Perhaps one of the best signs that another American Civil War is on the way is all of the comments and articles contemplating that possibility, submitted by both the ‘left’ and the ‘right.’ (Terms I use loosely.) People sense that an impasse has been reached or is visible on the horizon which they believe cannot be resolved except through violence.
I have had concerns of my own for almost two decades now. In the early years, I was scoffed at. Not so much, anymore. More and more people in my sphere have expressed concern, and more than one person who looked askance at my remarks 15 years ago have asked me where I thought things stand, today. Their nervousness is vindication enough. 😉
‘Black Swan’ events are the kind of thing that I’m constantly alert to, a Civil War being just one possibility. It is ironic, then (and exactly the sort of thing a person alert to ‘black swans’ should not say), that my basic assessment is that the prospects for an American Civil War manifesting within the next 5 years is quite low. Perhaps 15%. At 10 years, it might be 25%.
Not that things are going to be peachy. No, I think the characterization that America is in a ‘cold’ civil war already is accurate already. The prospects of it flashing over into serious violence and taking on a life of its own are certainly there. I will detail in this post (and additional ones, if necessary) why I don’t think a shooting war is likely, even in 15-20 years. But these estimates have only limited value. I am sharing them only to answer where I think we ‘stand’ now. Individuals, families, and communities ought to make appropriate preparations based on a sober assessment of where things really stand. Civil war or not, things are going to get nasty.
He who has ears, let him hear.
If someone wants to cut right to the chase, here is an article which most closely resembles my conclusion.
although the empire’s political institutions were all concentrated in the city of Rome, if the armies out in the provinces decided to intervene in the political process, they always had the final say.
Nothing could be less like the United States’ position in 2018. It has the most powerful and professional armed forces the world has ever seen, and there is absolutely no doubt about their loyalty to the legitimate government or commitment to the principle of civilian command. American soldiers, sailors and airmen do have political opinions, but they currently can be relied on to put their duty first. The United States therefore has far more in common with Rome in 133 B.C. than with any of the other cases. Even if U.S. senators start killing each other with chair legs, the armed forces will not take sides, other than to implement orders — so long as the orders are legitimate and legal — from their elected commander-in-chief.
So long as the military remains ‘neutral’ and committed to the US Constitution, there will not be a ‘shooting war.’ Currently, they can be relied upon. Presently, therefore, we have time to theoretically fix what ails us. (Ha! I know. Funny, right?)
Now, for the longer answer.
First of all, we have to understand that when people on the ‘left’ talk about a civil war, it is different than what the ‘right’ thinks. The vision of a civil war by the leftist is of the Government vs. Right Wingers. In such a scenario, leftists believe the Government is going to win, hands down. Indeed, having read many of them in their own words, its clear that many of them want a civil war. The sooner the better. Their feeling is that if you shoot enough ‘Christian white males,’ the ‘impasse’ basically goes away.
Well, that’s probably true, except it forgets this vital point: our military is a volunteer organization. As such, the people most likely to join it are the sort that truly do honor patriotism, loyalty, and the rule of law. Statistically, there are many ‘Christian white males’ in the military. Many people don’t realize that members of our military have to take an oath–to the Constitution. This oath says:
“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
So, you have a volunteer army that has been willingly swearing this oath for decades. Does the liberal reader think that people such as this will now turn their weapons against their fellow American just because a President says so? If so, then whatever else our problems might consist of, things are much, much worse.
That leftists believe in a Government vs. Right Wingers scenario, with the Government a no-brainer winner, is illustrated perfectly by a recent exchange by a sitting US Congressman who literally, I kid you not, almost gleefully, pondered the possibility of nuking fellow Americans.
To be clear, I think what the Democrat congressman Swalwell was really trying to do was to use American’s nuclear arsenal as a stand in for the awesome might of the Federal government in general, which he implies is the only legitimate agent of violence, and as such can literally do whatever it wants to those exerting non-legitimate violence. Against such (intrinsically righteous) might, Democrats and leftists believe no one can stand. Not even American citizens.
Well, it is certainly true that the American military has no answer to it, unless the world gangs up on it. But such sentiments fail to appreciate what civil wars tend to look like, especially nowadays. You can’t very well ‘nuke’ gun owners, because they are dispersed throughout society. It isn’t like you could nuke 10 big gatherings of the NRA and end the matter. If you nuked the NRA you’d get lots of the NCAAP folks with them.
No, you’re going to have to go door to door, house to house, building by building. The people who would be tasked to do this, on the view of the leftists, are the people least likely to actually do it. But for those who do it, they will find themselves answered by defecting American military servicemen and women who know our tactics and technology precisely. The drone pilot firing off hell fire missiles might be safe in his bunker, but the drone pilot’s family will be distributed around the country somewhere, and his former friends will know how to find them. Trust that the drone pilot knows very well that he will pay a personal price. Someone out there knows his name, and knows where he lives, and who his family is.
Never underestimate how terrible wars really are.
Before I flesh that out a little more, I would like to remind the reader that the American military, which leans heavily ‘conservative’, I should add, is also battle tested. Because of the decision to rely on reservists to fight our wars in the Middle East, this means that in most communities around the country are people who not only are predisposed to honor and cherish the Constitution, but actually have combat experience. Lots of it.
Your 45 year old pudgy white Christian male servicing computers in the heartland of America may have been engaged in hand to hand combat with ISIS just a few years ago. Or, perhaps he was tasked with defusing IEDs… which means, he might know a little bit about how to make them in the first place. And he knows where to get the stuff that goes ‘boom,’ too.
The leftist should also bear in mind that America’s servicemen and women know which side their bread is buttered. They know that the left has treated the military like excrement. They know that the Democrat Tammy Baldwin did nothing when alerted to fatal abuses at the Tomah VA. They know that on Obama’s watch, veterans literally died waiting for their socialized health care.
It isn’t just that America’s military heavily leans right. The ‘right’ in America leans heavily pro-military. In the meantime, one of Trump’s first actions was to clean up the VA.
Add to that the fact that its conservatives who are more likely to support the police, while liberals are more likely to call ‘blue lives matter’ racist, one searches in vain for any reason whatsoever to think that large numbers of those with the ‘legitimate’ right to use violence would side with leftists! Oh yea, American’s trained warriors can be counted on to side with liberals who breathe disgust for them, left and right.
I have often said that liberals love guns–provided that they are only in the hands of the State. Liberals do not at all abhor violence–they think its a fine thing, when they are the ones in charge of it. This Statist viewpoint has obscured the reality of just who is holding those guns on behalf of the state… they are the people least likely to do what liberals want them to do.
This is not Europe. This is America. Whatever remnants of America’s military that was willing to roll into a community with tanks will be decimated by attrition, assassinations, IEDs, etc. And that’s carried out by the rest of America’s military, which still honors its oath. I’m not even talking about average citizens!
To bring it around, when leftists imagine an American civil war, they picture the Federal Government unleashing itself on crazy hill billies. But that’s just not going to happen. And if it did happen, the crazy hill billies are going to win. Those hill billies fought in Fallujah and Tora Bora. When the hill billies came home, their ‘conservative’ small towns had parades for them. Later, the hill billies went out shooting with their friends, one hundred million of them or so have their own AR-15s.
Meanwhile, in the cities, a hundred million or so guys in skinny jeans and gals drinking lattes, none of whom own a weapon, let alone know how to use one, think that they’re going to come out ahead in a shooting war. The idea is laughable on its face. Although, it is precisely this disconnect with reality which might lead to a shooting war in the first place.
I am not particularly worried about this scenario unfolding. I don’t see the demographics of America’s military changing any time soon. Liberals will need to dismantle the volunteer system and switch to a draft, and pursue deliberate social engineering within the military, in order to change this. It could be argued that this is in process. I don’t deny it. But by my observations, we have a long, long time before this becomes a realistic scenario. And even if it did, any such war will not be won by the Statists.
Again, this is America, not Europe. Setting aside the military for a moment, it is just a reality that American has 357,000,000 guns in circulation.
You can thank America’s number one gun salesman for the spike in gun sales. I mean, of course, Barack Obama.
Ironically, gun sales boomed during the Obama era, as the gun debate was pushed to the forefront. In 2016, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) published a report that said the gun industry had expanded by 158 percent during the eight years of President Obama’s time in office.
This works out to (in 2013), 1.13 guns per person.
But it is not the case that every person in American owns 1.13 guns. No:
Overall, Americans own an estimated 265 million guns – more than one gun for every American adult, according to the study by researchers at Harvard and Northeastern universities. Half of those guns – 133 million – were in the hands of just 3% of American adults, so-called “super owners” who possessed an average of 17 guns each, it showed.
And you just know that the bulk of these American gun owners, holding more than half of America’s guns, are not living in the cities, attending BLM marches on the weekend, voting for Bernie every chance they get, and spending the rest of their day playing video games. Or tweeting. No, the bulk of America’s gun owners lean to the right, have most of the guns and a lot of ammo, and are dispersed evenly throughout the countryside.
No, the leftist vision for how a civil war would go down is just not likely to happen, because the people who might try to set such a scheme in operation are aware of the above facts, even if your average city liberal, living in his Statist bubble, has no clue. Caveats below.
It is certainly the case that the ‘right’ has contemplated this scenario. It can’t help it, seeing as it is the one that dominates the public imagination. But the people I’ve spoken with and read have a much more realistic expectation about how things will actually go down. When the SHTF, its not likely going to be a case where a huge army led by the Federalists head out to put down bands of militia. When the SHTF, there is not going to be one army (say, the ‘North’) pitted against another army (say, the ‘South.’)
There might be elements of this, but there are significant reasons why it can’t ultimately be like this. Again, America is not Europe. Europe is a writhing mess of ethnic tensions which it bizarrely manages to inflame left and right, even as it attempts to create a Statist ‘banner’ to unite them–a pathetic vision to organize under by any measure, appealing only to Statists. Eurasia is still very much balkanized, meaning that there are enclaves of ethnic groups here and there laying claim to this or that region. Its not quite yet a tinder box (again), but it seems to be heading that way.
America is not balkanized. At least, not yet. But if its in the process of being balkanized, its the liberals who are doing it, with their constant emphasis on identity politics and other sub-human outlooks. I put ‘Christian white male’ in quotes above because this category exists primarily as a creature of the left. ‘Christian white males’ do not regard themselves as so; at least, they didn’t until the Left continued to shove them into that box, and they were forced to. But even if there are scores of new ‘ethnic’ groups created by racist liberals (pardon the redundancy) to pit against each other in the United States, these groups are dispersed within the population. Few, if any, have claim to particular geographic regions.
With some notable exceptions, in Real America, rather than the bigoted vision of the Left, whites live alongside blacks, gays alongside straights, men love women and women love men, and even liberals and conservatives actually co-exist. And not just co-exist, but have happy, healthy communities.
If the SHTF in this context, its difficult to see how it could not actually devolve into something radically worse than the first Civil War, which at least had standing armies roughly following the rules of war. Think: competing death squads, IEDs, poisoning of water supplies, blowing up infrastructure, targeted assassinations, etc. Politicians–who must reside in the area that elected them–would be hit first, along with their families and friends. People would be disappeared. The perpetrators on either ‘side’ of this shooting war would be almost impossible to distinguish from the innocents.
At least if people are clamoring over a region, or the people fighting each other have different skin colors, and/or wear uniforms, it is easy to identify the combatants and target them accordingly. But in America, people with different skin colors actually get along pretty well, and no one is particularly interested in squabbling over their ‘ancestral homelands.’ The violence will be along ideological grounds, not ethnic or geographic ones.
I sense a certain glee out there at the prospects of a civil war. It will be anything but civil.
The one thing I am reasonably confident of is that if there is a shooting war, liberal progressivism will be ended in America for a very, very, long time. In the minds of these people, America is just another country like Spain or France is a country. Indeed, you might even say that these liberal progressives are ‘American in name only.’ They are European in their outlook, and their aspirations. But American is not Europe. Not for another 30 years, at least. America is America. Unless a black swan swoops in, of course. He who has ears, let him hear.
Now I mentioned caveats. Here they are.
In general, I think that the people who could set off a ‘conventional’ civil war know very well that its not going to go off in the way that leftists have wet dreams about. But, one of the reasons we are in this mess in the first place is that one ‘side’ of the political spectrum is veering further and further away from reality as it is. Please see the previous 20 posts on this blog for a discussion of this. So, we can’t put anything past them.
I will bottom line it. If a Republican is president, and congress is largely conservative, and the state governments are mostly conservative, the odds of there being any kind of civil war in the next 10-20 years drops significantly. America is a center-right country, and so long as it has a substantial hold on the levers of power, we will be spared most of the SHTF scenarios we like to bandy about. Remember, the center-right believes in individual liberty, the first AND second amendments, checks and balances, the dangers of big government, etc. If the people continue to hold that view and the people they elect tend to hold that view, then the status quo will roughly hold.
But, if a Democrat is president… all bets are off. The odds of a SHTF scenario in the next 10-20 years increases significantly.
(I am correlating these odds against the baseline 15%-25% in 5-10 years I mentioned at the beginning. So, you might say a Republican president drops the already slim overall odds to 5% to 10%, whereas a Democrat president ups it to 20%-25%.)
For some inexplicable reason, Democrats always think that just because they have the majority, they have carte blanche to do whatever they want. The tiniest majority to them constitutes a mandate from God himself. We saw this in 2008 with the election of Obama, and we saw America’s response to this in 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016. The Dems win just one of the legislative houses, just one of them, and you’ve got people like AoC running around proposing (literally) 100 trillion dollar overhauls of the entire economic and social fabric of the country, and behaving as though Democrats are entitled to have their proposals acted on, because, why, they won the House by a small margin in 2018.
That it was a small margin… or that the GOP added to its majority in the Senate, that the president is a Republican, that SCOTUS now leans Republican… why, that means nothing to them.
(I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that American’s GNP is just 20 trillion dollars. I’m not talking about the income received by the government via taxes, which is just 3.5 trillion or so a year. I’m talking about the TOTAL amount that the entirety of America generates in a year is 20 trillion. The Green New Deal costs more than 5 times what is earned by EVERY American, COMBINED. Even spread out over 10 years… which apparently is necessary, else we’re ALL GONNA DIE!… that means taking 50% of every dollar earned by every American, requiring almost the tripling of the tax burden of tax payers overnight. It can’t be done. At least, not without shooting an awful lot of people. Hence, this caveat.)
So, if a Democrat wins the presidency, even if the Dems lose everything else (again!), do not be surprised if whoever it is is so detached from reality that it underestimates what the fabric of America is really made of. Probably, the most likely trigger (no pun intended) for such a catastrophic miscalculation would be some kind of gun confiscation scheme following some mass shooting. But unlike in Australia, New Zealand, and Europe… America is America. If a gun ban were enacted, there absolutely would be a shooting civil war, and it would go down as I have described above. That is, with brutality, and in favor of the Constitution as it stands.
In conclusion, America’s ‘cold’ civil war is not likely to become a ‘hot’ in the near future. Trump is going to be re-elected in 2020. The Republicans are going to retake the house (assuming the Dems continue to double down on the GND and identity politics).
But, this does not mean we should not take note of why things are going badly. We should also not be counting on the S not Hitting TF. America is definitely heading towards a breaking point. And we should not underestimate the devastation that could unfold if America’s power grid went down, or other ‘black swan’ events. We should think about all these things, and in part 2, I’m going to go into some of the reasons why things are going badly, but also what is holding them in check.
Do not assume that the United States will exist in its present form in 20 years. A lot can happen, even in just 2 years.
Part 2, rural vs. city. Ponder this map in the meantime. It is the 2016 voting map, by county. The reds voted for Trump. The blues for Clinton.