Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

The coming unpleasantness

In decrying the Great Schism (ie, the prospective partition of the country) in five simple steps, Aesop reels off a good ‘un:

3) There isn’t going to be any “amicable divorce”. The phrase is an oxymoron equal to “military intelligence”, “government help”, and “jumbo shrimp”.

He then proffers a link to a fellow I hadn’t heard of before who, for his sins, will immediately be cast into the Outer Darkness of the CF blogroll:

One Friday night about a month ago, I sat down to write out 10 reasons why I thought the United States was headed towards a domestic conflict. My goal was to flesh out some ideas that many of us have considered intuitively, but provide some research and structured thinking to them. I got to the fifth reason and realized that it was an exercise in futility because I didn’t need 10 reasons. You likely don’t, either.

Demographically, culturally, fiscally, we’re hemorrhaging as a country. Studies show that most immigrants, legal or illegal, have a political predilection towards larger, more authoritarian government. They do or will vote Democrat. That’s why amnesty is the death knell for the right-leaning electorate. And amnesty is only a matter of time, which means the GOP as a nationally viable party could have an expiration date within your lifetime. Several states, including Texas, were decided by fewer votes than those states have illegal immigrants. Amnesty pushes those states blue, which then push a far Left agenda in a Democrat-controlled Congress. That writing is on the wall.

We hear that Generation Z is the more conservative than the Millennial generation. If true, that trend is largely driven by whites. Generation Z is the most diverse generation on record; nearly half are minorities. Given voting patterns among minorities — and I’ll be happily wrong — I remain skeptical that Generation Z will be the conservative savior voting class in another decade.

Fiscally, for all their gnashing of teeth, President Trump and the Republican Congress are being just as reckless in their spending as their predecessors. We’ll have a trillion dollar deficit this year, followed by a recession around 2020 which is likely to rival 2008. Many Americans are going to be out of work again; unhappy again, needy again, and looking for answers. We know from history that high youth unemployment is a recipe that increases the likelihood of civil unrest, at a minimum. These are economic conditions with social consequences; namely more reason to be unhappy with the way things are, or will be.

This is not a prediction of “the end of the world as we know it” but a prediction of some very turbulent times ahead which may be a few short years away.

Given the gift of hindsight, we understand that the pendulum swings — left to right and back again — almost like clockwork. Sometimes it swings farther than we’d like, but there seems to always be another election cycle around the corner. But history shows that all political systems are eventually disrupted, and so the question that Americans have before them is What happens when the pendulum stops swinging?

I don’t think it’s stopped swinging, exactly. Seems to me it stopped being a pendulum at all, and became a lever—one that cranks in only one direction: Leftward.

Elsewhere, Culper muses further on the inevitability of disaster:

If there’s one lesson, in particular, that we should all learn about history, then it’s about the fate of empires. There have been many empires, and while Glubb points out that empires don’t begin or end on a certain date, they all share one thing in common. From the Assyrian empire which lasted roughly 247 years, to the Roman republic of 233 years, to the Ottoman Empire which lasted 250 years, or the British empire which also lasted 250 years; the lesson learned here is that empires have expiration dates. The average lifespan of empires is about 250 years, from birth to collapse.

He points out that the Assyrians fought with bows and spears, and the British fought with ships and artillery, but the lifespan of both empires was about the same.

This “remarkable similarity” expands through the course of human history, or the history of empires, as it were. This year the American Empire turns 242. We are younger than the average by almost a decade. And while Glubb points out that the average lifespan of empires is just that — an average — in the end, all empires collapse. I think the evidence deserves some due diligence in our thinking about the future.

This is good, thoughtful stuff, informed by an understanding of history both deep and perspicacious. It’s also entirely sobering, if not downright chilling. Back to Aesop, who knows a bit about history his own self, for the denouement:

The point is not to worry about “when”. It’s to understand that it’s going to be “when”, and not “if”, and to be ready, on the day.

The folks interested in retreating behind another imaginary line may not be interested in another civil war, when it comes, but a civil war will certainly be interested in them.

One is reminded of nothing so apropos as poor Wilmer McLean. Like the OP’s protagonist, he was a former military man, who in Wilmer’s case owned a house in the Virginia countryside in 1861. It was near Manassas, and during the first Battle of Bull Run, was P.T. Beauregard’s HQ, and struck by cannon fire. After Second Manassas took place in the front yard, Mclean had had quite enough of Civil War, and moved himself and his pregnant wife to a quieter place. Near the courthouse, at Appomattox. Where the final surrender of Lee to Grant was literally signed in his living room.

I’ve always been fascinated by the Wilmer McLean story; as I recollect, I’ve mentioned it here a few times over the years. If it demonstrates anything, it’s that history has a funny way of catching up with us—ALL of us—in ways impossible to foresee.

Oh, and Aesop: it’s PGT Beauregard, ya damn Yankee. Ahem. More on that:

Pierre Gustave Toutant-Beauregard was an American military officer who was the first prominent general of the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. Today, he is commonly referred to as P. G. T. Beauregard, but he rarely used his first name as an adult. He signed correspondence as G. T. Beauregard.

Beauregard was actually a damned capable general; his post-war reputation suffered from A) his tendency to yield to egotism and indulge a penchant for overly-romantic grandiosity and sweeping, comprehensive strategies without a lot in the way of meat-and-potatoes detail work to support them, and especially B) a prickly, cantankerous personality that led him into serious political conflicts he had no hope of winning, no patience for, and sometimes even little or no awareness of.

Despite those shortcomings—and his famous failure to press the attack at Shiloh which would almost certainly have wrecked Grant for good, mistakenly regarding the battle as already over and won—Beauregard was by no means bereft of achievement, although many dismiss him today as not much more than a self-dramatizing, status-seeking showboat. Perhaps his finest hour was this:

After Cold Harbor, Lee and the Confederate high command were unable to anticipate Grant’s next move, but Beauregard’s strategic sense allowed him to make a prophetic prediction: Grant would cross the James River and attempt to seize Petersburg, which was lightly defended, but contained critical rail junctions supporting Richmond and Lee. Despite persistent pleas to reinforce this sector, Beauregard could not convince his colleagues of the danger. On June 15, his weak 5,400-man force—including boys, old men, and patients from military hospitals—resisted an assault by 16,000 Federals, known as the Second Battle of Petersburg. He gambled by withdrawing his Bermuda Hundred defenses to reinforce the city, assuming correctly that Butler would not capitalize on the opening. His gamble succeeded, and he held Petersburg long enough for Lee’s army to arrive. It was arguably his finest combat performance of the war.

If Albert Sidney Johnston—very likely the finest general in any army in the early days of the war—was willing to defer to Beauregard’s military judgment at Pittsburg Landing, well, that ought to be endorsement enough for just about anybody.

Sorry folks, but y’all already know I DO tend to rattle on a bit when talking about the Civil War.

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6 thoughts on “The coming unpleasantness

  1. Sorry you hadn’t heard of “Sam Culper” before.

    Note that I added him and several others to the side of my blog for five-star solid 24K gold meatspace training.
    For Intel news you can use, from worldwide area studies, to how to recon your little section of the local map, Culper is The Man.
    So are the other folks I plopped on my site under the same header.

    Brushbeater on Commo is unbeatable. (Wish Sparks31 would re-surface) but BB is rocking Ham and general radio and commo info every time he posts.

    Jason Hanson is the kind of former CIA guy you really want to talk to: here info you can use, on a host of things related to personal safety and security, and a lot more down to earth than James Bond.

    The other guys all rock military and field training lore, from a base of real-world experience, and they do it in person, any time you get the urge.

    They should be booked solid 24/7/365, teaching what they know to people that need The Knowledge.

    Culper has also taken to daily podcasting in 30-minute-average blocks. Squeeze them into your timeframe as often as you can manage. Most, if not all of them: totally worth your time.

  2. And, in the tradition of Granny on The Beverly Hillbillies, I am no such damn Yankee:
    I hail from southern California.

    But despite the example, always in mind, of P.T. Barnum, I will henceforth try to remember the “G” in Beauregard’s voluminous portmanteau of initials.

  3. Thank you for including me in this post. And thank you, Aesop, for the kind words.

    We should do a round table discussion on the coming unpleasantry. Five questions, two to five minute responses, plus rebuttals. 60 mins. I’ll moderate and we can add in a couple of other hitters.

    You in?

    1. If you’re asking me, sure.

      CA over at WRSA has my email.
      And I owe him a steak dinner, next time he gets out to Occupied Territory again.

      If you weren’t asking me, I’ll be happy to listen to the podcast of it when you do it.
      It’s been too long since your last one.

    2. Don’t know how much I might contribute to such a thing, but I’m honored that you’d ask, and I’d be damned happy to participate. Just let me know the whens, wheres, and hows when you’re ready to go; there’s an e-mail address somewhere over there in the sidebar, or there should be. Thanks, Sam!

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