The magic mix: sacrifice & authority

16 Jun

It’s taken me forever and a day to read The Fourth Turning, the generational theory book that’ll make even the mediocre among us seem like a genius, but I’m almost there. This bit just astounded me so much that I had to turn the computer back on and blog.

We all got the picture that the Democrats and Republicans have just been so out of whack for 20 years. Right? Dems are all about old consumption promises (no sacrifice required, entitlements for every victim) with no plan or capacity to make it through the winter. Republicans pursue an endless quest for more individualism that they’ll starve and shut down an agency to make a point. That’s all fine for the era of the last 20 years: Boom-bust-boom.

But in a Crisis Era, as articulated in generational theory (and right about now), the style of leadership that reigns supreme for a generation is the one that combines enough public sacrifice to infuse team spirit in a new generation (Millennials) plus enough public authority in government to infuse civic spirit.

From what I’m reading, the push-pull, 50-50 voter quagmire that’s been going on for the last decade or so will suddenly become undesirable (and unelectable). Leaders — local and national — who can quickly and persuasively create a new paradigm combining the concepts of personal sacrifice plus public authority will reign. And not just for a term, but for a generation. (This info is from pp 311-312 of The Fourth Turning).

Segueing not so gracefully into one of my rants: Yo, politicians: Cut it out now with all these save the homeowners from foreclosure programs. As I see it, the “personal sacrifice” is for people to live within their means. The “public authority” is to help them do that … not to burden taxpayers with another person’s unsustainable mortgage. Public authority and services could be used to help people transition to more affordable homes and lifestyles, even if that means helping them find a place in semi-rural Pennsylvania, or a row house in the not-sexy part of Baltimore, where they can afford to live and raise a family.

A call to personal sacrifice plus public authority is the flavor of the next 15-20 years. At least that’s how I read the generational theory info.


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