The Pendulum Predicts a Bumpy Ride – Part II

Considering how it might play out

“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.

God's country, sunflowers, flowers, blue sky, beauty, nature, Lancaster County, South Carolina, Summer, Summertime,

“This is God’s country — why do you want to turn it into Hell?” – a bumper sticker

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?

Unfortunately, I think the most likely path is for a worsening of tribalism/parochialism leading to violent clashes. Depending on the scale of the clashes, and law enforcement’s response, this will result in increased government curtailment of individual liberty. If I’m right, look for the following:
  • 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.
 These are the most likely landmarks for homegrown trouble, but we can’t rule out other possible triggers, such as a terrorist event resulting in civil unrest, or a large-scale natural disaster (e.g., a coronal mass ejection/EMP/solar storm that fries every printed circuit board or the Big One in California).
It is clear to me that human beings are fallen with a tendency toward selfishness and rationalization. And since polling data show that popular morality rests not so much on external norms of right and wrong, but of what one can get paid for, or get away with, I think unstable people will seize on any opportunity to create their own version of The Purge.

But that can’t happen here

It’s already happened here. Dylann Roof’s attack on the Emmanuel AME church in Charleston was intended to cause a race war. He said so.
And the overheated rhetoric I mentioned in my earlier post on this topic is already indicative of extremists on the left and the right spoiling for a fight. Columnists and bloggers on the right speak of a Cold Civil War, and the coming Civil War II, while on the left, their favored terms are Revolution and Resistance – military terms with historical baggage. This is all deliberate. Let me tell you — the people who are crying “Burn it all down” do not expect this to touch their comfortable lives. These are not your friends.

Cui bono?

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

Let me say it again: I hope I’m wrong. But if I’m right, I encourage you to prepare yourself now. We can choose our response to any circumstance, and we owe it to our Creator to honor Him even in difficult times. In my next post, I’ll discuss how I think we ought to live in and through such times.

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.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Bring your best manners, please.

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