More and more I find myself agreeing with many observers. These Fifty States are engaged in a civil war.
Not (yet) a war of outright violent combat. (Although violence is increasing, initiated by both sides. Daily.)
People have pointed out that (here in Anglo America) neither the Revolutions (American and Texan) nor the War Between the States provides a model. They recognize the nature of this increasingly bitter and broad conflict. But it is unlikely (perhaps impossible), they say, that vast armies will be marshaled and deployed. We will not see armies going into bloody battles. Nor will it be (I am told) a guerilla war akin to that waged by the likes of Chinese, Cuban, or Vietnamese Communist movements. Or by French partisans 1940-45. We as a race and a civilization have “matured” – we’ve “grown up” and won’t be so brutal and primitive.
I read it will be a conflict “fought” using exactly the tactics we see right now. The constantly-greater use of mass media and sophisticated propaganda. Evermore vicious verbal and written attacks. Civil unrest – but mostly “peaceful.” Such things as monkey-wrenching (vandalism, arson and looting), random smallscale violence (often against random people), and the like. Both (or all) sides will work very hard to contain that sort of thing. Instead, one side will succeed in weakening the essential foundations of society and institutions. The other side will not fail to stop that, but will aid that weakening and destruction by their response – harsh and increasingly extreme. Thus demonstrating that those foundations are resting on sand, and therefore incapable of managing a complex society and civilization.
So, without actual fighting on battlefields – or really even in the streets of cities and town – this civil war will be resolved. How? Through continuing these actions until something gives – and people give up. Either those attacking the society will decide they have no hope of bringing down the culture. Or those defending society will grow weary and accept the drastic change. The masses will follow, they say.
Of course, this will be done by perverting the political process. After all, we all agree that “democracy” is our destiny; that by appealing to the masses a decision will be made short of actual combat. Again, they claim we are past mass violence and armed confrontation. Many sides promote this: not just the so-called progressives, nor various conservatives. I hear this from libertarians and those who claim to be such – or close to that. We are beyond solving things through armed conflict.
I beg to differ.
The advocates of this “non-combat” view of this current civil war overlook the lessons of history. (And echo the old, old refrain of “violence never solves anything.” Whether they admit it or not.) Ultimately one or both sides resort to great violence.
All of the examples I list above were proceeded by years of relatively non-violent confrontation, maneuvering, and persuasion – more or less “peaceful.” But things eventually ramped up. The fighting – bloody and fatal – did come, even if after decades.
Anyone who has studied the writings and actions of such people as Mussolini, Hitler, Mao, Giap, and Castro, can tell you that they spent years and years getting ready. Military folks call this “preparation of the battlefield” and the concept goes back to Sun Tsu. It was/is an important element of guerilla warfare, even in First and Second Generation warfare. It became more important even to traditional military forces in the Third Generation warfare.
And in the era of Fourth Generation warfare, it is absolutely essential – critical to success. Even though the nature of preparation has changed (and broadened).
(Fourth Generation warfare was described by William Lind back in 2004: “Fourth Generation war is the greatest change since the Peace of Westphalia, because it marks the end of the state’s monopoly on war. Once again, as before 1648, many different entities, not states, are fighting war. They use many different means, including “terrorism” and immigration, not just formal armies. Differences between cultures, not just states, become paramount, and other cultures will not fight the way we fight. All over the world, state militaries are fighting non-state opponents, and almost always, the state is losing. State militaries were designed to fight other state militaries like themselves, and against non-state enemies most of their equipment, tactics and training are useless or counterproductive.”
That seems to be precisely how our current civil war can be described, keeping in mind that American police forces are often as much military as they are “law enforcement” and “keeping the peace.” Black Lives Matter, Antifa, the Occupy Movement, and no doubt other regressive, socialist groups are the “non-state” actors. But ALLIED with elements within the governments. And they have been preparing the battlefield for a half-century.
One tactic: delegitimize the police forces – a task which the police themselves seem to cooperate in. Indoctrination in schools and religion is another. This is, however, all battlefield prep – the phase that Mao states would precede the direct confrontation of their enemies by their main forces.
Or, in other words, ramping up.
As always, as throughout history, people are caught in the middle. “Normal” people. Families and business owners whose primary aims and actions are directed towards making a living, caring for one another, and enjoying liberty, peace, and prosperity.
All this is spinning around and around in the drain right now, courtesy of the state (the governments) and the enemies of the current state of affairs. It is not just governments they seek to destroy. It is also free markets and personal freedoms of speech, religion, self-defense, and “mind your own business.”
We lovers of liberty find ourselves facing both sides as enemies, and both sides able and willing to do us great harm to defeat each other and ultimately gain control of the greatest physical prize on this planet: these Fifty States.