“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” – C. S. Lewis
In a recent post, I summarized the message of Roy H. Williams’ and Michael Drew’s book Pendulum: How Past Generations Shape Our Present and Predict Our Future. As I explained in Part I, the thrust of the book is that history unfolds in cycles — like a pendulum — through forty-year arcs from what the authors refer to as a “Peak Me” phase to a “Peak We” phase. The period from a peak We to the next peak We — one round trip — is roughly eighty years, and the authors claim we are heading for the next peak We in or around 2023 — less than six years from now.
The apex of a We cycle brings an over-the-top emphasis on conformity for the common good, stifling individuality, and suppressing individual liberty. Unfortunately, according to the authors, it always goes to extremes, bringing witch hunts and bloodbaths.
In Part I, I laid out the reasons why I think the current conditions in the US support the authors’ hypothesis. Today, I want to explain when and how I think this is likely to play out, and offer some thoughts on how you and I can help avoid the worst of this. I am not a prophet nor the son of a prophet — this is my best estimate based on what I see.
What do you think will happen?
- Attempts to incite violence – protestors and planted antagonists will be spoiling for a fight, like two bullies in a schoolyard each daring the other to strike first.
- Political de-legitimization as a pretext – Allegations of treachery coupled with disrespect for institutions will cause the aggrieved to disregard the results of elections, or to justify attempts at coups assassinations, and the like.
- Although the authors say 2023 is the 80-year point, I think the 2020 elections may be the catalyst for the worst of what’s coming.
- Already, there is a lot of militant loose talk on the left and right edges of the internet, singling out President Trump and other elected officials. This is not a good sign — and this began with the 2016 election.*
- Depersonalization/dehumanization – An decrease in empathy and fellow-feeling for those holding contrasting views, resulting in justification for violence.
- Attempts at large-scale disruptions – groups seeking a confrontation and/or a reason to act out may try to attack infrastructure such as roads and bridges, municipal utilities, or the power grid. If the violence comes in anything greater than isolated outbreaks, I think we should look at the experience of Bosnia as a likely guide. Consider that our infrastructure can be disrupted by determined groups — particularly if law enforcement takes a hands-off approach. Consider the recent events Ferguson, Baltimore, and Charlotte as small examples.
But that can’t happen here
Before you sign up for someone else’s cause, it is worthwhile to stop and ask yourself who benefits if your leader prevails. Is that outcome one you can live with? At what cost? Is the cause good and noble? By what measure? I’ve said before that the worst thing about the era predicted by the Pendulum is the great waste of it all. Neighbor will turn against neighbor and both will lose their freedom over it.
I hope I’m wrong
So how about you? How do you plan to prepare yourself and your family for difficult times? Add your comments below.
*I am aware of some inflammatory language aimed at President Obama during his two terms in office, but I cannot recall any parallel to the violent protests that have occurred since President Trump’s inauguration. Specifically, though there were protests in Ferguson, Baltimore, and Charlotte, these seemed to be aimed at law enforcement, rather than the president. Now the protests — from the women’s march and following — seem directed at or against President Trump. Unfortunately, I think we are likely to see more. And even more unfortunately, I think we may see violent counter-protests of the sort we saw earlier this year in California.