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Schlesinger Cycles of US History

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Re: Schlesinger Cycles of US History

Unread postby Plantagenet » Tue 07 May 2019, 01:44:14

KaiserJeep wrote:.... I believe that those immersed in the network for decades are very different from before they got connected. It is literally a form of group mind. Whether the change is good or bad is not settled, but I'm firmly on the side of "this is a good thing" at least for the race as a whole....


People get addicted to their phones, but phones don't fundamentally change who they are.

I think the really big change in who people are and what they can do will come when humans began to augment their intelligence by linking their brain directly into computer chips. Soon after we'll see people linking their brains into the cloud via some kind of neural network. Its not far into the future either. There are already experiments with hooking people up to computer chips. We're going to see a lot of it in the next decade or so.

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Re: Schlesinger Cycles of US History

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Tue 07 May 2019, 07:13:38

Although the Cyber humans are technically still the same species as they retain the ability to interbreed with old-style individuals, they are distinctly different in behavior and culture. This gap is real and growing as time passes.

https://www.lifewire.com/internet-memes-that-have-won-our-hearts-3573553

I believe the human race will evolve in two distinctly different directions going forward.. Such old-style human individuals as you and I are exactly analogous to a puzzled Neanderthal, observing modern humans in the valley below. He doesn't understand why there are so many of them, because he only has his family group and only as long as he can run off his adolescent male offspring. He doesn't understand why they bury perfectly edible seeds in the ground. Most of all, he despairs of making it through the coming Winter without the rich belt of fat around his mid-section as in prior years - because the valley below was his before they arrived, and now he cannot find enough game to fatten himself. It's all very puzzling, and he struggles to understand why.....
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Re: Schlesinger Cycles of US History

Unread postby Ibon » Tue 07 May 2019, 07:59:48

It's funny how different our narratives KJ. For me the primitive "neanderthals" are represented by the accelerated degradation we can witness as the pandemic of the digital cyber world infects more and more humans. Loss of civility, loss of organic connections in human discourse and with the natural world, ,
and most important the mediocrity that has resulted with the democratization of information on social media where dumbed down banal content dominates. The vast majority spend hours per day fixed on trash content or narcissistic pursuits.

Remember Marx called religion the opiate of the masses...little could he have ever dreamed of the far more powerful drug that blossomed in the early decades of the 21st century.

I will say that there is suddenly alot more room out there in organic space with the enslavement of the masses in the cyberworld.. that represents a huge opportunity for those not drugged.
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Re: Schlesinger Cycles of US History

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Tue 07 May 2019, 08:54:37

Ibon, the bottom of the heap is always larger than the top. You can focus on either end, or take a few steps back and see the entire edifice.

I am certain that the world would be fully into a slow motion collapse without the efficiencies brought about by the last three decades of digital technology. I actually was tempted to say both "dementia" and "enablements" instead of "technology". I would suggest to you that your distance from the digital society hides the benefits from you.

Think of it this way: Without the digital productivity improvements, the World might have peaked at 6 billion or 7 billion humans. The Cloud Forest might today face hungry hordes wanting to sacrifice all the moths and butterflies to Slash&Burn agriculture. Instead we have a digital virtual reality that both occupies our minds and fills our bellies.

My Son-in-Law is part of the University of Wisconsin IT staff, working on special projects. They are using satellite imagery and supercomputer analysis to enhance yields of corn, soy, and other MidWestern crops. The subtle shadings of crop foliage are clues as to soil deficiences within the huge fields of the corporate farms. Selective application of soil nutrients can boost productivity beyond present levels, and the machine that sprays the field can vary the chemicals applied by both type and volume based on the GPS-determined position within the field in order to maximize the yield. The corn yields vary up to about 200 bushels an acre, up from the 25 bushels or so of a century ago, the limiting factor typically being rainfall.

Oh great you think, more depletion of the topsoil. But my viewpoint is that we now produce the same amount of food on one acre that took 8 acres a century ago - we saved 7 acres of biodiversity from becoming monoculture crop lands. Maybe part of what was saved via digital productivity was your Cloud Forest. We also of course, kicked tha can another three decades before we run out of food, and another 1 or 2 billions of apes are now present.

Remember the parable of the three blind men and the elephant. Your perspective when viewing the Internet is equally important. Consider the entire critter before figuratively sentancing it to death.
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Re: Schlesinger Cycles of US History

Unread postby Ibon » Tue 07 May 2019, 11:15:42

Yes it is a mixed bag KJ. good post by the way.
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Re: Schlesinger Cycles of US History

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Tue 07 May 2019, 11:40:31

Likewise I'll remember your observation about "the opiate of the masses". Not that I am any fan of Marx, because he misunderstood the nature of mankind the ape, which caused almost everything he wrote to be fatally flawed. But I entirely agree, the Internet performs the same function for many, including you and me. As my favorite fictional detective said: "Quick Watson, the needle!".
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Re: Schlesinger Cycles of US History

Unread postby evilgenius » Wed 08 May 2019, 11:08:26

Of course, there's also how the public's perception of going to war has changed. Now that reporters are embedded, and the military more strictly controls the flow of information, people don't see the negative side so much. Many fewer troops die, in these less than total conflicts that the US has entered in the last few decades. The emotional construct that powers the will of the people hangs around longer rather than succumbing to doubt or reluctance, based upon the reality of loss. The people have lost sight of how devastating it is to become mired in something like Vietnam. The military, and the political establishment, have not. Consequently, power doesn't change hands as readily, based upon evidence discrediting those who hold it. This, also, is a change that could be labeled evolutionary. But this type of evolution is social, not physical.

It does pertain to the adoption of information gathering devices/sources. If everything you could learn was awful, would you so bravely seek to know about it? Maybe, if it only affected others. Schadenfreude is a real thing. It causes a lot of the attraction to the news of horrible events, like school shootings and plane crashes, until such things are pointed at the person doing the looking. What's really missing is a will to correct the direction of the things that are plainly going in the wrong direction.

It's too easy to hold onto one's prejudices which either reinforce or build those wrong situations in the first place. Look at how easy it is for US policy toward the rest of the world to hinge upon an anti-abortion stance, down to how even the taint of it precludes one group or another from receiving aid, when the world has over seven billion people. Never mind the domestic policy problems among the states. Sometimes, as with climate change, there is a too strong adherence to denial. We can't build anything anymore, unless we appeal to those who are corrupt to help us do it. To do otherwise would introduce the idea of paying the price for what we enjoy. Above all, we must not pay tax. We must allow all of those who want a piece of the action to have it. Nothing is done under the auspices of pure public interest. It's mostly public/private, where we wait to see what happens when the other shoe drops.
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Re: Schlesinger Cycles of US History

Unread postby lpetrich » Thu 09 May 2019, 17:46:25

KaiserJeep wrote:Because there is no reason to do so because there is nothing gained by such analysis. The idea is hardly new as you point out, much time has been devoted to the process of drawing parallels, and there is no clearly distinguishable result. Arguing about whether one has learned anything usefull via such analysis is a dead giveaway that such efforts are in fact wasted.

Except that Peter Turchin cites a lot of work by fellow historians on cycles of history in premodern societies. Work that involves various quantitative measures, like counts of incidents of political violence and amounts of coin hoards. Before people stuffed money into their mattresses, they buried it in their backyards.

As to the US, there is a lot of evidence that supports the Schlesinger cycles. Consider party systems.

The first party system, Federalists vs. Democratic-Republicans, emerged during Hamiltonian federalism, a conservative period, though it codified pre-existing divisions. The Federalists were dominant at first, but when Jefferson was elected in 1800, starting a liberal era, the D-R's became dominant.

Andrew Jackson's election in 1828 started another liberal era and the second party system, D-R's/Democrats vs. Whigs.

Abraham Lincoln's election in 1860 started another liberal era and the third party system, Democrats vs. Republicans, Democrats in the South and Republicans in he North.

William McKinley's election in 1896 started the fourth party system, a shakeup of the third one where the Republicans were dominant.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt's election in 1932 started another liberal era and the fifth party system, a shakeup of the fourth one where the Democrats were dominant at first.

But over the last half-century, the two parties have gradually been realigning, to the point that they are now a mirror image of what they were like a century ago. So a sixth system has been gradually emerging.
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Re: Schlesinger Cycles of US History

Unread postby lpetrich » Thu 09 May 2019, 18:23:58

Constitutional amendments show a similar sort of rhythm, with many of them being proposed and/or enacted in liberal phases or on liberal-to-conservative boundaries. Conservative-phase ones are much rarer, as are ones on conservative-to-liberal boundaries.
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Re: Schlesinger Cycles of US History

Unread postby lpetrich » Thu 09 May 2019, 18:39:17

KaiserJeep wrote:Again, I find nothing useful in the idea that cycles occur. I suggest that for somebody writing such, the attraction of the idea is selling books.

Selling books? Does that mean that advocates of cycles of history are guilty of practicing capitalism?

If one wanted to go that route, there are IMO more efficient ways of doing so, like presenting lots of juicy gossip. The sort of thing that tabloids feature, magazines like the National Enquirer.
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Re: Schlesinger Cycles of US History

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Fri 10 May 2019, 13:35:16

Still,there is nothing to be learned. The Boolean term for these history cycles is "loosely coupled", because the differences outweigh the similarities, and by a considerable margin. I can't let go of some form of mathematical analysis, I was a practicing EE for 35+ years, we analyzed everything.

When I publish in the Historical Association periodicals, we treat each period as what it is: unique and never to be repeated again. If I were to make any reference to History repeating itself, the Editor would laugh me out the door, as he should.

After two weeks of intensive work, my co-author and myself finished the first of four parts of the book. I am exhausted. There have only been 3 days of sun since I got here, but Spring is erupting in the pine forest around me, with blossoms and fresh green plants, and critters. But I have to go back and close on the new home in Wisconsin, no rest for the wicked.
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Re: Schlesinger Cycles of US History

Unread postby evilgenius » Sat 11 May 2019, 10:55:35

As far as cycles go, the Fourth Turning stuff makes more sense. At least it collides various attitudes and practices among different groups and generations in an effort to make sense of how they interact together. There are limited ways that certain groups, given their contemporary narrative, can act toward other groups. Individuals within those groups may be privy to a different narrative, but the group at large won't be. It doesn't always hold up either. Those individuals do have an impact, and people get tired of certain narratives. Even in retrospect, it falls apart around the Civil War. And it takes credit for what are always difficult times. When hasn't the current American political picture not been important?

I think these types of theories do have a benefit, in that they teach a person to see beyond how only the at hand people and things they can readily see impact current events. They make one peer deeper. They can even make you see where people in your own life came from, what forces shaped them. In the case of the Fourth Turning that might be to try to answer why one's parents were either too lax, or too strict. That's not always false, or a bad thing. What it teaches you, hopefully, by searching for this kind of thing, is how much the people in your life are individuals, even though they were influenced by the things that brought about their generation. To an extent it is all randomness, in that we all come to a point at some time where we understand ourselves as trapped within the human condition. The reality that we will die one day comes to us all. Survival can be a shoe string thing, under that paradigm, or something done richly. However you do that won't have to do with a cycle, but your own attitudes and actions.
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Re: Schlesinger Cycles of US History

Unread postby lpetrich » Sun 19 May 2019, 09:35:28

The Fourth Turning seems too schematic, and it is not nearly as data-based as the Schlesinger or Turchin cycles. I like a comment attributed to Mark Twain, that history does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.

That is, sort of half-repeats itself.

I have found another cycle of US history. Arthur Schlesinger Jr. describes it in his book Cycles of American History:
A cyclical rhythm exists in foreign policy as well. Over thirty years ago Frank L. Klingberg analyzed what he called “the historical alternation of moods in American foreign policy.” He uncovered a periodic swing between “extroversion”— a readiness to use direct diplomatic, military or economic pressure on other nations to gain American ends— and “introversion”— a concentration on concerns of the national community. Examining wars, annexations, armed expeditions, naval expenditures, presidential statements and party platforms, Klingberg in 1952 identified seven alternations since 1776 ...

(Page 7 of 56) - Long-Term US Foreign Policy Moods and Involvement in System Wars: Is There Any Way to Reduce the Odds? authored by Lawrence, Colin., Holmes, Jack., Johnson, Lauren. and Aardema, Sara.
Peter Beinart - The Isolation Pendulum
H-Net Reviews - Klingberg's book Positive Expectations of America's World Role: Historical Cycles of Realistic Idealism
  • 1776-1797 (Int) Revolution, establishment of government
  • 1798-1823 (Ext) French naval war, Louisiana Purchase, War of 1812
  • 1824-1844 (Int) Nullification crisis, Texas question, non-assistance of Canada revolts
  • 1845-1870 (Ext) Texas and Oregon annexations, Mexican War, Civil War
  • 1871-1890 (Int) Non-participation in the Europeans' Scramble for Africa
  • 1891-1918 (Ext) Spanish-American War, World War I
  • 1919-1939 (Int) League of Nations rejection, Neutrality Acts
  • 1940-1967 (Ext) World War II, Cold War, Korean and Vietnam Wars
  • 1968-1988 (Int) Vietnamization, détente, fall of the Soviet Union
  • 1989- (Ext) Post-Cold-War assertion, Gulf War, War on Terror
The US is just about due for another introverted period, if it has not already entered one.

As with liberal and conservative eras, extroverted and introverted eras are likely self-limiting. Extroverted eras likely end by burnout by big wars: the 1812 War, the Civil War, World War I, and the Vietnam War. The current one will likely end the same way. Introverted eras at least sometimes end from lack of response to challenges from other nations. An obvious one is the early 20th cy. one, where the US was up against Germany and Japan. FDR got a military buildup going and send a lot of aid to Britain, over the objections of the "America First" movement. But Japan's attack of Pearl Harbor shut up the America Firsters.
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