So TR sends an e-mail, to wit:
Let’s suppose, for a moment, that the Dems are successful in stealing the Alabama seat, and perhaps winning control of Congress back in 2018. Then they immediately impeach Trump. For what? Doesn’t matter – the Constitution doesn’t matter to them. Then the Senate, with a cabal of Dems and NeverTrump “Republicans,” convicts and removes him from office.
Do they really think that it’s over? That Pence will be inaugurated as President and that Trump supporters will go gentle into that good night? If they think that, I do believe that they are sadly mistaken. I think that is the moment when the “cold Civil War” becomes a hot Civil War. I think that’s the final straw for those of us who have tried to do things the right way, in accordance with the Constitution and our political system, and that we will realize that we are under a dictatorship by another name.
I’m sure the Romanovs felt quite secure, too, on November 6, 1917.
What are your thoughts? Do you think this finally shakes enough of us out of our stupor, or do we continue down the road to serfdom?
Good questions, and weighty ones. I sat down intending to dash something pithy and concise off in response. But since these days I just can’t seem to limit myself to pithy and concise anymore, the whole thing sort of ran away with me, and I ended up with the following extended peroration instead, which I’ll tuck below the fold to spare those of you whose interest in meandering speculation from me is, shall we say, constrained.
Well, I think it’s certainly possible it could turn out to be the spark that ignites a conflagration, or at least come damned close to it. It’s long been my belief, though, that if there is to be another American Civil War it will be sparked by a final decisive victory for the Left in the 2A struggle: actual, legally mandated confiscation of guns by agents of the imperial Federal government. The incremental half-measure of legislated “voluntary” surrender implemented in Connecticut and NY isn’t quite threatening enough an encroachment to do it, as we’ve already seen. A handful complied, but the huge majority didn’t, with no real repercussions for anyone careful enough to lock their weapons away and keep quiet about it.
But if our would-be masters ever do somehow graduate to sending cops, Guardsmen, or soldiers out door-to-door to search for and seize them, well, the gun folks won’t stand for it. Such a move would probably also frighten or infuriate the more moderate (not to say timid) among us into taking sides against the tyrants openly at last. Judging from my own personal experience and acquaintance, there are many, many of us out there who talk a tough game and even think themselves sincere about it, but for whom in the end the time for a true uprising will never really come. They mean well enough, most of them, and are even effective in holding the line on the 2A in other small, less risk-fraught ways. But they just don’t have either the commitment, the awareness, or the plain gumption to jump out of the pot when the water gets too hot.
I say all that in the full knowledge that I myself am way too old and feeble now to go running through the woods, living outdoors and setting traps for food and sniping people and such. It would take a provocation of enormous magnitude to get me actually willing to start in on the shooting and looting myself—say, an immediate threat of imprisonment or physical harm to myself or my daughter that is non-negotiable and can’t be satisfactorily coped with through any other means. And I won’t last long as a shooter and looter, either; I’ll be taken down with a quickness, and I know it. Any contribution I might hope to make along violent-revolutionary lines will be marginal at best according to my blasted physical limitations. Yet another thing that sucks about getting old.
I know PLENTY of younger gun guys, though—and some older but healthier—who simply will not stand for it. If you’ve ever been to the Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot, you do too; two weekends a year, the woods near Fort Knox are full of them, and their commitment to defense of the Second by any means necessary is serious, and absolute. Many of them are ex-military, for whom the commitment to lay down their lives for something other than themselves was already made long ago, when they signed up and took the oath. For them, the idea of dying for their beliefs is no nebulous, distant abstraction; it’s hard reality, part of their daily existence, a constant companion whose presence is accepted rather than dreaded or debated.
Many of these guys are career cops; one I know personally is a retired prison guard, whose entire torso is marked with gruesome scars from knife wounds incurred through breaking up exercise-yard riots.
These aren’t shrinking violets, hothouse flowers, or braggadocious shit-talkers; these are quiet, competent, hard, rough men who have experienced violence and bloodshed up-close and personal without ever shrinking from their duty to wade in and cope with it. Not one of them—not a single one—is in any way blustering or joking around when he speaks of the likelihood of a violent uprising against any government that tries to deny them their God-given right to keep and bear arms. The Left dismisses or disbelieves such commitment from such men at their own hazard.
The bigger question for me is still whether such a conflict OUGHT to be wished for. I’ve always had an interest in Civil War history, ever since I was a kid, and have enjoyed studying up on it my whole life. One of the central lessons gleaned from such study is that, as blithe and breezy—as eager, even–as most everybody on both sides was in the lead-up to war, the devastation and woe thereby unleashed was just…astounding. And all the more so for its unexpectedness—for the failure of those people to foresee it, or to even imagine it.
I’m not somebody who believes that war is never an acceptable option and never can lead to any good end, mind. But war, true, all-out, existential war, has a way of getting loose and expanding in ways nobody expects or wishes for. It tends to rapidly exceed the grasp of those who created it. Its consequences, the pain it causes, the change it wreaks, reverberate for long generations after the cause of it has been forgotten.
The major wars of the last century and a half all started out as small, trifling things whose objectives were modest and whose impact was expected to be relatively small. They mostly seem to be blundered into step by step rather than sought or planned as part of a Grand Design. The original motives for them were far removed from the ones that ended up driving their expansion, and wind up mostly forgotten in the long run. Instead, those wars each ended up transforming the world—the striking of a giant bell that can’t be unrung, whose reverberations will be heard far into a future rendered unpredictable by them.
As I mentioned, I’ve known a lot of military personnel over the years; I’ve been quite close to some of them. Even though the true warriors among them possess a genuine eagerness for testing themselves in the furnace of combat, I don’t know any of them that love war, or are unreservedly happy when we find ourselves in one.
And those are just the limited, small-scale, low-intensity, and non-decisive conflicts we restrict ourselves to now. I tend to believe that the next civil war, if any, will not be that AT ALL. It will almost surely start that way, yes; a 4GW, guerilla-style insurgency. There will be a tremendous reluctance on the part of the federal government to respond with its full might to such. In truth, it could well be that it never would escalate to the level of tanks rolling down Broadway or massive airstrikes against Atlanta, or offshore subs launching a fusillade of Tomahawks at Kansas or Indiana.
But in the end, neither can I quite see this government being willing to endure limited but damaging conflict for an unlimited time, ending in exhausted resignation to a negotiated settlement that partitions the country or dissolves the federal government itself. I could be wrong; it could turn out that the example of Britain and the IRA’s long struggle might provide some sort of template, I dunno. Much would depend on who was president at the time, what sort of man he was, what his political beliefs were.
I think most any Democrat president would order those airstrikes on the interior in a heartbeat, even if reluctantly. As we already see well enough, they harbor more enmity and hatred for us than they do any foreign antagonist. Their concern for Constitutional niceties on the use of military force within our borders against Americans would be as undetectable as their regard for the rest of it is, as we also already see perfectly well. And as they grow more and more isolated in the bubble of their coastal regions and major cities, they could more easily manage the subconscious dehumanizing of an enemy necessary to making war on him, of killing them in job lots with nary a twinge of conscience or regret.
The thing that Team Liberty has going for it in such a dire circumstance is the fact that we’re pretty well dispersed. One could easily firebomb New York City or Chicago to crippling effect with a single sortie; firebombing the Midwest farm country, west Texas, or the hills of the Blue Ridge or Ozarks would yield a much less consequential result, and require much greater effort and planning. Although I have to admit that as many Southern cities grow, their central areas will eventually provide enticing targets for a megalomaniac’s murderous ambition, both the strategic benefit of hitting them and the tactical ease of doing so magnified accordingly.
But those growing Southern cities are also packed full of liberals themselves, so maybe that would make a Democrat despot more reluctant to target them, who knows.
Your basic Mark-1 Mod-0 Republican, on the other hand, won’t fight over anything more weighty or prospectively discomfiting than what kind of martini to have with lunch, so that pretty much ends any speculation I might offer on that. If a GOPer is president when the balloon goes up, the IRA scenario is the more likely one…if even that much. He’d probably ignore it as long as he could, and then bring in some Democrat Socialist Partners In Peace from Congress to consult with him on a possible Final Solution, which he will then implement by yielding the power of his office to them for the duration, in something the media will laud as a bipartisan co-presidency arrangement clearly much preferable to the antiquated, failed governmental structure laid out by the Founders.
All in all, I can’t persuade myself to wish for civil war of either type, quite, even when we’re so clearly living under conditions our forefathers would not for a moment have accepted for themselves, and to which a substantial portion of we the governed explicitly do not consent. The result of any such conflict is by no means guaranteed, or even conceivable in the prelude to it; even a nominal victory for our side may well end up proving destructive to our aims. The only thing guaranteed by such a war is horror, on a scale we who will suffer it can’t even begin to comprehend beforehand.
I can’t say I hold out much hope for a non-violent resolution either, though. Certainly the thought of our arrogant Leftist tormentors fleeing for their lives under threat of imminent death under the guns of the righteous and just; of their finally having proper retribution wrought upon them for their presumption and the wanton harm they’ve done; and of the twisted perversion of government they constructed to hide behind while it does their dirty work for them being reined in at last, if not dismantled outright, has its appeal and all.
But the prospect of them finally seeing the error of their ways and repenting of their insatiable lust to dominate and control us is hopelessly damned remote too. Which renders any solution short of bloodshed pretty much unattainable.
I don’t know how likely any of it is. I sure ain’t about to make any bets either way.
The character of the American people comes into play, too. In the end, I guess the most likely event would have to be that we continue to cherish our comforts and conveniences more than our principles, and go on staggering down the road to serfdom with nothing more substantial than mild grumbling in response. We’ll look at the British example of fading quietly away with less bemused, pity-attenuated contempt and more comradely empathy and nostalgia for the lost glory of our Golden Age. We’ll fade from world-news headlines the same way Greece has, a country which was once the pinnacle of Western prominence, influence, and success, but is now barely an embarrassing irrelevance, a footnote to history.
At least until the Moslem conquest of us is complete, and they move the national capital to Dearborn or Buffalo, say, and change the name from USA to something completely unpronounceable in Arabic that sounds like a lot of gagging and coughing and translates literally as America sucks the hairy swinging balls of Allah, but which the libs will tell us means We Love And Respect You Guys, Like, Totally, Dude. I don’t seriously expect it in my lifetime, but do greatly fear the possibility of such a hellish future for my daughter. I worry about that a fair bit, honestly. If I believed for a moment that my getting out there in the woods like I said before would prevent it, I’d be packing gear and loading mags right now.
But it won’t, and I know it. Her generation will have to rediscover their courage and self-respect somehow; they’ll have to demonstrate a more realistic appreciation of harsh reality, a more practical intelligence and resoluteness than the Millenials have shown any sign of so far if that catastrophe is to be averted. I intend to do all I can to teach her, to inculcate those things in her to the best of my ability. But in the end, her fate will be her own to confront, just like all the generations before her, and all my worrying and fretting will amount to no more than dust in the wind.