Gray Champions

Editor’s Note: I’m sharing this for entertainment purposes only as a theory to consider.

Here is an interesting take on the otherwise dull 2020 election.

It comes from The Fourth Turning and describes the very climax of Boomer ascendance in America when the country is plunged into a fiery ordeal on the scale of the Civil War or World War II.

“At each of these great gates of history, eighty to a hundred years apart, a similar generational drama unfolded. Four archetypes, aligned in the same order—elder Prophet, midlife Nomad, young adult Hero, child Artist —together produced the most enduring legends in our history. Each time the Gray Champion appeared marked the arrival of a moment of “darkness, and adversity, and peril,” the climax of the Fourth Turning of the saeculum. …

We may not wish the Gray Champion to come again—but come he must, and come he will. …

Eight or nine decades after his last appearance, America will be visited by the “figure of an ancient man … combining the leader and the saint (to) show the spirit of their sires.” Again will appear the heir to the righteous Puritan who stood his ground against Governor Andros, the old colonial governors of the American Revolution who broke from England, the aging radicals of the Civil War who pitted brother against brother with a “fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel,” and “the New Deal Isaiahs” who achieved their rendezvous with destiny.

Whence will come the Gray Champion? Picture the Boomer Overclass of the Unraveling, aged another twenty years. Picture William Bennett’s “Consequence and Confrontation” missives; Al Gore predicting an environmental cataclysm; James Webb’s summoning a “ruthless and overpowering” retaliation against foreign enemies; James Fallows rooting for a “7.0 magnitude diplo-economic shock”; “Apocalypse Darman” and “Default Newt” with their budget train wrecks; Earth First saboteurs, willing to sacrifice other people’s lives to save trees; and Army of God antiabortionists summoning the terminally ill to “use your final months to torch clinics.” Picture Boomers like these, older and harsher, uncalmed by anyone more senior, feeling their last full measure of strength, sensing their pending mortality, mounting their final crusade—all at a time of maximum public peril.

The full dimension of the Boomer persona will only emerge when today’s better-known 1940s birth cohorts (whose youth was marked by relatively few social pathologies) are joined in public life by the tougher-willed, more evangelical 1950s cohorts (whose youth was marked by many more pathologies). That is the mix that will beget this generation’s elder priest-warrior persona, vindicating the early Unraveling-era warning of Peter Collier and David Horowitz that Boomers are “a destructive generation whose work is not over yet.”

As the Crisis deepens, Boomers will confront the end result of their lifelong absorption with values. They will have laid a long trail of Unraveling-era rhetoric, much of it symbol and gesture, but now the words will matter. When James Redfield (or his elder equivalent) describes his peers as “a generation whose intuitions would help lead humanity toward a … great transformation,” the summons will no longer be for pensive spiritual reflection but for decisive civic action. Boomers will comply with Cornel West’s suggestion that “the mark of the prophet is to speak the truth in love with courage—come what may.” Their habitual tendency to enunciate unyielding principles will now carry the duty of enforcement.

The final Boomer leaders—authoritarian, severe, unyielding—will command broad support from younger people who will see in them a wisdom beyond the reckoning of youth. In domestic matters, old Boomers will recast the old arguments of the Culture Wars into a new context of community needs. They will redefine and reauthenticate a civic expansion—crafted from some mix of Unraveling-era cultural conservatism and public-sector liberalism. In foreign matters, they will narrowly define the acceptable behavior of other nations and broadly define the appropriate use of American arms.

The same Boomers who in youth chanted “Hell no, we won’t go!” will emerge as America’s most martial elder generation in living memory. Whatever the elements of Crisis, old Boomer leaders will up the moral ante beyond the point of possible retreat or compromise. The same Boomers who once chanted “Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh, the NLF is gonna win!” will demand not just an enemy’s defeat, but its utter destruction. They will risk enormous pain and consequence to command youth to fight and die in ways they themselves never would have tolerated in their own youth. They will believe, as did Cicero, that this moment in history assigns “young men for action, old men for counsel.”

Old Boomers will find transcendence in the Crisis climax. As they battle time and nature to win their release from history, they will feel themselves in position to steward the nation, and perhaps the world, across several painful thresholds. It is easy to envision old Aquarians as pillars of fire leading to the Promised Land—but just as easy to see them as Charonlike monsters abducting doomed souls across the Styx to Hades. Either is possible.

As the Crisis resolves, elder Boomers will have not the last word, but the deep word. If they triumph, they will collectively deserve the eulogy Winston Churchill offered to Franklin Roosevelt: to die “an enviable death.” If they fail, their misdeeds will cast a dark shadow over the entire twenty-first century, perhaps beyond. Whatever the outcome, posterity will remember the Boomers’ Gray Champion persona long after the hippie and yuppie images have been forgotten to all but the historian.”

Maybe the Gray Champion is Donald Trump?

Maybe it is the clash between Donald Trump and Joe Biden?

Maybe the epoch ending crisis is COVID-19, economic collapse and the riots? Maybe it is dealing with the rise of China? Seems like a tall enough challenge? Unfortunately, I fear this is far too generous. Rather than focus on such obvious enormous national challenges, the Gray Champion will instead focus on something intensely moralizing and polarizing in which there is absolutely no possibility of compromise? Maybe society is set on a collision course and plunged into some type of total conflagration?

The crisis could play out like this: the issue facing the country is “white privilege” and “systemic racism,” not COVID-19. White people are no good and have to be rooted out. They are oppressing People of Color and sustaining inequality. Unlike in the previous era, it is now URGENT. In hindsight, we made a mistake by not addressing the racial issue. Joe Biden could put himself at the head of the woke mob and support the violence. White America would have its back pushed against the wall not unlike the South in the 1860s. The wokesters force White people to choose between antiracism and self-preservation.

Note: Of course, this could all ultimately be nonsense, which we will know for sure in give or take a few years. There could be nothing to the theory. The center will hold and peace will prevail. The future will be a continuation of the recent past rather than taking a sudden jarring turn we hadn’t anticipated. In any case, it is fun to think about the election in such terms. It might not be seen as a momentous event until it is seen in retrospect. Then again, it could also just be a boring changing of the guard.

About Hunter Wallace 12366 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent

15 Comments

  1. The theory depends on certain patterns which have been shattered in the tail end of the 20th century. At what time on Earth did a nation work to replace its founding stock with third worlders while waging a non stop war against them in the media. The scary part is people don’t see it

  2. This could be the 400-500 year turning of the Whitesupremacene as you pointed out. Turchin is thinking small.

  3. “Let’s you and him fight” is what the elder prophet says, to any combination of the three younger generations.

    • The next time the U.S. Government starts a war, perhaps for Taiwan, perhaps for Our Greatest Ally, perhaps something else the Government will quickly discover several unpleasant things it will try to keep hidden. The first is that the U.S. military is already overstretched and not prepared for high intensity conflict. Reserves, National Guard and anything else available will be thrown in to the conflict. The geniuses in Government will then try to pass a bill of conscription called “national service” to staff the military properly.

      The Government will also discover that the hollowing out of the U.S. industrial base now has dire consequences. The Government will not be able to rapidly produce the sophisticated systems needed for modern war. The industrial facilities will simply not be there and more importantly, the technical people e.g. machinists will not be available in sufficient numbers and will mostly be old and White, too.

      The diversity racket has left the military, civilian government and industry saddled with useless, deficient, incompetent minorities whose failings will be manifest in a crisis. This will give the lie to the New Constitution of the U.S. since 1964 i.e. the (so-called) “Civil Rights” legislation that promised both a high functioning, orderly, productive country and diversity/equality at the same time. You have to pick one in life; diversity/ equality and failure or liberty and inequality and success. The U.S. has already chosen the path of failure.

      The Government will also find that it doesn’t have the financial reserves it had in past wars, the country is heavily indebted and much poorer than most people admit. Wars and other crises are expensive and the money is long gone, replaced by unpayable debts. Inflation and ruin of the dollar are likely to follow.

      During the Cold War when there was only one potentially serious adversary, the now defunct USSR. Now several potential adversaries have weapons that present a great peril to U.S. power. Nations like China had very little military power until U.S. national policy built up the Chinese economy recently making them a serious threat in the Pacific. The geniuses in charge will find out as Winston Churchill did, commenting on the decline in British supremacy after WWII, “The World has grown Large around Us”.

      If there were another draft like 1941 – 1973 it seems unlikely that there would be docile compliance with Government orders, nor should there be. Conscription would fall most heavily upon White males because the Government and everyone else knows, when the chips are down, it’s only Whites who can fix things. The cult of diversity/equality will have been a major part of the next national failure and the path out of failure will require very unequal policies. The elites will expect to impose their unjust policies upon the people they hate to save their fat asses, I say fuck ’em.

      • “The Government will also discover that the hollowing out of the U.S. industrial base now has dire consequences“

        The US can’t win a major conflict anymore, unless they manage to do it within the short period they still have stockpiled supplies. It would take years to rebuilt the supply chains not to mention train all the people required to run the machines. Since we de-industrialized there are many skilled jobs where all the knowledge base has literally died out and we’d have to start from scratch. This is why I find a war with China so unrealistic, unless it’s nuclear and there are a lot of doubts about the viability of the US nuclear arsenal. You see, we haven’t maintained the things in years and all the people who built them in the first place retired long ago.

        • HOW DARE YOU insult our heroic transgender drone warriors, directing unmanned airstrikes on civilians in Pakistan from their air conditioned bases in Qatar?

  4. This is what a friend in a mid-level position in the Republican Party sent me yesterday:
    “ The US will not break up, nor will there be a civil war. The conservatives and moderates will simply comply with the new mandates and the laws imposed and passed by the Democrats when they sweep the elections in November. The US went through something very similar in the 1960s and early 1970s.

    Americans haven’t made a peep to date about males claiming to be women and playing women’s sports and using women’s bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers. That is for real and Florida State University allows mend to use women’s locker room showers. No one complained.

    American white men have complied and went along when they are passed over for jobs, college acceptance, and law and medical school acceptance.

    American parents complied when they put LBGTQ clubs for kids in middle school and high school. Not a peep from any parent.

    There will be no break up, no civil war. Americans will just eat the turd sandwich and tell each other how good it tastes.”

    • The current moment isn’t anything like the late 1960s/early 1970s.

      Sure, there was a ton of political violence back then carried out by radical groups, but American well-being was at an all time high. Trust in institutions was at an all-time high. It was just beginning to crack during the Vietnam War. It was an optimistic period. America landed on the moon during that period. The national debt wasn’t anywhere close to where it is now. The country wasn’t nearly as diverse or polarized. Americans watched the news and actually believed the media. Unemployment wasn’t anywhere close to what is today. Young people had no problem finding well paying jobs and starting to build wealth. Oligarchs didn’t wield almost total control over politics. Above all else, the American political establishment was confident and at the apex of its postwar power.

      Contrast the ease with which Jim Crow was abolished to our own times. George Wallace symbolically opposed the integration of the University of Alabama before yielding to RFK. Ross Barnett in Mississippi yielded to RFK. Little Rock was integrated by the 101st Airborne without issue. Aside from Klan bombings and a few shootings, there was remarkably little violence in the Civil Rights Movement. Overall, the federal government forced integration on segregationists and they accepted the result. Major legislation was routinely passed in those days which is now unthinkable. Now, it is nearly impossible for Congress to pass a mere budget. The Soviet Union loomed large as a common enemy during the Cold War. Also, the country at that time was dominated by patriotic World War II veterans.

      None of those conditions hold anymore. Today social trust is crashing to rock bottom. Incivility has infected the highest levels of government. Something like 80% of Americans think the country is on the “wrong track.”

      • Since I didn’t live in America back then I don’t know how things were but your argument seems pretty reasonable.

      • Just for the record, Biden is Silent Generation and not a Boomer. So are Pelosi and Sanders.

        Unless Biden wins, the Silent Generation will be the first generation in this country not to produce a president.

      • All true, Hunter. However, if Democrats sweep the elections and take control of the Senate and presidency, I doubt very seriously they will have a problem passing major legislation, given our age of “moral clarity.”

      • You’re right that the LBJ and Nixon years were different because trust in institutions was real high, country was almost ninety percent white, the GI and Silent Generations were in power, and it was a different world and things are way different now. But you and your followers are wrong to predict and hope for a race war really soon. I don’t think most white Americans will react violently until things are really bad as it was in Yugoslavia. Even then, peaceful means will be a priority. More of us will just move out of the cities in the time being.

        I sometimes make jokes about black criminals like George Floyd or BLM with my friends and they feel as I do. But none of us are alt-right and we fear them as much as we do antifa. We accept the scary future when we’ll be a minority in a multiracial nation because the system can’t be changed anytime soon. Even some of my Asian and other nonwhite friends worry about such a future, though they don’t admit it openly.

        We’ll have to adapt to that situation and make do as other white people in nonwhite majority countries like Chile and Brazil have done. They got Pinochet and Bolsonaro into office without a violent race war that many here seem to want, so the sky isn’t falling for now and there are peaceful alternatives.

  5. biden is the gray “champion.” you think forced integration is bad? forced equity will be worse. boomers will burn down our birthright, then pass the torch to mexicans, over the heads of gen x, millennials, and zoomers. american boomers truly are the worst generation.

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