By Nathan Barton
Warnings or threats or attempts at self-fulfilling prophesy?
All kinds of articles and comments are appearing in June about an upcoming civil war. A war between the “liberals” and the “conservatives.” A war that might actually merit the title a lot more than the 1861-1865 conflict (actually a War Between the States which did include a number of civil wars).
The Tranzi Robert Reich was done the honor of having his strange little diatribe reposted by Freedom Net Daily at the beginning of the month. “The American Prospect” is a boldly “progressive” publication, but isn’t really so much American as Transnational. Hence my branding it Trazi, as is Reich himself. (Who has also very accurately been described as a liberal fascist – NOT a “Nazi” or in the way people usually sling the word around.).
His fearmongering is typical of the breed. In A second American civil war? Robert Reich writes, “Imagine that an impeachment resolution against Trump passes the House. Trump claims it’s the work of the ‘deep state.’ Fox News’s Sean Hannity demands every honest patriot take to the streets. Right-wing social media call for war. As insurrection spreads, Trump commands the armed forces to side with the ‘patriots.’ Or it’s November 2020 and Trump has lost the election. He charges voter fraud, claiming that the “deep state” organized tens of millions of illegal immigrants to vote against him, and says he has an obligation not to step down. Demonstrations and riots ensue. Trump commands the armed forces to put them down. … The United States is premised on an agreement about how to deal with our disagreements. It’s called the Constitution. We trust our system of government enough that we abide by its outcomes even though we may disagree with them. Only once in our history (in 1861) did enough of us distrust the system so much we succumbed to civil war. But what happens if a president claims our system is no longer trustworthy?” [ Thanks to Freedom Net Daily, where Steve Trenward noted: Seems like last time, it ended with an assassination – SAT]
Since then, the other wing of the boots-on-your-neck establishment have chimed in. Representative Steve King says we are heading to a second civil war. My oh my.
A commentator reminds us that we are the land of “more guns than people” in another article. Again in Freedom Outpost, this writer potificates about how the very uncivil behavior of progressive politicians and their allies in the media and academia is fracturing the Fifty States more than ever. And thus pushing and encouraging people to resort to violence. Which will, in King’s words, lead us from Harpers Ferry to Fort Sumter.
Fortunately, some people DO note that even making claims like that increases the possibility of armed civil war.
And also fortunately, all of this rhetoric indicates that most people have little understanding of what civil war is.
As Gareth pointed out, there are a lot of events in American history (as in English history before it) that can be labeled as civil war, and we actually are involved in just such a struggle right now. The fact that it is not overtly violent (lots of folks aren’t shooting constantly at each other), makes it no less war.
In England, although the fight between Royalists and Parliament in the mid 1600s is “the English Civil War,” there have been many: even William the Conquerer’s invasion in 1066 was really a civil war: he claimed the throne. Ditto for the fight between Maud and Steven a half century later. The War of the Roses. The restoration of the Stuarts and then their getting kicked out in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. And of course, the attempt to again restore the Stuarts in 1745.
All of which led to the first and successful civil war in North America: the one we usually call the Revolutionary War or the War of American Independence. It was a civil war. NOT called such, because it was successful from the American point of view. Whereas the 1861-65 one (the War between the States) was unsuccessful, from the CSA point of view.
But the Progressive Era of 1900-1920 (more or less) was also a civil war between the old Republic (term used intentionally) and the Progressives (also Imperialists) of T Roosevelt and W Wilson. (The Progressives – advocates of an all-powerful central government, bureaucracy and democracy – won). Some consider the first seven-eight years of the FDR Administration to be a civil war as well. Again, the Progressives won. The later 1960s-mid 1970s are cited by some as yet another civil war in the Fifty States, with an odd shifting of alliances and positions and the vast change wrought in society and government, from the assassination of JFK to the election of Jimmy Carter. That dust-up was obviously not totally bloodless: not just assassinations but things like Kent State and various other related acts of violence.
And the last twenty-plus years, from our point-of-view in 2018, might also be considered a civil war. Maybe less bloody even than the 60s and 70s. As those things are usually counted. It has been a war between so-called Liberals and Conservatives. \
The historian’s definition of a civil war is the fight for the control of a government and a society. And that is what we’ve been engaged in for decades, at a level of effort far greater (except for the direct bloodshed) than American wars in the Middle East in the same period. The effort, the time and treasure, spent on determining the nature and future of American government and society, is trillions. It is less volatile, at times. But it changes (and destroys) lives daily.
What all these people are fearful of is that the nature of the war will change from a largely covert and verbal sparring to become an overtly violent fight. To a situation where it will no longer be insane, perhaps drugged, killers going after unarmed and unprotected victims. But rather, where there are death squads and obvious assassinations, and where the military occupation of much of the Fifty States will be blatantly military, not disguised as “to serve and protect” by “civilian” police forces.
Is that to be feared? Or welcomed? You should decide. For me and mine, a pox on BOTH their houses. Whether overt or covert, we need to (and will) defend ourselves against them all. With whatever tools are necessary. That is what free people do.