Fourth Turnings are a bear. From Jeff Thomas at internationalman.com:
“These are the times that try men’s souls.”
So, Thomas Paine wrote in 1775 in his publication of “The American Crisis.” Not so well-remembered today are the words that followed that famous quote:
“Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”
At that time, Colonial America was passing through the early stages of a “Fourth Turning,” an historical time of crisis that occurs roughly every eighty years.
As a point of reference, a First Turning is a period of renewal; one in which a historical crisis has ended. The populace has risen to the occasion, thrown off tyranny and conquered social, political and economic tribulation. Having done so, they now create a renewal, based on hard work, personal responsibility and moral integrity.
A Second Turning occurs a generation later, when the rewards of a First Turning have resulted in prosperity and stability. Those new adults who have grown up during a First Turning will be well-off and will seek to pursue high-mindedness and social concerns. Along the way, they will also pursue self-indulgence. (A deterioration begins.)