About the coming civil war (our third)

Summary: An increasing number of people predict that America soon will have another civil war. Here are the reasons America might suffer such a catastrophe, the stronger reason that we won’t, and the more serious threat.

“Sooner or later, everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.”
— Attributed to Robert Louis Stevenson.

Civil War - Dreamstime-128645019
ID 128645019 © Ilkin Guliyev | Dreamstime.

As political and social divisions have widened (again) in America, more people ask about the possibility of a civil war in America. That would be our third. First, the Revolution – fought between the third of America who were “Patriots” and the third who were “loyalists.” It was a matter of allegiance. Second, there was the Civil War, fought between geographical regions. Now we might have a war based on clashing values.

We have a clear warning from the Battleground Civility Poll by the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service: “Voters Find Political Divisions So Bad, Believe U.S. Is Two-Thirds Of The Way To ‘Edge Of A Civil War’.

“The political, racial, and class divisions in this country are getting worse and our national dialogue is breaking down.” 77% yes, 20% no.

“Compromise and common ground should be the goal for political leaders.” 87% yes, 11% no.

“I’m tired of leaders compromising my values and ideals. I want leaders who will stand up to the other side.” 84% yes, 13% no.  {Note the contradiction between this answer and that to the previous question.}

“For each one, please tell me if you think this item is very, somewhat, a little, or not at all responsible for the increase in bad behavior in American politics.” {They ask about the usual suspects. They do not ask respondents if we, the American people, are responsible.}

“On a scale of 0 to 100, where ‘0’ is there is no political division in the country and where ‘100’ is political division on the edge of a civil war, where would you rank the level of political division in the country?” {This shows the volatility in public opinion about this, but at high levels.}

  • April 2019 mean answer: 94%.
  • October 2019 mean: 67%.

A June 2018 Rassmussen Poll found that 31% of likely U.S. voters say it is “Likely” that the United States will experience a second civil war sometime in the next five years, with 11% saying it is “Very Likely.” But this is almost identical to the answers given in Obama’s second year in office. But what would have been the number saying yes in 1968, with America wracked by race and anti-war riots? Probably much higher.

In a NYT op-ed, Charlie Warzel gives a good description of the origin and popularity on the Right of the “coming civil war” meme. For example, in July 2018 Victor Davis Hanson (professor emeritus of Classics at California State University, Fresno) wrote “The Origins of Our Second Civil War.” Other similar essays are last year’s “The Civil War on America’s Horizon” by William S. Smith in The American Conservative, and “It’s Time For The United States To Divorce Before Things Get Dangerous” by Jesse Kelly at The Federalist.

The WaPo gives a more analytical warning about rising risks of civil war (started, of course, by evil conservatives): “In America, talk turns to something not spoken of for 150 years: Civil war.” Then there are ominous ramblings, such as the New Yorker’s “Is America Headed for a New Kind of Civil War?” and NPR’s “Another ‘Civil War’? Pessimism About Political Violence Deepens In A Divided Nation.” But as with most on the Left, Warzel and these other naifs are blind to rising violence on their own side – such as from Antifa.

Why there will be no civil war

If social and political tensions continue to increase – especially during economic downturns – there will be peasants protests. Like the many in the past, the “Million Vet March“, the Occupy and Tea Party Movements. These blow off steam, often resembling a combination of riots and street parties. They are no threat to even slightly competent rulers.

What about the people, mostly but not exclusively conservatives, talking about the Great Day In the Vague Future When We Take Our Guns And Rise Up to Smite Our Oppressors! Bold talk! Are they willing to commit their Lives, Fortunes, and sacred Honor?

What we do know is that few Americans are willing to exert themselves to the slightest degree while waiting for the Great Day. Only half vote in midterm elections. Turnout in local elections, where a vote really matters, are usually half that. Local primary elections, the key step selecting who will run, often have turnouts of 10% (our mayor was elected with a margin of 8 votes).

Midterm national election turnout

Americans whine loudly about the choices on the ballot. But few Americans vote in the primaries, which decide who gets on the ballots (I was a poll worker in the October primary; it was dead quiet). Even fewer get involved beyond the bare minimum of voting by donating their time or money – the powerful ways to affect the system.

A more serious danger

The political machinery bequeathed us by the Founders remains powerful, but requires our energy to work. That is something we no longer appear willing to give. Perhaps we should wonder about our right to complain about the system when we do so little to make it work. As I have so often written, apathy and passivity are our foes these days. They brought down the Roman Republic. They can bring down our Republic as well. If we refuse to bear the burden of self-government, others will run American – in their interests, not ours. If we let that happen, let’s not whine about it.

If you do not like that future, let’s try politics before violence. Let’s no hurry to burn America into a third world nation.

“Every nation has the government it deserves.”
Joseph de Maistre (lawyer, diplomat, philosopher) in a letter dated 13 August 1811, published in Lettres et Opuscules.

Books about a coming of civil war

The Right’s version: Stop the Coming Civil War: My Savage Truth by Michael Savage (2014).

William Lind’s story about the fall of the USA, and what follows: Victoria: A Novel.

The Left’s perspective: American War by Omar El Akkad (2017).

For More Information

Ideas! For shopping ideas see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

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 …

Read about a real civil war. It ended badly.

Political Violence in the Weimar Republic, 1918-1933:
Fight for the Streets and Fear of Civil War
.

By Dirk Schumann.

Dick Schumann: "Political Violence in the Weimar Republic 1918-1933: Battles for the Streets and Fears of Civil War"
Available at Amazon.

It can happen here. The people of Weimar could have avoided it – as we still can avoid it. 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.”

 

83 thoughts on “About the coming civil war (our third)”

      1. True, but in the other wars enough people were not afraid of losing everything. I just don’t see my neighbors taking to arms, at least not yet.

        There isn’t civil war in California, and they are way further down the Clown World curve than most of the country. Granted, some people are pulling up the stakes and leaving the once Golden State, though it is barely a trickle.

        Sure, some polls say that half of Californians are thinking about leaving, but they are just fantasizing and most will stay put. We lived there many years ago, when it was a lot less insane than now, and I remember friends and acquaintances, especially those of “conservative” persuasions, yammering about leaving. Then we announced we were leaving and those same people were incredulous. They couldn’t believe we had chosen to leave “paradise”. 30 years later and I don’t know of anyone from that old circle who also left. One couple comes to mind. They constantly tell us that they hate it there. Telling them to sell their shack and move over where we are, where nice new houses cost half of what their decrepit shanty would fetch is an exercise in futility.

        People are very apathetic and will put up with just about anything,

      2. I agree with Frank’s assessment of California. being Apathy as the main reason. I myself plan to moving all the way up to the Olympic penninsula. but make no mistake Califorina is still a big economic engine and surmise why people still stay.

        Colleges
        Hollywood
        Silicon Valley
        Wine/beer industry
        Pot
        Military/Industrial complex
        Aliens
        Indian casinos
        Beaches
        Mountains
        Deserts
        too many, theres just too many things going on.

      3. LcPl,

        “and surmise why people still stay.”

        We moved from the San Francisco Bay Area last year. There is a flood of people leaving. The reasons you list are far weaker than the disadvantages, which I suspect you are unaware of.

        “The survey of 4,527 registered California voters conducted by {Berlekley’s} Institute of Governmental Studies found that 52% had given “serious” or “some” consideration to leaving.” {From Reuters.}

      4. Larry,

        I agree with a bunch of people leaving, mostly the retirees and low educated/low skilled, folks priced out, but here in Socal (which I know is also going on in SF) is that more fresh college grads or new rich (like Chinese students, Iranian tech folk) are moving in. So how do you square folks leaving with folks moving into CA.

        As a corollary there are also a bunch of homeless which seem to be coming from out of state coming in. Back in the Dust Bowl era, it was the LAPD in the 1930s that posted all the way towards NV and Arizona border to stop Okies from coming in. CHP was small then, so LAPD had to do it, and i guess thru Nevada and Arizona were the only routes the Okies could pass into California. I’m thinking why not do that again.

        But then again, look at the Okies today, they’re the ones that have made CA into a bread basket. I’m sure they are the ones leaving too, having trained Mexicans, to take over for them, unintended consequence.

        My point is, there is fresh blood coming into CA, ones who are value added, I’ve seen barristas and waitresses here from Duke or Brown universities. they come here, they start off at the bottom, and within 1 to 2 years, they are already in some posh position. so there’s forward momentum. The skilled workers are mostly from India i noticed. But again value added. someone asked why Californians aren’t gonna riot or war, well sure there is Apathy, but there is also Comfort that’s because there’s money going around.

        So long as you have Comfort, which i surmise is brought on by people coming in, no one’s gonna complain. Fox News always focuses on the homeless crisis, which i agree is a crisis, but one easily absorbed by California. I believe as of now we don’t have any coal powered power plants anymore replaced by natural gas, we have one nuke near San Luis Obispo, and one thermo at Mammoth. the rest is water, then solar and wind generated.

        Take that power production as analogy to how robust the California economy is, with plenty of industries. I’m priced out, hence the plans to move out. But if I won the lottery tomorrow, i’d totally stay in California and play. I’d especially use the wealth to push out these Chinese students buying up property and race cars here. I’d push ’em to the Mid West so they see first hand what buying plastics in Walmart will get you— which is a bunch of ahole Chinese kids in their 20s who are spending in the millions.

    1. Anthony Schrim Jr.

      It is pathetic that after 160 years that supposedly educated, intelligent people still don’t see the American Civil War as a war about values and continue to characterize it euphemistically as a georaphic conflict in the contrived tradition os the so called lost cause.

      It was a war about whether or not one people had a right to ensalve another people because they thought they were better or because salvery was better for them and the society they created based on salvery. You lost me after the first paragraph as someone shallow and insensitive and therefore unqualified to render an informed opinion regardless of the facts that your educated facade can muster.

      Slavery has morphed; it is more sophisticated and just as immoral as it was 160 years ago and the data support that a war IS coming.The exact form that war takes will depend considerably on the response of our political institutions and politicians-just as it did 160 years ago. And although the Federal government is more firmly entrenched in a way that didnt really exist in 1860, it is not impervious to violent rebellion-as we saw in the 1960’s and as we are beginning to see more and more now. 2060 is not that far away.So read a book about it.Take a class. I recommend David Bright at Yale. Stop trying to be a pedantic expert.That is part of what is wrong today.Too many well credentialed experts that do not know the most basic facts.

      1. Anthony,

        You are missing the point. THe lines in the civil war were geographical. Yes, those lines represented different cultures and values. But some people fought for the Confederacy not because they supported slavery, but because their loyalty to their State was higher than to the Union. Hence it can be considered a geo conflict.

        The relevant point here is not the details of the 1860s, but that there dividing lines now are purely values. Not geographic.

        “Slavery has morphed; it is more sophisticated”

        I think you are changing the definition of slavery. This isn’t Alice in Wonderland, when you can make words mean whatever you want to.

        “the data support that a war IS coming.”

        What data?

    2. Well when the Two hundred thousand Islamic Muslims on our welfare system populate to CONCOR and attack physical wars on our future leaders and Christian Structure of pur American Citizens I suppose BRAVE PATRIOTS will kick butt . It will come the Words come out of these REFUGEE mouths not once not old but all age and many platforms so American if you think it’s not delivered and declare . 1967 black panthers Islam movement said by 2040 USA will be an Islam nation Obama powered up the population.

      1. Michele,

        “said by 2040 USA will be an Islam nation”

        Bizarrely false. A small fraction of the immigrants are Islamic. The most common religion is Roman Catholic.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_to_the_United_States#Origin

        “In 2016, Christians represent 73.7% of the total population, 48.9% identifying as Protestants, 23.0% as Catholics, and 1.8% as Mormons, and are followed by people having no religion with 18.2% of the total population.”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_United_States

  1. “There is no new thing under the sun” ecclesiastes 1:9.

    “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors” Plato.

    Perhaps the most reliable indicator of a renewed enthusiasm in the population would be an increase in voter participation in elections. I imagine that the statistics are readily available but I wonder if there is any marked variation in participation rates when elections for local positions, ( county/ city council etc) and corresponding house of representatives and senate are compared.

      1. I agree. I wasn’t calling for one, it’s what I see coming in 2020. Of course, I could be wrong.

        I hope the lure of free everything and a world without oil stays in the minority. For the sake of our Republic.

    1. If the Constitution should challenge the dominance of my group — to Hell with the Constitution! -Ron Stabb, 2019

  2. Liberalism is a disease

    It wouldn’t be much of a war when leftists hate firearms, let alone lack the experience and knowledge of how to use them. There’s alot of us combat seasoned veterans who take our oath to the grave: “To support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and DOMESTIC”. It would be wise of them to remember that.

    1. Liberalism,

      Yes, I can see that you are or can easily become a domestic foe of the Republic. The sort who starts fires than whines about the resulting destruction. But I’m confident that the majority of Americans understand that extremists like you are a danger to be suppressed.

      1. Reminds me of my military buddies.

        Aaaaaagh!!! 2nd Amendment, we shoot you.

        Me: Who’s your US Congress rep? i dunno

        Me: Name one of your Senators? I dunno

        Me: Who’s your state Governor? i dunno

        Me: Do you atleast know someone in your city council or county gov, or school district? i dunno

        Me: How many letters or have many times have you showed your face to your public representatives? i have like 20 AR builds, duh; and 2 AKs. duh

      2. LCpl,

        That’s well said. The response to the 130+ posts about ways to reform American politics is overwhelmingly of one kind: surrender. “It’s hopeless.” “We’re just weak pitiful kittens.” “Can’t be done, but I have my guns!” When I ask these weaklings if they have ever become politically involved, the answer is almost always no.

        Another indicator: those posts tend to get fantasically few pageviews – typically 1000 in the first week. Reading about a call to work, to even risk – makes most Americans flee in terror (like vampires confronted with sunlight). But this post about a civil war has already gotten over 10 thousand hits (as of 11 am EST).

    2. I’m on your side, but don’t underestimate the firepower, training, and will to use it on the Left. Antifa are quite well-armed, and need to be taken very seriously

      1. 370H55V,

        I assume you’re kidding. The number of people in Antifa is a microscopic fraction of the US population – and I’ll bet most of them have no interest in an armed rebellion. They just like mild rioting.

        The Boy Scouts are better armed, better led, and there are a lot more of them. Then there are the police, the National Guard, and the active duty military.

  3. I totally agree with you , Larry.

    Too much 2nd Amendment, not enough 1st Amendment. Express yourself in townhalls, vote everytime you can. Write to your politicians. Join groups, like VFW, AL, or the Masons, start your own group, whatever. then write and show as a group.

    in my district, Katie Hill just resigned. Now I voted for Steve Knight, and am happy he’ll run again. But she should’ve stayed and fought.

    “Hell, yeah I grabbed her p*ssy! she asked me to, but she grabbed my bong first!!!”; or “that Iron Cross is Prussian, not German nor Nazi!!! I’m German (i don’t know if she is…) !!!” but that’s all 2nd Amendment stuff.

    She’s already an avowed lesbian. Why didn’t she just dug and fought? Like Tulsi Gabbard vis-a-vis Hillary’s claim that she was a Russian asset, she fought back.

    I like seeing politicians fight back , instead of offering fake apologies , is my point here. They need to fight back. This stuff that Joe Biden and McConnell are doing, selling us to China, enriching their “foundations” and “private equity funds”, has to stop.

    I want younger politicians out there willing to fight, not old folks just raking in the dough to their graves. Hell, by the time you’re 45 yrs old , you shouldn’t be able to run for the House of Reps any longer; 55 for the Senate, how’s that for some change, Larry???

    65 yr old , should be the limit for President. Nope, go to Arizona already. lol!!!

    Civil War ain’t gonna happen. like sex, everyones getting their fix online. everythings Virtual these days, Larry. I think everyone too busy flaming Twitter or facebook, and that’s Civil War enough for everyone. no one’s gonna go out and fight, probably if you turned off the internet.

    But that’s more of a long shot.

  4. Vote – don’t vote. Demonstrate – don’t demonstrate. It makes very little difference. We have next to no control.

    1. Richard,

      Thank central casting for sending you over as a demonstration of apathy and passivity – preemptive surrender. Please get out of the way of actual Americans who want to keep the Republic going.

      1. Follow-up note to Richard’s comment:

        Previous generations of Americans fought and even died to keep the Republic alive. They were willing to risk their “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor” for it – and for us.

        Now many Americans spend an hour voting every two years (at most), find that this doesn’t help – and whine that it’s all just too hopeless. As I and others have written, our greatest danger is that too many Americans find the burden of self-government too great to bear. My guess is that they won’t like what comes next – and will whine endlessly about it.

  5. This kind of talk and this kind of thinking is terrible but @ the end of the day GOD is and will always be in control of this world and having said that and believe that, I’m not worried about what man is going to try and do. remember Jesus is the answer.

    1. Tim,

      “This just a stupid premise.”

      So all the people writing books and articles about this, and the large fraction of Americans who worry about it, aren’t smart enough to see that this is “stupid”? Good to know!

      But just for the record, could you please explain why this is “stupid”?

  6. The Man Who Laughs

    Civil War is impossible for now because civil wars require two sides. The Roman civil war that brought Caesar to absolute power was a war between rival senators. (Later there would be wars between rival Generals.) The American Civil War was a war between Northern and Southern ruling elites. Right now, both parties are pretty much united on the major stuff (Including the fact that they both hate Trump.) The one percent can’t have a civil war with itself.

    Having said that, political violence and armed revolts are possible, if not civil war. If the current coup attempt fails, I would not be surprised to see the Left resort to armed insurrection, although that won’t take the form of someone touching off a cannon to fire on Fort Bragg, or whatever. John Robb at Global Guerillas has written about the possibility of someone robocalling bomb threats into selected polling places to disrupt a Presidential election.I would not be surprised to see Antifa or Black Lives Matter or whatever taking over polling places and the police not dispersing them. The Right has most of the guns, but the Left has most of the organized shock troops, at least for now. The Right comes in for a lot more in the way of surveillance and mostly recruits from a less intelligent population that has less to gain from even successful violence. (Antifa types expect to be part of the future ruling class. Right wing militia types not so much)

    The Smart People in Congress seem to think that the current ongoing coup is a better way of removing Trump than just running an issue oriented campaign and beating him to snail snot at the polls. The short term prospect of political violence depends at lot on what happens if this plan fails. (Which it probably will)

    1. The man,

      “If the current coup attempt fails, I would not be surprised to see the Left resort to armed insurrection,”

      That’s how most of the writing about this goes – those evil doers on the other side will fight! Total nonsense.

      Perhaps in the future divisions will widen and willingness to fight will increase. Zero evidence of it so far.

    2. THe Man,

      Correction to ” Total nonsense.”

      It is not total nonsense. It is agitprop to excite the flock, like dogs barking to set a flock of sheep in motion. The Left says that Trump will start an armed insurrection if he doesn’t win in 2016, or if he is removed from office. The Right says “If the current coup attempt fails, I would not be surprised to see the Left resort to armed insurrection.”

      It is a sad day in America when such low-grade propaganda works. Perhaps we are no longer capable of self-government. This gullibility is why on my (long) list of ways to reform America, high on the list is developing skepticism – and re-gaining some clear sight of the world.

      1. The Man Who Laughs

        “t is not total nonsense. It is agitprop to excite the flock, like dogs barking to set a flock of sheep in motion. ”

        If you could stop doing lines of hate and contempt for ordinary Americans long enough to read what I actually wrote, you would see that it was speculation about the next step, not agitprop. I said that there was no possibility of civil war in the immediate future, and I stand by that. it would require, among other things, two sides. But someone seems to be trying to take down the President these days. I see two possible outcomes. 1.) They succeed. 2.) They fail. If 2.) then they either A.) Admit that they failed, and set about winning an election, or B.) proceed on to some other plan. Any plan other than an election or impeachment for removing a President would seem to involve some ugly possibilities. If you feel that B) exists nowhere on the possible decision tree, well…I guess you’re entitled to your opinion. If you want to say that I’m a horrible human being engaged in distributing agitprop for thinking that B could occur, well…I guess you’re entitled to that opinion too. But you you don’t seem to get around to stating much of reason why B could not possibly occur. . Given that Trump’s opponents never accepted the outcome of the last election, I’m not sure why you think they’ll feel any different about the next one if he wins. I think we’ve seen some pretty strange things these last three years. We may see stranger things yet.

        That’s my last word on this topic. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to be distributing more agitprop.

      2. The Man,

        You were quite clear, and I responded to what you said.

        “If the current coup attempt fails, I would not be surprised to see the Left resort to armed insurrection,”

        There is zero evidence of that. Both sides are peddling that story about their foes. Neither has the slightest bit of evidence for it.

    3. The Man,

      I agree with you. “Trump will not accept the election. Trump colluded with the Russians. Trump quid pro quo with the Ukrainians. Trump is politicizing the justice system…” Treat everything the left says as a declaration of what they are doing. In that vein, I have several liberal friends who have openly declared they are ready for a civil war. You and I know they won’t openly revolt, but they will try to touch it off by instigation … if not false flags.

      1. citizen,

        “I have several liberal friends who have openly declared they are ready for a civil war.”

        Ditto on the Right. Most of these are people that can’t be bothered to do citizenship beyond an hour for voting every two years. But they fantasize about being Big And Bold – like children pretend to be Captain Kirk exploring the galaxy.

        Other than a few crazies who look forward to the violence, the odds of these people risking their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor in a civil war is imo microscopic. Talking about it masks their awareness that they are derelect in their responsibilities as citizens.

    1. Asrakask,

      I started with the second one, which in the opening says this: “the Right doesn’t really have Institutions or even that many effective organizations.”

      That’s quite false, as I’ve documented in scores of posts. The Left owns academia and the old-school foundations. The Right has spent decades building a decentralized web of organizations to challenge them. The lavishly funded think-tanks, such as CATO, Heritage, and the Hoover Institute. The conservative academic institutions, such as the U Chicago Economics team and its satellites. The web of organizations that locate, recruit, train, and support people from the grassroots, such as the Young Republicans (the SHAME PROJECT biographies show how this network works). The large grass-roots agitprop organizations, such as the NRA and Chamber of Commerce (far different than its original form).

      They have invested and reaped a thousand-fold.

      Instead of all this, the author is excited about “Based Stickman” – somebody a tiny fraction of Americans even know of, and even fewer admire.

      I lost interest at this point.

  7. No matter how divided we are I think the chances of an actual civil war is close to 0%. A very small fringe of civilians are willing to shoot others and be shot at over politics or anything. The whole idea of it sounds horrible to most everyone. Even the most politically engaged prefer to be keyboard warriors not real ones. The closest we wil get are these small groups like Antifa and Proud Boys. They have limited growth potential because normies want to stay far far away from their battles.

    1. Jay,

      I agree.

      My guess (guess) is that the exciting talk about civil war – On That Great Day – is some form of response to our awareness that we’re failing in the duties of basic citizenship.

  8. FM, thank your for writing this post. I suspect it was written for a large number of reasons including, at least in small part, my comments in several of your recent posts. I will share my vision (or lack of it) and let people shoot holes in it.

    First we need to define what I foresee coming. I have said that the time of evolutionary government at the Federal level is just about over for an unknowable amount of time. I have also said that the time for revolutionary government at the Federal level has either arrived or is close to arriving. When I make these statements I DO NOT mean that armed conflict will necessarily break out.

    Of the three examples I gave (US Civil War, Great Depression, and Nixon resigning), only one featured armed conflict. I also need to point out that the end of the Civil War DID NOT end the social crisis that spawned it. That slowly ended over the next 4+ years of normal government and the continuing amendments ending slavery in the Northern states (The Emancipation Proclamation only ended legal slavery in states that were in rebellion against the Federal government, Lincoln was a remarkable politician).

    The Great Depression was an economic problem caused by the excesses of the Gilded and Jazz Ages and was only completely defeated by the US entering WWII. FDR did a lot to reduce the worst (and most photogenic) problems of the Great Depression but he couldn’t completely defeat it. Many of his actions were overturned by the court system because they violated previous laws (this led FDR to attempt to stuff the US Supreme Court with his appointees, an effort which ultimately failed).

    Nixon’s resignation is not the significant event of the social revolutions that followed over the next decade but I use it as an easy label for the social problems that grew up in the 1960’s and were made considerably worse by the Baby Boomers seizing political power and the repercussions that followed. General social distrust of large organizations, Companies dropping pension plans with long term obligations. The long slow painful recession of 1972-4. The Federal Reserve having to take a much larger and more public role in running the economy. Huge turmoil about Vietnam and its aftermath, etc.

    When I describe evolutionary government, I mean programs that are publicly discussed, well thought-out, voted upon multiple times by Congress before going into effect. The introduction of the Independent Retirement Account (IRA) is a good example.

    When I speak of revolutionary government, I’m NOT talking about blood in the streets. I’m speaking of rapid changes in government policy that are not well planned and have unforeseen consequences. Trump leaving the Syrian Kurds is a very small classic example. He COULD have held discussions with the Kurds, Turks, and the Syrian government. Set up a deal that had consensus on all sides with obvious problems for people who violated the agreement and made the process public.

    But he didn’t and now we’ve got a back-and-forth mess on our hands. So far the only saving grace of the mess is that it is small and far away. Internal policy decisions tend to have larger and more upsetting effects on the balance of government. An example of this is the various changes to Social Security since the 1970’s. About half have been about evolutionary and half revolutionary. The revolutionary changes have frequently needed immediate changes due to unforeseen side effects and our society is NOT AT ALL certain that we’ve got a stable system going forward.

    I don’t know what will happen to trigger revolutionary government, I don’t know when it will occur, and I don’t know the outcome. I only know that it will happen sometime soon and my best guess is less than 6 months but I’ve been wrong before and I’d be happy to be wrong this time.

  9. Now I’d like to address FM’s statements about how we can take back the government and create effective change. His comments, as usual are generally valid. But they are based on two assumptions, one of which I can prove is historically ill-informed and one of which everybody else who have posted here has proven is currently inaccurate.

    Assumption #1:
    He accurately states that the Federal engine of voting for politicians is not broken and can still be used by common people to effect change. But, contrary to his opinion, it has virtually NEVER been used by the common people in the 240 years of our nation’s history.

    The website below (please forgive my lack of knowledge on web formatting) shows that the percentage of the population that voted in presidential elections has not changed substantially since 1828 (when records were first kept). Voting percentages creep up during crisis years and fall back immediately after the crisis appears to have ended. The best estimates for elections prior to 1824 are that they involved less than 5% of the population (mostly due to voting restriction laws that were struck down by the US Supreme Court before 1828).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_turnout_in_the_United_States_presidential_elections

    That means that we, the people of the US, are behaving about the same way our ancestors did with similar results. The big difference is the Internet which allows us to communicate loudly and with less civility in the past.

    Assumption #2:
    He accurately states that a united people can create change in how our government works. He’s right folks. No question about it. But we’re NOT united in most large issues, that is why they are large issues.

    The response to this article proves my statement. There has been a lot of response and very little agreement on whether this is a problem and future possible steps to make things better. Again, historically speaking, this is not new. But in the past, the US population was generally so unaware of what their neighbor thought that they were not aware of their differences. Also when they spoke to each other, it started off with civility (regardless of how it ended).

    For the moment, the Internet has ended that happy innocence and everybody casually insults people without regard for consequences. Folks, it is my sad duty to tell you that there are ALWAYS consequences to a lack of civility towards your neighbor.

    Can we unite in the future? Absolutely! But I don’t see it as possible until revolutionary government makes our lives sufficiently miserable and that could take quite a while given how loudly some of you have screamed at each other.

    It can be even harder to achieve consensus if the leaders of our Federal government make decisions that reward some people at the expense of others (either knowingly or unintentionally). But I’ve been wrong before and I’d be very happy if FM could prove me wrong this time.

  10. When did America begin to stray? Perhaps the image of a United America strong in one vision never did exist. There was disagreement from the start among the founding fathers. They fought about everything but found ways to compromise to create our governing document the US Constitution.
    Yet, still they fought. A once vice president killed a founder of the national bank over discordant political views. A founder of the Texas Republic beat a senator near to death over insults stemming from political differences. A civil war was fought over slavery (an economic argument about wealth in the plantation south and how to replace it).
    The twentieth century rolled in and the discord was still there. Arguments on how to help the poor, how many immigrants were too many, what was the role free black America was to have, health care, education, religion and government’s role in it (passive, active or none at all), the rights of those old enough to fight but unable to vote, freedom to vote, freedom to go to school without threat of violence for just wanting to better one’s self and in turn better America through solid education.
    The questions seem simple to answer philosophically but the pragmatic view tells us all that other factors play into the formation of an answer. Each one of us will be influenced by what we have learned in our homes, by our choices of friends, our levels of education and wealth.
    If the country is to survive it must be with a view to the man who could have been King and said no. George Washington had the command of the forces in America before the US Constitution was in existence. A man who commanded the greatest respect and, truly, held the power of what this country could be in his hands simply placed his trust in the duty that had been given-securing the freedom of thirteen colonies that they might together decide what this country was to become. He didn’t wish to be anything more than a servant of freedom for the people.
    The country they formed will always be on a fitful path. None of us will get everything we want all at once. Some things will come to us, others may come after our generation is gone, some things may never happen. If we go to war over these things then we will have learned nothing but to act like unmindful brats who refuse to believe in anyone’s rights but our own while beating our chest about the Constitution being on our side.
    I don’t want that America and I don’t believe George Washington did either. After all he chose not to be a King…

  11. An interesting article as always, but I wanted to point out a way that you have been informative on my (generally left-leaning) perspective — by discussing the prospect of a hypothetical Third Republic arising in the future, a lot of the terror has faded away for it, at least for me. Sure, it would suck – there would be upheaval – but a major reformation of the government happening in my lifetime is not the end times.

    In the words of Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen: “In the end? Nothing ends, Adrian; nothing ever ends.”

    1. SF,

      (1) “by discussing the prospect of a hypothetical Third Republic arising in the future”

      I don’t say anything remotely like that. A bureaucratic authoritarian regime can take any of a thousand forms. Open your mind to the many possibilities seen in the past, and the new possibilities that lie in the future.

      (2) “a major reformation of the government happening in my lifetime is not the end times.”

      A major reform of the government is not the “end times”? That makes no sense. There is no sign of “major reform” coming. And who believes that would be the end times? That’s nuts.

      (3) “In the end? Nothing ends, Adrian; nothing ever ends.”

      First, that is grossly false. Nations, peoples, religions, cultures — all die. As Queen Gertrude says to Hamlet in Act I, scene 2: “all that lives must die.” Second, I suggest you listen to a real genius instead of cartoons.

      “Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is long past, the ocean is flat again.”
      — John Maynard Keynes in A Tract on Monetary Reform (1923).

  12. There’s only two choices in the near future if things don’t change. AMERICA will have another civil war or America will be brought down as we have known it. And will not be the land of the free. God Almighty controls and protects the true patriots of America. Our forefathers laid down their lives to give us this great nation. And the true patriots of America will do the same when called for. If the liberal democrats has it their way , they would bring down the America Foundation and the Constitution today. We want be fighting against true American people, but traitors and terrorist within our nation walls. These liberals isn’t Americans and we want be at war with 🇺🇸 AMERICAN people. But traitors to our nation , possess demonic demons out of HELL. AMERICA must be protected from the enemies both forigein and domestic. As I proclaim and stand as being a Christian, never being ashamed or rejecting for being a child of God. That also goes for being an American patriot. We are born and death is coming to every living soul one day. I would rather go to a premature grave for protecting our great nation. Than let any party or traitors bring it down.
    And any true blooded American would lay down their life to protect it. So many Americans has been bitten by this liberal copperheads and been educated brainwash against God and country. The future of America lays in the hands of God. To those that loves God and country. Just like the blessed nation called Israel 🇮🇱.

  13. Left wing radical idiots in Washington.
    Push harder and harder to take away individual freedoms.
    Having lived thru the 8 years of that progressive moron obama.
    That accelerated the chaotic disintegration breakdown of race religion and politics. obama and michelle hated whites
    It was highlighted in their antics and speeches. With trevon .. brown… The lying college professor in California and with jussie smottes in Chicago (obama’s attorney).
    First time ever proud to be an American.
    The onslaught of his regime flooding this country with followers, of the pedophile murdering rapist secular cult of islam.
    If a war is on this shore… It will come as no surprise to me… People are getting fed up with states like California and New York and politicians. Talks of gun confiscation
    The real question is which side wud you line up with.
    Only China, Russia, and Killer Cults wud be the big winners

  14. Exactly… Why wud anyone be stupid enough to put their necks out… By saying something stupid like that… Have an opinion.. Express it coherently…
    Unless you are on facebook. Those Nazi Gestapo Moderators.
    Will ban you every single time you speak out the truth against the pedophile rapist murdering abuser of women and children.in the secular cult of islam. But that’s another topic.
    Dude your an idiot…. Your on the radar for being ignorant of lacking fore thought

      1. Begging your pardons Sir…
        As I Thought the Reply Tab was pressed
        My inference was toward a comment given by John Purvis.
        People forget that internet comments survive forever.
        You really need to do an article on Facebook censorship.
        How disparaging comments, memes are accepted and almost encouraged against Christianity and Catholicism.
        Speak out against the male dominated secular cult of islam.
        The transgressor is instantly banned from 7 to 30 days.
        Speak out about the open murder and hypocrisy of muslims killing gay boys.
        Face book punishment is minimum 30 days no activities on their site.
        Have a good day
        Sincerely and Best Regards
        Mike

      2. Mike,

        Thanks for the explanation! I deleted Purvis’ comment because calls for violence violate our comment policy. But doing so orphaned all the replies.

        I should have deleted the content – not the comment – with a note to that effect. Sloppy, a side-effect of running things on the fly from my iPhone. My apologies for the confusion caused by my mistake.

      3. Is all good Sir… You know you’re a vanishing nearly extinct group of people. Akin to ancient vestages of modern humans.
        There aren’t any editors left looking for congenial opposing opinions.
        I watch One America News. When I need current American and World News.
        Here’s another story line for an article.
        The useless obsolete corrupt U.N.. And Why it shud be moved to Europe.
        Then the property turned into trade schools. As well as domicile for single women with kids.
        Which wud include child development careers provided by free day care of the trade school women.

      4. Mike,

        “There aren’t any editors left looking for congenial opposing opinions.”

        For good reason. Like everything else, it is demand-driven. Audiences want only tribal truths, websites that provide carefully curated material that supporters the tribe’s views and biases. Look at most of the major – nodal – websites.

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  16. Lower the voting age to 16.
    Give illegal immigrants the vote (Nancy Pelosi March 5th speech)—-open the border & promise free healthcare (essentially, to the world).
    Grant D.C. Statehood
    Give incarcerated felons voting rights
    End free speech
    Abolish 2nd Amendment
    Pack the Supreme Court
    End the Electoral College checks & balance
    Invalidate elections won by Republicans (via technicality investigation)
    Set progressives above the law
    Remove voter ID
    Deploy environmental codes to control individual behaviors
    Control healthcare (which inevitably shall be rationed according to political favor)
    Create special favoritism rights for sympathetic groups.
    Hyper-regulate
    Hyper-tax

    Shall I go on? (I can!). These are trends supported by Democrats—-that if achieved, will render America under a single party system. They are greedy for power…& I doubt we can avert their despotic ambition much longer. They PRETEND to be “altruistic” ( with YOUR money)…but they are wolves in sheep clothing. Never has there been a libertarian tyrant….yet, socialism spawns dictators & oppressive regimes like clockwork. Liberty is doomed by liberalism!

    1. Bob,

      All true. Now make a similar list for the Republicans.

      Reform is impossible today for America because each side sees only tribal truths. Their foes are devils, but are blind to the sins of their own side.

  17. I rub shoulders with folks on both sides, more than I might choose. Despite partisan heat, much of the red/blue disagreement is superficial, due to the very combative stance of the two parties. The parties are in a power sharing arrangement, the partisanship is partly mock show (and increasingly theatrical). (The “beige dictatorship”.) I have to agree with FM – folks who don’t vote, won’t die to decide who is President, of their own accord.

    But, income inequality is a thing. The drug overdoses are real. – might those may be viewed as political casualties? There is some evidence (not where I live though!) of economic desperation in the US. Trump as president is a radical choice. (Not in what he will accomplish himself, which is kind of as little as possible.) Which raises my question, isn’t this looking like a Marxist type of crisis? Class divisions? The intelligentsia talking ’bout UBI is pretty radical. I’m not saying Marxist theory is predictive, but it may be a useful point of departure.

    Important to remember that while most are apathetic, civil wars do happen. Cattle stampede, and they can be driven. Wars are not fought for the benefit of the warriors.

    1. hh,

      “much of the red/blue disagreement is superficial”

      Open borders, the role of socialist economic policies, redistributive taxes, our endless foreign wars and fantastic military spending, the crusade for radical change in gender roles (even changing everything to suit transgenders), reparations for slavery (and endless others to follow), etc. Which of those are superficial?

      “The drug overdoses are real. – might those may be viewed as political casualties?”

      How? Not everything is political. There are other aspects of society.

      “There is some evidence (not where I live though!) of economic desperation in the US.”

      People are spending more than they earn, borrowing a lot. That creates stress. Other than that, I see no signs of growing economic desparation. We always have – and probably will have – an underclass. Is it growing in absolute terms (ie, not the relative distribution of national income).

      “Important to remember that while most are apathetic, civil wars do happen”

      I disagree. Apathetic people do not wage civil wars. Just because we are apathetic does mean that everybody always is apathetic.

      1. Issues like gender roles and recent foreign wars, to cherry-pick your list, will not cause a general strike or motivate citizens to take up arms against the gov’t or neighbor. Lack of food, work, fear of assault, or asset seizure if you own property, rouse people to violence. Redistributive taxes, wars with a general draft, maybe border issues could get us there, as you point out. The SALT tax was enacted – but still no drilling with firearms in wealthy liberal enclaves.

        The opiate issue is associated with the economic underclass. People willing to kill themselves seem people who could turn to violence. They are ready to consider radical change in their circumstances.

        “Apathetic people do not wage civil wars.” Excellent point. Also, apathetic people are easily led. What are the historic precedents? How large a percentage of the population needs to be angry enough to hurt people, before things break? Was the 1776 war a mass movement, or was it led by the colonial elite?

      2. hh,

        I appreciate your confident guessing about unknownable things. Time will tell.

        “Was the 1776 war a mass movement, or was it led by the colonial elite?”

        Of course it was a mass movement, usually estimated at about a third of the population. People don’t fight — often undergoing great suffering and without pay – to build a nation unless part of a true mass movement.

        “or was it led by the colonial elite?”

        Mass movements have leaders; they’re not contradictory factors. A mass movement without leaders is a mob.

  18. Just as the Eternal Empire of Rome passed away, so will the current definition of the US. Its boundaries are not written in Heaven, and will be changed by certain pressures, just as when the authority of Mother England was cast off. The pressures now are enormous, and will reach a critical mass. Its just history repeating itself, nothing to get excited about. A peaceful, bloodless, amicable divorce is much to be desired over against some bloody civil war that none of us want or need. One side will have their bibles, guns, closed borders, mostly white population with boarded up former abortion mills. The other side will have their socialism, gun control, open borders, multiculturalism and an abortion mill in every high school. Each side can produce a college football champion that will meet in the annual North American Bowl. All will be swell then.

    1. Peace,

      “Just as the Eternal Empire of Rome passed away, so will the current definition of the US”

      Yes, everybody knows that “all that lives, dies.” But that is the most useless insights ever. We live our lives to enjoy ourselves while turning over a better world to the next generation.

      “Its just history repeating itself, nothing to get excited about.”

      That’s the second most useless insight, ever. Much of history is a horror show, and evidence of its repetition is well worth getting excited about.

      “Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is long past, the ocean is flat again.”
      — John Maynard Keynes in A Tract on Monetary Reform (1923).

  19. Read Marx and Lenin. The war will be between the working class and the rich once climate change starts affecting the livelihoods of people living in the Empire and brings it to the brink of economic ruin. The youth will not be lied to about this being a racial/political issue. The determining factor will be whether austerity is imposed swiftly or the chains are tightened slowly.

    1. That’s a jargon rhetoric speech ..
      From an ivy league out of touch reality educator. Drunk on their own punch juice.
      If it occurs .. And that’s a might be if…
      There will be many many root causes of the carnage.
      Food, fuel, availability of clean water, a government structural melt down,
      As well the destructive influx of islam and its cancerous infestation.
      Immigration of uneducated limited intellect peoples from Latin America. Pushing an already over burdened infrastructure.
      Then factor in a possible Chinese invasion as China buys up economic ravaged counties, south of the border.
      America will face a cross roads in the future. The weak will perish.

      1. Yeah, no. I’m a self-read first generation US-born Latino. I’m a member of the working class and sure, I went to college for a bit. I can assure you that many college professors aren’t leftists. I naively started volunteering with the Democrats and found a putrid corruption on par with the Republicans. That’s what steered me further left, having already read a lot of history.
        Islam is no worry in this country. Muslims are trying to work and live just like anyone else and constitute less than a percent of the population. White supremacist terrorism (and fascism) are much more dangerous to anyone living in the US.
        Infrastructure is only overburdened because of the limited resources allocated to repairing and building this country. You know how much space there is here, right? And how much of your taxes are spent on useless projects in the military? I can assure you Latinos are just as capable of critical thinking as anyone in the world, just as white US citizens are as capable of being trailer trash, meth-addled rapists.
        Chinese invasion is lunacy; the US would never allow the Chinese the infrastructure to invade in the Western Hemisphere. Consider the width of the Pacific Ocean and the sheer effort of moving troops or arms from China to Latin America.
        The US is indeed at a crossroads, but not the kind you think. Should the nation-state collapse we are all in danger, but not because the US is or was the “pinnacle of Western Civ.”

      2. Vicky,

        (1) “I can assure you that many college professors aren’t leftists”

        Suggestion: surveys are a more accurate indicators of the 1.5 million college professors in the US than one person’s personal experience. Their political spectrum is shifted far far to the Left of the overall US. Including community colleges (more conservative population than 4 year colleges), only 9% are conservative — vs. 35% the general public.

        (2) “Muslims are trying to work and live just like anyone else”

        That can be said of most people in any demographic group, even the most violent. The violent extremists are always a minority. A more significant question is the support the violent extremes get from the rest of that demographic group. With high levels of support, they become like Mao’s insurgents being like fish in the sea — difficult to locate and prosecute.

        The more relevant question about Isam – and immigrants more generally – is not violence but crime and assimilation. Islamic migrants into Europe have high stunningly high rates of crime against women. Also, the US has dismantled its assimilation machinery – with multiculturalism being the ruling doctrine. So groups with low or slow rates of assimilation will become problematic. That true of those from Latin America (see some of the research) and even more so about Islamic migrants from some nations.

        (3) “constitute less than a percent of the population.”

        Surveys differ, esp since 9/11 – when the Left began severely tilting research in this area. Gallup doesn’t even report Muslim numbers in its religion in America surveys. Numbers vary from 1% to 2%, depending on the quality of the survey and specific question asked. The size of Muslim population is roughly like that of Mormons.

        (4) “Infrastructure is only overburdened because of the limited resources allocated to repairing and building this country.”

        Of course it is limited. Nobody can afford to invested “unlimited” funds in anything. More relevant is that migrants (on average, now) do not generate sufficient tax revenue to pay for the added public infrastructure they require (or social services). So high rates of low-skill and low-education migrants stress our already stressed public finances (see details here).

        (5) “I can assure you Latinos are just as capable of critical thinking as anyone in the world”

        Straw man arguement. Nobody said otherwise.

        (6) “You know how much space there is here, right?”

        Space is a meaningless concept in these matters. The world isn’t crowded, but people still flock to America. Only a fraction is economically active – such as the San Francisco Bay Area and NYC. And those are crowded and becoming more so. The Midwest is empty and becoming more so. No jobs out there in the vast dry plains.

        (7) “White supremacist terrorism (and fascism) are much more dangerous to anyone living in the US.”

        It’s a microscopic danger, on the same scale getting hit by lightning. The largest and most active terrorist group in the US is Antifa, which has no right-wing equivalent.

      1. Larry,

        There are far too many signs that our impact on the environment is real. This not only includes unpredictable, more extreme weather patterns. Climate change also includes the over-extraction and over-exploitation of our resources. We will run out of stuff like water, or lithium without a planned economy. I’m not just talking about the US, I’m talking about the world. Our waste is altering the planet physically; you have to consider the waste and extraction produced on a mass-scale since the start of the industrial revolution. We’re talking millions of tons of contaminants released for more than 200 years.

      2. Vicky,

        (1) “There are far too many signs that our impact on the environment is real.”

        What is point of these sophomoric strawman arguments? Try responding to direct quotes, so that what you say will have some relevance to the discussion.

        (2) “Climate change also includes the over-extraction and over-exploitation of our resources.”

        No, it doesn’t. Those are distinct problems, with almost no overlap.

        (3) “We will run out of stuff like water, or lithium without a planned economy”

        Two centuries of history says otherwise. Shortages are commonplace in “planned economies” and rare in free-market economies.

    2. I agree. People can be motivated by perceived economic oppression. Less so by which party controls the government. There is low voter turnout because people lack faith that the change they want can come from the existing parties, but some of those non-voters might turn out in support of a radical agenda. I on the other hand, am highly vested in the status quo, ready to fight under the flag of the AARP.ha

      A trend toward bureaucracy and micro-management by software is another dynamic, affecting people over a wide range of income levels.

      1. hh,

        “There is low voter turnout because people lack faith that the change they want can come from the existing parties,”

        That is the problem, but not quite as you stated it. You describe citizens as customers at a restaurant, disappointed that the menu isn’t what people of their awesomeness deserves. The Founders saw Americans as the people working the political engines of the Republic – with democracy the result. Freedom isn’t something served to people in exchange for a handful of coins.

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