Don't Rush to War

There are worse things than a blatantly stolen election by enemies who seek your destruction.

For several years now, various observers have pointed out the increasing division in the "United" States, and thought to identify precursors of civil war.  This horrible year, these occasional pings have become a drumbeat of worry, so much so that an entire website has been formed to track them.  Most worrying of all, they have been coming so thick and fast that that very website can't even track all of them - not a single Scragged article is enshrined there!

With 3/4 of Republicans and 1/3 of Democrats believing that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen by Joe Biden, these fears are starting to coalesce into something resembling reality.  It's bad enough to have an election stolen, but when it's stolen by someone dedicated to the utter destruction of you, your family, your lifestyle, your beliefs, and your country as you've known and loved it, what choice is there but war?

Yet before we take down our rifles from over our mantelpieces, as conservatives it's essential we think long and hard about whether that's really what we want to do, and whether this is truly the right time.

On the side of war, apparently, stand our Founders.  There's no doubt that the taxes and regulations exacted by our Federal government under President Trump vastly exceed anything King George III dared try - and Joe Biden's supporters intend far worse.  Thomas Jefferson famously expected this:

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.

But, as wise as Jefferson was, he wasn't issuing Holy Writ.  Here's another of his quotes:

God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion.  Let them take arms!

It would be ludicrous to suppose that America was a tyranny except for the first 20 years after the Constitution was established, and then the 20 years following the Civil War.

In principle, Jefferson is obviously right: it is impossible to preserve liberty forever without an active defense that costs lives.  His predictions of timing, though, were so badly wrong as to make his original statement almost meaningless.

What's more, other Founders had other views.  In his Federalist No. 51, James Madison wrote:

You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.

Obviously, Mr. Madison felt that it was appropriate and necessary for government to wield the power required to force people to do things they didn't want to do, most notably pay taxes but involving far more than that, so the fact that our government has been doing so for a long time is completely normal.

We are convinced that Mr. Madison had it backward: Government must control itself, we believe, before it is worthy to control others such as you and me.  But, surely we would not be so rash as to dismiss his wisdom entirely?

George Washington pointed out that governments, by their very nature, are force, force, and nothing but force.  Our gun-control faction likes to think that government should have a monopoly of force, which leads rapidly to a police state.  But a government which didn't have, or couldn't effectively wield, force would be pointless.

The question must always be, does your particular government provide more good than it does harm?  And, does the vast harm of a war exceed the likely good that can be accomplished by it?

Predictions Are Always Wrong

If you can still find it without falling foul of the Thought Police, the opening scenes of Gone with the Wind portray young Southern bucks champing at the bit to take to the field and thrash those dirty Yankees.  When the older and more experienced Rhett Butler points out the South's weaknesses, he's mocked as a coward and defeatist.

The arguments made by the eager beavers were valid: the South's men, in general, were better-trained and far more effective in martial pursuits.  Right through to the end of the war, an individual average Southern solider vastly outclassed his individual Northern counterpart, and the generals even more so.

But martial prowess wasn't the only thing that mattered: the Southern soldier, no matter how high his courage, couldn't accomplish much with no food, no ammunition, no transport, and no clothes.  The North's factories and immensely larger free population simply overwhelmed the South.  As the saying goes, "Quantity has a quality all its own."

Things have changed, but not as much as you might suppose.  Yes, a disproportionate number of our military veterans hail from conservative states and plenty of our military bases are located there.  Where are the factories?  And don't just think about the obvious guns: where do tires come from?  Computers?  Satellites?

OK, Texas has plenty of oil refineries, tech hubs, and factories, you can see them on the map.  The problem is, so can everybody: it's a lot easier to cripple or destroy a factory with a well-placed missile than it is to build one.

Look back through the last two hundred years of war, and you will be hard put to find where a major conflict ended the way expected by whoever started it.  Did the Emperors of Austria-Hungary and Germany expect their war to result in their countries being impoverished and themselves dethroned?  How about Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo?  How many times have Muslim nations attacked Israel only to have their heads handed to them?

Indeed, the only wars we can think of in the modern era that could be considered successful would be wars of colonized peoples trying to throw out a colonizer.  Large chunks of Africa and Asia are now independent, where a century ago they were ruled by a distant empire.  Is that really a fair characterization of what we have in the United States?  And, are either Sudan or South Sudan the example we seek to follow?

No Man, or Nation, Is An Island

More so now than ever before, the entire world is connected.  Our first Civil War was fought between the North and the South, but it needn't have been.

Indeed, the South expected, and tried hard, to get Europe involved.  England in particular was a major buyer of cotton which was needed to keep the mills of the Midlands churning out fabrics and profits for the international markets.  Southern aristocrats expected the British Navy to break the Union blockade to restore their sources of raw materials.

The South forgot to account for the rest of the world, indeed, the rest of the British Empire: England controlled Egypt, which turned out to be a perfectly good place to grow cotton.  The mills of Manchester didn't care where the cotton came from as long as it turned up in quantity.

The voters of England, did, though, which leads us to our next point:

You Don't Control the Casus Belli

Why was our first Civil War fought?  Ask anyone today, and the instant answer will be "slavery, of course!"

At the beginning of the war, though, that certainly wasn't the headline, although it was a definite subcurrent.  The South's advertised reason for fighting was the infringement of the Federal government on their right to run their own states their own way.  It is true that the major particular issue of disagreement was indeed slavery, but the principle of upholding individual states' rights within the federal system was a higher and infinitely nobler one.

And the Union?  Slavery wasn't the main point there either, as no less an authority than President Lincoln made plain:

If I could save the union without freeing any slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.

Actually, he said that in August 1862, when the war had already been running for years.  His goal was to keep the South in the country, plain and simple, regardless of how the slavery issue turned out.

By that time, though, the war really was about slavery, and that made a difference: the British Empire had banned slavery decades ago, and most ordinary Brits found it vile.  They didn't care to shed their own blood to defend a practice most considered to be morally wrong, and they were able to supply their mills with Egyptian cotton.  With both morality and economics on the same page, they let the South twist in the wind, get ground down, and ultimately, get squashed.

Why is this relevant?  Because, if red-state and blue-state America come to blows, the red side will put forward high-sounding principles of liberty, independence, and states' rights, just like the old Confederacy.

What will the other side claim they are fighting for?  We already know the answers:

  • The right of women in conservative states to abort their unborn babies at pubic expense if they can't afford an abortion
  • The right of LGBTQXWTF to do whatever they please no matter how it scares the horses, with nary a peep of criticism from anyone anywhere, and the necessity of supporting whatever bizarrities they choose to do to their bodies at public expense
  • The right of The Planet not to be destroyed by those evil gas-guzzling Texan trucks, oil wells, and all the other panoply of modern energy, transportation, and liberty.

It just so happens that, as in the 1860s, popular sentiment in the entire rest of the world lies foursquare behind the other side.  A rebellious red-state America will get no aid of any kind from any other country - it would be entirely on its own, not merely against blue-state America, but against literally everyone else.

The Russians long ago bought the Clintons and the Chinese bought the Bidens.  Don't for a moment think that the Chinese, Russians, or Cubans would hesitate to send troops to "assist in suppressing rebellion" if asked... or, quite possibly, even if not asked.

The Misfortunes of War

Does this mean that we are doomed to march in chains into the eternal tyranny of leftist wokeism?  Well, to be fair, far more human beings have lived in slavery of one form or another than have ever lived in freedom, to say nothing of the immeasurable wealth of what we might at this point fairly term the Old Republic.

Our Founders lacked any of that, and yet they prevailed.  What did our Founders have, that we lack?  Just one thing: leadership.

Donald Trump, in our view, turned out to be an excellent President for opening the eyes of the people.  As Head of our Government, though, he was markedly less effective; and, as George Washington at Valley Forge, we can safely say he'd be hopeless at best.

The South at least had Robert E. Lee, a military genius and leader of men.  More than that: they knew they had him before they fired a shot.

Until there's a clear answer to that question at the very least, the only shots any conservative should even consider firing in anger should be in the purest of self-defense, strictly following the law and morality.

There is no genuine, full-on war today.  We should not act as if there is one; we should not seek to start one.

Indeed, we should all pray there will be no new civil war, because, unless some things change pretty profoundly, any war would end in even more doom than did the Old South.  At least their opponent was a leader who wasn't in the least woke: he declared that he fought "with malice toward none, with charity for all."  How un-woke can you get?

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Petrarch or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments

What a load of codswallop. You express an opinion and parade it as fact. Trump lost. Get over it. And if you loved your country you would back the healing process not promulgating lies

December 3, 2020 4:58 AM

I don’t know how to take this article. It’s sounds like a long winded submission to our fate as Americans under a woke, tyrannical left bent on one world with the elites at the top and everyone else at the bottom.
I am not advocating for a civil war. It may come to that eventually and who knows when. No one could have predicted the rapid breakdown of society i.e. blm, antifa, riots, masks, quarantines, etc. so who’s to say when a civil war might begin. And maybe it won’t be a full on civil war. I do know there’s only so much people who consider themselves free Americans will be able to stand when it comes to bending the knee to the wokes. And what happens when the limit is hit? In the past, this has spawned the Tea Party which sadly was co-opted by the republicans-in-name-only politicians like Paul Ryan and watered down until it was disposed of.
No one knows how humans might react, but I’m sure we’ll eventually see as the media and big tech continue to tell us not to believe what our own eyes see and our ears hear. This constant state of conflict and confusion of the human mind desperately trying to get a grip on what’s real and what’s not, and the distrust, is completely unhealthy and incredibly stressful. People will do what they can do to relieve that stress and one that is already occurring is go to, or return to, Church. The second is move away from liberal cities and their surrounding areas to either the south or other more conservative areas of the country. I have done number one and am in the planning process to do number two....move to the south where there are more people like me and where going to Church is expected.
This will further delineate who is “us” vs. who is “them”, and where in the US we live. Segregation all over again but not based on skin color, but left vs right. And those state governments and their laws will vary widely per the politics of their people leading to greater differentiation between states and people. This could lead to some kind of stalemate unless or until one or the other tries to exert their will on the other.
If there is a civil war, i don’t believe it would start on a predetermined date and time. I think it would be more like the Revolutionary War where tensions remained at a peak for a long period of time and when the spark was lit, tensions exploded.

December 3, 2020 7:03 AM

@Gerald Richards

This election was -- is being -- stolen. There are mountains of evidence for it.

The same people who tell us that this election was fine -- as you say -- are the same bunch of liars who told us the last one was decided by Russia.

That being the case, you can stick your ridiculous idiocy about "healing," and pack it in there good and hard.

December 5, 2020 10:57 PM

To immediately:

1. Bring the country together
2. End the election uncertainty
3. Rid the Democrat party of corruption

Joe Biden can step up and acknowledge that election was stolen and state he is conceding. He will save the country and be a true American hero.

Of course, they will break his other foot but that is a small price to pay.

December 6, 2020 8:38 AM

To immediately:

1. Bring the country together
2. End the election uncertainty
3. Rid the Democrat party of corruption

Joe Biden can step up and acknowledge that election was stolen and state he is conceding. He will save the country and be a true American hero.

Of course, they will break his other foot but that is a small price to pay.

December 6, 2020 8:38 AM

There won't be a "civil war" per se. There could be considerable mischief that disrupts fuel, food, electricity,cell service and all sorts of commodities. More of a low grade nuisance. Very small groups could easily make city life unbearable. .
The elite are unlikely to destroy factories or petrol supplies. At least not until AOC's battery aircraft becomes useful.
The left's problem is that they are holed up in a few large urban areas. They no longer produce jack. They are more likely worried about a nasty bit of civil disobedient than a proper war.
The military and police will choose sides. They are not likely to go commie. A few will, but many will return to keep their families fed and safe.
The left may well set off destabilizing forces as more lockdowns begin to bite. No food and loss of a future creates dangerous folk with nothing else to lose. It would seem a good many leftist governors are keen on testing this theory.

December 8, 2020 3:44 AM

There won't be a "civil war" per se. There could be considerable mischief that disrupts fuel, food, electricity,cell service and all sorts of commodities. More of a low grade nuisance. Very small groups could easily make city life unbearable. .
The elite are unlikely to destroy factories or petrol supplies. At least not until AOC's battery aircraft becomes useful.
The left's problem is that they are holed up in a few large urban areas. They no longer produce jack. They are more likely worried about a nasty bit of civil disobedient than a proper war.
The military and police will choose sides. They are not likely to go commie. A few will, but many will return to keep their families fed and safe.
The left may well set off destabilizing forces as more lockdowns begin to bite. No food and loss of a future creates dangerous folk with nothing else to lose. It would seem a good many leftist governors are keen on testing this theory.

December 8, 2020 3:46 AM

“A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” John Stuart Mill

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Stuart_Mill

December 10, 2020 6:17 PM
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