Review: The Fourth Turning Is Here

Neil Howe, The Fourth Turning Is Here: What The Seasons of History Tell Us About How and When This Crisis Will End

I loved this book.

It is thought provoking, insightful and poetic at times even though it mostly rehashes the ground covered in the original book. While I don’t fully buy into Neil Howe’s thesis that history is driven by a rhythm of generational change, it is unquestionably a major driver of historical change. As a theory of history, I find it much more compelling than the Marxist theory of historical materialism.

According to Neil Howe, history is cyclical and moves through four seasons (spring, summer, fall and winter) which are driven by generational change. Social generations shape history and are themselves shaped by history. History is divided into saeculum or natural centuries which are roughly equal to the potential lifetime of a person. Each generation has a dominant archetype. Howe argues there are four archetypes (Artist, Prophet, Nomad and Hero) which recur in a predictable order. The public mood naturally shifts roughly every 23 years as the constellation of generations shift as older generations depart, new generations are born and adults mature and age through the life cycle.

In a High or Spring season (America from V-J Day in 1945 to the JFK assassination in 1963), a nation emerges from a major crisis and builds a strong new civic order. Conformity is high. The social order is at its maximum strength. Culture is bland. The focus is on the external world. In an Awakening or Summer season (America from the JFK assassination in 1963 to Ronald Reagan’s Morning in America ad in 1984), the children of a High come of age as the rebellious young adults of an Awakening, condemn the regime and challenge and overthrow its values. The social order weakens. Culture is vibrant and tumultuous. The focus shifts to the inner world of values. In an Unraveling or Fall season (America from Ronald Reagan’s Morning in America ad to the 2008 financial crisis), the strong civic order of the High is dismantled and the culture polarizes. Individualism flourishes. The focus is on material gain and personal piety. Finally in a Crisis or Winter season (America from the 2008 financial crisis to the present), the old civic order collapses, the social order reaches its nadir and one period of history dies in a big bang. As the demand for social order rises, society regenerates as individualism weakens and conformity rises. The sacrifices which are almost always made in war foster a new sense of social solidarity. Spring is coming.

Howe argues that this pattern of generational change culminating in a major crisis has occurred time and again across American history. The 19th century, for example, died on the battlefields of the World Wars. The victorious liberals who emerged triumphant after World War II created our civic order and it was their modernist imagination that left its stamp our values. The Heavenly City of the 18th Century Philosophers died in the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. The Romantic reaction followed. After the American Revolution, victorious Patriots, not defeated Tories, won the next era of history which lasted until the War Between the States. After the War Between the States, the victorious Union, not the Confederacy, won the next era of history which lasted until the Great Depression. To the winner always goes the spoils. There are no permanent victories though. Death is the only certainty in the organic world.

Every civic order and social order has a natural shelf life. The generations which created the post-World War II order (Missionary, Lost, GI Generation and Silent) have now either been wholly replaced or are now rapidly departing public life. It has been 78 years since the end of World War II. Nearly everyone who is alive today has no memory of the conflict. Zoomers are now as distant in time from World War II as the Silent Generation was from the War Between the States. The current constellation of generations (Boomer elders, Gen X mid-lifers, Millennial young adults and Homelander/Zoomer children) is highly combustible because it has never been chastened by a major war. It has lost the solidarity created by war.

I thought a very interesting part of this book is how children are rarely likely their parents and how parenting styles change over time. Gen Xers raised in permissive households by Silent parents who often got divorced are raising sheltered, overprotected Zoomer children. A generation of non-conformist individualists who often had a rough upbringing is raising the next generation of politically correct conformists and collectivists. Howe argues that each generation has its own parallel archetype across time: Missionaries and Boomers, Losters and Gen X, GIs and Millennials, Silents and Zoomers. Millennials can surely relate to young adult GIs whose lives were stunted by the Great Depression. Gen Xers who fought in stupid wars in the War on Terror can relate to cynical Losters who fought in World War I.

It occurs to me that Neil Howe’s generational theory neatly explains the War Between the States. Mainstream historians insist that slavery caused secession and the war. Why didn’t slavery or states’ rights trigger a conflagration at some other point of American history though? Why didn’t the two sides compromise? These weren’t new concepts. Slavery had existed for centuries. The states had always jealously protected their sovereignty. Surely, the reason the War Between the States happened at that particular moment in history is because David Goldfield is correct. The Second Great Awakening caused the War Between the States and it is a straight line from there to the war. The Transcendental Generation caused the war by injecting religious and moral energies into politics.

According to Neil Howe, the Baby Boomer generation is destined to ignite the next cataclysm as it retires and ascends into elderhood. Howe argues that Boomers are an inwardly focused Prophet generation, a moralizing, impractical, crusading generation like the Transcendentals and Missionaries before them in previous historical cycles. This is not to say as some Millennials erroneously assume that Boomers all have the same politics or that Boomers destroyed our culture. On the contrary, Boomers weren’t eligible to vote during the highwater mark of the Civil Rights Movement. It was older generations (GIs and Silents) who created the dominant liberal regime and who passed civil rights legislation. Boomers destroyed the cultural unity of the previous High and have been viciously arguing among themselves ever since. Boomers are divided into rival values camps and have been driving polarization. Some Boomers were stereotypical modernist hippie liberals while others were religious fundamentalists and populists.

The predecessors of Boomers were divided in the same way. America in the 1850s was riven in two by abolitionists on one side and fire eaters on the other. Similarly, America in the 1920s was ripped apart in a raging culture war between liberals and modernists in the cities and Protestant fundamentalists in the Heartland who supported Prohibition. The country only escaped a destructive internal conflict in the last cycle by rallying late in the Great Depression against the Axis Powers. The liberal side won by redirecting and harnessing all the negative energy against an external enemy.

In the current cycle, Howe argues that America entered a Fourth Turning which is a Crisis era in the 2008 financial crisis. We are now 15 years into the Crisis era. He sees strong parallels between the 1930s and the 2010s. The precursor was the War on Terror which he compares to the Mexican War and World War I. The catalyst in both cases was a financial crash although the policy responses varied. Both eras have seen a bewildering number of programs (NIRA, CCC, TARP) designed to stave off economic collapse. Both eras have seen a massive and sudden resurgence of populism and nationalism. Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 election was the first regeneracy which is an inflection point when entropy ceases, the demand for order rapidly begins to rise and “when a sense of urgency about institutional dysfunction and civic vulnerabilities coalesce the nation or large blocs of the homeland behind a strong leader to tear down the existing social, economic and cultural order and replace it with something different.”

What comes next? Either a second regeneracy which alters the Crisis trajectory or a consolidation which is “when enough people realize the fate of the country is at stake, and when societal mobilization is required.” Previous examples of this include Lexington and Concord during the American Revolution, Fort Sumter during the War Between the States and Pearl Harbor during World War II. The final act is the climax which separates winners from losers and the resolution which ends the Crisis. Think of Gettysburg and Appomattox or D-Day and VJ-Day. Crisis eras nearly always culminate in war.

So, what are the possible scenarios of the climax? As you may have guessed by now, Neil Howe imagines a range of scenarios from soft landings to hard landings. At the softer end of the spectrum, the nation rallies to overcome a devastating financial crash or experiences a near bloodless revolution like the Glorious Revolution. At the harder end of the spectrum, the nation is devastated by a nuclear exchange with another Great Power, loses an external conflict against a coalition of Great Powers (China, Russia, Iran) or collapses into a devastating civil war. Howe is optimistic that we will avoid the worst scenarios. Previous crisis eras have had successful resolutions except for the South after the Civil War.

Regardless of how it goes, the culmination of the Crisis will leave behind a crater in history the size of the War Between the States or the Great Depression and World War II. It will shape and mark every generation that lives through it for life. It will be the reference point for the next 70 to 80 years. It will terminate the post-World War II era and begin the next era of history. Then the cycle will repeat itself as generations age and it all happens again. The generation of children born in the post-Crisis High of the 2030s will become the bomb throwers of the next Awakening in the 2050s when new values convulse the culture.

As a road map to the future, The Fourth Turning Is Here will turn out to be either prescient and bone chillingly accurate in hindsight or an interesting exercise in historical astrology. I currently think it is over the target for a book written in the 1990s. Is this not Dark Brandon (and Punished Trump) and where is he leading us today if not full speed ahead over the cliff and past the point of no return?

Note: One last thing … as Howe notes in the book and Whatifalthist has emphasized, the two sides are not equal. Polarization is driven by education and a huge gender gap. War heightens and sharpens gender roles and angry young men are clearly trending toward one side.

“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.”


  1. One major difference between the times in the past and today is that in the past there wasn’t a cabal of Jews destroying our country who have no qualms about using any means necessary to destroy White Americans and burn it all to the ground. We’ve never had our government controlled by an ethnic group full of psychopaths before.

    • Plus 20 million, maybe 30 million illegal mostly Hispanic immigrants.
      Does Howe talk about them at all?
      Sounds like he’s too obsessed with generational conflicts, and ignores a bigger one, the rapid and unprecedented racial changes going on.

      • And the greatest faux pas of all. History may rhyme, but it is NOT cyclical. Rushdoony and the Christian Reconstructionists of the 1980’s made that crystal clear. Biblical Timelines are linear. From the standpoint of the Incarnation, there can ONLY be a B.C. and an A.D. No other timeline option is possible. The times are always moving forward to what de Chardin (gnostic evolutionary Roman bastard that he was) called an ‘Omega Point.’ Or what Lewis called the ‘pencil point’-

        “If you dip into any college, or school, or parish, or family- anything you like- at a given point in its history, you always find that there was a time before that point when there is even less room for indecision and choices are even more momentous. Good is always getter better and bad is always getting worse: the possibilities of even apparent neutrality are always diminishing. The whole thing is sorting itself out all the time, coming to a point, getting sharper and harder.” – That Hideous Strength, p. 283, quoted in Gary North’s Political Polytheism, p 226-7.

        “The fact is, if Christianity is false, it is of no importance; if it is true it is infinitely important. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” C.S. Lewis

        To NOT view history as a predestinating inevitability that both demands God’s sovereign control, and man’s corresponding responsibility for choosing ungodly decisions, is to revert back to a nihilistic FATE, that assures no one of anything.

        Sorry, No. God is in control, and our evil choices will damn us eternally, whether we like it or no.

  2. I keep hearing how whites will “fight back” once we aren’t “comfortable” anymore and the basics are gone…
    Not really even sure what “fighting back” looks like anymore..

    Hell, i am kinda there already….i never thought losing my job would be such a huge ordeal ,seeing how i don’t really have a ‘career’ or a real skill and work as a bartender/server.

    For the last 3 years not 1 single place in this tourist area has been fully staffed and it finally took its toll on me.
    I cant do three peoples jobs at once anymore, i simply cannot handle it….not that they ever did or ever would actually pay me more.

    It was nuts what was expected of me.

    Filing for unemployment is an overly complexed nightmare from hell!!
    But i already found another job like 3 days later ,so whats the point lol?

    LOL i mean, the job sucks, but i need it.
    I have about 21 grand to my name total…luckily i own my condo or i’d be homeless in year.
    Rent is 2500-3000 a month here anywhere you would actually want to live in FL where i am at..
    Just had to vent…
    Its great to see the site up and running again full time!!!
    I know Brad has been busy and its not easy to run this site.
    I love this site and almost everyone who comments on it!!
    I have learned more from what i read here from what is said than i EVER did in history or civics class!
    Thank you all, for your wisdom and many truths!
    And thank you Brad for all you do!

  3. But who put those Jews there, at least indirectly? White goyim. And they don’t care. If you don’t believe me, just ask the average goy in the street. They are slobbering about football season just a month away.

    • Yes it’s a huge problem that many who are aware of the JQ refuse to see. That said, keep in mind that the tribe, being the children of Satan, do have supernatural help and they make great use of word spells and other types of sorcery to achieve their father’s objectives, as do their high-level Shabbas-goys (who serve the same master). Yes I also realize that the sentence just before this one would get me excommunicated from nearly all “Christian” churches in Clown-World, Prot, Ortho, or Catholic – despite all of this being spelled out explicitly in the scripture.

      Read the Grandmother’s Tale below and ask the question of who bears the most responsibility:

      I once asked [Grandma], when she came on a visit, what her problem with Jews was. Her answer struck me as Old Lady ranting then, but I have realized since that it is so true as to almost be a mystical Truth.??

      She said:??

      “The Jew will look at a pile of shit and say ‘That’s gold!’ Then, he’ll look at a pile of gold and say ‘That’s shit!’ And then he’ll find ten other Jews to rewrite every book and newspaper within reach until YOU and your kids look at the shit and agree that ‘Yes, shit is gold and gold is shit!’ Then, while you are putting shit in your pockets, he’ll take all the gold and share it with his ten other Jews. It’s their NATURE.”

      ??Her statement is true on so many levels that it blows my mind. Criminals are victims, victims are criminals, truth is a lie, immoral is moral, shit is gold.?? Oy vey.

      How is it that Jews and their goy allies get so many otherwise intelligent white folks to fall for obvious scams and lies??

  4. Re: “A Fourth Turning”

    The idea of a ‘Fourth Turning’ is a whitewash of reality, of history. Similar to Desmet’s book on “mass formation” and many other works that the majority of “awake” individuals of the “alternative media” have been thoughtlessly jumping on and spreading. No wonder the world is crazy…

    The misleading false idea/lie/fantasy these authors present is that the psychotic “negative developments” are just TEMPORARY crises or phases before humans return to a lasting state of non-craziness and normality. In addition, the author of the ‘Fourth Turning’ claims that near the end of the fourth turning sociopaths rule enslaving the public (=the problem is the criminal authorities, the public is a victim).

    ALL of these are of course welcoming narratives so they are and become popular, pandering to the masses’ love for fantasies about reality and reinforcing their lunacy. It’s why Desmet’s mass formation propaganda became very popular among the “awake” non-mainstream media lunatics.

    The true human history, however, is a history of CHRONIC craziness going on for aeons with “civilized” people, and the true reality is that the psychopaths in power are just ONE part of the problem because there are TWO human pink elephants in the room … and they are MARRIED and NEITHER is innocent — read “The 2 Married Pink Elephants In The Historical Room –The Holocaustal Covid-19 Coronavirus Madness: A Sociological Perspective & Historical Assessment Of The Covid “Phenomenon”” …. (or

    It’s why Hegel noted people have never learnt anything from history.

    The ruling criminals pulled off the Covid Scam globally via its WHO institution because almost all nations belong to it. Consider signing the declaration at to exit the WHO

    The official narrative is… “trust official science” and “trust the authorities” but as with all other “official narratives” …

    “We’ll know our Disinformation Program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” —William Casey, a former CIA director=a leading psychopathic criminal of the genocidal US regime

    • As I said above, maybe it will be remembered as nothing but historical astrology. Maybe not. We shall see soon enough. It was fun to read and think about.

  5. Brad’s obsession with the Boomers is interesting but wrong. Don’t let this inter-generational nonsense divert attention from the real source of our problems- Jewish Power and Influence. The rise and fulfillment of the Jewish takeover of White gentile nations is the source of everything that ails us. Keep your eyes on the target, and don’t be distracted by interesting theories. The Boomer meme was invented by Jared Taylor in 2016 to divert attention from the Jewish question- which to him is like a bucket of water to the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz. The solution is simple-disregard everything the Jews tell you, and don’t let them beguile you down any alternative path. The Boomers aren’t your enemy- but the Jews are.

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  1. Peter Turchin: Elites and the Path To Political Disintegration – Occidental Dissent
  2. Matt Walsh: Whites Are Trending Toward Extinction In the United States – Occidental Dissent

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