Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | March 4, 2009

Futures Tutorial Part 14: Society


As much as society is divided into groups and in the absence of life-threatening ‘other’ the U.S. society divides itself up.  The forecast in 1990-92 for 2005-2015 was for mor polarization.  And so it went, so it goes, except for the blip that was 9-11. 

And excerpts from my op ed “One Front, Two Wars” – written in October 2001 speaks to how short the unity would be – and was:  The first front of the World War against International Terrorism (WW-T), our American Homeland, is remarkably united – today. Getting nine out of ten Americans to agree to anything is heady stuff.  Yet, the adrenaline cocktail of shock,  fear and anger intoxicates only for a season.    The answers to these questions over time will result in two wars being waged for our Homeland Defense. The first, the WWT, will lead to another, but different, Civil War in the U.S.  Prayerfully, hopefully, the severity of both wars- the consequence management – will be minimized. Regardless, nature of both conflicts merits the name – war – and will be fought to the ultimate ends of any and every war – peace through victory or defeat.  When WW-T expandsbeyond the destruction of one species of terrorist vipers – the Al Qaida organization – the coalition will devolve. 

 Sooner or later, WW-T will be the West and its shifting Moslem Allies vs. Raging Islam.  Then, Americans will realize some fuzzy, global, generic, secular human ‘freedom’ is

not under attack, but the West – Western Civilization – is the enemy of the resurgent Islam that breeds radicals and rage.

What is the American Civilization worth defending for long decades?

What must be preserved at all costs?

Who will bear any price for what liberty?

These questions will split the unity of our nation along the fault lines of our American Culture War.  Americans with different worldviews will seek alternatives for peace.  

 Some will be happy to defeat one group of terrorists and pretend there are no more until another bright September morning explodes in a new terror attack. Some will shake in fear and shout ‘stop’ when an Islamic country turns on us as we pursue the next den of snakes or when a radical Islamic coup topples some friendly despot. Some will stay the course to defeat the enemy, and their means of attacking the West, everywhere and suppress their successors’ ability to attack ever again – for decades and succeeding generations to come. The nation will divide between those who seek peace at any price – because they don’t see the ultimate destruction of America and the West – and those who know that a hostile ideology – a vigorous, aggressive theology – must be defeated utterly and completely.  WW-T will be waged on the terms of the old Roman Empire. Our enemies will fight us for generations – even centuries – until they change their way of thinking or are conquered or we are defeatedfrom within.

Our America, as the leader of the West, has imperial responsibilities without imperial ambitions. Moreover, our nation faces its greatest test since the American Civil War (ACW I). Can a nation so powerful, so rich, so hated remain a Republic with the protected individual freedoms endowed by our Creator?  

The interesting paradox is that Americans may see their multiple group identities more at odds, but as individuals they will see and treat other individuals with more tolerance.The graphic says society.  Societies come from cultures and sub-cultures.  Virginia needs to create a more unifying identity over, greater than, the identity politics that divide Virginians.  I call that a quest for Virginia Values.

The projection was for one-third of families to be traditional, one-third mixed after divorce and new marriage, and one-third single parent.   I don’t recall the projections on parents who don’t marry but life together and Moms with serial live-in boy friends, but I don’t see anything that seems new or shocking on the continuing diminishing of the nuclear – married – mother and father with children – family.

And the society is aging.  Thank us Baby Boomers.  It makes a difference in health and retirement systems – approaches.










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