This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Egypt's Mohamed Morsi cancels his decree, but not the referendum
- Will President Obama follow Morsi's example?
- North Korea says it may delay its long-range rocket launch
- Panic spreads as Mayan apocalypse date December 21 approaches
Egypt's Mohamed Morsi cancels his decree, but not the referendum
Mohamed Morsi addressing the nation on Thursday
Seeking to end the turmoil of the last few days on the streets of
Cairo, late on Saturday, Egypt's president Mohamed Morsi revoked the
controversial constitution decree of last month, giving himself
dictatorial powers. This was one of the two demands of the opposition
protesters. The other demand, which Morsi refused to meet, was that
the referendum on the ratification of the new draft constitution,
embodying Sharia law, be postponed past its currently scheduled
December 15 date. It will take a couple of days to see whether
opposition accepts this compromise, or rejects it as insufficient and
returns to the streets.
In the past few days, I've referred to the similar between President
Obama and President Morsi -- both of them "hope and change" candidates
who won on the basis of personality, and who then refused to
compromise in any way. Since Morsi has softened his own stubbornness
towards his opposition, perhaps this is a signal that Obama will do
Will President Obama follow Morsi's example?
However, as similar as the two presidents are, there is one big difference
between them from the point of view of generational theory. Morsi was
born in 1951 and is clearly in Egypt's Boomer generation. Obama
was born in 1961, and is clearly in Generation-X.
However, this requires some additional explanation. As many people
know, the standard definition of Gen-X starts them in birth year 1963
or 1964. But from the point of view of generational theory, what
matters is when a child is old enough to know what's going on, and is
able to adopt generational attitudes and behaviors, usually around
five years old. So in generational theory, the Boomers start from
birth year 1942, and the Gen-Xers start from birth year 1959. So
President Obama is definitely a Gen-Xer, as far as generational theory
But there's more to the story. Generation-X is in the "Nomad
archetype" in generational theory, so-called because generations in
this archetype feel disaffected and alienated from society. The
previous Nomad generation was called the Lost Generation, the soldiers
who fought in World War I, and then were "rewarded" with joblessness
and homelessness. The second generation following a crisis war is the
one most beset by crime, alcohol and other social problems.
An important sub-class of the Nomads are the "early Nomads," born
around 15 years after the end of the preceding generational crisis
war, the leading edge of the second generation after the crisis war.
What I've discovered about "early Nomads" is that they're the greatest
heroes and greatest villains in history. (Conspiracy theorists should
note that I first wrote about this in 2005, long before I knew
anything about Barack Obama.)
For example, in one of the most brutal terrorist crimes of the last
decade, hundreds of children were brutally murdered in a school in
Beslan, North Osettia, in Russia, in 2004. The mastermind was Shamil
Basayev, a Chechen terrorist who was an early Nomad. Other monsters
who were early Nomads (based on the generational timelines of their
respective countries) were Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
(leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq), Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Leon
But there were also many heroes who were "early Nomads," including
Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and Charles
de Gaulle. So early Nomads seem to occupy a special place in history,
whether for good or for ill.
So this brings us back to President Obama, who is an early Nomad.
Will he be a hero, a villain, or neither? That remains to be seen,
and may depend more on the course of events than anything else.
But the immediate question is whether Gen-Xer Obama is going to soften
his stubborn refusal to compromise in the way the Boomer Morsi did.
The signs aren't good. As we reported two days ago, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner,
representing president Barack Obama, quite openly said that the
president would rather send the country off the "fiscal cliff" than
compromise on taxes. This statement has been supported by a number of
Democrats who apparently are looking forward to sending the country
off the "fiscal cliff," because they believe that the Republicans will
be blamed for it.
This is the epitome of Gen-Xer nihilism, destructiveness and
It's worth noting that there are several definitions of Nihilism,
falling into two categories that we might describe, using the
terminology of bipolar disease, as the "depressive" category and the
"manic" category. The "depressive" category of Nihilism was the
original philosophical view that life was meaningless and empty, along
with the denial of real existence. There are variations of this that
question whether life exists or, perversely, whether anything BESIDES
But the definition of Nihilism that we're most interested in is the
It began in Russia in the 1860s as a "Nihilist Movement," reacting to
Russia's humiliating loss in the Crimean War in the 1850s. According
to this movement, existing social and political institutions must be
destroyed in order to clear the way for a new state of society.
Although the original movement ended, Nihilism in this form permeated
the Russian Revolution. Stalin and Trotsky destroyed every Russian
institution possible to bring about Communism as a form of
government, and led Russia into more than a decade of bloody civil
war. Adolf Hitler was so destructive that he's sometimes referred to
as a nihilist.
So, we don't know what kind of "early Nomad" president Obama will
finally turn out to be, but for now, it appears that he wants to send
America off the "fiscal cliff" in order to save America -- the epitome
of Gen-X nihilism. It will be a very pleasant surprise if he
compromises after all. Al-Ahram (Cairo)
North Korea says it may delay its long-range rocket launch
North Korea had planned to launch a long-range rocket between December 10-22,
but they're now saying that they may delay the launch. According to
the (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA):
"Our scientists and technicians are now seriously
examining the issue of readjusting the launching time of the
satellite for some reasons."
but the report didn't state what those reasons are. The attempt last
April to launch such a rocket ended in a humiliating failure, where
the rocket exploded shortly after launch, and the North Koreans
presumably don't want to risk something similar happening again. In
the meantime, the Japanese military has been ordered to shoot down the
missile if its flight path is at all threatening to Japanese
territory. Yonhap (Seoul) and VOA
Panic spreads as Mayan apocalypse date December 21 approaches
December 21 is the day predicted centuries ago by the Mayan calendar
for the apocalypse that will end the world, and panic is spreading
among believers. Panic buying of candles and essentials has been
reported in China and Russia, and there's been an explosion in sales
of survival shelters in America. Russia's prime minister Dmitry
Medvedev commented on the Mayan prediction:
"I don't believe in the end of the world. At least,
not this year."
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