Skip to comments.Could a Second Civil War Happen?
Posted on 02/21/2013 10:50:03 PM PST by furquhart
When I sat down to write a follow-up to my first series The Third World War: A Narrative History, I initially struggled for a topic. After writing a thousand-page epic story of armies of millions clashing across continents, almost any other subject seemed puny in comparison. I played with a concept called The Tenth Crusade, about an effort to carve out a Christian homeland in the Middle East but, after doing some research, that seemed to me to be a topic that could only genuinely be done justice after some years of research and some actual time spent in the area. So, I asked myself, what event looms as large in cultural memory - if not quite in scope - as the Second World War? With that as the question, the answer seemed quite obvious: the Civil War. Thus was born the first book in my new series, entitled A House Divided, which hit Amazon.com yesterday.
All of this lends itself to a simple question: is a Second Civil War actually plausible?
After five months writing about the subject, my qualified answer is: its at least as plausible as a Third World War and about ten thousand people and counting have paid to take that particular ride with me. The less-flip answer is that I believe that it is and, in fact, that it is a more-imminent threat than any continent-destroying mass conflict of the sort depicted in The Blast of War, A Land War in Asia, and A Thousand Points of Light. That is not to say that I believe that the Blue and the Gray are about to again meet on their old battlefields in Virginia or that we are upon the verge of seeing the nation torn asunder as it was during the first Civil War, with a group of states attempted to secede and to form a new nation. No. I believe, and A House Divided hypothesizes, that a Second Civil War would be likely to take a form radically different than the first, bearing more resemblance to the Commons versus Crown clash that was the English Civil War or to the repeats turnings-over of the state experienced during the civil wars of the final days of the Roman republic than the secessionist struggle of the first that, at one time, the Federal Government classified as the war of the rebellion.
In other words, instead of having a bloc of states attempt to break away from the United States, as is still the tendency in even most modern-day future civil war hypothetical fiction (think of the late, great Jerichos Allied States of America for an example), the most plausible way to construct a Second Civil War is to create a scenario where multiple factions fight for control of the Federal Government. In other words, in seeking to answer the first question, we need not ask, will an organized group ever attempt to again secede from the United States?, to which the answer is almost certainly no. Instead, we need merely ask ourselves whether, especially in the face of extreme political polarization and amid the threat of national bankruptcy, whether we will reach a point where a constitutional impasse will be reached that it appears can only be settled by the use of force. Could such an impasse lead to a scenario where Americans are forced to fight one another? I fear it would.
Consider, for example, some of the wild and pseudo-Constitutional theories floated during the recent impasse between President Obama and the Congress over the debt ceiling. Many of the Presidents more aggressive partisans clamored, throughout that fight, for the President to take aggressive and arguably extra-Constitutional actions in order to maintain the funding of the Federal Government. As the years go on and the financial demands placed upon the Federal Government multiply, does not the likelihood that some future crisis will spur some future President to take some spectacular action that a large part of the country - and the Congress - might consider to be a blatant violation of the Constitution? And might not, in such an emergency, a President - especially one whose political fortunes depended upon the goodwill of an impoverished and dependent mass of the people created by years of government spending, opt to simply defy the Congress (and perhaps the courts as well) and, counting upon the support of a large percentage of the people, simply dare them to stop them?
One need not look far away for examples of this in our own world. Many been told the sob story of the supposedly-benevolent socialist President of Chile, Salvador Allende, who was displaced by a military coup on September 11, 1973. What most tellings of that story miss is that while Allende was indeed democratically-elected in accord with the Constitution of Chile as it existed at that time, Allende had responded to the realities of an economic crisis and the fact that he was a head of state elected with a plurality of the vote without control of the Chilean Congress by attempting to bypass the constitution and existing law and instead to rule by decree. In fact, both the Chilean Supreme Court and its Chamber of Deputies had, prior to the coup, declared that the government was operating contrary to existing law and the Constitution but had found that, without any direct enforcement mechanism, there were no legal means available to bring a halt to those illegal acts. Hence the coup.
Perhaps, though, we ought to look further back for our model. We would do well to remember that the politics of the Roman republic were largely corrupted by two things: an increasing prosperity that removed the average Roman aristocrat from the simple and hardscrabble ways of the past and the willingness of certain ambitious Roman politicians to use their ability to pander to the ever-increasing mob by means of recourse to the public treasury. Now, some stalwart Roman statesmen attempted to force the latter genie back into the bottle by slaying the politicians who had set it loose, but it proved far too late to do so. As a result, with the ordinary political process disfigured by endemic corruption and mob violence, the Roman scene became a whirlwind of endless coups, plots, and civil wars. At one point a conservative General, Sulla, attempted to settle things by overturning the state and having himself installed as the Dictator for the making of laws and for the settling of the constitution. Sulla, having seemingly restored the old order by his actions during his service as Dictator, then emulated the best tradition of Cincinnatus by voluntarily laying down his office. However, by his extraordinary act Sulla had, even though he may have acted with the best of intentions, shattered the ideal of the Roman Constitution and opened up the possibility that the government might be overturned by force many times more. As a result, by the time of Augustus, the Roman people wanted stability more than liberty and therefore they were more than happy to accept the lifetime dictatorship clothed in republican garments that was offered to them.
In other words, even if you oppose a particular President or believe that certain extra-Constitutional actions pose a threat to the survival of the Constitution, it remains to be seen whether the Constitution, overturned once, could be actually restored or whether it would simply be subsequently turned over many times by whatever group might muster the strength to do so.
That is what I find so fascinating and frightening about the prospect of a Second Civil War. Because the trends pulling Americans apart are not being healed but, instead, made much worse by present events, there exists every possibility that we will eventually reach a point of no return for both sides. At some point, events will have been allowed to escalate to such a degree that both sides will face a choice between either offering their surrender or accepting battle with no guarantee that even a victorious outcome will save their vision of America and of the Constitution. I hope that the American people will come to their senses and accept the need to restore fiscal sanity and the basic principles of limited government before we ever reach the banks of that particular Rubicon.
I'd love to share it with you folks.
>>>bearing more resemblance to the Commons versus Crown clash that was the English Civil War <<<
I’ve had this idea literally for years, and I’ve written about here at FR. The ideas motivating the conflict in our time and during the Glorious Revolution are the same, too... does the monarch (or the state) have unlimited authority, or should the authority of the monarch (or the state) be limited?
In any case... God help us.
I think such is the reasoning of the left pushing to subvert the 2nd Amendment.
I also think State's Rights will force the situation by one or many States (Texas probably being one) refusal to go along with more and more waste, “do as I say” control and socialism and the Federal government moving to try forcing those states to obey.
Even in that scenario, I wouldn't expect Civil War, rather and as you say a coup, probably by the Military without much actual combat.
It’s inevitable. There’s no damn way we can co-exist with libtards.
>>At some point, events will have been allowed to escalate to such a degree that both sides will face a choice between either offering their surrender or accepting battle with no guarantee that even a victorious outcome will save their vision of America and of the Constitution. <<
The Whigs have mastered the surrender part really well. Good article, look forward to reading the book.
However, if the MEN who founded the Republic or the MEN who formed the Confederacy were alive today, CW2 would have been well underway by now. Today, no MAN will stop forward to yell “STOP” or to call Elmer Fudd to task.
Too many imagine some contest of arms, but that will not succeed without first creating a new ship of state, as our Founding Fathers did.
I believe the time has come, that for each county throughout each of the states, that county Tea Party should convene and choose 2 representatives to attend a Tea Party convention of their state, which will in turn debate and then consider and elect 2 representatives of their state, to attend a unique Tea Party national convention for the purpose of establishing a Second Continental Congress.
Setting the time and place for a first setting of the Second Continental Congress, then the unique national convention shall adjourn, and the representatives return to their states, where the Tea Party conventions of each state, will then take into consideration, who shall be their 2 representatives in the Second Continental Congress.
I believe, it is time to follow in the steps of our Founding Fathers, and create a new ship of state, to which our allegiance and love of our worthy American heritage and many foundations, shall transfer.
I believe, that *everybody* needs to see this preparation and action.
If the existing federal government fails us and takes one more step toward tyranny on which it has proven to be hell-bent, then we know, as Benjamin Franklin et al knew, it is time.
We must have a new democratic-republic to be where people can again be free from government tyranny, and we must, thru starting with a Second Continental Congress, make a good government, which will very likely be framed as the first but with a few refinements regarding how we may better limit government and that includes the courts.
Sure there is ~ one that is guilt free. Repeal the 13th, convert the Leftwingtards into a slave class, and move out smartly. This will make everybody happy and keep the toilets cleaned.
First, you form a NEW RNC with a set of new rules, and invite the state parties to send delegates to a presidential nominating committee meeting.
The Whigs were totally devastated in some states, so those states didn't participate in the Republican structure built up to run Fremont for president, but in other states the Abolitionists were actually strong enough to act as a state party and committee so they were invited to send delegates.
We have essentially the same situation today that we had then ~ and the cause is similar. The Democrats have figured out a way around the 13th Amendment and seek to enslave everyone. The successors to the Whigs are as wishy washy as ever on social issues. We must act to save the Republic, and that means we must first act to retain the power to assert ourselves on the national political stage. That requires the political extermination of the people who currently structure the Republican party ~ at the top, and in a number of states.
It's worth noting that since Jefferson cracked the code on single-member district political mathematics ~ the 50% plus 1 vote phenomenon (with which you will always be the winner) no one has actually created an electorally successful new political party except by taking over an existing major party, tossing out the bad elements, inserting themselves in the critical positions, and reusing the same old names.
Your book looks quite interesting - certainly appears to have a lot more thought put into it than many article or essays that seem to think that another Civil War would look like 1861, with neat battle-lines drawn between states and armies civilly duking it out. No - I suspect that it would come down to the sort of bloody and vicious conflicts one saw in the Balkans, or the Caucus. Certainly not the sort of think to look forward to, as some folks have.
Just a bit curious - why do you bring up the possibility of a Canadian Civil War occurring before an American one? I can’t see the Quebec issue devolving into armed conflict - I’d imagine they would either stay, or be let go - and the nation is economically more healthy than the US. Of course, I’m an American - perhaps as a Canadian native you would have more insight into the Canadian political situation.
Frankly, the assault of liberalism/leftism upon the US Constitution is an attack fomented from the outside by their allies on the inside. The liberals are the literal modern-day fifth column. Therefore the term “civil war” would not really be applicable.
Quote of the day;
“Participating in a gun buy back because you believe that criminals have too many guns is like getting yourself a vasectomy because you believe that the neighbors have too many kids.”
We already have a perfectly serviceable ship of state. The problem is the innovations that have been incorporated that made it unworkable.
An America without the quasi-legislative powers of regulatory agencies would look much more like what the founders envisioned.
In order for there to be a civil war, as opposed to a time of rebellion and social turmoil, the chain of command has to fail.
The only way for that to happen is for there to be a legitimate disagreement within the officer corps about the legality or constitutionality of some act of the government.
This is exactly what happened in 1861, and without it, rebellion is suicide.
It really won’t be defined as a Civil War. A second Revolutionary War is more of a correct definition.It then could turn into a hybrid Rev-Civ War if states start to fight each other.
I think it would be more like the Russian Civil War—Red and White armies battling for the nation.
Liberals have become a threat to all that I stand for.