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Slouching Toward the Climax

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Soon thereafter, this great gate is sealed by the Crisis resolution, when victors are rewarded and enemies punished; when empires or nations are forged or destroyed; when treaties are signed and boundaries redrawn; and when peace is accepted, troops repatriated, and life begun anew. One large chapter of history ends, and another starts.

In a very real sense, one society dies— and another is born.

—*The Fourth Turning*

Blogger’s interpretation of The Fourth Turning generations

This post should be fun because it involves games.

You’ve probably heard of the game called Chicken. And maybe you’ve heard of the Prisoner’s Dilemma. Just in case you don’t know these games, I’ll give you quick overview.

Chicken

Two rivals get into cars at opposite ends of a long straightaway. On a signal, they accelerate toward each other. The winner is the one who doesn’t chicken out by swerving out of the path of the other car. If neither player chickens out, it’s a draw.

Prisoner’s Dilemma

Two people are arrested for a crime. Call these suspects A and B. Police separate them into different interview rooms where they have no way to communicate with each other. A detective tells A that if he cooperates and confesses, the DA will recommend a short prison sentence of 1 year. If he doesn’t cooperate and is found guilty, he’s looking at 20 years. Oh, and by the way, B already confessed to his minor role and implicated A as the mastermind.

A must decide whether to cooperate or keep his mouth shut. If he cooperates, he’ll get 1 year. If he keeps his mouth shut and the detective lied about B’s confession, both men could walk. But if B really confessed and A doesn’t cooperate, A will be in prison until he’s old.

Meet Ben Hunt, PhD

Ben Hunt is that genius financial planner I quote often. Dr. Hunt is no fan of Donald Trump, but his latest blog post illustrates our present situation rather well. He points out in his latest post that in normal times, life is a series of repeated cooperative games like Prisoner’s Dilemma. But now we’re playing repeated games of Chicken.

That first bit — the nature of repeated-play competitive games — is a mouthful. All it really means, though, is that our real-life social interactions, whether in politics or markets or everyday life with our family and friends, are never a single, solitary game. We play the same core game over and over and over, each single interaction setting the stage for the next, and what we really should be concerned about is the overall pattern of the entire set of interactions. That’s real life, as opposed to some 2×2 matrix of Cooperate/Defect like you’d see in a game theory textbook.

In Hunt’s view, Trump has transformed America’s repeated game—from a cooperation game to competitive game. Chicken is winner-take-all.

Trump, on the other hand … I think he breaks us. Maybe he already has. He breaks us because he transforms every game we play as a country — from our domestic social games to our international security games — from a Coordination Game to a Competition Game.

And Dr. Hunt points out that’s a bad thing:

Well … first off I’m going to suggest that we should all prepare for impact. The evolution of competition and the success of “mean” strategies in games like Chicken is at least as robust as the evolution of cooperation and the success of “nice” strategies in games like Prisoner’s Dilemma. Once you introduce, say, mustard gas into the trench warfare game, it doesn’t just un-introduce itself on its own. These bells are really hard to un-ring, and it typically takes a lot of car crashes on both sides before you get a peace treaty and a chance to rebuild a cooperative game structure. That’s at least four mixed metaphors, but you get what I mean. And unfortunately, all of these metaphors apply just as aptly to a social structure of family and friends as to a social structure of a political party or an entire nation. The evolution of competition is a powerfully contagious virus, and it hops easily from a big tribe like a nation to a small tribe like a family.

So, the question is: Is Dr. Hunt right?

Good Diagnosis, Erroneous Causality

If you’ve read my previous posts in the #PeopleWantYouDead series, you know that I agree with Dr. Hunt’s diagnosis of the American condition. We are playing repeated competitive games of Chicken. On that, he’s absolutely right.

I also agree that Donald Trump is a master of the game of Chicken.

But I strongly disagree with Hunt on a key point: Donald Trump is a symptom of the competitive game, not the cause.

Long before Trump decided to run for President, we abandoned, as a nation, those coordination games for competitive games. I’m not smart enough to give you the exact cause or the exact date, but we in the center-right were still playing Prisoner’s Dilemma and getting our asses kicked by the side playing Chicken. I knew the game had changed when SEIU thugs beat up Ken Gladney at a town hall in 2009. I knew the game had changed when President Obama talked about our stupidity for bringing a knife to a gunfight. I knew the game had changed when the president of the AFL-CIO told his members to punch us.

Dr. Hunt probably wasn’t paying much attention to our little Tea Party movement back then. His Epsilon Theory blog wasn’t around at the time. Or maybe politics wasn’t his thing then. He is an economist, after all, not a political scientist. I don’t expect him to pay attention to obscure political events—events made more obscure by a national press that ignores events that are potentially damaging to the American left.

Had he been in the trenches with us in 2009, he would probably agree that the game changed long before Trump. He might also agree that someone else changed it. He might conclude that the game was changed by the same people who exercised the “nuclear option” in the US Senate. And I know Dr. Hunt agrees that it’s important for us to know which kind of game the other side is playing. He said so:

the most important thing in that interaction is to figure out the meaning of cooperation for yourself and whoever you’re dealing with. Otherwise you’re going to find yourself playing a different game from the other person, and that never ends well. This is a tough piece of advice to follow (myself included!) because we assume that whatever our “identity weighting” might be for a given issue, the person or group we’re interacting with attaches that same meaning.

Dr. Hunt also points out an important aspect of competitive games like Chicken. In Chicken, the player who swerves is a coward and he’s scorned or ostracized by his tribe. In Prisoner’s Dilemma, it’s different:

If you cooperate in a game of Chicken — i.e., you’re driving your tractor straight on at Kevin Bacon’s pick-up truck and you veer off from the looming crash, or you and James Dean are racing towards a cliff and you put on your brakes first — you are the LOSER. You are the COWARD. That becomes your identity and your reputation, which means that others will now treat you like a loser and a coward in the games that they play with you in the future. Compare that to the meaning of cooperation in a game of Prisoner’s Dilemma, where cooperation — i.e., you refuse to rat out your partner and cut a deal for yourself at his expense — means that you are STRONG and LOYAL. The words and the examples used to illustrate bloodless, mathematical game theoretic matrices are not accidental! If we believe that our identity is at risk in a repeated-play competitive game, we behave very differently than if it’s not. More to the point, we should behave differently if our identity is at stake. It’s the rational thing to do.

So I am confident that Dr. Hunt would agree that we on the right should be playing Chicken because the left most certainly is. Plus, the left has been playing Chicken for years. It took us longer to recognize that the nature of the game had changed. Which means we’ve already lost a few rounds. Worse, many on the right—Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Jonah Goldberg, Bill Kristol, etc.—they’re still stuck playing Prisoner’s Dilemma. They still think cooperation is a sign of strength and loyalty. That’s why the Tea Party went after them so hard and continues to. Their reputations are as cowards and losers.

We Chose Trump

When we recognized that the game had changed and that our Republican leaders refused to recognize this shift, we looked around for someone with clearer vision. And along came Trump.

Donald Trump might have always been a Chicken-player, but we didn’t need one when the other side was playing a coordination game. Once the left dropped coordination for a competitive death match, he had to change our game or die.

You might even conclude that Hillary Clinton failed to inspire the left because she, like Ryan and McConnell, is a Prisoner’s Dilemma politician, too. The left changed the game and she ignored the shift. She was wrong for the time, even for Democrats.

Where To Next?

All of this fits the Fourth Turning prophesy. In the 1770s, the Crown changed the game from coordination to competition and the colonists responded by declaring our independence. In 1861, the South changed the game by seceding from the union and attacking Fort Sumter which triggered the North’s response and the bloodiest war in US history. In the 1930s, Hitler changed the game from coordination to competition, and, after Neville Chamberlain gave away a chunk of Europe in a desperate attempt to keep the coordination game alive, the Allies recognized the new game and put down the tyrant.

So here we are in the fourth turning of the fourth cycle of American history. The previous three cycles ended in total war, and two of the three were fought primarily on our soil. These cycle-ending wars are brutal and rare, occurring once about every 80 years, at the end of the fourth turning.

Not many people recognize these historical cycles. Most people see history as a straight line. Most people expect the future to be a linear progression of the recent past. But that linear view fails the test again and again. No one expected British colonists to break away from the crown. No one expected the South to sever ties with the United States. No one expected Germany to take over Europe and Africa. No one even saw the Great Depression coming.

No one, I should say, saw those climaxes coming except those few of us who see history as a circle instead of a line.

Our Fourth Turning Strategist

In a previous post, I mentioned that I had no idea whether Donald Trump knows about The Fourth Turning. I’ve since learned that he does. Bigly.

In the White House, sitting at the right hand of President Trump, is Steve Bannon. You know him as the Honey Badger who took Breitbart.com to a new level after Andrew’s early death. You might not know that Mr. Bannon is at least as impressed with the Fourth Turning view of history as I am. Chances are, Mr. Bannon’s views are similar to mine in many ways: the nature of the game we’re playing, the left’s commitment to our death or enslavement, and the need to understand the real threat this domestic enemy poses.

Mr. Bannon likely agrees with me that our growing understanding of his cyclical history gives us a chance—but only a chance—at avoiding the kind of bloodshed that ended the previous three cycles. We both know that pretending the other side wants to coordinate with us is the surest way to end up in a full-scale civil war. It’s why we both supported Donald Trump. It’s why we warn our friends of the diabolical nature of today’s political left. It’s why we prepare for the worst-case scenario, because preparing for that horror is the best way to avoid it.

As Howe and Strauss wrote in 1997, a society will die and a new one will be born. Either our side will give birth to that new society, or their’s will. This is no time for coordination except among ourselves. But there’s good news.

The Gray Champion is coming if we earn his return. And we’ll explore what it means to Earn It in a future post.

The Resistance: Defined

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The leftists who want you and me to die (at their hands?) call themselves The Resistance.

Okay. Let’s call them that.

Author Steven Pressfield wrote a book about defeating The Resistance. It’s called The War of Art, and it’s an awesome, wonderful book.

Overcoming and defeating The Resistance, Pressfield tells us, is the key to living the good life. I agree, even if I don’t agree on some of his enemies. The Resistance must be defeated. On that, we definitely agree completely.

The Resistance hates virtuous actions. Here are the virtues that Pressfield says conjure up The Resistance in all its diabolical powers. These are the things The Resistance hates:

1) The pursuit of any calling in writing, painting, music, film, dance, or any creative art, however marginal or unconventional.

2) The launching of any entrepreneurial venture or enterprise, for profit or otherwise.

3) Any diet or health regimen.

4) Any program of spiritual advancement.

5) Any activity whose aim is tighter abdominals.

6) Any course or program designed to overcome an unwholesome habit or addiction.

7) Education of every kind.

8) Any act of political, moral, or ethical courage, including the decision to change for the better some unworthy pattern of thought or conduct in ourselves.

9) The undertaking of any enterprise or endeavor whose aim is to help others.

10) Any act that entails commitment of the heart. The decision to get married, to have a child, to weather a rocky patch in a relationship.

11) The taking of any principled stand in the face of adversity. In other words, any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health, or integrity. Or, expressed another way, any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower. Any of these will elicit Resistance.

Oh, Mr. Pressfield, you know The Resistance so well. So well.

The book then lists The Resistance’s nature:

  • Invisible
  • Internal
  • Insidious
  • Implacable
  • Impersonal
  • Infallible
  • Universal
  • Never Sleeps
  • Plays for Keeps
  • Fueled by Fear
  • Only Opposes in One Direction (this short topic alone makes the book worth buying or borrowing)
  • Is Most Powerful at the Finish Line (like the Boston Marathon Bombers)
  • Recruits Allies

Finally, (well, not finally for the book, but finally for this post), Pressfield reminds us that The Resistance can be beaten:

If Resistance couldn’t be beaten, there would be no Fifth Symphony, no Romeo and Juliet, no Golden Gate Bridge. Defeating Resistance is like giving birth. It seems absolutely impossible until you remember that women have been pulling it off successfully, with support and without, for fifty million years.

Yesterday, you heard about the climax of the Fourth Turning. You were teased about the Gray Champion. You might have heard Senator Marco Rubio concurring with my grim conclusion on all this. Soon, you’ll meet the Gray Champion and understand why I’m so certain that The Fourth Turning‘s prophecy is coming true before our very eyes.

Confirmed: Coup Attempt Is Under Way In America

Reading Time: 2 minutes

You might have thought I was paranoid for wondering if some people in the CIA and the Deep State are plotting a coup to overturn our recent election.

The Wall Street Journal seems to agree with my conclusion: a coup attempt is going on in America. Rogue actors within the CIA, all of the major leftist media (New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS), and probably major defense contractors seem to be involved, though the Wall Street Journal stops short of accusing advertisers. That’s understandable.

You’re probably thinking about the word “coup” yourself a lot. You’ll probably hear “coup” on the news in the coming days. And you’ll hear about more threats to Electors who plan to vote for Donald Trump on December 19. You will want to remember these words from the Wall Street Journal’s editors:

Only a few weeks ago Hillary Clinton’s campaign was denouncing Donald Trump as un-American for saying the election might be “rigged.” We criticized Mr. Trump at the time. But now that Mrs. Clinton has lost, her campaign is claiming the election really was rigged, albeit for Mr. Trump by Russian meddling, and it wants the Electoral College to stage what amounts to a coup.

That’s the only way to interpret the extraordinary statement Monday by Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta endorsing a special intelligence briefing for electors a week before they cast their ballots for President on Dec. 19. He released the statement hours after 10 members of the Electoral College sent a letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper seeking information on foreign interference in the election to judge if Mr. Trump “is fit to serve.” One of those electors is House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s daughter.

Remember, I was way in front of the WSJ on this coup business. First, Is the CIA Plotting a Coup? UPDATE FBI Disputes CIA Allegation – VIDEOS.

Then, yesterday, I pondered Why Trump Might Never Become President.

I admit that my posts sounded a little paranoid. But it turns out I’m not alone. The staid Wall Street Journal now uses the “coup” word to describe what’s going on in this country. Here’s more from Wall Street Journal:

What should really distress Americans is that the losers are trying to overturn the election results based on little more than anonymous leaks and innuendo. Whatever Russia’s hacking motives, there is no evidence that the emails it turned up were decisive to the election result. Mr. Podesta is citing a CIA judgment that Americans have never seen and whose findings are vaguely public only because one or more unidentified officials chose to relate them to a few reporters last week.

If you find yourself feeling scared or angry, you know why now. This is a serious coup attempt by the left wing and the Deep State to overturn a US election. Wars have been fought over less.

The Wall Street Journal concludes that the Democrats and the press probably know their Electoral College coup will fail. Maybe the left’s motive is only to make the Unites States ungovernable, to throw the country into violent chaos. Would that be any nobler a goal? Seeking chaos is a kind of evil, is it not?

What will those Democrats try next? Nothing lies beneath them.

Why Trump Might Never Become President

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Call me paranoid, but it seems Donald Trump’s chances of taking the oath of office for President are diminishing every day.

You might find yourself wondering why the CIA would plot a coup against Trump and his supporters. If you haven’t wondered about a CIA coup, you should. Focus your awareness for a moment on what Trump means to the people of the Deep State.

The Deep State involves those people and institutions that have insulated themselves from the consequences of elections. I’m not sure the CIA is actually part of the Deep State, but career intelligence people hang around with Deep State actors. Big banks, military systems producers, George Soros, and Warren Buffett are Deep State actors. So are Lockheed-Martin and Boeing. Rather than some wild theory, Deep State actors simply work to insulate themselves from risk. Political elections represent a risk to many, but not to them.

[For more on the Deep State vs. Donald Trump, see Breitbart.]

At least, not usually. Donald Trump’s election is different. Donald Trump and the people who support him threaten the Deep State. The only way I can think to explain the threat Trump represents to the Deep State is the ancient Roman gladiators.

Gladiators fought for their lives in circuses. Romans considered this entertainment. Like football. The game was a life-or-death struggle against other gladiators or against wild animals.

The Romans who attended these spectacles probably bet on the outcome of the matches. Some of these bets were huge, but the bettors had complete control of their own wagering. No matter what the gladiators did on the field, the betting games went on. (You can bet the mainstream media of the day reported on the bets, not the outcome of the deathmatches. The lives of the gladiators didn’t matter. Only the lives of the bettors.)

Think of the gladiators as Trump supporters. The big bettors at the Colosseum are Deep State actors. The bettors treated the gladiators like toys. Roman soldiers forced the gladiators into the pits. The Romans created a myth for slaves: being a gladiator was something to aspire to. Many slaves believed the myth and strove to become gladiators. To amuse the Romans. And toward the end of the Empire, the myths grew to attract free men and free women (yes, there were female gladiators) who signed contracts to fight. Gladiators even became sex symbols, reinforcing the myths.

Imagine how Rome’s Deep State would have reacted to a Roman who exposed the gladiatorial myth? What if a Roman spoke directly to the slaves and the free gladiators, in the language they understood, and told them, “you’re killing yourselves for no reason. You have a right to live your own life.” Imagine how swiftly and brutally the Caesar would  have smitten that blasphemer!

And what is Trump?

Trump is a guy who aroused the modern gladiators and slaves, working men and women who’ve lived as slaves and gladiators for the Deep State’s amusement. Intentionally or not, Trump has opened many eyes to the obvious fact that most Americans live a slave’s life: slave to the Deep State actors. We voted for Trump because we were sick of being slaves.

And the Deep State won’t stand for that. The Romans wouldn’t let their slaves abandon the gladiator fights. The Romans wouldn’t free slaves to pursue their own lives.

In a desperate and frightening show of shadowy force, the CIA, and big media have conjured up an excuse to deny Trump the White House. Their weapon is a fake news story, first in the Washington Post, then the New York Times, now . . . everywhere. The story, the narrative, goes like this: The CIA has proof that Russia manipulated the US election to put Trump into power.

It’s a complete lie, of course, but complete lies are more believable than little lies. And it seems to be working.

The manipulation of the Electoral College is going smoothly. Democrat electors are demanding an intel brief by the CIA. John McCain and Lindsay Graham (spelling intentional) have called for investigations. The White House is now saying, flat out, that Russia stole the election for Trump.

Right now, America’s slaves and gladiators are in a fight we didn’t expect. That means the Deep State got the drop on us. But there are more of us than there are of them. The Deep State has to ask itself this: are the slaves and gladiators a greater threat with or without Trump as their leader? (The Deep State has been attacking Michael Flynn for more than a year.)

With Trump in office, we have hope and patience. If the Deep State steals the election, we are free to do what must be done.

The Deep State has been exposed. It will unwind, one way or the other. The Trump way looks pretty safe and controlled. The other way looks like hell on earth.

P.S. Nothing in this post should be interpreted as a threat or as a call for violence. These are simply my observations of the situation and my expectation of reactions should various scenarios unfold. But you can’t say you weren’t warned.

Is the CIA Plotting a Coup? *UPDATE* FBI Disputes CIA Allegation – VIDEOS

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Many powerful interests around the world loathe Donald Trump and the people who elected him. There’s no disputing that.

One of those powerful interests is the Central Intelligence Agency. One of the CIA’s own, Evan McMullin, attempted to disrupt the election. Like Bay of Pigs and Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, that CIA plot failed. Even George Will admits the CIA makes some horrible, deadly mistakes. And sometimes those mistakes come from seeing the results they want to see, not the results presented.

Now, the CIA has leaked parts of an alleged, unverified assessment. The Washington Post and New York Times have concluded, based on leaked passages combined with their own imagination of what might be, that the Russian government interfered with the 2016 US election. RNC chairman Reince Priebus calls the story “insane.”

I know former CIA employees who are intelligent, patriotic Americans. I also know that the CIA is a political organization that operates at the pleasure of the President of the United States. You know that the Obama administration used the FBI to advance, not just justice and safety, but the interests of Obama’s political party. You  can imagine how Obama has corrupted the CIA.

You also know that many Republicans make their livings from perpetual war. John McCain and Lindsay Graham are just two such Republicans. War is their first love.

You’ve probably heard that military officers hate war. They hate sending their friends and colleagues off to die. They hate writing letters to grieving widows and parents, “your son served his country with honor and distinction. A grateful nation thanks you for your loss.” No one wants to write those letters. You would hate it. By appointing a few military generals to his cabinet, Mr. Trump has frightened the American war lovers. They see generals as a threat to perpetual war and to all the money perpetual war earns for them.

Donald Trump poses a serious threat to the war machine built and oiled by McCain, Graham, and the CIA. They all profit from war. And they want more of it.

To be fair, it’s possible that McCain and Graham believe now is the best time for an all-out war against Russia. Russia has been getting stronger while America has been getting weaker. It’s as if the US has transferred its military might to the Russians. If McCain and Graham truly believe Russia is building toward a war of conquest against the US, then they probably believe now is our last chance to fight them on something like a level field. So maybe they want war for good reasons in their heads. But they want war with Russia as surely as they want a big fat campaign contribution from Boeing.

The current spasm about the Russia supposedly hacking the US election looks like a pure political hit job. It looks like a coup attempt. It was probably developed in the Oval Office and leaked by an Obama appointee in the CIA. And it looks more sinister than merely an attempt to weaken Trump. It’s an attempt to overthrow the election and put Trump’s supporters in their place. Maybe I’m being paranoid. Maybe not. Either way, pay close attention to the actual facts of this story. Question everything you hear. Especially if the source is the CIA.

UPDATE The FBI disputes the CIA’s conclusion, indicating CIA’s “leak” was politically motivated. (Filed under “I told you so.”) Here’s more on the FBI/CIA dispute from Chicago Tribune.

MORE Gateway Pundit reports a UK diplomat refutes the CIA’s propaganda. The diplomat met with the Wikileaks source. The source is a DNC insider in the USA, not Russian.

UPDATE 2 John Bolton raises possibility of CIA “false flag” operation. Bolton told TheHill.com:

“It is not at all clear to me, just viewing this from the outside, that this hacking into the DNC and the RNC was not a false flag operation,” he told Fox News’ Eric Shawn on Sunday.

When pressed about his use of the phrase “false flag” and whether he was accusing an entity in the U.S. of involvement, Bolton said, “We just don’t know.”

“But I believe that intelligence has been politicized in the Obama administration to a very significant degree.”

Finally, meet the CIA agent who broke the Russian election hack: Colonel Flagg.

In action:

And finally: