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Are We Looking At Another Civil War?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
Carolyn Kaster/AP photo

Consider the logic of the left and it’s no wonder that many people are considering the unspeakable – whether America will devolve into actual violent conflict. But I dare speak about it at length in my brand-new book We’ll Be Back: The Fall and Rise of America, which confronts this issue of systematic political violence head-on. The most important question related to the long decline of America at the hands of a corrupt, incompetent, and terminally foolish ruling caste that controls our major institutions is whether we can pull out of this tailspin without bloodshed.


I sure hope so, but the risk is real and we need to confront it.

The logic of the left accepts political violence. A few years ago, one of its acolytes tried to wipe out the congressional Republican caucus on a softball field; last month, another member of the MSNBCNN target demo tried to off Justice Kavanaugh for somewhat limiting the ability of progressives to conveniently kill babies. Even the reaction to the recent molestation of the famously beer-ophilic jurist as he nibbled on a rib-eye at Morton’s in DC was indicative – this personal confrontation was celebrated by the left instead of decried. What’s the logical limit when you sign onto the idea that one can legitimately influence politics via the personal intimidation of officials placed in office by our agreed constitutional procedures? If you can get in his face, why can’t you slap it? Or put a bullet in it? If there is a boundary, the left is not setting it. Keep in mind that civil conflict is not unknown in America, Our revolution was also a civil war – one sparked by tyrants seeking to enforce gun control. The Civil War that followed four score and change years later was sparked by Democrats angry over the Republican demand that they stopped treating human beings inhumanly – a theme that continues to this day. Prior to the War Between the States was a war between the pro- and anti-slavery militias along the Missouri-Kansas borders. In the late-sixties/early-seventies, there was an urban leftist insurgency by groups like the Weather Underground and the Black Panthers that resulted in hundreds of bombings and many killings. It was dealt with as a law enforcement matter, but in a distinctly militaristic way. The Los Angeles Police Department famously annihilated most of the Symbionese Liberation Army – whose battle cry was “DEATH TO THE FASCIST INSECT!” – in a blazing firefight in South Central that was broadcast on national TV.


But don’t insult our intelligence by referencing the minor fracas that was J6. If that was an insurrection, you would have seen some armed insurrecting instead of selfie-snapping. If red America wanted to start something, they would have brought along their ARs like progressive James Hodgkinson did.

So, while the chance of civil conflict is low, violence is not only possible but it has been used by the left as a means of making political change in America in the past. And the evidence is that the left remains ideologically open to using violence in the future to achieve its goals.

But what would a civil conflict look like if, heaven forbid, it ever came to pass again? The potential for a low-grade leftist insurgency may be the most likely scenario if it were to happen, but there is also the threat of a more substantial conflict involving paramilitary (i.e., groups of armed civilians) and even traditional military forces – right up to actual maneuver combat between blue forces that are primarily urban and red forces that are primarily rural with suburban territory mixed or contested. In that scenario, you must consider the respective correlation of forces and the territory red and blue forces would control initially to understand how this horrific situation might break down. My new book We’ll Be Back: The Fall and Rise of America examines this in detail as a cautionary example, and puts it this way:

“[T]he blues face a real challenge. They will have those massively over-extended logistical lines. It’s nice to hold cities, but if you do not also hold all the rural territory between the cities, as well as the routes to the places where you are getting your food and fuel (and holding those is a big question in itself), then you have a real problem. The stuff that keeps cities alive has to pass through Indian country, and even assuming you could convince civilian truckers to make that passage, the blue states would still have to devote a massive proportion of their forces to defending those routes. Even a small-scale campaign against those supply lines could cause chaos in the cities. Imagine the madness as soft urban professionals, unused to privation and largely disarmed, find themselves both starving and subject to the will of the strong and merciless. It’s The Road Warrior, and there is no Mad Max coming to save you.


Meanwhile, in the red areas, they are growing food. And when they eventually win, they want payback. Perhaps they might negotiate a national divorce—sort of like the converse of a shotgun wedding—or perhaps they might just channel Michael Corleone and resolve to take care of all family business at once. They would not want to risk going another round with the enemy next door. As Cato the Elder might have said, ‘Blue America delenda est.’”

Remember that a US city cut off from food – and it’s easy for even light paramilitary forces to interdict the long rural stretches of the interstates and railroads – is five days from becoming Mogadishu. Advantage: Red America.

Keep in mind that a civil conflict that spins beyond a law enforcement operation is certain to involve paramilitary forces – bands of civilians with their own private weapons while living their best Second Amendment lives by fighting against what they see as tyranny. That has happened before, and as a result we don’t drive on the left and have generally good teeth.

But we should not be glib about it. Civil wars are the least civil wars of them all. As We’ll Be Back demonstrates in shocking and graphic detail, this possible future is terrifying, and anyone telling you that systematic political violence can just be turned off is lying to you. It would change America forever, and not for the better.

My book is not giddy over the threat of conflict – instead, it is a warning that comes from both my personal history and what I saw overseas. My earliest memories are of the Gettysburg battlefield, which we visited often because my family comes from nearby Chambersburg – a town burned down by Confederate raiders. During my own military career, I served in the Los Angeles riots with the Army for three weeks and saw up close and personally both how fast the façade of civilization can collapse and how essential it is for every citizen to keep and bear modern weapons to defend themselves, their families, their communities, and their Constitution. In Kosovo, I served in the ruins of a civil war where factions (mostly divided by ethnicities that were inexplicable to outsiders) butchered each other – neighbors killed neighbors when a few years before they had lived in peace. I never forgot it, and I see similar attempts to divide Americans here as a huge threat.


Leftist critics and their fellow travelers at garbage outlets like The Bulwark will no doubt lie and claim that I am somehow advocating what I am warning against – sadly, this kind of bad faith refusal to engage and debate honestly has become all too common today and itself promotes conflict by eliminating the possibility of resolving disputes through reason. It leaves the exercise of raw power as the only means to solve problems, a situation common in much of the rest of the world. But we must look the monster of political violence in its eyes if we hope to defeat it. The way to bring America back to greatness need not be force. We have the Constitution, and it gives us the answers to all our questions. We citizens must demand that we do our fighting in the political arena instead of on the battlefield. A good start would be to leave your political opponents to finish their bone-in New York in peace.

Coming Thursday: "Is It Time for a National Divorce?"

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