The American Revolutionary War was fought across a border (the Atlantic Ocean), even though due to the distance and the logistical limitations of the time, it was more of a slow motion war, it still was fought in the corporeal world with physical violence and force brought about by irreconcilable differences over the colonists lack of an effective voice in their own government, crystallized in taxation without representation and the exploitation of resources for the benefit of a distant King and his exploits.
In the case of the American Civil war, the differences between the factions had a geographic boundary in conjunction with the philosophical, cultural, economic, and ethical borders. There was a clear demarcation along lines drawn by political boundaries (state borders) that was also driven by socioeconomic conflicts between industrial vs. agrarian, urban vs. rural, as well as the overriding division of abolition vs. pro-slavery.
It is interesting that over the centuries, even as the opposing forces drew closer in proximity, that dividing line was bright, recognized by both sides, and had a physical manifestation in the real world – essentially an imaginary line drawn between physical markers.
The second Civil War has no such visible lines of separation.
There are no Colonists vs. Loyalists, no Confederate Rebels vs. Union soldiers, and no official boundaries recognized where troops will mass under command of their generals.
This is an asymmetric cultural struggle. Terrorism of the mind, as it were.
On the one hand, there are forces of progressivism, collectivists who believe everything is relative and written law (like America’s Constitution) means only what they need it to mean in their quest for absolute power. Their ethics are situational, what is allowed today is forbidden tomorrow. They hide their lust for power and true intentions behind a veil of concern for the poor, the sick, and the infirm (both physically and mentally). They use words like safety, security, fairness, and equity. Progressivism is an outcome based ideology, seeking the “sameness” of outcomes.
As Humpty Dumpty said to Alice, “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.“
To which, Alice replied, “The question is whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master— that’s all.”
The rules of engagement for the progressive army are based on the concept of “by whatever means necessary.” The end always justifies the means, because as Josef Stalin noted, you must break a few eggs to make an omelet.
On the other hand, there are the forces of conservatism, and it is not the conservativism as defined by the progressive generals.
Conservatives do not want to keel their wives barefoot, pregnant and locked in the kitchen. They are not white supremacists who want to reinstate slavery or Jim Crow. What true conservatives want to conserve are the basic principles summarized in the Declaration of Independence – that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. What conservatives seek to conserve are the rights of a free people to choose for themselves and to be left alone as they enjoy the benefits or suffer the consequences of those choices. Conservatives use words like freedom, liberty, choice, and equality.
Conservatism is an opportunity based ideology, believing that everybody starts naked and crying but from that point on, the person can make of themselves anything they are capable of doing by taking advantage of their physical, mental and spiritual talents and skills.
Conservatives are originalists, they believe words have physical meaning, that they bind and define, and the principles defined in the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution are transcendental and sacrosanct, that any errors arising from them are the result of ignorance, misapplication or premeditated corruption.
As Anton Scalia once said, “The Constitution says what it says and doesn’t say what it doesn’t say.” Thomas Jefferson described it this way: “A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for a second; that second for a third; and so on, till the bulk of the society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery, and to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering.”
For the past century, there has been an uneasy peace between these factions as both professed their loyalty to “one Nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all” – but that peace was shattered, and permanently so, by America’s first black President, Barack Obama, a man who took advantage of America’s principles and values to rise to the highest office in the land, while loving and respecting none of those principles and values.
Progressive politicians and powerful people in government have always flirted with extra- and anti-constitutional collectivism. Those fires were put out for a while as America defeated the Shintoism of Japan and the Nazism of Germany in WWII and kept down as the Soviet Union died with a whimper, but Obama and his Democrat Party re-ignited the fires of collectivism that had lain dormant since the days of FDR – and now the entire non-progressive population of America has become insignificant and invisible to Obama’s Party.
Will we avoid what Thomas Jefferson called the “bellum omnia in omnium”, the war of all against all?
I honestly do not know.
Half of this nation hates it for the mistakes in its history, the other half loves it for its promise in spite of the mistakes.
America come to become such a passive aggressive nation that we may have condemned ourselves to a perpetual state of undeclared war, with each side fighting for scraps in the rubble of a formerly great nation.
Jefferson prescribed a way out in the Declaration of Independence. He wrote:
“…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends [life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness], it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
They say the first step in healing is to admit you have a problem.
America, we have a problem.