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 ofCairo, late on Saturday, Egypt’s president Mohamed Morsi revoked thecontroversial constitution decree of last month, giving himselfdictatorial powers. This was one of the two demands of the oppositionprotesters. The other demand, which Morsi refused to meet, was thatthe referendum on the ratification of the new draft constitution,embodying Sharia law, be postponed past its currently scheduledDecember 15 date. It will take a couple of days to see whetheropposition accepts this compromise, or rejects it as insufficient andreturns to the streets.
In the past few days, I’ve referred to the similar between PresidentObama and President Morsi — both of them “hope and change” candidateswho won on the basis of personality, and who then refused tocompromise in any way. Since Morsi has softened his own stubbornnesstowards his opposition, perhaps this is a signal that Obama will dothe same.
Will President Obama follow Morsi’s example?
However, as similar as the two presidents are, there is one big differencebetween them from the point of view of generational theory. Morsi wasborn in 1951 and is clearly in Egypt’s Boomer generation. Obamawas born in 1961, and is clearly in Generation-X.
However, this requires some additional explanation. As many peopleknow, the standard definition of Gen-X starts them in birth year 1963or 1964. But from the point of view of generational theory, whatmatters is when a child is old enough to know what’s going on, and isable to adopt generational attitudes and behaviors, usually aroundfive years old. So in generational theory, the Boomers start frombirth year 1942, and the Gen-Xers start from birth year 1959. SoPresident Obama is definitely a Gen-Xer, as far as generational theoryis concerned.
But there’s more to the story. Generation-X is in the “Nomadarchetype” in generational theory, so-called because generations inthis archetype feel disaffected and alienated from society. Theprevious Nomad generation was called the Lost Generation, the soldierswho fought in World War I, and then were “rewarded” with joblessnessand homelessness. The second generation following a crisis war is theone most beset by crime, alcohol and other social problems.
An important sub-class of the Nomads are the “early Nomads,” bornaround 15 years after the end of the preceding generational crisiswar, the leading edge of the second generation after the crisis war.What I’ve discovered about “early Nomads” is that they’re the greatestheroes and greatest villains in history. (Conspiracy theorists shouldnote that I first wrote about this in 2005, long before I knewanything about Barack Obama.)
For example, in one of the most brutal terrorist crimes of the lastdecade, hundreds of children were brutally murdered in a school inBeslan, North Osettia, in Russia, in 2004. The mastermind was ShamilBasayev, a Chechen terrorist who was an early Nomad. Other monsterswho were early Nomads (based on the generational timelines of theirrespective countries) were Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi(leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq), Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, LeonTrotsky.
But there were also many heroes who were “early Nomads,” includingAbraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and Charlesde 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 softenhis 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 thepresident would rather send the country off the “fiscal cliff” thancompromise on taxes. This statement has been supported by a number ofDemocrats who apparently are looking forward to sending the countryoff the “fiscal cliff,” because they believe that the Republicans willbe blamed for it.
This is the epitome of Gen-Xer nihilism, destructiveness andself-destructiveness.
It’s worth noting that there are several definitions of Nihilism,falling into two categories that we might describe, using theterminology of bipolar disease, as the “depressive” category and theoriginal philosophical view that life was meaningless and empty, alongwith the denial of real existence. There are variations of this thatquestion whether life exists or, perversely, whether anything BESIDESlife exists.
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 toRussia’s humiliating loss in the Crimean War in the 1850s. Accordingto this movement, existing social and political institutions must bedestroyed in order to clear the way for a new state of society.
Although the original movement ended, Nihilism in this form permeatedthe Russian Revolution. Stalin and Trotsky destroyed every Russianinstitution possible to bring about Communism as a form ofgovernment, and led Russia into more than a decade of bloody civilwar. Adolf Hitler was so destructive that he’s sometimes referred toas a nihilist.
So, we don’t know what kind of “early Nomad” president Obama willfinally turn out to be, but for now, it appears that he wants to sendAmerica off the “fiscal cliff” in order to save America — the epitomeof Gen-X nihilism. It will be a very pleasant surprise if hecompromises 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 tothe (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA):
“Our scientists and technicians are now seriouslyexamining the issue of readjusting the launching time of thesatellite for some reasons.”
but the report didn’t state what those reasons are. The attempt lastApril to launch such a rocket ended in a humiliating failure, wherethe rocket exploded shortly after launch, and the North Koreanspresumably don’t want to risk something similar happening again. Inthe meantime, the Japanese military has been ordered to shoot down themissile if its flight path is at all threatening to Japaneseterritory. Yonhap (Seoul) and VOA
Panic spreads as Mayan apocalypse date December 21 approaches
December 21 is the day predicted centuries ago by the Mayan calendarfor the apocalypse that will end the world, and panic is spreadingamong believers. Panic buying of candles and essentials has beenreported in China and Russia, and there’s been an explosion in salesof survival shelters in America. Russia’s prime minister DmitryMedvedev commented on the Mayan prediction:
“I don’t believe in the end of the world. At least,not this year.”