Thus might the next Fourth Turning end in apocalypse—or glory. The nation could be ruined, its democracy destroyed, and millions of people scattered or killed. Or America could enter a new golden age, triumphantly applying shared values to improve the human condition.
Political and economic trust will implode. Real hardship will beset the land, with severe distress that could involve questions of class, race, nation, and empire. Yet this time of trouble will bring seeds of social rebirth.
The very survival of the nation will feel at stake. Sometime before the year 2025, America will pass through a great gate in history, commensurate with the American Revolution, Civil War, and twin emergencies of the Great Depression and World War II.
—The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy, Strauss & Howe
The argument that America has entered into the turbulent 4th turning presented by Strauss and Howe is substantively bolstered by observation. It is hard not to recognize the current domestic and world environment in the predictions they made back in 1997. If America and our civilization only faced the difficult transitional issues that seem to accompany similar generational evolutions in our history some trepidation about the next few years would certainly be justified. However, combined with other serious trends that are independent of the processes described by the recurring four generationally driven phases described in the Fourth turning, some trepidation is an understatement.
The greatest threat to all of us on this planet is a cycle that humankind has absolutely no control over; the Eddy Minimum our planet has already entered and the very high probability that the Holocene interglacial era is over. We are entering a grand cycle that, unfortunately, humanity has not experienced in over 11,500 years.