A long time ago Jay Solo asked the question, “Do you expect the “reset button” to need to be used in our lifetimes?” I responded:
Do I expect it to be used? Yes. Will it be effective? I doubt it.
I think we’ve passed the point at which “using the reset button” would be useful.
Obviously, being me, I had a lot more to say on the topic, but that was the gist of it.
That may still prove out, though in the intervening years I have found the idea of another American Civil hot War to be less and less likely. However, yesterday’s Quote of the Day brought up some thoughts that have been ongoing here since Jay asked that question back in December of 2003.
In September of 2004 I wrote How Divided ARE We? as George W. Bush ran for reelection and Bush Derangement Syndrome kicked into high gear. It seemed at the time that hostilities were imminent, but I link to that piece because of a quote from Thomas Sowell I put at the end of it:
The left takes its vision seriously — more seriously than it takes the rights of other people. They want to be our shepherds. But that requires us to be sheep.
(This is where I’m really pissed that my Echo comments did not transfer to DISQUS, because there was a lot of excellent content in the comments that I would love to be able to mine today.)
On November 6 of 2005 I posted Tough History Coming, an exploration into just why we’re in this handbasket and where we’re going. In that piece I linked to a column at The Belmont Club, Terrible Slow Sword that linked to a post at the Syrian blog Amarji that not only accurate predicts today’s events in Syria, but first raised the concept of our “Cold Civil War” to my attention:
Syria, barring a miracle, has the potential of turning into an ethnic and sectarian quagmire that will make Iraq and Lebanon in the heyday of its civil war look like a stroll in the park …. While neocons and liberals … argue … there are parts of the world that are going to hell in a hand-basket, reflecting the new cold war climate created by this internal debate. It looks as if America is having a nice cold civil war by proxy over its own identity and future.
The ideological components of this war might be taking place in the halls of academia and the congress and through US and international media, but the physical aspect is taking place in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, etc. Each camp here is producing, wittingly and unwittingly, its own allies there, both ideological and tactical. And like in all proxy wars, these allies are quite capable of furthering their own particularistic agendas by stoking the debate here. … this new American civil war … has to come to an end. Otherwise the war on terror can never be won and Iraq will be followed by Syria, then Lebanon then Sudan, then Saudi Arabia, then… You get the point.
(My emphasis.) Someone from outside the country, with the proper perspective, diagnosed what was going on here. Wretchard discounted the diagnosis:
The political “civil war” described by Amaraji is hardly unique to America. The same kind of hesitation over how to deal with terrorism afflicts nations in Europe, Asia and Africa — almost anywhere in the globe.
It might even be possible to argue that what Amaraji calls the ‘New American Civil War’, instead of driving events in Syria and Lebanon, is itself being driven by the structural shifts of the new century. It would go a long way toward explaining why the political structures of the late 1990s have been so deranged by September 11. The United Nations, transAtlantic diplomacy, the doctrine of deterrence which underpinned Cold War strategy, the entire multicultural and globalizing agenda — all of it — has been called into question not by a small cabal of neo-conservatives — that would be ludicrous — but by the pent-up force of thousands of events in a world now striding to the center stage of history.
No, it wasn’t “a small cabal of neo-conservatives,” and it isn’t just a war by proxy.
A few days after Tough History, I wrote March of the Lemmings, where I quoted several bloggers; Donald Sensing, the Geek with a .45, and one that I have quoted several times through the life of this blog, Ironbear from Who Tends the Fires (no longer online):
I have read a great deal of history. And I have read a great deal of past political debate and discourse. Like (Billy) Beck, the last time I recall that we were this irrevocably divided between major factions was in the 1850’s and 1860’s – and we actually went to war within ourselves over it.
The divide is once again that stark, and that bleak. It’s not “1968 all over again”, it’s 1858.
Unlike the first one, the dividing lines don’t cut across states. Like the first one, the dividing lines are drawn across views of the ownership of men…. of whether we are owned by ourselves or by The State.
It would be a mistake to paint the conflict exclusively in terms of “cultural war”, or Democrats vs Republicans, or even Left vs Right. Neither Democrats/Leftists or Republicans shy away from statism… the arguments there are merely over degree of statism, uses to which statism will be put – and over who’ll hold the reins. It’s the thought that they may not be left in a position to hold the reins that drives the Democrat-Left stark raving.
This is a conflict of ideologies…
The heart of the conflict is between those to whom personal liberty is important, and those to whom liberty is not only inconsequential, but to whom personal liberty is a deadly threat.
At the moment, that contingent is embodied most virulently by the “American” Left. This is the movement that still sees the enslavement and “re-education” of hundreds of thousands in South Vietnam, and the bones of millions used as fertilizer in Cambodia as a victory. This is the movement that sees suicide bombers as Minute Men, and sees the removal of a brutal murder and rape machine from power as totalitarianism. This is the movement that sees legitimately losing an election as the imposition of a police state. This is the movement that believes in seizing private property as “common good”. That celebrates Che Guevara as a hero. The movement who’s highest representatives talk blithely about taking away your money and limiting your access to your own homestead for your own good. The movement of disarmament.
The movement of the boot across the throat.
Think about it. When was the last time that you were able to engage in anything that resembled a discussion with someone of the Leftist persuasion? Were able to have an argument that was based on the premise that one of you was wrong, rather than being painted as Evil just because you disagreed?
The Left has painted itself into a rhetorical and logical corner, and unfortunately, they have no logic that might act as a paint thinner. It’s not possible for them to compromise with those that they’ve managed to conflate with the most venal of malevolence, with those whom they’re convinced disagree not because of different opinions but because of stupidity and evil, with those who’s core values are diametrically opposed to what the Left has embraced. There can be no real discourse, no real discussion. There’s no common ground. There can be no reconciliation there – the Left has nothing to offer that any adherent of freedom wants. The only way they can achieve their venue is from a position of political ascendency where it can be imposed by force or inveigled by guile.
And all adherents of freedom have far too many decades of historical precedent demonstrating exactly where that Leftward road leads – to the ovens of Dachau.
Read that whole piece and the links that still work, it’s worth your time. Not much has changed, but I think that one post illuminates the whole “Cold Civil War” we’re engaged in.
Michael Walsh, writing under the pseudonym David Kahane published a piece at NRO in November of last year, Cold Civil War, in which he exhorted the Right to get off its ass and fight back:
Despite all the evidence of the past several decades, you still have not grasped one simple fact: that, just about a century after the last one ended, we engaged in a great civil war, one that will determine the kind of country we and our descendants shall henceforth live in for at least the next hundred years — and, one hopes, a thousand. Since there hasn’t been any shooting, so far, some call the struggle we are now involved in the “culture wars,” but I have another, better name for it: the Cold Civil War
In many ways, this new civil war is really an inter-generational struggle, the War of the Baby Boomers. America’s largest generation, the famous “pig in the python,” has affected everything it’s touched, from the schools of the 1950s (not enough of them) through the colleges of the 1960s (changed, changed utterly), through the political movements of the 1970s and ’80s (revolution and counter-revolution), and into the present, where the war is still being waged.
Read that whole piece, too.
You see, there are three groups involved in this Cold Civil War: the political Left, which is heavily engaged; the political Right, which hasn’t recognized it as a war for the soul of the nation, and (I would hazard to guess) the Tea Party people who finally have. This isn’t a blanket statement, there are surely people on the political Left (the useful idiots) who don’t understand what “fundamentally transforming” the nation really means. There are those few on the political Right who do understand what it is, and there are Tea Party members who are completely clueless other than understanding that something is very, very wrong.
Then there’s the overwhelming majority of the population that just wants to know when the next episode of Jersey Shore will air.
But the rise of the Tea Party is, I think, a visceral response to the inaction of the political Right (in the form of their weak doppelgänger, the Republican Party) in the face of this war.
Thomas Sowell is right, the Left’s ideology requires them to be our shepherds – controlling our soft-drink, salt and nicotine intake, providing our health care, taking away our guns, telling us what kind of cars we ought to drive and where we should live – but that requires us to be sheep. Ironbear was right – to that ideology, personal liberty is a deadly threat.
And the Geek with a .45 is right when it comes to not only domestic, but world events:
Entire Societies Can and Have Gone Stark Raving Batshit Fucking Insane.
We’re watching Europe and the Middle East do it right now.
How long before it spreads here?