More on cycle theory. I have been wondering for some time if there would be a point where a crisis would be made clear, and the various fractions within our society would pull together to overcome that crisis. It would seem that this is necessary to overcome a crisis and pull into the next cycle. Going backwards, the depression and WWII seem to have forced a consensus on the population. But before that was the Civil War. No consensus. And before that the revolution. There was a consensus on the American side, but this was a civil war too, except that the yanks won that one.
But, perhaps it doesn't go that way. A recent T4T discussion focused on the idea that in fact, crises worsen the culture war splits. Because now these things matter a lot. What appears to be consensus may simply be historical hindisght. After all, there were those that didn't want the US involved in WW2. There were those fighting for the South and all it stood for. There were those that thought the US should stick with the crown. In hindsight the losers' side looks obviously wrong.
This puts even more weight on the question of what is going on now? There are a number of outstanding issues right now, that different factions think are threatening our well being. The terrorists hate us for our freedoms. The American Way Of Life is non-negotiable. Climate change and global warming are here and hitting faster than even the doomers thought. Peak Oil will knock the the resource structure out from underneath the west. The Empire is fighting wars abroad and can't afford the bread and circuses back home. The housing bust will start the next Great Depression.
Debt, resources, infrastructure decay, military/foreign policy do all seem to be pertinant issues. Whichever "hits" first or worst may be arbitrary, but could propel its 'proponents' into the winning position as it were. I mean: if oil declines and massive changes befall Americans, then the Peakers will clearly be the winners forty years from now. If, OTOH, something terrible goes wrong with terrorism, the middle east, or anything surrounding the "East vs. West" cluster of issues, then the Clash of Civilization ppl will be the clear winners.
Whatever turn out to be the structural problems we face, we may expect Grey Champions to arise in accordance with that set of problems.
This article Priest and Prophet shows an example of two different characters who would be such candidates. If we were to have an environmental Fourth Turning, these guys would be the kind of guys with the vision to lead us out of it.
** this does not mean I advocate or agree with anything either of them say necessarily - just the role visionary thinking would play in such a crisis**