In the previous article, this writer mentioned some parallels between the 1850’s and today. Of course, there is no lightning rod issue like slavery to ignite a Civl War today, but to say there are not any lightning rods is pure ignorance. In fact, we can go back to the 1770’s and our break from Great Britain to find some analogies to the current state of affairs. In all eras, the area between the battle lines are a no-man’s land where so-called moderates and fence-sitters are called out for being collaborators.
So what are today’s lightning rods? Among them are a radical feminist jurisprudence, the LGBT agenda, open versus closed borders, Second Amendment rights, and abortion. Note that most of these are traditionally listed as “social issues,” although they certainly have an economic and ideological component also. They are “social” because they represent way-of-life banners for the warring factions. On these issues, there is no compromise and, speaking as a conservative, nor should there be compromise.
In the 1770’s one method of shaming the other was tarring and feathering. This form of mob punishment is prevalent today on social media without the tar and feathers. The idea is not only to shame the alleged transgressor, but the group to which the transgressor belongs. Hence, the #MeToo movement did not set it sights on just the guilty males, but all males. Black Lives Matter targets not just racists, but all white people. The LGBT activists target not just homophobes, but all heterosexuals in an effort to transform their reality compass.
The targeted other operates from an defensive position. Corporate elites support social justice activism on social media, and arguments that run counter to the virtue signalers are silenced through censorship. This is exactly the Left’s playbook: they are attempting to, through a loud and bullying agenda, condition moderates and coerce them to choose sides. They paint the Red as losers or deplorable, bitter clingers of guns and Bibles, the future demographic minority not worthy of concern, and those assigned to the dustbin of history.
This is what the Boston Massacre did in the 1770’s. It is what John Brown’s actions in Kansas did in the 1850’s and the caning of Senator Sumners also did in that decade. And this is precisely what the Kavanaugh hearings were all about. It is also what the three-year attempt to delegitimize and overthrow the Trump presidency is all about. It is an attempt to get someone to pull the trigger. We have heard the rolling thunder of rhetoric: pack the Supreme Court, abolish the Electoral College, repeal the Second Amendment, invoke the 25th Amendment, press the abortion issue so that it results in infanticide.
While neither the Red nor the Blue will take up arms against one another, a bloodless civil war is possible and one that could end with a result that would literally tear the nation apart. Fact: the Union won in 1865, slavery was abolished. But, in a bloodless civil war, there will be no clear-cut winner. Instead, the nation will become divided into functional state and local sovereignties with autonomy over way-of-life issues. It may result in a de facto partition of the country, not de jure secession.
Americans are not lovers, but neither are they fighters. A separation would likely occur after some crisis or confrontation. There may be spasmodic violence which will be amplified through social media. We see the Left already laying the groundwork with their emphasis on alleged white supremacist hate crimes and ignorance of Antifa. But passions would eventually pull back, yet everyone would still be invested in separation. Both sides would go their own way and be the “United States” in title only. From 1857 to 1877 this was, after all, the reality of the country. From the moment of agreement, the United States will be two different sensibilities, people, and politics.
The dominant elite of slavery have their progeny in today’s Democratic Party. While there are certainly some Red elite, the Blue elite dominate the media, Hollywood, the Internet, publishing, academia, DC bureaucrats and global corporate giants. Their hold on power and their lust for absolute power has its ideological roots in the planter aristocracy of the 1850’s.
And whether talking about about the Ancien Regime in France, czarist Russia or the Antebellum South, their selfishness, arrogance and sneering at the those they despise- the deplorables- is obvious. They represent the greatest concentration of wealth and power in the history of the United States, yet lecture us on wealth disparities. Their gated communities and little bubbles of sovereign privilege necessarily divorce them from the rest of America- that despised area known as Flyover Country. This is the oligarchy people like John Adams feared.
It is true that both sides represent themselves as America’s true champion. But as the rhetoric coming off the Democratic campaign trail suggests, the Blue side’s claims and solutions prove most hollow. Despite these differences, a car with Massachusetts license plates does not fear a rocket-propelled grenade in Texas. There are no IEDs lining the roads of New York. We both still like to go to the mall, watch a good movie in a theater, eat out at a restaurant and wait for our packages from Amazon.
Real civil wars have a discernible pattern. One or both of the combatants:
- have grievances decades or centuries in the making;
- cease believing the power structure adequately addresses a redress of grievances;
- have the ability to inflict violence on the other, and;
- possess a critical mass of the population to inflict violence and absorb violent reprisals.
I may be wrong, but nothing in that list screams, “America 2019 or 2020,” although a case can be made for points (1) and (2). As for the cold civil war and eventual de facto separation, unlike the 1850’s, the American economy is highly integrated. It is true that class conflict has replaced sectional conflict but nothing screams for disunion- not abortion, not guns, not immigration. Unlike 1860, a vote for Clinton was not a call to bust the Union anymore than a vote for Trump meant casting away California. If you are touting secession “because Trump,” then you better account for those greater than 4.4 million Californian voters who cast a ballot for Trump. Is California’s answer a forced expulsion akin to the Trail of Tears?
Unfortunately, social media has become a force multiplier where political extremism is now portrayed as the norm. The result is a daily replay of Orson Welles’ “War or the Worlds,” true fake news. Today’s portrayal involves Russians under beds, stolen elections, Putin pulling puppet strings, and yes- Kenyan births. Instead, today’s fracture says more about the anxiety of the elite, bipartisan virtue signaling and the ignorance of analysis of social media. As Michael Wolff declared, “If it rings true, it is true.”
Are we headed for another Civil War? Try this the next time you hear that mentioned: separate the noise from the thing making the noise. People like AOC are great to poke fun of because she is a parody of the Left. She epitomizes their stupidity. Whether talking about a Joe Biden Hyde Amendment flip-flop, the apologies for being white, or what have you emanating from those Democratic candidates in 2020, they do not represent what is best about this country. People like AOC will likely find herself in the dustbin of history long before a person like Donald Trump.