Sally Fourth

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The Fourth Turning is part of the required reading here on Slope, and it is featured on my Recommended Books page.

I have read and highlighted the book many times, and I’ve written about it on Slope on a few occasions. I have to trot it out once more, however, since I was surprised at yet another prophecy. As a recap, here is how the important Chapter 10 begins, and keep in mind, this book was published in 1997. Before Covid. Before Trump. Before 9-11. Hell, back then, Zuckerberg was a pimply 13 year old kit. So a lot has happened since then:


Of course, the “spark” they mentioned was, in my opinion, the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Incidentally, I find it rather remarkable that they toss out the offhanded “….trivial as a Tea Party” remark when, in fact, just such a political movement would take place starting in early 2009.

On the very next page, they start to hypothesize about some events which might take place during the Fourth Turning, which they believed that the time would be roughly from 2005 to 2025 or so. Let’s look:


What’s astonishing is that they offer up these conjectures very sheepishly and even declare that “obviously” none of these things would actually happen, but they were merely offering some some ideas about the character of potential “sparks” and not actually predicting anything specific.

Yet what’s remarkable is how accurate these were. The first bullet point refers to a global terrorist group blowing up an airliner. I’d say the use of multiple airliners to blow things up 9/11 by the global terrorist group Al Qaeda is pretty damned close to that. The second bullet point refers to the shutdown of the federal government due to budget and debt quarrels. Well, we have:

It was the third bullet point that prompted me to create this post: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announce the spread of a new communicable virus. The disease reaches densely populated areas, killing some. Congress enacts mandatory quarantine measures.” Ummm, ring any bells?

The book goes on to offer some ideas about what’s coming.


Personally, I think the disasters-to-come are waiting in the wings, and that countless trillions that have been used to plaster over reality have worked so far, but when it stops working, Holy Lord. The words “horrific panic” in the excerpt above capture the zeitgeist of the future quite nicely.