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Keeping Things Civil: The Afterword to Empire by Orson Scott Card

We are waiting for Fort Sumter.

[NB: Written in 2006] The originating premise of this novel did not come from me. Donald Mustard and his partners in Chair Enterainment had the idea for an entertainment franchise called Empire about a near-future American civil war. When I joined the project to create a work of fiction based on that premise, my first order of business was to come up with a plausible way that such an event might come about.
It was, sadly enough, all too easy.

Because we haven’t had a civil war in the past fourteen decades, people think we can’t have one now. Where is the geographic clarity of the Mason-Dixon line? When you look at the red-state blue-state division in the past few elections, you get a false impression. The real division is urban, academic, and high-tech counties versus suburban, rural, and conservative Christian counties. How could such widely scattered “blue” centers and such centerless “red” populations ever act in concert?

Geography aside, however, we have never been so evenly divided with such hateful rhetoric since the years leading up to the Civil War of the 1860s. Because the national media elite are so uniformly progressive, we keep hearing (in the elite media) about the rhetorical excesses of the “extreme right.” To hear the same media, there is no “extreme left,” just the occasional progressive who says things he or she shouldn’t.

But any rational observer has to see that the Left and Right in America are screaming the most vile accusations at each other all the time. We are fully polarized — if you accept one idea that sounds like it belongs to either the blue or the red, you are assumed — nay, required — to espouse the entire rest of the package, even though there is no reason why supporting the war against terrorism should imply you’re in favor of banning all abortions and against restricting the availability of firearms; no reason why being in favor of keeping government-imposed limits on the free market should imply you also are in favor of giving legal status to homosexual couples and against building nuclear reactors. These issues are not remotely related, and yet if you hold any of one group’s views, you are hated by the other group as if you believed them all; and if you hold most of one group’s views, but not all, you are treated as if you were a traitor for deviating even slightly from the party line.

We are today a nation where almost everyone in the public eye displays fanaticism with every utterance.

It goes deeper than this, however. A good working definition of fanaticism is that you are so convinced of your views and policies that you are sure anyone who opposes them must either be stupid and deceived or have some ulterior motive. We are today a nation where almost everyone in the public eye displays fanaticism with every utterance.

It is part of human nature to regard as sane those people who share the worldview of the majority of society. Somehow, though, we have managed to divide ourselves into two different, mutually exclusive sanities. The people in each society reinforce each other in madness, believing unsubstantiated ideas that are often contradicted not only by each other but also by whatever objective evidence exists on the subject. Instead of having an ever-adapting civilization-wide consensus reality, we have became a nation of insane people able to see the madness only in the other side.

Does this lead, inevitably, to civil war? Of course not — though it’s hardly conducive to stable government or the long-term continuation of democracy. What inevitably arises from such division is the attempt by one group, utterly convinced of its rectitude, to use all coercive forces available to stamp out the opposing views.

The people who are most relentless in eliminating competing ideas congratulate themselves on their tolerance and diversity.

Such an effort is, of course, a confession of madness. Suppression of other people’s beliefs by force only comes about when you are deeply afraid that your own beliefs are wrong and you are desperate to keep anyone from challenging them. Oh, you may come up with rhetoric about how you are suppressing them for their own good or for the good of others, but people who are confident of their beliefs are content merely to offer and teach, not compel.

The impulse toward coercion takes whatever forms are available. In academia, it consists of the denial of degrees, jobs, or tenure to people with nonconformist opinions. Ironically, the people who are most relentless in eliminating competing ideas congratulate themselves on their tolerance and diversity. In most situations, it is less formal, consisting of shunning — but the shunning usually has teeth in it. Did Mel Gibson, when in his cups, say something that reflects his upbringing in an antisemitic household? Then he is to be shunned — which in Hollywood will mean he can never be considered for an Oscar and will have a much harder time getting prestige, as opposed to money, roles.

It has happened to me, repeatedly, from both the Left and the Right. It is never enough to disagree with me — I must be banned from speaking at a particular convention or campus; my writings should be boycotted; anything that will punish me for my noncompliance and, if possible, impoverish me and my family.

It is puritanism, not in its separatist form, desiring to live by themselves by their own rules, but in its Cromwellian form.

So virulent are these responses — again, from both the Left and the Right — that I believe it is only a short step to the attempt to use the power of the state to enforce one’s views. On the right we have attempts to use the government to punish flag burners and to enforce state-sponsored praying. On the left, we have a ban on free speech and peaceable public assembly in front of abortion clinics and the attempt to use the power of the state to force the acceptance of homosexual relationships as equal to marriages. Each side feels absolutely justified in compelling others to accept their views.

It is puritanism, not in its separatist form, desiring to live by themselves by their own rules, but in its Cromwellian form, using the power of the state to enforce the dicta of one group throughout the wider society, by force rather than persuasion.

This despite the historical fact that the civilization that has created more prosperity and freedom for more people than ever before is one based on tolerance and pluralism, and that attempts to force one religion (theistic or atheistic) on the rest of a nation or the world inevitably lead to misery, poverty, and, usually, conflict.

Yet we seem only able to see the negative effects of coercion caused by the other team. Progressives see the danger of allowing fanatical religions (which, by some definitions, means “all of them”) to have control of government — they need only point to Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Taliban, or, in a more general and milder sense, the entire Muslim world, which is oppressed precisely to the degree that Islam is enforced as the state religion.

Conservatives, on the other hand, see the danger of allowing fanatical atheistic religions to have control of government, pointing to Nazi Germany and all Communist nations as obvious examples of political utopianism run amok.

Rarely do people set out to start a civil war.

Yet neither side can see any connection between their own fanaticism and the historical examples that might apply to them. People insisting on a Christian America simply cannot comprehend that others view them as the Taliban-in-waiting; those who insist on progressive exclusivism in America are outraged at any comparison between them and Communist totalitarianism. Even as they shun or fire or deny tenure to those who disagree with them, everybody thinks it’s the other guy who would be the oppressor, while our side would simply “set things to rights.”

Rarely do people set out to start a civil war. Invariably, when such wars break out both sides consider themselves to be the aggrieved ones. Right now in America, even though the Left has control of all the institutions of cultural power and prestige — universities, movies, literary publishing, mainstream journalism– as well as the federal courts, they feel themselves oppressed and threatened by traditional religion and conservatism. And even though the Right controls both houses of Congress and the presidency, as well as having ample outlets for their views in nontraditional media and an ever-increasing dominance over American religious and economic life, they feel themselves oppressed and threatened by the cultural dominance of the Left.

And they are threatened, just as they are also threatening, because nobody is willing to accept the simple idea that someone can disagree with their group and still be a decent human being worthy of respect.

Can it lead to war?

Very simply, yes. The moment one group feels itself so aggrieved that it uses either its own weapons or the weapons of the state to “prevent” the other side from bringing about its supposed “evil” designs, then that other side will have no choice but to take up arms against them. Both sides will believe the other to be the instigator.

The vast majority of people will be horrified — but they will also be mobilized whether they like it or not.

It’s the lesson of Yugoslavia and Rwanda. If you were a Tutsi just before the Rwandan holocaust who did not hate Hutus, who married a Hutu, who hired Hutus or taught school to Hutu students, it would not have stopped Hutus from taking machetes to you and your family. You would have had only two choices: to die or to take up arms against Hutus, whether you had previously hated them or not.

America is not an ethnic nation, where ancient ties of blood can bind people together despite differences.

But it went further. Knowing they were doing a great evil, the Hutus who conducted the programs also killed any Hutus who were “disloyal” enough to try to oppose taking up arms.

Likewise in Yugoslavia. For political gain, Serbian leaders in the post-Tito government maintained a drumbeat of Serbian manifest-destiny propaganda, which openly demonized Croatian and Muslim people as a threat to good Serbs. When Serbs in Bosnia took up arms to “protect themselves” from being ruled by a Muslim majority — and were sponsored and backed by the Serbian government — what choice did a Bosnian Muslim have but to take up arms in self-defense? Thus both sides claimed to be acting in self-defense, and in short order, they were.

And as both Rwanda and Bosnia proved, clear geographical divisions are not required in order to have brutal, bloody civil wars. All that is required is that both sides come to believe that if they do not take up arms, the other side will destroy them.

In America today, we are complacent in our belief that it can’t happen here. We forget that America is not an ethnic nation, where ancient ties of blood can bind people together despite differences. We are created by ideology; ideas are our only connection. And because today we have discarded the free marketplace of ideas and have polarized ourselves into two equally insane ideologies, so that each side can, with perfect accuracy, brand the other side as madmen, we are ripe for that next step, to take preventive action to keep the other side from seizing power and oppressing our side.

The examples are — or should be — obvious. That we are generally oblivious to the excesses of our own side merely demonstrates how close we already are to a paroxysm of self-destruction.

We are waiting for Fort Sumter.

I hope it doesn’t come.

Meanwhile, however, there is this novel, in which I try to show characters who struggle to keep from falling into the insanity — yet who also try to prevent other people’s insanity from destroying America. This book is fiction. It is entertainment. I do not believe a new American civil war is inevitable; and if it did happen, I do not believe it would necessarily take the form I show in this book, politically or militarily. Since the war depicted in these pages has not happened, I am certainly not declaring either side in our polarized public life guilty of causing it. I only say that for the purposes of this story, we have this set of causes; in the real world, if we should ever be so stupid as to allow a civil war to happen again, we would obviously have a different set of specific causes.

We live in a time when lies are preferred to the truth and truths are called lies…

We live in a time when people like me, who do not wish to choose either camp’s ridiculous, inconsistent, unrelated ideology, are being forced to choose — and to take one whole absurd package or the other.

We live in a time when moderates are treated worse than extremists, being punished as if they were more fanatical than the actual fanatics.

We live in a time when lies are preferred to the truth and truths are called lies, when opponents are assumed to have the worst conceivable motives and treated accordingly, and when we reach immediately for coercion without even bothering to find out what those who disagree with us are actually saying.

In short, we are creating for ourselves a new dark age — the darkness of blinders we voluntarily wear, and which, if we do not take them off and see each other as human beings with legitimate, virtuous concerns, will lead us to tragedies whose cost we will bear for generations.

Or, maybe, we can just calm down and stop thinking that our own ideas are so precious that we must never give an inch to accommodate the heartfelt beliefs of others.

How can we accomplish that? It begins by scorning the voices of extremism from the camp we are aligned with. Democrats and Republicans must renounce the screamers and haters from their own side instead of continuing to embrace them and denouncing only the screamers from the opposing camp. We must moderate ourselves instead of insisting on moderating the other guy while keeping our own fanaticism alive.

In the long run, the great mass of people who simply want to get on with their lives can shape a peaceful future. But it requires that they actively pursue moderation and reject extremism on every side, and not just on one. Because it is precisely those ordinary people, who don’t even care all that much about the issues, who will end up suffering the most from any conflict that might arise.

From: Articles & Essays by Orson Scott Card – Afterword to the novel Empire

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • lpdbw May 26, 2020, 2:44 PM

    The book was published in 2006. I’m assuming the afterword was published in the original book?
    So he saw the world as that polarized during the GWB administration.
    Then he wrote a sequel published three years later, so it was also written during the GWB times.
    After an afterword like that, how could you conceive of a sequel?
    After writing an afterword like that, how did it feel living through 8 years of Obama weaponizing division in this country, with the help of a compliant press? Does he still feel all the fault is 50/50?
    Once upon a time I would have bought those books, but I grew weary of Card and I refuse, any longer, to buy anything published by Tor, the assholes.

  • ghostsniper May 26, 2020, 3:04 PM

    If Sumpter II is to occur it will be brought by the american communists. See, they are desperate. Out of control desperate. They have about half the population, and need to have a little more than half to cross the finish line, but their best best hope is an over the hill degenerate that has lost it’s mind. No shit. THAT’S the best they can do.

    Yes, pathetic, and the amcom’s know it too. So their desperation deepens, and thickens, and that evil sauce is busting out of their every pore and puddling around their buckling legs. The finish line is in view and for them the orange man just won’t do. No matter what. Consequences don’t matter, only the goal matters.

    Honesty doesn’t work for the amcoms, never has. The only thing that has ever worked for them is deception and criminality. They just don’t give a shit about anybody else. They only care about themselves and everybody else, even others in their own tribe, can just go blow a weenie. Right now.

    What are these criminal animals capable of? Let your imagination run wild. Srsly. If you can, drop all your mental-behavioral barriers and open your mind all the way. THAT is what they are capable of. And much much more. Some smart person once said, and I’m paraphrasing, “Insanity has no limits.”, and that is what you are dealing with. Possible some sort of brain chemical distortion, I dunno. It’s weerd man. I only see these folks from a distance, never in person, so in a way they are sort of fictitious to me. None the less, I have seen enough of the fictitious evidence that I believe they exist.

    The reason I never see these sorts of people is that I know my limits and I have designed my life so that the amcoms are not part of it. At all. I’m pretty certain that if I encountered one or more of them in person, no matter how many were present, all of them would suffer extreme pain or worse, than they ever imagined. And I might too, but I doubt it. They will probably go there, soon, but they better not bring it here.

  • Bones May 26, 2020, 5:47 PM

    It won’t look like the American Civil War, but the Spanish Civil War.

    When Colonel Juan Yagüe left Badajoz and his men executed some thousands of leftists, he explained to a journalist who asked why, “Of course that we have killed them. What did you suppose? Will I take 4,000 red prisoners with my column, having to advance against the clock? Or will I leave them in my rearguard so that Badajoz will be red another time?” (quote from Wikipedia)

  • Kinch May 26, 2020, 6:13 PM

    Bones has the right of it.

    Strongly recommend reading Keegan’s book on the Spanish Civil War. One should focus on the early chapters and on the Kick Off Phase. Where one happened to be on Day One was pretty much Life Altering.

    Very important to clear head of the (admirable!) Shelby Foote stuff and bone up on the Keegan, Roy Campbell (Poet, so Gerard might know of him), Peter Kemp, etc.

  • jwm May 26, 2020, 6:19 PM

    “On the right we have attempts to use the government to punish flag burners and to enforce state-sponsored praying.”

    Flag burners are odious, but tolerated nonetheless. I remember a scattered few who complained that it ought to be a crime but I’ve never heard any serious or remotely successful attempt to “criminalize” it. Has any such bill passed the senate or the house? Enforce state mandated prayer? Permission to pray in school is hardly “State mandated prayer”. When has anyone tried to “mandate” such a thing?

    “When Serbs in Bosnia took up arms to “protect themselves” from being ruled by a Muslim majority — and were sponsored and backed by the Serbian government — what choice did a Bosnian Muslim have but to take up arms in self-defense? Thus both sides claimed to be acting in self-defense, and in short order, they were.”

    islam demands submission by the kafir. It mandates conversion, submission to second class citizenship, or death to those who do not follow the sharia. There is no two way street. Mr. Card sees this as “self defense” on both sides. No Orson. When people demand your submission they are the aggressors. Period. You fight them to the death. The aggressor is attempting conquest, not fighting in self-defense.

    “We live in a time when moderates are treated worse than extremists, being punished as if they were more fanatical than the actual fanatics.”

    Love to see an example here. The lukewarm get lukewarm agreement and disagreement. No more no less.


  • Anonymous May 26, 2020, 6:40 PM

    And even though the Right controls both houses of Congress and the presidency, as well as having ample outlets for their views in nontraditional media and an ever-increasing dominance over American religious and economic life, they feel themselves oppressed and threatened by the cultural dominance of the Left.

    This guy hasn’t been paying close attention.

  • bgarrett May 26, 2020, 8:14 PM

    The definition of ‘civil war’ is two groups fighting for control of one government. America has never had a civil war. We were not fighting for control of the yankee government, we had our own government for the South.

  • tonynoboloney May 26, 2020, 8:29 PM

    I for one will welcome the eventual Fort Sumpter whoever takes the first shot. I’m so angry with the left. I’m tired of holding back when I know I’m right, killing babies by the millions and not allowing prayer. Running a known degenerate pro child molester who on his best days falls asleep at interviews and is a stone cold racist on his worst days. Not to mention his brain damage that is causing dementia, yet they believe he should be president

    I could go on & on of things I’m being forced to tolerate including circumventing actual law and constitutional rights. I’m pissed off really, really pissed off I hate my own brother for voting for that evil American muslim not once but twice. All they did to my duly elected Hero who only wanted what was best for America but now have helped him destroy by Covid lies all that is good and right about my beloved country. Now they want to steal an election by hook or crook, illegal and in my face in every legitimate voters face and tell us by word and action that it’s ok because they know how to do it.

    No No my friends I’m more than ready for Fort Sumpter bring it on. I’m older but ready to help defend what is good about America not reason with these evil people. Who through thought word and deed have proved they actually hate me more than I hate them. Strap a bomb on me boys and point me in the right direction.

  • Donald Sensing May 27, 2020, 6:28 AM

    I wrote in mid-November 2016 that America is already in low-intensity civil war, updated just last October. And the revelations of how the outgoing Obama administration, starting with Obama himself, conspired to nullify the vote of the American people, proves it.

    But I agree with some commenters above – Card’s “pox upon both your houses” schtick is not valid now, if it it ever was.

  • Jack May 27, 2020, 7:00 AM

    Another “civil war” should begin as a search and destroy action against the more visible marxist minded individuals who were in control previously or who are in control now and rub them out in a process that should include 99% of the MSM, even on local levels. The dangerous Left has its leaders and hierarchy and it will do no good to waste your time going after salty, mouthy, socialist, do nothing neighbors while leaving the head on these snakes.

    But I expect that the idea of any action from either side is just a pipe dream. If either side decided to start shooting the entire US military will jump into the fray and we’d just be screwed. The CV-19 pandemic lockdown would be child’s play compared to the imposition of military law by armed troops.

  • DWEEZIL THE WEASEL May 27, 2020, 8:01 AM

    For those of you here who are thinking the unthinkable, I recommend the book: CIVIL WAR TWO, by Thomas W. Chittum. It was out of print, but I would imagine that with the impending sportiness, some enterprising entrepreneur has resurrected it. It was published around 1995. It is a quick read. And, it is very prescient, vis-à-vis what is about to take place in Amerika. Bleib ubrig.

  • Nobody Atall May 27, 2020, 8:49 AM

    Card wrote this during the W administration; clearly, it needs updating.

    I have to wonder — did he really believe that believing Christians as a body wanted to establish theocracy like unto sharia? As a member of the Christian community, and friend and relative of many, many, other Christians of many different flavors, I’ve never heard a whisper of such. Am I really that isolated? Or did he set up a straw man here so he could appeal to all parts of the spectrum in his discussion of ideology, in particular, to attempt to reach the leftish who stop reading when their fantasies are dismissed?

    I’ve heard tell that Card, back in the day, was soft-left. I wonder how he identifies now?

  • Orthodoxy May 27, 2020, 9:31 AM

    Nobody Atall. Thank you.

  • Paul Bonneau May 27, 2020, 11:16 AM

    I think it is normal for human beings to do such things. Darwin’s theory did not stop being true when we became civilized (or “syphilized”, as Edward Abbey used to call it). For the fit to survive, the unfit must die. Yeah, it is ugly, but what are you going to do? Look out for your own. Pick your side and try to hang on.

    “Barbarism is needed every four or five hundred years to bring the world back to life. Otherwise it would die of civilization.”
    — Edmond and Jules de Goncourt, Journal, 3 September 1855

  • James ONeil May 27, 2020, 12:19 PM

    Not germane but while writing this I have the Dragon launch running in the background.

    I like Card, his plot development and attention to the small details, but haven’t read much of him lately.

    I suspect, in the coming or more correctly, the ongoing civil war, we listen to our old farts, such as me and thee, but it’s the youngsters who, if (when?) push comes to shove will be doing, giving and receiving the bruising.

    In line with that, over in the Bookroom Room blog, Wolf Howling’s asking, ‘How is Gov. Cuomo Not Guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter?’ led me to a reply that I think is quite germane to this subject. Hence I’ll repeat myself here:

    How is…!
    They should..
    ..begin appropriate..

    So how long, how many months, how many decades have we been asking/saying things like this and seeing nothing change?

    Frankly I’m beginning to look toward my teenage granddaughter as a role model; surprisingly well educated in spite of her youth and the system, extremely loyal to and supportive of her herd of nerds and misfits, but at heart, as are all that age, an utter savage yet to be civilized!

    I’ll postulate we’re in a post apocalyptic world consuming the crumbs of the dead civilization ruled by warlords in banks and boardrooms, pumping out shiny this and cutesy that to bemuse and divert the masses, the law simply their tooth and claw… justice? -an inside joke.

    How is…!
    They should..
    ..begin appropriate..

    They won’t…
    Doesn’t matter…

    Hey looking at it all through my darling, sweet little, barbarian granddaughter’s, eyes, I think I just might enjoy it!

    & though I didn’t post at Book’s site, it quite warmed the cockles of my heart when I gave the sweet child her Little Badger .22 for her birthday and her eyes misted up or when I gave her the sheaf knife & she stifled a sob of joy, I forged especially for her.

    So! I’ll go back to watching the Dragon fly, then fell another cord of wood toward get through the winter, and keep on learning from and if not teaching, at least explaining to, my wild child granddaughter.

  • Neuday May 27, 2020, 12:34 PM

    “On the right we have attempts to use the government to punish flag burners and to enforce state-sponsored praying.”

    I remember that minor skirmish in the culture wars. Of course, “Conservatism” lost, as they always have. Burning the U.S. flag is no problem today, but woe to anyone who burns a Rainbow Flag. As for state-sponsored praying, is he talking about in Congress or high-school football games?

    The author is a great example of Conservatism Inc., splitting the difference since 1965. The Left wants totally open borders, the “extreme” right wants closed borders, so Conservatism Inc. “compromises” for only 50 million immigrants a year and still gets called Facist.

  • Vanderleun May 27, 2020, 1:09 PM

    Kinch, Keegan didn’t write a book on The Spanish Civil War. Do you mean Preston?

  • MN Steel May 27, 2020, 1:22 PM

    Neuday hit it on the head. I actually looked up Card on Twatter, and one of his infrequent posts came from a day ago.

    Funny, it’s an interview with the youngest Neocon influencer with the name Shapiro.


    Every. Single. Time.

  • Vanderleun May 27, 2020, 1:34 PM

    CIVIL WAR II BY CHITTEM can be found at this Amazon link in a poorly formated ebook pdf for $3


  • Vanderleun May 27, 2020, 1:37 PM

    Sense of Events: The coming Next American Civil War

    Next year, no matter the outcome of the election, it will go to full speed. The balkanization of the American people, deliberately under way for at least 60 years, will come to fruition. There is already no such thing any more as a national consensus on any kind of social or political topic.

    I agree with much of what Sensing states and add that very early on in my magazine career — in 1973/74 I commissioned an article which was going to be speculative one concerning “the Balkanization of the United States as a Way to World Peace.” Didn’t come in as I wanted and I rejected it… and yet now… in the twilight of my life… it looms again.

  • Vanderleun May 27, 2020, 1:41 PM

    ONeil, you are truly blessed.

  • William Williams May 27, 2020, 3:29 PM

    Orson Scott Card remains a life-long, practising member of the LDS Church, and is trying to keep his name and work marketable in the American infotainment and literary industries. He must write “a curse on both your houses”, and equate the Right’s actions with the Left’s; otherwise his days (i.e. his deals and sales) are over….

  • Nobody Atall May 27, 2020, 3:36 PM

    Thanks for that interview link, MN, answers my questions pretty durn well.

  • captflee May 27, 2020, 6:23 PM

    Kinch, GVDL;

    Perhaps Beevor’s “The Battle for Spain”?

  • Gazelam May 27, 2020, 8:04 PM

    Card’s thinnking is dated, and Neuday is closer to the truth. AFAIK, we haven’t had real conservatives since before WW2, except possibly, President Reagan. In my lifetime, the GOP has always been content to appease the left for the sake of better press. I have always referred to them as the half-a-loaf democrats since if the Democrats wanted to take the whole loaf from the public, Pubbies have been content to allow them only half. There hasn’t been real and sincere principle adhered to since their opposition to most of the New Deal and expanding & packing the Supreme Court. Reagan was elected, at least partially, on his commitment to reign in the cabinet departments not authorized by the constitution. Yet here we are not only with a federal Department of Education, but a huge expansion of the cabinet departments in a morass of unconstitutional money wasting activity – as pointed out above, mostly staffed with leftists aligned with the deep state.
    I weep for our country and the troubled future we have ahead.

  • Chimp Sackless May 28, 2020, 3:28 AM

    Actually – YOU forgot – or never knew that America was indeed an ethnic nation – white — pluralism / diversity kills – changes in immigration starting in the early 1900’s (hell, late 1800’s) were the real culprit to almost all of our problems — get ready pal, it’s gonna get frosty

  • ghostsniper May 28, 2020, 4:44 AM
  • Dan Patterson May 28, 2020, 6:21 AM

    I am late to this thread, but not because it is a topic hidden from my attention.
    The present division is not new, just new to some and the manipulations of emotion and passion are of the same vintage. The division should have been mended when cracks first showed but like every single example of deferred maintenance ever this one did not fix itself and now we have what we have: a creaking pile of junk where a lovely piece of art and machine once contentedly hummed. Some of the recent generations of stupid politicians and their stupid cultist followers made noises about transformation and such but that only fooled the ones wanting to be fooled, other circus acts robotically danced around until the watch spring unwound and now those empty suits are forgotten along with their empty speechifying. So no, another pretender will not make a difference but they will accelerate the coming conflict.

    Comparisons to the War Between the States are valid, though the divisions now are not definable by geography they are easily sorted by personal liberty vs welfare, representation vs tyranny, and natural rights vs entitlements for example. The Constitution clearly limits the power of the federals and expects states to customize governmental authority to their needs. States rights and federalism are a benevolent version of Balkanization; Georgia cannot be expected to have the exact society or rules as Nebraska but neither may be hostile to one another. The states are to be independent of the central government but operate under the overlying principles set by the Constitution. A problem surfaces when the hostile quality of one state or states toward others is revealed, as it was in the 1800s by the numerous tariff acts protecting one state’s interest at the expense of others, industrialized north against the agrarian south, culminating in the egregious Morrill Tariff Bill, a product of political favoritism and bribery that would make K Street proud.

    So when the first shot was fired at Fort Sumter the lanyard was yanked by a Confederate but the primer was set and powder bag punctured by Lincoln. He refused to observe the cracks, sought to widen them, then theatrically threw a fit when confronted and presided over the deaths of 600,000 people as a result. Federalism was born in Philadelphia and murdered at Ft. Sumter when the desires of the central government overwhelmed the needs of the several states. The progeny are running the place today with vile and dull people in positions of great power and influence and completely immune from restraint much less punishment, not to mention the complete absence of representation in the halls of government and of justice. The comments above noting the lack of national consensus connects with a lament about cultural norms and common understanding of right and wrong; absent a distinct American personality how could we not collapse into a heap?

    So yes, the conflict is coming and no, the help we expected is not on the way, we are on our own. We might as well prepare and insulate ourselves from the noise and confusion, find a survival technique and gather as many like-minded friends together as possible. Just like 1775.

  • Skid Marx May 28, 2020, 10:34 AM

    Don’t worry we have the magic soil and inside every third world turd is a lifetime GOP voter who just loves America the way it was founded. Keep those cargo cult goodies coming or a city will burn to the ground.
    Mommygov Karen loves you comrade and only wants what is best for a deplorable kulak untermenschen scum like you.

  • Kinch May 28, 2020, 11:37 PM

    Sorry Gerard, my mistake! The Spanish Civil War was by Beevor. Memory playing tricks.