Summary: As the stress on the Republic increases and the cracks appear, people look ahead to the coming conflicts. Here William Lind spots an opportunity for the political factions in America to attack the Republic. Exciting times lie ahead.
By William S. Lind at Traditional Right, 1 April 2019.
Posted with his generous permission.
I just returned from three weeks in the Confederacy, where the breezes were balmy, the barbeque wonderful (conveniently, the Confederate government has outlawed any open observance of Lent) and the support for President Trump strong among his base. The Establishment’s endless venom directed against the president has, if anything, helped him. I sensed he may be taking on the status of a tragic hero, a good man trying to do the right thing who is thwarted at every turn by wicked forces at court. That is a somewhat ironic image for Donald Trump, but it is politically powerful. If I’m right, his enemies have given the president a wonderful gift.
I don’t think the base’s support for President Trump is a function of his position on issues. Some issues obviously are important, especially immigration and the wall. Native-born Americans have come, in too many places, to feel like strangers in their own country.
But something far more powerful than any issue is motivating the base: an ever-stronger feeling that it’s us against them. “Us” is average people who work for a living, follow the rules, go to church on Sunday, and try to be good fathers, mothers, and neighbors. “Them” is a mix of elites who despise average people, blacks and immigrants who live on working Americans’ tax payments while committing violent crimes and the Globalist 1% who get rich by exporting average peoples’ jobs.
Within this framework, “us” sees President Trump as their champion, and attacks on him just solidify their support for him. “Them”, meanwhile, are seeking their champion for the 2020 election from among a whole pack of skunks and weasels. What if the Democrats nominate someone from the far Left, someone as clearly “them” and Trump is “us”, and win?
From what I heard from the base during my trip, I don’t think it will accept that outcome, not when a radically Left Democratic president starts opening the borders, turning the White House into a LGBTQ wedding chapel and lets millions of black criminals out of jail while giving them the vote. At that point, there is going to be a rebellion.
In much of the South, the rebellion could take an old/new form: nullification. That issue seemed to be settled before the Civil War, when the Supreme Court ruled that states could not nullify acts of the federal government. But in recent years, nullification has come back, not from the Right but from the Left, and, because it is coming from the Left, it has been accepted by the Establishment. Two clear cases are laws regarding marijuana and enforcement of federal laws against illegal immigration. On the former, state after state has legalized marijuana despite federal law that makes its sale or use illegal. It is as clear a case of state-level nullification as I can imagine. With regard to illegal immigrants, many Left-ruled cities have proclaimed themselves “sanctuary cities” where local police will not enforce federal immigration laws.
This country’s legal heritage is Anglo-Saxon, not Roman, law in which precedent is highly important. Precedent has been established in both these cases that nullification is legal and the federal government should defer to it. The Left has set the precedents, but the Right can use them. What if Texas responds to opening of the borders by sending the National Guard and civilian volunteers to close it again? What if South Carolina refuses federal orders to release prisoners? A Supreme Court attuned to interpreting rather than creating laws would face conflicting precedents. It could get interesting.
If nullification fails, the Trump supporters I talked to throughout the South will not just say “Oh well, we tried, I guess we just have to accept being second-class citizens in our own country.” They are going to fight back. How, I don’t know. So long as a buoyant economy continues, it may provide enough glue to hold the country together. When the debt crisis hits and with it a second Great Depression, all bets will be off.
One thing is certain: the vast geography of red America, as seen in the 2016 election, will not allow itself to be ruled by the tiny blue enclaves–enclaves which cannot feed themselves. If the checkpoints start going up, that will be relevant.
Many on the Right fantasize about armed rebellion, often while fondling their guns. The Left also dream of revolution, but less often from guns. These common dreams – Wait for the Great Day When We Arise and Smite Our Oppressors – are distractions from contemplating our passivity and apathy (the core cause of our problems). Yea, Revolution in some vague future date! Pass the chips and TV remote.
Lind points to one of the many alternatives to mass action: nullification (see Wikipedia). This theory goes back to 1798, as some Southern states sought ways to back out of the Constitution regime. For over two centuries these attempts have failed. But the Left has given them an opening. The Left has been building a new political regime, brick by brick, on the weakening structure of the existing one. Weakening freedom of speech, weakening equal protection of the laws, attacks on the legitimacy of the Republic (including discrediting the Founding), and now allowing local nullification of Federal laws.
All of these loosen the binds tying us together. This creates opportunities for all foes of the Republic. Lind describes on such way.
What about “checkpoints”, cutting off food to the cities, etc? Dreams of bold action by a people unwilling to take even small actions to stop America’s decay. But continued growth of small scale political violence is likely. It has been endemic in America since the beginning. It’s part of our culture, for better or worse.
As for the Confederacy – I have no sympathy whatsoever for those who began the Rebellion in order to keep their slaves.
About the author
William S. Lind is director of the American Conservative Center for Public Transportation. He has a Master’s Degree in History from Princeton University in 1971. He worked as a legislative aide for armed services for Senator Robert Taft, Jr., of Ohio from 1973 to 1976 and held a similar position with Senator Gary Hart of Colorado from 1977 to 1986. See his bio at Wikipedia.
Mr. Lind is author of the Maneuver Warfare Handbook (1985), co-author with Gary Hart of America Can Win: The Case for Military Reform (1986), and co-author with William H. Marshner of Cultural Conservatism: Toward a New National Agenda (1987).
He’s perhaps best known for his articles about the long war, now published as On War: The Collected Columns of William S. Lind 2003-2009. See his other articles about a broad range of subjects…
- His posts at TraditionalRight.
- His articles about geopolitics at The American Conservative.
- His articles about transportation at The American Conservative.
For More Information
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If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about political violence, about civil disobedience, about reforming America: steps to new politics, and especially these …
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A cautionary tale for those seeking to exploit our political divisions.
Political Violence in the Weimar Republic, 1918-1933:
Fight for the Streets and Fear of Civil War.
By Dirk Schumann.
It can happen here. From the publisher …
“The Prussian province of Saxony – where the Communist uprising of March 1921 took place and two Combat Leagues were founded – is widely recognized as a politically important region in this period of German history. Using a case study of this socially diverse province, this book provides a comprehensive analysis of political violence in Weimar Germany with particular emphasis on the political culture from which it emerged. It refutes both the claim that the Bolshevik revolution was the prime cause of violence, and the argument that the First World War’s all-encompassing “brutalization” doomed post-1918 German political life from the very beginning.
“The study thus contributes to a view of the Weimar Republic as a state in severe crisis but with alternatives to the Nazi takeover.”
21 thoughts on “Bill Lind sees a crack in the Republic. Good for our foes!”
“What if Texas responds to opening of the borders by sending the National Guard and civilian volunteers to close it again?”
The converse seems more likely to me, that is to say, that Trump or a successor would dramatically Close The Border! and the resulting impact to the Texas economy would lead to drastic action in defiance of that order. (I mean, probably not literally sending out the Guard.) I lack of course the sacred illumination of Real Americaninity, I just am from Texas and know something about the state business climate.
That’s an interesting observation!
Two last paragraphs: Unfinished sentence?: “… It’s part of ???”
And: “As for the Confederacy – I have no sympathy whatsoever for those who began the Rebellion in order to keep their slaves.”
Sorry, I’m an outsider so I was not ‘exposed’ to your schools’ curricula. Based on what I learned through the many polemics and disputes on this theme made me think the Confederacy Rebellion was rather about states’ rights in regards of taxes and tariffs; and slavery, while surely a part of the secession, was used mainly as propaganda to vilify the Confederates during and after they lost the war…
(1) Thanks for catching the typo.
(2) “made me think the Confederacy Rebellion was rather about states’ rights in regards of taxes and tariffs;”
That’s a lie. The advocates of succession were quote open and specific about their goals: preserving slavery was the primary goal. There are many speeches and documents. They mention “taxes and tariffs” only incidentally. Here are four of the many many examples.
To mention just one of the many rebuttals to that comforting lie: neither Lincoln or the Republican platform threatened the South with any substantial change in Federal policy on taxes or tariffs. Nor had those long-standing policies threatened the South. Whereas the battles about slavery in the new territories of the West had been white-hot for a generation.
Thanks for this reply, Larry. As a black American it gets extremely tiresome batting down pro-Confederate revisionist history and so I fully appreciate when others pick up the slack.
Ditto. Like Sally Hemings, I’m one quarter West African, 3/4 Euro.
“Many on the Left fantasize about armed rebellion, often while fondling their guns.”
I see this on the right too.
OMG. That’s the typo! Should be “right”, not Left. Thanks for flagging this. Dyslexia takes many forms…
:) Dyslexia, he calls it. From an outsider’s POV Right and Left in the USA are meaningless quibbling about the extremism of a right-wing war party. One apologizes for foreign murder ( but reliably funds it ) and the other glories in it.
(1) “From an outsider’s POV Right and Left in the USA are meaningless quibbling …”
When looking at something you don’t understand, and you find experts’ analysis to be “meaningless quibbling” – then you probably don’t understand.
(2) “quibbling about the extremism of a right-wing war party”
First, left-wing governments are often enthusiastic about wars. War is not a Right or Left thing. Second, America’s mad foreign wars are not just “Right wing.” One of their major justifications is the “responsibility to protect” – a Left wing doctrine.
Third, foreign policy in the US has been bipartisan for most of our history. “Party differences end at the waters’ edge.” It has usually been source of strength.
I’ve re-written that paragraph – to be accurate, and for more clarity. Again, thanks for flagging that!
I’ve been thinking about the endgame for the American Republic. Maybe it’s because I’ve been ill recently, and i’m feeling a bit morbid. I see basically five possible scenarios that I won’t spell out here, but nullification has been one of them. I will point out that the checkpoint and starve them out strategy that Lind lays out is unworkable, for the simple reason that coastal cities (And that’s mostly what we’re talking about) can be fed from the sea, and the United Blue States Of America would find plenty of overseas allies willing to ship food and military aid. we’d actually have Russian and Chinese military bases and troops in North America inside of two weeks. There’s a reason why they formed the United States of America, and it’s because back then, they knew that the fate of the Disunited States Of America would likely be grim.
I’m punting on the question of whether an armed resistance movement would actually set up the checkpoints or what, if anything, might motivate them to do so. I don’t consider a hot civil war impossible. (Neither do I consider it the most probable outcome. I do think we are going to see more political violence) But the old wargamer in me, who has fought the Civil War many times pushing counters across a map, thinks that the people who talk about it haven’t thought it all the way through.
But I do agree with the Lind that given the attitude of the people in charge, we’re likely headed for a test of how much actual coercive power the Federal government has left.
I don’t like to directly contradict guest posts – but the right’s fantasies of armed conflict are imo nonsensical delusions. Our apathy and passivity have caused this situation. I see no signs whatsoever that we’ll suddenly transform into bold warriors.
If we were willing to act, we’d do simple political activism – as we’ve done so many times before. Sitting on our butts while dreaming of taking metal phallic objects in hand to fix America is just political porn. It is no more likely to happen than the average porn viewer to go out and screw three sizzlingly hot strippers in the public library.
“we’d actually have Russian and Chinese military bases and troops in North America inside of two weeks”
I hear this sort of thing so often, usually along the lines of “If California secedes, then China will invade it right away!”, or “If we cut our military spending, then the Russians will take over the US within a week!”
But why would China or Russia ever do that, even if it were realistically feasible? Why would China or Russia have any desire at all for territorial conquest in the Americas, or really anywhere in the world outside of their immediate spheres of influence?
Maybe that’s what would happen if the world worked like a video game, but it doesn’t. China or Russia could easily invade and occupy many smaller nations around the world, such as in Africa, Latin America, or elsewhere, but they do not do that. You can take a look around the world and see there is only one nation aggressively setting up military bases outside of its own hemisphere.
Thank you for dealing with this. I’ve grown tired of doing so. Conventional warfare is only for the insane between nuclear powers. And the people running China and Russia are hard-headed realists. The major power run by crackpots is the US.
This is a great thread. A couple of comments. I don’t dispute that the Civil War started for the reasons you said. It’s important to remember that a lot of historical analysis is becoming increasingly tribal. As Southern Whites see themselves as marginalized and attacked, they’re going to cling to their version of events for tribal reasons. Everyone does this, to a agree.
Lind’s point is that mammon currently holds our nation together. This will work as long as the mammon flows. I doubt it will flow forever. I see our type of economy and debt load as detached from reality. You’re a finance guy and you don’t, but doesn’t your livelihood depend on you seeing things this way?
Regarding whether or not there will every be a Day Where We All Rise Up, I don’t know. We’re not the people who fought the Revolution but you and are are essentially coastal elites. The bottom 3/5s of wage earners in this country haven’t seen a pay raise in 20-30 years according to data on the BLS website. They’ve seen their healthcare costs skyrocket and competition from foreign labor. They’re living a different existence than we are. There are also big regional differences in temperament and culture. Much of the South is a lot different than, say, California.
Whatever happens, I don’t see any glue holding us together but mammon. Should that stop, we have big problems on our hands. If 4GW breaks out all over our nation as it has in Mexico, I don’t think anything better will result like it did in 1776. I think, like LInd, that it’ll look a lot like the 14th century. Africa, for example, has had 4GW since they kicked the Europeans out and it’s not now a land of peace adn stability, though there are regional differences. We tend to believe that because we have a nation now, we’re only a Throwing of the Bastards Out from having a better one like in the past. I have many reasons to doubt this.
“but doesn’t your livelihood depend on you seeing things this way?”
“you and are are essentially coastal elites.”
I live in Iowa. For 15 years I ran a Boy Scout Pack and Troop in a mostly blue collar area. Going on two week treks in the mountains with men gives a difficult to beat knowledge of their concerns and thinking. Plus I know quite a few men in the military, both officers and NCOs – active duty and vets.
“Whatever happens, I don’t see any glue holding us together but mammon. ”
And that’s no glue at all. The Left has worked long and hard to dissolve all other forms of social cohesion in America, eliminating our greatest strength.
“I think, like LInd, that it’ll look a lot like the 14th century.”
I don’t ask for details about people’s doomster fantasies.
“I think, like LInd, that it’ll look a lot like the 14th century.”
Africa is an impressive failure. But it hasn’t regressed 7 centuries.
“We tend to believe that because we have a nation now, we’re only a Throwing of the Bastards Out from having a better one like in the past.”
I agree, this is not just absurd – but highlights our core problem: we shift responsibility for our problems to others. “Not my fault” should be on the dollar bill, replacing “out of many, one” – which no longer applies.
Is Bill Lind upset he didn’t get a shout-out from the New Zealand mass murderer like he did from Anders Breivik?
Can you make a rational rebuttal to his post? This isn’t a comedy channel, like most political websites (left and right), where such snippy comments are welcomed.
Coulda fooled me. A boy scout leader calling himself a Roman general in order to “save America” sounds like some pretty funny stuff.
Do you have a problem with reading comprehension? Nobody here calls himself “a Roman general.” As the name field says, I’m just the editor. As for the name of the website, that is explained in the About US page (on the top menu bar).