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(140) Du ysgrifennu

The obsession with generations—Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, Gen Z—derives from democracy itself. Democracy values youth and disdains age (wisdom); hence what the “next generation” thinks is considered paramount—and each generation is judged to be very distinct from the others, and this partly serves narcissistic ends. This generational division was pioneered in The Fourth Turning and it only applies to the Anglosphere; the authors detected generational waves in Anglo-America, waves that went back to England—they assumed that the core Anglo culture shaped all America; and yet that may have been exaggerated—there may be no such thing as an Italian-American “Gen X” or a Jewish-American “Millennial”. As modern academics, Strauss and Howe assumed that culture always trumps race.

Even within their theory, the generational breakdown makes no sense in France or Algeria—it is a purely Anglo-American and Anglo phenomenon and if it applies elsewhere it applies insofar as a local has shed their own culture (probably true in France and Algeria, to an extent). The theory also explains the “Great Awokening”; it predicted it—the generational theory identified cyclical religious revivals that periodically grip the Anglosphere. The “awakenings” make use of the religion to hand—be that Methodism or progressive liberalism. An “awakening period” is followed by a huge crisis (e.g. a previous Great Awakening took slavery as an issue—and about a generation later the energy from that awakening led to the American Civil War).

In line with this theory, America (the world) is due for another major crisis by 2025—that could have been Covid-19 (Strauss and Howe include plagues as such events), it could be a second American civil war (fed by “woke” energy—but not fought by the people who initiated the “Great Awokening”; they were the visionary generation). The generational theory is powerful—albeit limited by its non-racial aspect—and yet it shouldn’t be exaggerated; the generations differ but not as much as all that—it’s the youth-obsessed narcissistic democracy that exaggerates the divide.


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