Occasionally watching Facebook, Twitter, and email, I mostly blow off the 24-hour news spin and morons with opinions (most of us). I primarily pay attention to folks from my church, friends, and my family. Grandbaby pictures, videos of 3-year-old granddaughter singing “Nice Nice Baby” and “Jessie’s Girl” (Grandma’s school of Classic Rock), daughter number two having grandkid number two, prayer requests, Friends climbing mountain trails with their kids in Colorado, BLOGs by my pastor, etc.
Somewhere in that fun swirl, people started asking what the Charlotte riots indicated. I forced myself to have a delayed reaction but eventually, three points hit me. First, beginning with the initial riot activity in Charlotte, every politician and media pube in North America sprinted for every available microphone. Click goes the remote and the TV goes to Netflix and the next segment of Stranger Things. Definitely more real than watching contrived riots in Charlotte transformed into spin against the president.
Second, like Baltimore, St Louis and the others, emotion outvoted truth with truth not being available or relevant in the swirl of emotion until it becomes dry evidence in an unexciting court room. Years from now.
Third, transition from local riots to national discontent followed the axis and velocity of the Internet. Click goes the remote and my wife selects When Calls the Heart. Great show but I go to my man cave to smoke a cigar and work on my next book. Or we go to the latest YouTube video stream of Ravi Zacharias or Mark Batterson.
We are in the classic Unravelling. According to Strauss and Howe, the Third Turning is an Unraveling. The mood of this era is in many ways the opposite of a High: Institutions are weak and distrusted, while individualism is strong and flourishing. Strauss and Howe say Unravelings come after Awakenings, when society wants to atomize and enjoy. They say the most recent Unraveling in the US began in the 1980s and includes the Long Boom and Culture War. The deep, dark secret is that our current unravelling followed the divided awakening of the 60s and 70s. That was an awakening divided between life and death, between the Summer of Love and Jesus Freak concerts, between legalization of abortion and the sacredness of life.
In a standard Unravelling, society swerves emotionally between complaint and riot for about a decade. Our unraveling began in the eighties and is still thumping along, almost forty years later. Only the pre-Civil War unravelling between slavery and abolition, straddling the Mason-Dixon line, lasted as long after the other divided American Awakening of the 1830s and 1840s.
In most past unravelings, elements coalesced to various isms ranging from nationalism to Nazism to Communism to whatever-ism. We are seeing the same characteristics today but there are a few differences. We can see that the velocity of information along the axis of the Internet is seriously fragmented. Western Civilization is Balkanizing emotionally along the axis of information, embracing the riot of the moment and not reasoning to truth.
Watching events and living them in our present day, people should fundamentally understand how a Hitler could rise to power in the land of Beethoven, Goethe, and Bonhoeffer. It had little to do with reason but just about everything to do with power vacuums and emotion in an unravelling.
Because our unravelling is in conjunction with the fragmentation – Balkanization – of Western Civilization inside the rancid pot luck of the Internet and main stream media, no group or element has gained the critical advantage or mass necessary to step into the growing power vacuum. As a result, the Unravelling continues to trudge forward.
Out on the periphery of Western Civilization’s classic unravelling, Putin experiments with new ways of projecting power, Russia and Iraq are solidifying their power axis between Tehran and Moscow, and working to get their oil to the European Bourse to destabilize the dollar. The Chinese are looking south to consolidate their civilization down the third great river that comes off the central Asian steppe – the Mekong. That should explain the Chinese man-made islands in the south pacific. Think of those as fortified, stationary anti-ship platforms to oppose Western naval elements as the Chinese move south along the axis of the Mekong.
Meanwhile… In the West, politicians and media pubes fight for mic time on TV as opposed to locking up the violent morons committing crimes against property and people in a supposed riot.
Back to the folks I do pay attention to on the Internet and my cell phone – Family, Friends, Pastor, people my wife and I mentor…
My response could be that God is sovereign. That answer is absolutely TRUE but seems trite and common. Instead, I point at the Bumper Sticker on my car – “I Used to be Cool”. History, philosophy, and logic were once taught in public school. Not anymore. Our nation used to produce the world’s finest mathematicians. Instead, we legalize marijuana. (We’re discovering in Colorado what a huge human and fiscal disaster that is). In other words, Our Nation used to be Cool. Our nation might not ever go back to being cool.
I warn my friends that my answer is not comforting. The Unravelling is ratcheting higher, leading to greater instability and power vacuums that really suck. History indicates that Unravelings end when someone or some group fills the power vacuum with its “ism” and the dying begins. Army’s maneuvering against each other, possibly on nuclear battlefields, is radically different from weeping rioters on mainstream media feeds pushing against lines of police on TV.
Working on the Second book in my Series, Top of the World: Book 2 of The Culling
Check out Book 1 in my new Trilogy: Black Gladius: Book 1 of the Culling”. In paperback on Kindle.
Image: Excerpted: Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0); https://www.flickr.com/photos/pitmanra/9612970183