July 07, 2018

Are We are Aren't We Sliding into Civil War?

Timothy Birdnow

Bruce Thornton argues we are nowhere near a civil war at Front Page Mag.

He makes a good try at it but seems to miss some key points.

He argues:

"Any claims that we are living on the brink of civil conflict inflamed by violent political rhetoric must answer the question, compared to when? The Sixties and Seventies saw urban riots that killed hundreds, wounded thousands, and caused millions of dollars in damages. Politically motivated kidnappings and shootouts were endemic. The 1968 protests at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago featured televised vicious battles between the police on one side, and antiwar protestors and left-wing groups like the Yippies and Students for a Democratic Society on the other. A jumpy national guard contingent killed four student protestors at Kent State. During this same period, thousands of bombings from a plethora of radical groups took place ––according to a 1970 Senate investigation, more than 4,300 just between January 1969 and April 1970, killing 43 and inflicting $22 billion in damage. And presidential primary candidate Robert Kennedy and civil rights icon Martin Luther King were assassinated. "

End excerpt.

Did Thornton miss the televised riots in Ferguson? They went on for weeks, stoked by a leftist media, and much of that up-and-coming gentrifying community was laid waste. A lot of people were injured. Ditto Baltimore. Ditto New York. etc.

(By the way, he fails to point out that Kent State actually ended the rebellion in the '60's as the punk sixties radicals suddenly realized they actually could be killed.)

I saw the armored humvees, the military gear and armored police in Ferguson trying to maintain some semblance of order. Ditto in the Shaw neighborhood here in St. Louis. If that is somehow simply theater I would like to know what real violence entails.

Thornton argues:

"Our dearth of that sort of genuine violence may be why we try to elevate murders by psychopaths––like the ones who fired on the Republican congressional baseball team last year, or more recently a Baltimore newsroom––into acts of political violence stoked by ideological conflicts. In reality they’re no more political than was the paranoid loser Travis Bickle’s rampage in the movie Taxi Driver. "

End excerpt.

He dismissed the attack on Congressional Republicans and the shooting of Steve Scalise as a lone act by a deranged man, but that was not the case at all; the shooter planned that out, and he did it entirely for political reasons.

I don't believe the sixties radicalism was any worse than today. The main difference was that 1.the mainstream media had a total monopoly and dutifully reported all of this and 2.there were fewer screwballs in the country so the actions of the New Left was more obvious. I don't think Thornton understands that.

Thornton is correct in that the ubiquitous nature of cell phone cameras has made real violence less appealing and leads to a lot of street theater. There is a lot more mugging for the camera now - and it's a lot harder to hide your identity now as a result. But it's just a matter of time.

I think he misses how much more fractured we have become. He fails to grasp that we now have millions of illegal Latinos here, millions who have come and bear us a grudge even while stealing our jobs and social services. These are people who come from a culture of revolution and uprising, I might add, and they want what the older Americans are unwilling to give - the country. And black people always had a group that was disaffected, but now that group is far larger and there is a sense in the black community that they are a nation in bondage. Back in the 'sixties most black people still considered themselves Americans. That has been changing.

He continues:

"Nor are today’s "woke” millennials the budding shock-troops of the revolution. Snowflakes of uncertain "gender” and vulnerable to verbal "microagressions” are not promising recruits for class warfare. Guys who’ve never been punched in the face and fret over their "toxic masculinity” won’t make it through Marxist boot-camp. The kind of people needed for violent change these days are living in off-the-grid rural compounds, or the "gangster paradise” where the businesses of drugs, guns, and prostitution are much more lucrative than "transforming” America along Cuban lines."

End excerpt.

Thornton continues to mistake a modern rebellion for an uprising in another place and time. No, these snowflakes are not going to get in a one-on-one, but they have been taught to be rude and aggressive and they will surely sneak around behind our backs with a club or knife. He views this far too much from the prism of university campi, a mistake as he fails to see that Antifa and Black Lives Matter are full of thugs forged in the furnace of drug and crime addled ghetto neighborhoods, and are perfectly willing to fight. He completely fails to see a link between crime and revolution, but it is there and revolution winds up being pretty lucrative for a criminal since it is well funded by George Soros and a host of other geriatric radicals. The criminals don't really care about where the money comes from as long as they can get it.

And as long as they have the media egging them on, and as long as they have one of the two parties in government tacitly supporting them, they will continue down the path of revolution.

Look, the Left has been growing and metastasizing for decades, thanks to their control of the education system in America and the media. Obama's election (based primarily on his "historic" nature being one quarter black and an economic panic) stoked their ambitions, and they were positioned to run the table on traditional Americans, with President Clinton appointing three or four SCOTUS Justices and half the federal judiciary, as well as cementing in Obama's policies across the board and opening the floodgates to aliens who would vote as a block for the Democrats. It was game, set, and match. And at the moment of their greatest triumph it all fell apart. They are enraged, and will only grow angrier as they find themselves flailing around ineffectually and have their policies proven to be failures. This is Revolution 101; disappointment of rising expectations by a given class.

Thornton ends this thing with an admonition worthy of an ivory-tower liberal (he may not be a liberal but he sure sounds like one with this):

" Moreover, the social disorder of a serious economic downturn may be more extreme for us. The greater affluence that we take for granted will make the decline in living standards even more intolerable than in the past. Then we may painfully learn the wisdom in Thucydides’ timeless warning about how people in times of wealth and comfort––such as we are enjoying now with the economy booming and full employment–– find it easier to indulge revolutionary words and gestures, rather than take lethal revolutionary action. But when they "fall under the dominion of imperious necessities,” whether because of war or, what is more likely in our case, economic deprivation, the ensuing breakdown in order can "take away the comfortable provision of daily life.” War or want becomes a "hard master and tends to assimilate men’s characters to their conditions.” That is, in the lean years we may find ourselves capable of brutal actions we’d never consider during the fat years. Right now, the antics of the "resistance” are affordable luxuries for the richest cohort of young people in human history. Let that affluence disappear, and rhetoric indulged in times of comfort can turn to lethal violence and the temptation of collectivist solutions that have paved the road to tyranny in the past.

If we’re really worried about civil violence coming to our streets, let’s do something about the economic dysfunctions that are insidiously making possible the conditions for such violence. That’s a more credible threat than are the social media tantrums and potty-talk of spoiled brats."

End excerpt.

This is Marxist materialism here. Man lives by bread alone. Oh, I'm not saying that a bad economy doesn't breed discontent or even rebellion, but it is not and never has been the primary driver of revolution. We didn't have a revolution during the Great Depression, did we? Germany is often cited as an example of one, but the reality is the Nazis took over because the German people were mad about the Treaty of Versailles, the country was horribly corrupt, and the Communists were pressing hard. It was a result of the First World War more than the Depression. The Depression didn't help, granted, but it was not the prime mover.

Both the American Revoluion and the Civil War were born in reasonably prosperous times. The worst economic times in the U.S. sparked expansion as people threw caution to the wind. It did not spark revolution.

Furthermore, most of the Founding Fathers were quite wealthy, a point that Thornton seems to miss. Revolutions are not started by people who are dirt poor, and they are not a result of grinding poverty. On the contrary, it is generally the wealthier class that starts them - be it the Founders here in America, or the French bourgeoisie (the merchant class) or by the university people in Russia or by the industrialists in Nazi Germany. The poor are the hammer, providing the mobs and the like, but they themselves do not foment or lead a revolution. That is the monied class that does it.

I would also ask Thornton what he means to do about the "economic dysfunctions"? Seems to me Trump has been doing precisely that and it just makes the radicals angrier. Black and Hispanic unemployment is at record lows, yet there is unprecedented rage in both communities. And of course, anything done to improve economic conditions will be anathema to the very people ready to revolt.

I hate to say it, but I have to give this essay a fail. He makes some good surface arguments but fails to really think this through. Oh, he may be right and we may not be coming to a true civil war, but I think his reasoning is just plain wrong.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 11:38 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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