Day 1152 and Sunsetting The Boomers

The Fourth Turning has become something like accepted elite discourse canon for generational analysis and grand theories of history.

William Strauss and Neil Howe’s theory is probably familiar to you but I’ll cite it for my own edification.

The Strauss–Howe generational theory, devised by William Strauss and Neil Howe, describes a theorized recurring generationcycle in American history and Western history. According to the theory, historical events are associated with recurring generational personas (archetypes). Each generational persona unleashes a new era (called a turning) lasting around 20–25 years, in which a new social, political, and economic climate (mood) exists.

Neil Howe Generational Theory

I go in for this “generational horoscope” theory. But I go in for lots of other “deterministic and unfalsifiable” things too so weight that in your assessment. I’m a woman who has a deep respect for woo even though I do generally consider myself a rationalist. And like all rationalists I’m hypocritically predisposed to biasing own qualia. Nevertheless I believe the hard laws are physics not culture.

So it was with interest that I was this theory of elder millenials cross my feed. The oldest of the last generation to live without the internet may prove a further data point for The Fourth Turning fans.

My guess is that the most interesting political figures of the next 20 years will come from this cohort— 1981-1987.
-not digitally native, but digitally fluent.
-came of age during or just after September 11th.
-Started adulthood just before or during the Great Recession.
-the final bridge to the 20th century, but young enough to be grounded in the 21st.Katherine Boyle of a16z on Twitter

American dynamism is a patriotic posture of older Silicon Valley culture. And this group of proudly rationalist and engineering minded types is extremely frustrated with being made the enemy by the government. Obama era technocracy represented what looks like a detente between the Boomers and the millennials.

If we are in the middle of a generational changeover between Boomers and millennials it would seem as if the elder children might inherent. But you don’t see a lot of folks who remember a world before the internet. I think there is something in this narrative that will prove important as the moods shift.