Our Fourth Turning President : The resurfacing of Obama's idea of a civilian national security force - duly noted by blogger at "Doug Ross @ Journal" blog - is something I have been watching keenly for. That it is making its subtle reappearance in Obama's discourse now, reveals the seriousness with which he takes the whole issue. It had not been forgotten or shelved, but only temporarily abated. His Youth Corps as well is something I have been contemplating in many ways, and interpreting as a fourth turning phenomenum , as defined by historians Howe and Strauss.
That there would be a "pre-war" feeling and tone to this ascension is to be expected. FDR and his Civilian Conservation Corps fused with 21 st century globalism: A formidable mix, one capable of much good and only to a lesser degree, ill. . Barack Obama is in accord with the time and riding the change he spoke of. One is very wrong to presuppose that Obama is a 90s-style Democrat, or a throwback to a '70s one. In many important senses, he is the antithesis of a Clinton; even more so, a Carter.
He is the Democrat of the historical apex, and his style will be a decided, even a radical, break with all that has come before. This seeming antagonist of conservatism, this agent of liberal change; he with the sparkle in his eye and the lilt in his voice, and the determination in his stride, has many features which are far from liberal. At least not in the 1990s glitzy and laissez faire meaning of the term. Conservative scholars like Gertrude Himmelfarb and Patrick Buchannan could scarcely have hoped for more; least of all from a Democrat. What was mere talk from W Bush is becoming earnest in Barack Obama: A framework and an underpinning are already in place, like the foundation of a house, built under the guise of Homeland Security. Note, too, that the expanded Presidential powers enacted under W Bush did him very little good, but may have set the stage for the breadth and scope of an Obama undertaking.
It would be one more mistake to expect this uniformity to flare up all at once; surely it will build under some smokescreen. But come it will. Later to gather force and speed, it now rolls and builds like the onset of a silent , creeping fog. The aforementioned blogger took due note of the fact that overseas deployment, first used in the Clinton directive regarding the civilian security , issued in the early '90s, had vanished from the 2009 directive. Didn't Howe and Strauss prophesy of civic resurgence? Didn't they predict a cultural cleansing? And looking to our inner cities and our suburban schools and the splintered chaos of a million cable channels , one wonders if this is perhaps not long overdue. . .
The fact of the matter is, a culture as individualized and fractured, and riddled with competing and conflicted identity and grievance groups and trivia and economic disparity as ours, stands in need of a good dose of uniformity and unity in service. Anyone who recalls our great American philosopher of pragmatism, William James, and his piece, The Moral Equivalent of War, should see how clear, how palpable, is our need of such.
when the blast. . . blows in our ears , then imitate the action of the tiger,
stiffen the sinews, disguise fair nature with hard favored rage. . We few,
chosen few, the Band of Brothers . . . from now until the end of the world,
we and it shall be remembered. . .