Forecast #5: the next cycle begins
There was a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish, it was so fragile.
Marcus Aurelius, in the movie Gladiator
This coming crisis might test America more than anything in our past, including the Revolutionary and Civil wars. This forecast says that America will lose both what defines it and what we hold most dear: our Constitution, our wealth, and our role as global hegemon.
Al-Qa’ida, Iran, Russia, and others prepare for a larger role in the New World Order, while we drift in our dreams.
This transition is like a singularity in astrophysics, a point where the rules breakdown – and beyond which we cannot see.
It’s a commonplace event in history. Consider 1942 Russia. Ruled by a madman. Their government having betrayed the hopes of the revolution, killed tens of millions, and reduced the nation to poverty. Many of their generals dead, their armies in full retreat, vast areas under the control of ruthless invader.
The mark of a great people is to carry on when all is lost, including hope. We can learn much from the Russian people, and their experience in such frightful times. I doubt we will fall so far into such peril. But our situation might be far more complex, with no clear enemy to unify us.
People, Ideas, and Hardware. “In that order!”
the late Col John R. Boyd, USAF, would thunder at his audiences
Our wealth is just hardware, an inheritance from past generations. What we lose we can work to replace.
Our Constitution is just an idea, inherited from the founders. We created it, and the failure of the first version just gives us experience to do better with the second.
Our culture is a collection of discordant ideas, despised (perhaps rightly in some respects) by much of the world – an easily understood disgust to anyone watching certain of our TV shows and movies, or listening to some of our popular music.
The people are America. We are strong because of our ability to act together, to produce and follow leaders. We are strong due to our openness to other cultures and ability to assimilate their best aspects. We are strong due to our ability to adapt to new circumstances, to roll with defeat and carry on.
We will be what we want to be. The coming years will reveal what that is.
There was a dream that was Rome. It shall be realized. These are the wishes of Marcus Aurelius.
Maximus Decimus Meridius, in the movie Gladiator
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