Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Civil War Update

Some reading:
  • "It’s Time To Stop Our Cold Civil War From Heating Up"--The Federalist. The author notes that in the current political climate, "[i]t is clear that we are not arguing, at bottom, about different means to the same ends. We do not even agree about what the ends should be." He is particularly alarmed by the violence that we have seen on the left to quash political discourse:
    The question on the table today is whether the Left as a whole will continue to abide by the rulebook and rely on the political process—which includes a guarantee of free speech—or try through nefarious means to destroy opposing opinions with force. The former is a choice for the Constitution; the latter—let us speak candidly—is the beginnings of a declaration of war.
      Hearkening back to the deep divide over slavery prior to the Civil War, where the South was simply not going to tolerate the political ascendancy of the North, he warns that "[i]f people no longer believe that ballots are a sufficient substitute for bullets, then violence is the logical consequence."
      • "The Storm Before The Storm"--Rod Dreher at The American Conservative. The inspiration for this piece is a report of a debate between the editors of Dissent and American Affairs by Jacob Siegel. Siegel noted that the editors of Dissent (representing the left) left him with "the overall impression ... that when it came to disagreements with 'the right' there were only matters of principle, which made any compromise impossible and put even the appearance of agreement off limits." In other words, they would not even consider compromise. As to the right, represented by the American Affairs editors, his wrote:
                Which leaves the question, which I put to them at the debate: If not race or ethnicity or romantic nationalism, what is the force that will keep the civic and legal procedures undergirding this renewed nationalism from coming apart as happened not very long ago, to the last version of civic nationalism in this country?
                  What, I was asking, will hold the laws and procedures together? Laws and procedures, they answered.
            He thought that they were stupidly ignoring the influence of the alt-Right, and what brought it into being in the first place. Siegel's conclusion was more ominous, however: 
              I don’t think the country can survive the way it’s going. That doesn’t mean it will fall apart tomorrow. But if society continues to balkanize—now with more street fighting—if the Federal government keeps expanding its power while failing at its most basic duties [e.g. immigration], as Amazon, Google and the like keep moving towards quasi omniscient information monopolies that add wealth at the top while shrinking jobs, wages and the middle class….well, I don’t know exactly, and I don’t counsel despair, but it doesn’t end well.
              Dreher adds is own commentary, particularly some 14 bullet points at the end of his article, which are worth your read. However, he concludes (channeling Oswald Spengler, it seems to me):
                        Bottom line: Identity politics will dissolve the traditional bonds that have held Americans together, and re-bind forces of the Left and forces on the Right to each other. Absent Christianity as a meaningful force in American life, liberalism will continue to fade into exhaustion and senescence. Illiberalism of the Left and of the Right is not yet fully mainstream, but that day is coming. The only thing that can save us from it is a rebirth of Christian consciousness, which at this stage would require a miracle.
                         Miracles can happen. But I wouldn’t bet the future on them. Read the signs of the times, and prepare.

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