Our politics, like we ourselves, are increasingly irrational. The most intractable problem is the emotional fidelity to certain abstract notions (those comprehended by political correctness: white supremacy, implicit bias, the patriarchy, and so on) that can hardly be dealt with by mere argument and debate. The unfairness Hanson relates is obvious, but since it is not a rational thing, it will require force to stop. Anyone who, like me, has spent a lot of time in discussion and argument with other people can easily see how little the rational avails. Jonathan Swift’s definition of man—an animal that has a capacity for rationality—is certainly accurate. For in the end, people generally believe what they want to believe, just as they do what they want to do—unless they are compelled to do otherwise.
And that is precisely why we need a civil war. My mother having died last weekend, I filled out her death certificate just before writing this column. Two of the boxes, bizarre yet now only too predictable, were “race decedent considered them self to be (one or more),” followed by “decedent’s single race designation (only one).” The first option, in which race is a matter of choice, was of no interest in my mother’s case, but its presence shows just how willing people are to submit to the madness of the PC crowd.
Indeed, the country itself has gone mad. There are so many bad ideas, and such moral rot, that only war can rid us of the many pathologies that obviate culture and democracy alike. Only war can bring us to a state of affairs in which people, having serious problems to face, will have a more reasonable perspective and stop griping about safe spaces, white supremacy, toxic masculinity, and all the tiresome rest. Only war will send our politicians the message that Americans will not abide their cynical manipulations and refusal to do what is best for us.
One fervently hopes he is wrong, and that these pathologies can be removed from the body politic by less catastrophic measures. But one greatly fears that he ain’t. In any event, one should always remember that civil wars tend to take on a life of their own, and almost never end up in the way the most belligerent and obstreperous of its instigators believe or hope.
What I’ll call the Wolfe Conundrum is always confronting us: America is at that awkward stage. It’s too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards. Problem being, of course, that it’s damned difficult to know when we’ve passed from one state of affairs into the other. “Awkward” seems to be inadequate to describe the impasse we’re at.
It seems apparent beyond argument that present-day Americans passively endure encroachments on their liberty that would have brought the guns of the Founders into thundering life long ago. That admission made, it’s also true that we enjoy a lifestyle comfortable—luxurious, really—beyond their wildest imagining. Is it that the erosion of our liberty has been mostly minor in scope, a petty, trivial loss not worth getting too exercised over? Or is it more that the strategy of incrementalism by which it has been gradually, painstakingly eroded so successful that most of us scarcely perceive its loss?
Or, God forbid, have we become so benighted that we just no longer care either way? That we’ll docilely eat whatever shit our masters shovel at us as long as they maintain a modest level of comfort and stability for us? That we’re willing enough to accept life in a cage, as long as the bars are nicely padded and our cedar-chip bedding kept fresh for us?
Looking back at the Founders’ struggle, the lines seem clear—the stakes significant, the divide certain and sharply delineated, with little if any muddle or hazard of confusion. Not so much now. Muddle appears to be all there is, with no real solid ground on which to plant any flags.
I don’t feel qualified to answer any of those questions. Maybe I’m just too old to be trying to anyway; it’s for sure and certain I ain’t gonna be running through any woods with a rifle and a 50 pound pack at my age, or trying to sleep wrapped in a poncho on a forest floor in a 40-degree downpour. As Aesop, Schlichter, and others who have witnessed such horror up close and personal always warn, the prospect of America collapsing into a Bosnia-like catastrophe is as hideous a one as I can imagine.
At the same time, though, marching off without demur into the Orwellian nightmare the Left intends for us is not what I’d call any day at the beach either—and the thought of my daughter being trained into slipping into her assigned spot in that macabre machine without a moment’s thought, care, or even awareness freezes my blood.
As I’ve said again and again, I just don’t have any answers. I begin to suspect that there aren’t any good ones left to us.