Saturday, July 28, 2012

On the coming civil war

So, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life conducted a poll a few weeks back, and one of its findings was that 34% of conservative Republicans think that President Obama is a Muslim.  This is more than twice the percentage that it was in October 2008, when a mere 16% of conservative Republicans thought that Obama was a Muslim.  As Charles P. Pierce points out, the reason so many people can believe something that is so obviously untrue is because some sociopathic right-wing billionaires have created their own alternate reality, a reality where Obama is a Muslim, global warming is a hoax, and black people caused the recession.  An awful lot of the people in this country live in that alternate reality, and that's why this country is headed for civil war, soon.

Maybe you think that sounds alarmist.  You look around, and it doesn't look like we're on the verge of a civil war.  Well, think about a couple of people living in America in 1856.  Walk up to a Northern anti-slavery man, and ask him whether he thinks the country is on the verge of a civil war, and he'll tell you no, of course not.

"But," you tell him, "what about all those Southerners who are threatening to secede if the country elects an anti-slavery president?"

"It's just a bluff," he would answer.  "They're just trying to scare us into backing down.  They won't really secede."

Now go talk to a Southern pro-slavery man, and ask him whether he thinks the country is on the verge of civil war, and he'll tell you no, of course not.

"But," you tell him, "if you secede from the Union, won't that provoke a civil war?"

"Nonsense," he would answer.  "Those Yankees wouldn't dare try to stop us from seceding.  They haven't the spine for it."

Two different people, two different realities.  Put them together, and you get a civil war.

And that's what we have in this country right now: two different, incompatable realities.  A house divided against itself, just like in the 1850s.  And it won't be too long before those two realities come into conflict, and then, just like in the 1860s, there will be a civil war.


Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Dire prediction, old chum. Maybe it's my being sheltered in my safe northeastern home, but I don't see it happening. Even the most sociopathic billionaire would have to realize that a real civil war would be terrible for the bottom line (though military contractors would probably "make serious bank"). That being said, I would not be surprised if low-grade terrorism in the vein of the Christian Identity movement of the 90's occurs, but I can't imagine an OKC style attack garnering sympathy for any group. I think McVeigh figured he'd kick off a "Turner Diaries" style civil war, but the sight of dead kids doesn't win people over to your side.

Also, the whole "global warming denialism" industry might go tits up if the current drought/heatwave kills off millions of tons of corn and soybean plants... that could wake up even the most stupid of 'baggers, though they would probably blame the queers.

Again, it just might be a product of my living in a pretty solid liberal area, but my spider senses aren't tingling.

Of course, on a more pessimistic note, Smut Clyde once commented about Peak Oil and Global Warming alarmists: "The last litre of petrol will probably be used to burn the last climate scientist at the stake."

Johnny Pez said...

Well, they aren't trying to start a civil war, they're just trying to maintain their hold on power by any means necessary.

Here in PA, f'rex, the Republicans who run the state government are pretty open about wanting to disenfranchise as many Democratic voters as possible with their new voter ID law. It probably doesn't even occur to them that the more successful they are at it, the more they erode their own legitimacy, and the more likely their victims are to turn violent.

The slaveowners didn't intend to provoke a civil war, either, but they did.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

It's easy to lose sight of how bad things are when you live in a liberal stronghold.

M. Bouffant said...

The greatest difference between then & now is that the dividing lines are not geographic. No clear political entities to rally around beyond the county gov't./posse comitatus. As the numbers of crazed old white people & their grip on power shrink, expect an increase in desperate terror activity (or eliminationism/attempts at genocide) rather than a struggle for land or property. (Yikes, didn't plan for it turn out so grim.)

Johnny Pez said...

(Yikes, didn't plan for it turn out so grim.)

Nobody ever does.

M.B., I'd feel a little better if you had tried to argue against me, like B^4 did.

DaveMB said...

Submitted for your consideration -- a mainstream, left-of-center journalist posits an outcome of the 2012 election that would not be seen as legitimate by _our_ side, potentially to a greater degree than 2000 or 2004:

I do remember Rachel Maddow on Air America the night before the 2008 election, telling her fans to be ready, in case of an attempt to steal the election from Obama, to march on state capitols, etc.