Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The only remedy for a brittle post-America on the verge of crackup

J. Robert Smith at The American Thinker quotes three tweets - one from actor James Woods, one from talk-radio host Michael Savage, and one from Milwaukee sheriff David Clarke - that characterize real civil war as inevitable.

As you know, there's been a debate lately about whether it is accurate / responsible to use the term "civil war" to describe our present moment. Jonah Goldberg and Ben Shapiro have both taken Dennis Prager to task for using it (in the course of refutations of Prager's exhortations to regard Trump as "our general" in such a conflict; I take the Goldberg-Shapiro side in that larger context).

Rather than take an either / or approach to the debate, Smith says that what may be happening is an array of civil wars based on regional demographics:
For most Americans, their frame of reference is the U.S. Civil War. It was sectional rivalry -- a “War Between the States.” It was generally -- and neatly -- defined geographically. History rarely repeats itself, so blue states lining up against red states -- not for secession this go, but for national control – seems improbable.
There was more unanimity among citizens in South Carolina and Massachusetts at the time of the Civil War. While a left worldview dominates in California, and a right one does in Texas, both have populations that are hostile to the prevailing politics and ethos… substantial populations who resent the impositions of the reigning politics and cultures.  

Today, the states, though red or blue by degrees, are mixtures of communities -- populations who’s worldviews clash -- conflicts of politics, cultures, values, beliefs. Politics are merely an aspect, and, critically, more an endpoint for deeper divides.        
Keep in mind that many states have significant regional differences. Redder Central and Western Pennsylvania differ tellingly from Blue Philadelphia-dominated Eastern Pennsylvania. Upstate New York has little in common with New York City and its boroughs and nearby suburbs. Even in regions there are subsets at odds with surrounding communities and jurisdictions. Austin/Travis County, Atlanta/Fulton County, and Pittsburgh/Allegheny County differ from their states or regions. Birmingham, Alabama has more in common with Detroit, Michigan than the surrounding state. 

Absent colossal trigger issues or events -- union or disunion; free or slave; Fort Sumter -- degeneracy into multiple civil wars, played out in the states in varying degrees of intensity and duration, appears more realistic.  
Erick Erickson, writing at The Resurgent, says he is all out of optimism. He points out - correctly, I believe - that whether Democrats have been elbowed out of political power is not particularly relevant at this late date, because the Left has so effectively imposed a cultural totalitarianism on our society.

let’s not kid ourselves. If Texas decided to end abortion on demand and prohibit gay marriage, three-quarters of the Fortune 500, the NCAA, and every professional sports league would boycott the state. It is not enough that each state should be able to set its own values, even here the left demands adherence to its beliefs and punishment for the beliefs of others. So there is no escape from the culture war. There is no escape from the politicization of everything. There is no escape from an escalation of violence in politics. The minority nows gets to exert its will over the majority and every vice gets declared a civil right we must all worship and subsidize.
In our present atmosphere there is no escape from the American ISIS that is the political left. Evil preaches tolerance until it is dominant and then it seeks to silence good. Evil is now dominant — but the partisan line is blurred.
The only escape is dissolution. We should part ways if we cannot have federalism. We should start talking about secession. If both sides have decided that every hill is a hill to die on and control of Washington means reward for their friends and punishment of their enemies, we need to end Washington. The way to do that is end the union.
I am no longer an optimist about the future of this country. This past week has shown there is no incentive for the better angels of ourselves to rise. Both sides are out for blood. 
I sort of think this was my real concern, lurking in the back of my mind, about the way populism had infected the conservative movement during the recently concluded election cycle. I'd only written here about cacophony, but maybe what I really dreaded was the final obliteration of civil discourse. The Left would do its thing, as it always has, but those who tried to present an alternative by example would get mocked by the new populists as having nothing more effective than core principles, erudition and eloquence, as if those were qualities worthy of disdain.

In the course of refuting Erickson's call for secession, Shane Van Der Hart at Caffeinated Thoughts asserts that there is only one way to heal what afflicts our nation:

. . . we have to recognize that politics will never cure what ails our country, the Gospel can. If anything is THE answer, it is the transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Church needs to take the Great Commission of disciple making seriously. It starts with making sure we preach the Gospel to ourselves; we need to do a better job training those in the church. One does not have to look at many studies to discover heresy abounds in the Church, and that our children and grandchildren are leaving in droves.
Unfortunately, so many churches have focused so much on orthopraxy they have neglected orthodoxy. Yes, we need to engage our culture but engage them with the truth. To do that individuals and families in the Church need to know, embrace, and live the truth.
I can attest that this is what brought me to a sincere faith walk.

Nothing else can inject light into scenarios in which darkness looks to soon be total.

If your participation in this current post-American family fight is not driven by prayer, it's hollow and will lead to nothing anybody wants to see happen.