Priscilla Z 1985

McKayla 1992

Tamara 1995

Global Financial Crisis
(2008–2029?)Maxima Chan 2015

THE CONSPIRACY WARS

Trump and Cabinet Crossing the Delaware

History is just a collection of four generation length movies that take 80 years to make. George and Tom played leading roles in the classic documentary, ‘The American Revolution.’ The second flick, ‘the Civil War’ took only 71 years to produce because Abe was shot before completion. Following this tragic-drama Teddy foreshadowed America’s leap on to the world stage in ‘the Great Wars of WWI & WWII.’ Our movie, our very own contribution to the fabled glory of the Generational Time Continuum, began in 1943, with in theater viewing scheduled no later than the summer of 2026. ‘Millennial’ was the generic title given, however, after Trump won in 2016, ‘Apocalypse Soon’ has been suggested.

Having a front row seat since September 1943, I’m going with The Conspiracy Wars as my title for this 4th and possibly last Turning flick.

The PROPHET: Harry Truman

Every great movie spills out in four stages, what Neil Howe in his book, Fourth Turning, calls turnings. The first act, in Howe lingo the 1st turning, (1943-1963) opens with the situation, where we are, at that point in time.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945

The NOMAD: JFK

In the sequence of things, the next act belongs to the NOMAD, the pot stirrers, the men of action, the go-to-guys that get the show on the road for the 2nd turning referred to as the Awakening  (1963-1986)

Ruby Shoots Oswald November 24, 1963

The HERO: George ‘W’ Bush

The 3rd turning is always called the Unravelling  where history gets out of hand and the super HERO is born.  (1984-2008)

World Trade Center 11 September 2001

 

The ARTIST: Donald J. Trump

At last we get to the uncut action scenes with real and unrehearsed special effects, the 4th turning A Crisis (2008-2026). The tension keeps building until the climax, followed by the resolution. This is always the best part of any story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

W/O GUTENBERG, NO ZUCKERBERG

Rock, my favorite 7th grader ESL student, had spent the previous two years attending public school in Manhattan because his mother was part of the Chinese delegation to the UN. Rock, in his fluent unaccented English, explained to me why the US education system was so fantastically wonderful and China’s so deplorable – CRITICAL THINKING.

I spent the next seven years in China trying to teach ESL the way I was taught Architecture – KINESTHETICALLY. Rock said the teachers in NYC actually asked the students questions versus memorizing answers as they do in China – that’s why they excel in math, they know all the formulas by heart. That explained why Trig, Physics, Calculus and Chemistry were absent from my scholastic radar. I did learn that asking questions was referred to as the Socratic Method and quite possibly that was the secret ingredient for CRITICAL THINKING.

However, not wanting to burst Rock’s bubble about the magnificence of American education, teaching English to 900 kids where, except for Rock and a sprinkling of two or three others in each class of sixty, nobody understood a thing I said, was a challenge even for Socrates himself. Further, reflecting on how I only passed my third year of Latin by making a plaster of Paris scale model of the Colosseum that had nothing to do with CRITICAL THINKING or Socratic questioning. I decided to stick with EXPERIENTIAL SIMULATIONS or learn-by-doing exercises e.g. teach them how to play baseball, go bowling, act out Little Red Riding Hood, and conduct Cheerleading team competitions.

After, six years, five months and fourteen days of KINESTHETIC insanity, I got an offer I couldn’t refuse. Jane Marie, in a moment of CRITICALLY THINKING clarity, said lets move to Antalya and live off my Social Security. Soon after arrival we were both engaged in the sharing of our vast ESL experience with the young Turks, who, like the Chinese, were paying for CRITICAL THINKING, not Cheerleading monkey-business. No longer monetarily burdened, I had time to home study just what is this CRITICALLY THINKING business, anyway? Maybe they don’t teach CRITICAL THINKING in architectural schools?

How come the Turks have lived on the other side of the Bosporus from Socrates’s home amphitheater for 2,500 years without picking up on a few CRITICAL THINKING tips? The Chinese have lots of good excuses, they live far away and have a 9,000 character alphabet that only they can read. That’s why Ataturk introduced the Latin letters in 1925 but by itself can’t make up 2500 years of lost learning. That’s why we don’t read books in architecture after our freshman year, it might hinder our creativity.

My CRITICAL THINKING veil was lifted one day when our Turk ESL book publisher turned me on to the father of ESL Stephen Krashen. Krashen’s theory claims that first, second and third language acquisition comes from reading books – no other way. No cheerleading, no watching TV, no grammar-vocab memorization – comic books to short story books to field of interest books. And therein lies the answer to my CRITICAL THINKING dilemma nobody read any books until GUTENBERG invented the printing press in the 1400’s.

Without Gutenberg we would have no Canterbury Tales, no Grimm’s Fairy Tales, no Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, no Walt Disney, no Hollywood and no ZUCKERBERG.

THE SWAMP MISTRESS GOT SWAMPED

The pollsters got it all wrong. Hillary thought it was in the bag, but it just wasn’t in the cards. Hillary’s birthday was October 26th, during the debates she was in her 52 day NEPTUNE planetary period from September 4th to midnight October 25th. Call it fate, call it destiny or call it the infinite universe of ‘whatever’ Hillary got the NINE of Clubs card. Clubs are the mental cards and the NINE signifies and ending of beliefs, or mental constructs. The verse in the Scriptures of Robert Lee Camps’s Love Cards reads:

“It is entirely possible that a longtime cherished dream of yours could come to an end during this period. Let it go and many new and better things will come to replace it.”

September 4 September 26 October 9 October 19 October 26 October 28
Hillary enters Neptune dream state. The last 52-day planetary period prior to her 69th birthday First Presidential Debate, where she won. Second Debate where it was a draw Third and final debate where the take-away line was Trump wouldn’t say if he would accept the result. Hillary celebrates her 69th birthday Comey drops the Huma-Weiner bomb.
 
NINE of Clubs in Neptune: End of Dreams ACE of Spades in Mercury: An unexpected change

Unfortunately two days after Hillary’s birthday FBI Director Comey dropped the Huma-Weiner bomb on October 28th. Hillary’s karmic fate gods dealt her the ACE of Spades in Mercury to get her 69th year off to a 52-day planetary start. The ACE of Spades represents ambition or death, its signification depends where and when it lands.

Trump, Bernie and Jeb Bush all have the ACE of Spades as either their Birth or Ego card. Hillary’s ego cards the QUEEN of Spades and KING of Clubs are great. However, The ‘who she truly is’ card the NINE of Hearts: The Giver of Love Card seems to follow the philosophy of “it is better to give than to receive.” Out of our 45 Presidents Zachary Taylor was the only NINE of Hearts and he died sixteen months into his term in office.

CLINTON’S DRAIN SWAMP OF $111 MILLION NET WORTH

Hillary Clinton – Net Worth: $38 Million

Hilary’s political career may have experienced its setbacks due to her recent defeat to Donald Trump in the 2016 elections, but this powerful woman continues to be one of the most influential people in the world politics. Hilary Clinton’s future after her defeat may not be certain, but her net worth at $38 billion looks solid and real. Looking at her latest Public Financial Disclosure Reports, the Clinton’s’ combined net worth totaled over 111 billion dollars. Although this presidential candidate does not own any business or any real estate, the Clinton’s’ main source of income is through paid speeches and using their names as assets.

Bill Clinton – Net Worth: $80 Million

Bill Clinton’s name in the political world needs no introduction. Born in 1946, Bill served as the 42nd president of the United States and was seen showing his full support for his wife presidential campaign in 2016. The Clinton family’s paid speeches have earned them a whopping $153 million in total, but that’s not the only source of income for this former president of the United States. Their Clinton Foundation, which assesses international issues and causes are worth $2 billion on its own and helped the family make a business empire that has added millions of dollars’ worth of equity to their names.

MUSCATINE 关系 GUANXI

China’s Vice President Xi Jinping speaks at the home of Roger and Sarah Lande (2nd L) in Muscatine, Iowa February 15, 2012. Xi joked about receiving a gift of popcorn during his first visit to Muscatine in 1985.

The most important word in Chinese is 关系 guanxi. I’d tell you how to pronounce it but I’d be wrong. I was reading the Global Times in a Guangzhou Mai Dong Lao (McDonald’s) which stated that the three most important words in China were 关系 guanxi – it’s not what you know it’s who know, 面子 miànzi – “face”  harmony matters most. So we would not embarrass others in public by any way, even when someone make mistakes. One of my ESL students asked to redo her presentation in front of the class because she “lost face” (self-respect). The third word is 客气  kèqi  – be nice, be humble, you don’t have to bow like the Japanese but treat everyone as an equal.

When Jane Marie and I visited her relatives in Muscatine just after Xi Jinping took over in 2012, we congratulated then on having 关系 guanxi with the world’s second most powerful leader. Since then Obama rubbed China and Xi Jinping’s  面子 miànzi – “face” in the ground by calling them ‘free riders.’ That’s why China returned the ‘O’s bad 客气  kèqi by making him get off the back door of Air Force One.

This week Muscatine’s good 客气  kèqi and 关系 guanxi came home to roost when Trump tapped as ambassador to Beijing Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, whose friendship with Xi Jinping goes back to the Chinese leader’s visit to Iowa in 1985.

The New Yorker recently profiled Chinese President Xi Jinping,

In one section, the author, Evan Osnos, writes about the time Xi, then an up-and-coming Communist Party member, spent two weeks in rural America in 1985. For what’s believed to have been his first trip outside of China, Xi led an animal-feed delegation in Muscatine, Iowa, where he toured farms and visited rotary clubs.

Jane Marie is breaking out her old Mao uniform and highlighting her Norway Rotary exchange student creds.

For a few nights, the Chinese politician stayed with Eleanor and Thomas Dvorchak. Xi slept in the bedroom — complete with football-themed wallpaper and Stark Trek action figures — of the family’s son, then away at college.

Eleanor had this to say about Xi

He was looking out the window, and it seemed like he was saying, ‘Oh, my God,’ and I thought, What’s so unusual? It’s just a split-level,” she said. Xi did not introduce himself as a Communist Party secretary; his business card identified him as the head of the Shijiazhuang Feed Association. In 2012, on a trip to the U.S. before becoming top leader, he returned to Muscatine, to see Dvorchak and others, trailed by the world press. She said, “No one in their right mind would ever think that that guy who stayed in my house would become the President. I don’t care what country you’re talking about.”

Read the full story in The New Yorker 

Eleanor also described the Chinese politician as “humble. “He did not complain,” she told The New York Times. “Everything, no matter what, was very acceptable to him.”

Sarah Lande, the woman pictured above in red, organized Xi’s trip as part of a sister arrangement with the Chinese province where he worked, according to NPR. Since then, Xi has had periodic stints in the United States. His daughter attends Harvard University, and he returned to Muscatine in 2012, then as China’s vice president.

Upon reuniting with the Dvorchaks, and other “old friends,” on his second trip, Xi told the Muscatine Journal: “You were the first group of Americans I came into contact with,” he said. “To me, you are America.”

‘JUST WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE NOW?”

I’m getting worried, back when they were having the Republican debates it was fun to watch. Then I got all excited about the hope that Bernie could beat Hillary – how naive. However, the goal was to destroy the establishment – well that’s a tall order but Trump did his part on November 8. Chuck Schumer and others are going to fight Trump, “tooth and nail.” As Hillary said, “Just what difference does it make now.”

The three previous 80-year, four-generational history dramas, were all about money. AMERICAN REVOLUTION: “Taxation without representation.” CIVIL WAR: “Maintaining the Slave Economy.” GREAT POWERS ERA: “Great Depression to WWII.” So far we have passed through three turnings of our current eighty-year drama 1946 to 2026.

First Turning 1945-1964

 Second Turning 1965-1984

 Third Turning 1985-2004

 Fourth Turning 2005-2026

The GOOD NEWS is the three previous flicks ended up good for the US. Washington became the first president of an independent United States of America. Abe got shot but the UNION survived. Harry had to drop the bomb on Japan but the US became an industrial powerhouse.

The BAD NEWS Richard ‘tricky-dick’ Nixon, nixed the Bretton Woods agreement to back the dollar with gold in August 1971 leading to an exponential explosion of ‘Fiat’ currency that has now made such a mess of things – nobody knows what to do.

The EXCITING NEWS it’s almost over, only nine more years max. Just like any good movie, TV series, mystery novel, or play you know it’s almost over but you don’t know how it’s going to end. Now you know what’s like to live somewhere besides America’ since 1991 when the Soviets gave up the ghost. The USA is the prettiest horse in the glue factory, and Trump is the only guy on the planet that can save us from ending up as some form of adhesive. Scary thought I know but true.