Free Thinking Through the Fourth Turning with Sasha Stone
Free Thinking Through the Fourth Turning with Sasha Stone
The Great Reset vs. The Great Uprising

The Great Reset vs. The Great Uprising

The Long Winter of Our Discontent

“I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccesful rebellions indeed generally establish the incroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions, as not to discourage them too much. It is a medecine necessary for the sound health of government.”
Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

The Great Uprising

I grew up as a child of the 1970s where I watched the rise and fall of the counterculture protest movements that included everything from Kent State to Patti Hearst, the bombing of the Capitol, the Black Panthers, Gloria Steinem, and eventually, the Manson murders would douse the flames and drive the silent majority far, far away from the Left. I also remember Nixon’s landslide win in 1972 and how hopeless that made everyone on the Left feel, like all of it had been for nothing.

I was just a kid going to the drive-in on the weekend and playing with my Barbies. What did I know. But I remember the hopelessness, the despair, the malaise. I remembered it enough to think there wasn’t any point to getting involved with politics or even voting at all. Now that Generation-Z has become activated I am left wondering if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

They are aligned with the Left, you see. And for them protests are a way of life. Not just online mobs ruthlessly persecuting thought criminals, but on the streets too, making demands, with no boundaries. They seem to have been raised that if they throw a fit they get what they want. That is the Devil’s bargain the Democrats made when they aligned with them in the Summer of 2020.

Political violence in the 1970s was largely to blame for Nixon’s landslide win, a catastrophic liability that ensured there wouldn’t be protests like that for decades. They scared the silent majority who opted for Nixon’s Law and Order regime.

Nixon’s resignation gave the Democrats one last chance at the presidency, only to be crushed by Jimmy Carter’s failure to thrive. It was so bad that Teddy Kennedy primaried him. Democrats wouldn’t hold the presidency again until 1992.

But by the year 2000, the pilot light of the protesters was lit again. The Bush v. Gore election woke up the Left. There were long laments that they hadn’t fought back hard enough, and Gore surrendered too soon. Anger was festering and simmering that just 500 or so votes had decided the election, not to mention the Supreme Court’s intervention.

Something else was happening, though, that had an even bigger impact: The internet.

Put enough people together, and they will eventually form tribes and fight wars. This would be true at the beginning with message boards and only got worse as millions of people were connected on social media for the first time in human history. The internet would amplify simmering unrest not here but globally over the next 20 years, intensifying like a gathering storm.

On the eve of the Millennium, it was clear the sleeping giant was wide awake. The internet had dramatically changed the game in terms of civil unrest.

By 2008, we were in a dark place as a country, with two wars in the Middle East and a financial meltdown that threatened to destroy massive banking institutions if the government didn’t step in, it was looking like another 1929. Obama was just about to win the election and was instrumental, along with George Bush, in bailing out the banks.

That decision did two things. It fractured the Left between populists and establishment liberals. One group lost all trust in the government. The other group was more loyal than ever. And it was defined by Neil Howe as the crisis that sparked the Fourth Turning.

Losing faith in institutions is one of the hallmarks of the Fourth Turning. It’s easy to look around now and see how many people distrust almost all the major institutions of power. Looking back at the early days of civil unrest is quaint compared to what would happen a decade later.

But the people did rise up in ways they hadn’t since the 1960s with Occupy Wall Street. The people vs. the government. It was just a taste of what was to come.

Occupy Wall Street would eventually be discredited and collapse. They were attacking the Obama administration, which gave them nowhere to go. They were angry and showing their anger, but they had no solutions, alternatives, or plans.

Meanwhile, the Tea Party formed on the Right as a grassroots populist movement protesting the Obama administration. They did have a plan. Vote them all out.

Neutralizing Occupy Wall Street was easy enough. They burned themselves out. But this new uprising on the Right presented a problem. What better way to neutralize them than to target them as “racists.”

When you think about how all of these events line up in history it’s easy to see how the clash between the MAGA movement and the Great Awokening would have what looked like a Civil War of sorts in the Summer of 2020.

Occupy Wall Street was crumbling in 2011. By 2012, Obama won re-election by amplifying charges of racism, that weren’t present in his first term. Right around this same time, with the rise of the Tea Party and the idea that half the country hated its first Black President, Critical Theory began spreading at colleges and public schools. Protests began on college campuses against racism.

Black Lives Matter was also on the rise in the middle of Obama’s second term. The uprisings in Michigan and Wisconsin were also happening to protest Conservative policy. The media praised them as unprecedented activism from the Left.

These two forces converged by 2015 with the rise of the Tea Party candidate, Donald Trump, who transformed the movement into MAGA.

Because they were seen as racists, the Left began violent attacks against Trump and his supporters. This was supported by the media and all of the same institutions that would eventually become the “resistance.”

The violent protests weren’t just against Trump supporters. Bernie Sanders supporters were rising up against Hillary in ways we hadn’t seen since 1968:

After Trump won, the uprisings became much bigger in terms of numbers, and government officials, corporations, and media supported them.

Clearly, much of our country didn’t accept Trump’s win, and the protests were being encouraged.

2017-The Women’s March 3.5-6 million
2018-Women’s March 1.5 million
2018-March for Our Lives 1-2 million
2020-George Floyd protests 26 million (amid a global pandemic that didn’t yet have a vaccine)

Once elected, Trump was at war with the Administrative State determined to make him a one-term president. Now we know for sure, thanks to Matt Taibbi’s extraordinary reporting, that Hamilton 68 was essentially an automatic softball pitching machine to direct the media to declare Twitter users Russian bots or trolls.

It was living, breathing “fake news,” just as Trump said it was.

The alignment of protesters and Democratic politicians continued and intensified by the Summer of 2020. The last thing they seemed to care about was public welfare, where the pandemic was concerned, public safety in cities like Kenosha or Portland, or the billions of dollars worth of destruction that destroyed the small businesses that were still standing after lockdowns

What none of us knew at the time, and couldn’t possibly imagine because we always assume our leaders have our best interests at heart, was that there was a coordinated effort to make sure the protests were ongoing and as bad as they could possibly be, not unlike what happened on January 6th, bookends of violence both blamed on Trump. Never let a crisis go to waste.

Mollie Ball in TIME magazine puts it this way:

Protecting the election would require an effort of unprecedented scale. As 2020 progressed, it stretched to Congress, Silicon Valley and the nation’s statehouses. It drew energy from the summer’s racial-justice protests, many of whose leaders were a key part of the liberal alliance.

The protests had to be ongoing. They had to be bad, and the media had only one way to cover them or else, as “fiery but mostly peaceful protests.”

The Summer of 2020 could be seen as a hot war that arose as part of the ongoing resistance against Trump. One of the big events the press barely covered was how the crowd eventually converged on the White House, banging on the fence, with teargas flying - the subtext was: our racist President drove us to this point and now you, America, you must do something about it.

I return to the Summer of 2020 because it is still, along with COVID, one of the biggest stories still untold in the mainstream. If the media doesn’t talk about it for much of this country it just didn’t happen. The problem is, people could see it with their own eyes, some in their own neighborhoods.

Like this:

And this:

And this:

It wasn’t just an alignment of power between major government institutions and corporations, not to mention the media. It was also a “devil’s bargain” with the hard Left.

Now we all know what our country became once Biden took power. Juries would be intimidated by mobs waiting outside the courtrooms, threatening once again to take to the streets and burn everything down if things did not go their way. People were fired on command. Speech was silenced. A blanket of fear covered everyone and everything.

When you put it all together, and you look at the protests even going back to the 1970s, and on through the 2000s, from Occupy to the Summer of 2020 - then you see that only one group has been targeted by our government, called terrorists and extremists, thrown in a DC jail and put in solitary, charged with “seditious conspiracy,” you begin to see the bigger picture.

This is why I defend the January 6th protesters. They were not unique in their frustration with and demands of our government to address their concerns. They were not unique in their violence, or their mobilization. They were just on the wrong side. Sabotaged by the FBI, targeted by the DOJ and demonized by the press, we appear to have all too easily and comfortably slipped into a kind of authoritarianism that runs counter to our country’s founding principles. Our government can no longer hear Jefferson’s message.

The Great Reset

We find ourselves at a major crossroads, a Fourth Turning, that could go either way. One road will be decided by the World Economic Forum, those fat cats who gather at DAVOS, and one road will be decided by the people.

Vivek Ramaswamy understands that this is the moment. Right now. Our world is about to change forever, and it could go either way. He rightly senses simmering unrest that has been intensifying on the Left and the Right since the turn of the millennium.

In searching for anything on the Great Reset I can’t escape yet another content label by Google.

And that is a future I can’t abide. I can’t abide that every time I search on Google I know they’re manipulating the results. To make me think better. To make me think correctly. To make me think what they want me to think.

My generation, and the Millennials, are the last of all humans to have known real life before the internet. The Zoomers know of no other way of living than with a smartphone in their hand, constant surveillance, their own online platforms and the order out of chaos they have designed for themselves. It is up to us to save them so they can know the same kinds of freedoms we grew up with and took for granted.

What stops more people from pushing back against that kind of fascist crackdown is fear. They’re afraid they will be targeted, shunned, and ostracized. As long as the Democrats continue to demonize the populists as “Extreme MAGA Republicans,” they can’t unite the country. They can’t lead us through this perilous moment. And they can’t be trusted. Good leaders look after all of their citizens, not just the compliant ones.

No, we must rely on alpha voices to get us through it, people like Vivek Ramaswamy who will help shine a light out of darkness:

Orwell’s Choice

A friend asked me recently whether I still believed abortions should be legal, or whether I was in favor of the Child Tax Credit or pro-environment, and if so, how could I stand on the side of people who don’t support any of those things?

Orwell’s choice means you can have your rent paid for, equality among citizens, and any government or social policy you want. But you have to give up personal freedom. Freedom of the mind. Freedom to love language and history. Freedom to love the past. Raise your children how you want to raise them—freedom to live where you want. Read what you want. Watch what you want. Search for what you want - find the truth. And yes, freedom to love the non-compliant.

Ask the question again. Would you be willing to sacrifice all of the policies you care about just to have freedom of the mind? The answer always comes back the same: YES.

You might say that’s selfish, that I should care about other people, poor people. It isn’t that I don’t care about them. But even for them, life is not worth living without the freedom to think for yourself. And that isn’t what they want on the Left anymore.

That’s why Orwell wrote 1984, with the best passage saved for last:

Winston, sitting in a blissful dream, paid no attention as his glass was filled up. He was not running or cheering any longer. He was back in the Ministry of Love, with everything forgiven, his soul white as snow. He was in the public dock, confessing everything, implicating everybody. He was walking down the white-tiled corridor, with the feeling of walking in sunlight, and an armed guard at his back. The long-hoped-for bullet was entering his brain.

He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark mustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”

Winston could lose almost everything and still be okay. But losing freedom of the mind was akin to a bullet in the brain. The Great Reset, by design, must eliminate freedom of the mind. They can’t afford any dissent.

What do they plan to do with the millions who drift far from their grasp? Where will they put them? Where will they put us?

America isn’t perfect. It’s a work in progress and still young. A brand new country founded on an optimistic dream: a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Each of us has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These rights, according to the Declaration of Independence, are unalienable, which means they can’t be given, and they can’t be taken away.

When the people of America rise up and demand to be heard, whether they come from the cities or the middle of the country, our government best listen.

Free Thinking Through the Fourth Turning with Sasha Stone
Free Thinking Through the Fourth Turning with Sasha Stone
Essays on politics and culture from Sasha Stone's Substack. A former Democrat and Leftist who escaped the bubble to get to know the other side of the country and to take a more critical look at the left.