Stephen K. Bannon, the latest and most dangerous member of the National Security Council, senior adviser to President Donald J. Trump, is apparently scripting our future to match the storyline in a book called ““The Fourth Turning: What Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny.”
To put it simply, this book by William Strauss and Neil Howe suggests that the history of a civilization moves in 80-to-100 year cycles called “saecula.” This hypothesis goes back to the ancient Greeks, who believed that at a given saeculum’s end, there would come “ekpyrosis,” a world-altering event that destroys the old order and brings in a new one in a trial of fire. (Remember “2012”?)
This era of turmoil is known as the Fourth Turning. The authors — and, allegedly, Bannon, believe we are in the midst of one right now.
According to an article in Business Insider:
“(Bannon) believes that, for the new world order to rise, there must be a massive reckoning. That we will soon reach our climax conflict. In the White House, he has shown that he is willing to advise Trump to enact policies that will disrupt our current order to bring about what he perceives as a necessary new one. He encourages breaking down political and economic alliances and turning away from traditional American principles to cause chaos.
In that way, Bannon seems to be trying to bring about the Fourth Turning.
Bannon admitted in an August 2016 issue of Vanity Fair that he was far less concerned with bringing about a conservative change to the national direction than he was in creating — something else. Namely, cementing an American nationalist movement.
Trump is a “blunt instrument for us,” he told (Vanity Fair) earlier (last) summer. “I don’t know whether he really gets it or not.”
But how much ability will Bannon have to steer the witless Trump into a cataclysmic situation leading to his dreamed-of “Fourth Turning”?
Call me an optimist. The very nature of America — and not the better angels of that nature — will see to it that it never happens.
There is a universal truth about rich piggies. If you can convince the richest of the rich piggies that the destruction of the United States is in their financial interest, hands down they’ll poke their snouts into the trough to gobble down as much of that slop as their bloated bellies can hold.
Rich piggies have little patience for true ideologues, let alone zealous ideologists. Rich piggies like the status quo, where people go to work, earn their barely standard livings, leaving themselves enough spending cash to buy the gee gaws and widgets and doo dads that the rich piggies sell to maintain their wealth.
Cut corporate taxes? Great!
End medicare and Social Security? No problem.
Bring about conditions that will result in bringing the current world order down in flames around their little piggie ears?
No fucking way.
If Bannon can’t convince Trump to follow through with this plan, this dream of a new America rising from the ashes of the destroyed republic, he’s doomed. I mean that in the literal sense.
If Bannon does convince Trump that this vision of resurrection from the flames is the nation’s ultimate destiny? They are both doomed.
The rich piggies will not have it, not as long as there is a rotten ear of corn to scavenge from the slop. It does not mesh with the corporate vision of raiding the American Treasury, leaving the working Joe and Jane just enough to buy their iPads.
This is an avenue best avoided by Donald Trump — not that he, himself, would have the wisdom to avoid it. One can only hope he has enough greedy rich piggies around him to neutralize Bannon, and even Trump, before such an extinction-level event can come to pass.
In many ways, I am far more afraid of the United Corporate States of America than I am of Steve Bannon’s fantasy wet dream of death and fire.