Book of the Month/March 2022

Sharing Options

My choice this month—since the times are so tumultuous, and because Kamala Harris is being dispatched yet again to make the Ukraine situation better—is a book calculated to cheer you up a bit. It is called The Storm Before the Calm by George Friedman.

This is not a Christian book, and so for the full impact of the “cheering up” effect, you should also we well grounded in all the postmill stuff we are putting out. But even given postmillennialism, it is still possible to wonder how these turbulent and chaotic times could possibly take a turn for the better. That is where this book comes in, and also works like The Fourth Turning, or Sir John Glubb’s The Fate of Empires.

The basic idea in all these works is that human societies have lifespans, just like humans do.. We rotate through infancy, youth, middle age, and old age, just like individuals do. The Fourth Turning argues that the unit of longevity comes from the Romans, and is called a saeculum, and it is basically eighty years. Each cycle terminates in a crisis. From the War for Independence to the Civil War was eighty years. From the Civil War to World War II was eighty years. And eighty years from WW2 is . . . now.

This book by Friedman agrees with that cycle, what he calls the institutional cycle, but also argues that there is another cycle running alongside that one which he calls the socio-economic cycle. This cycle is a fifty year cycle, and he says that the trough of both kinds of cycles is right now, in the 2020’s. But after this dismal decade, he predicts that all the puppies and kittens will come out to play.

The danger in this kind of thing is that it might provoke some to become fatalistic. But for most of us, there is at least mild encouragement here. Human history is absolutely crammed with rough spots, and we shouldn’t take fright over the one we are in. Alarums are not all that unusual, and books like this one help you to zoom out.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
32 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
James Claypool
James Claypool
5 months ago

This sounds rather like Kondratiev cycles, which are of dubious value. If true, then the question is what generates the wave? I think it is related to the church imaging Christ and the judgment exercised by the church in binding and loosing. Looking at the 20th and early 21st centuries, the cry of the church has been ‘we’re not under the law’. The original meaning of that was we’re not under the penalty of the law or the ceremonial precepts. The unbeliever hears that and interprets it as the law of God is null and void. He doesn’t remain without… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by James Claypool
Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
5 months ago

There is an alternative viewpoint: Maybe there really is no crisis. We’re not facing an existential threat like invasion or war in which the very survival of the Republic is at stake. No, when conservatives talk about the crisis, they mean they’re worried that poor children might have health care and the wealthy may have to give a little more in taxes to pay for it. And that gays will be treated like human beings. And that religion doesn’t get you a free pass to ignore laws that everybody else has to abide by. Sorry to be the one to… Read more »

Will
Will
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Mike, your alternative viewpoint is spot on. Unfortunately, it won’t get any traction with the Wilsonites and their ilk. They seem to prefer an angry, weaponized Jesus.

Exhibit A: James’ post below

Last edited 5 months ago by Will
James
James
5 months ago
Reply to  Will

In the story of the blind men and the elephant, the five blind men all feel different parts of the elephant and they all think an elephant is different things. Jesus was a kind man who raised a little girl from the dead and healed the sick and befriended some of the dregs of society, and cared about the poor, but he also could get angry about some things, such as people causing children to stumble, who he said would get something worse than being thrown into the sea tied to a millstone to drown. As there is no known… Read more »

Luigi
Luigi
5 months ago
Reply to  Will

You two should kiss

Cherrera
Cherrera
5 months ago
Reply to  Luigi

I’m sure they have any problem with sodomy. Note that neither claims to promote a Christian worldview. Instead, it’s the same old tired lies of the woke (read: programmed). Mike’s is so absurd it reads like a parody. He’s got COVID-mania, LGBTQ+ and abortion treated as sacraments, BLM/Antifa violence normalized (while the dissident right gets years in prison without committing any violence/vandalism), the likes of Sam “puppy fetish” Brinton and Rachel “4 star” Levine in the Biden administration, horrific energy policies designed to make us weak/poor/dependent, a fascist Big Tech/Big Pharma/gov’t police state with massive censorship of alternative views, a… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by C Herrera
Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
5 months ago
Reply to  Cherrera

Cherrera, almost none of what you said reflects either my views nor what’s actually going on in the country. Take a Valium and you’ll feel better.

Cherrera
Cherrera
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Mike, everything I said is true and I could’ve said much more. I don’t do drugs but you’re free to have all the soma you want, and maybe I’ll get to pay for it under the Harm Reduction Grant. Just remember to say your racial equity prayers, because that’s what it’s all about. Now get back to your MSM bubble with its lies and platitudes.

Ken B
Ken B
5 months ago
Reply to  Will

Will – the NT describes Jesus in his own words as saying Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, … . The same Jesus was angry with the traders in the temple (the Big Eva of the day), and one day an unbelieving, rebellious society will look at him and see the wrath of God and prefer to be swallowed up in an earthquake than face it, wanting the rocks to fall on them. There is a balance between the love and wrath of God, his kindness or mercy and… Read more »

Ken B
Ken B
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

No, when conservatives talk about the crisis, they mean they’re worried that poor children might have health care and the wealthy may have to give a little more in taxes to pay for it. The New Testament church had a system of the strong helping the weak and the rich giving in favour of the poor, though unlike the system the state enacts when it does this the church was voluntary, and did not involve the subsidising of the lazy. In Britain much was done by Tory Evangelicals to ameliorate the appalling working conditions in Victorian times as described by… Read more »

Cherrera
Cherrera
5 months ago
Reply to  Ken B

Thanks, Ken. We certainly don’t agree on everything (even here) but you bring up some good points. As for “not treating gays like human beings,” Biden put this “non-binary” in charge of nuclear waste along with making Rachel Levine the first “transgender” 4-star officer in history and the Assistant Secretary of Health. Yep, someone with obvious mental health issues in charge of health… Biden Puttin’ On The Dog – The American Conservative Keep in mind that Levine hasn’t spent a nanosecond in the armed forces and probably couldn’t survive 20 seconds of hand-to-hand or close-quarters combat at any point in… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by C Herrera
Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
5 months ago
Reply to  Cherrera

I don’t get either puppy love or transgenderism and both strike me as weird, but is there any evidence that either Brinton or Levine aren’t up to the job? Because like it or not, this is a pluralistic society in which not everyone shares your social views. And in which large numbers of people view Christianity as weird. So long as Brinton and Levine are competent, why are their personal weirdnesses any of your business?

Cherrera
Cherrera
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Quit playing dumb, Mike. These appointments were intentional slaps in the faces of Christian conservatives. I’m sure you’d be crying like a newborn if Biden appointed someone with “personal weirdnesses” like believing some races are intellectually superior or that women shouldn’t vote–even if it had nothing to do with their jobs and they had no authority to push these views. As for Levine being qualified, that’s a joke. And in that position, he can definitely push his agenda and is hardly unbiased.
Biden ignores Levine’s nursing home scandal, touts transgender qualifications – Washington Times

Last edited 5 months ago by C Herrera
Cherrera
Cherrera
5 months ago
Reply to  Cherrera

You’re also making the very obvious and unbiblical (if you even claim to be a Christian) error of assuming personal morality won’t affect job performance or ethical issues at work. It’s like people defending Eric Coomer, a higher-up at Dominion Software. He deletes his social media accounts full of profane anti-Trump and pro-cop killing posts…but not before someone got screenshots. Then he drives into a building while drunk (almost hitting someone), leaves the scene and lies to the cops three times. But we’re supposed to believe he’s 100% honest and objective when it comes to helping run an election. BODY… Read more »

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
5 months ago
Reply to  Cherrera

Hiring an open racist or misogynist isn’t an apt analogy because we have a Constitution that mandates that blacks and women be treated equally. So if someone thinks that certain races are intellectually inferior or women shouldn’t be allowed to vote, that would call into question whether he could or would treat women and minorities in the way the Constitution demands, and therefore is job related. If, as you say, Levine is unqualified, then that’s sufficient reason not to hire Levine for that position and being transgendered has nothing to do with it. As for personal morality impacting someone’s ability… Read more »

Cherrera
Cherrera
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Hiring an open racist or misogynist isn’t an apt analogy because we have a Constitution that mandates that blacks and women be treated equally”

But you’re fine with the reverse racism and misandry of intentionally appointing a black female for the Supreme Court instead of the most qualified? And if you don’t think an avowed Gay Mafia activist like Levine could do more damage as Assistant Secretary for Health than a janitor, you’re either incredibly dense or know you’re lying. Terrible comparison.

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
5 months ago
Reply to  Cherrera

How do you know she isn’t the most qualified? There are probably a thousand lawyers who would be perfectly fine Supreme Court justices so why not give representation to a group that’s never had anyone on the Supreme Court? And are you just as bothered by the racism and sexism that gave us 108 white male Supreme Court justices out of 115, or is it only when minorities benefit that race based decisions are suddenly something to complain about? My question, which you did not answer, is whether you would bar Levine from any federal employment. If not, you can’t… Read more »

Cherrera
Cherrera
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

“How do you know she isn’t the most qualified?” I can because I can read and know someone supporting a law that would prevent pro-life counselors from approaching women via a “buffer zone” in unconstitutional garbage. She’s an intellectual lightweight compared to Thomas and Scalia (RIP) and it would be very clear if the three hem had a discussion. I’m sure she could toss out stale woke platitudes, though. And how do you know “racism and sexism that gave us 108 white male Supreme Court justices out of 115.” That’s another one of your assumptions? Anyone claiming Jackson is a… Read more »

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
5 months ago
Reply to  Cherrera

Oh, so by qualified you mean someone whom you agree with, got it. Funny, when it comes to intellect I don’t think Thomas is fit to carry Thurgood Marshall’s briefcase; I’ll grant that Scalia had a powerful intellect, even though I often (not always) disagreed with him. But unlike you, I see qualifications and intellect objectively rather than whether I agree with someone’s views or not. It’s not that I’ve been unable to answer, it’s that I’ve ignored what hasn’t merited a response. Would anyone not a white male have been confirmable to the Supreme Court for most of our… Read more »

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Mike: “So again, you only complain about racism and sexism when white males aren’t the beneficiaries.”

This from the same guy who just said that blacks are intellectually inferior to whites.

Will
Will
5 months ago

Your reading comprehension is worse than I thought. Your grasp of history is embarrassing.

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
5 months ago
Reply to  Will

Will, it’s not a reading comprehension problem; he’s just intentionally playing stupid.

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Nice try, but there’s no getting away from the fact that you just claimed a black man is intellectually inferior to a white man. Which is just par for the course for you perennially racist Democrats.

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
5 months ago

I said a specific black man was intellectually inferior, but that’s not the same thing as saying that black men in general are intellectually inferior. But then you knew that.

Will
Will
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Mike, he is stupid. One only has to read is inane comments over the years.

Ken B
Ken B
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Hiring an open racist or misogynist isn’t an apt analogy because we have a Constitution that mandates that blacks and women be treated equally. If you start a program of positive discrimination for women or blacks because in the past they had less access to certain jobs then you are not meeting a requirement in the Constitution to treat everyone equally. Once you have removed barriers to entry and given everyone an equal opportunity that’s it – there is no need for further action. My wife finds it irritating and insulting when there are quotas for the number of women… Read more »

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
5 months ago
Reply to  Ken B

Ken, I’m far from a fan of affirmative action but the problem with what you’re proposing is that it doesn’t account for continuing effects of past discrimination. During all those years that women and minorities couldn’t get into Harvard or be hired for senior management positions at IBM, the white men were busy networking, investing their earnings, growing their wealth and getting their kids set for life. So simply saying we won’t discriminate anymore doesn’t take into account that we’re not starting off with a level playing field. And as I pointed out to Cherrera, it’s amazing that affirmative action… Read more »

Ken B
Ken B
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Mike – I understand a desire to put right what was wrong in the past by positive discrimination, but as far as the UK is concerned racial and sexual discrimination was outlawed decades ago. I cannot imagine the States are much different. That doesn’t mean it has all gone, but once the legal foundation for equal opportunity has been laid you can only wait for it eventually to result in merit alone being the criterion for appointments to a jobs. During all those years that women and minorities couldn’t get into Harvard or be hired for senior management positions at… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Ken B
Ken B
Ken B
5 months ago
Reply to  Cherrera

That American Conservative article was beyond revolting. I cannot but think of the Olivet discourse: As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man. What was society like in the run up to the flood – kinky sex and violence. We haven’t exactly moved on from there for all our claims to enlightenment and sophistication, having science and reason to replace outdated religion. I don’t believe we are necessarily near the end of the age, but this is still a salutary warning that just as Noah’s flood suddenly came in judgment a judgment… Read more »

James
James
5 months ago

It sounds like an interesting theory, but I would question the idea that societies go in circles. If you look at a map of Europe in the 12th century, you will see that almost all the nations there are still around in some fashion, excepting the Moorish kingdom in Spain and a few peoples of partially settled far eastern Europe, such as the Khazars and the Cumans, and some Baltic peoples. There are also peoples in the middle East, and in Asia, which have held on to civilizations for several thousand years, and England existed for centuries with no major… Read more »

Brendan of Ireland
Brendan of Ireland
5 months ago

This all sounds like 19th century progressivism, as indeed does postmillennialism in its current guise (which is also a not so subtle version of the American Dream). Doug uses the word “optimism” a lot. But that’s not the same as biblical “hope.” We would not say, for example, that we are optimistic that God’s plans for the future will work out. Optimism is the language of liberal laissez-faire economics – a belief in the system (i.e. Adam Smith’s “invisible hand”, or more recently, Steven Pinker’s notion of “the better angels of our nature”). Hope is radically other than optimism –… Read more »

PB
PB
5 months ago

Very well said!