Book Reviews

Are We Always on the Verge of Civil War?

All that Civil War II talk is overblown—but that isn't the only sort of political violence to worry about.

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If you define civil war loosely enough, the second one started as soon as the first one ended. While Reconstruction was in progress, multiple states were under military occupation, Southern insurgents embraced guerrilla tactics, and the Klan and similar groups carried out a racial terror campaign that killed thousands of African Americans. Yet another civil semi-war followed on that one's heels: In 1877, just as Reconstruction was ending, a great railroad strike broke out in cities across the United States. The ensuing months saw riots, repression, shootings, troop deployments, and dozens of deaths; a socialist group briefly seized power in St. Louis. A striker quoted in The Pittsburgh Leader declared that these clashes "may be the beginning of a great civil war in this country."

The railroad strike was just one of many violent labor battles of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, from the Bay View Massacre of 1886 to the Paint Creek Mine War of 1912–1913. That episodic class war intersected with another set of episodic hostilities: a decadeslong conflict that the historian Richard Maxwell Brown has called the Western Civil War of Incorporation. In that frontier fighting, he wrote, the "conservative incorporating authority" of large corporate interests and the state battled small ranchers and farmers, discontented wage-workers, and sometimes outright outlaws; the former were often allied with the Republican Party, while the latter were more likely to be Democrats or Populists. These skirmishes stretched from the 1850s through the 1920s, and some of them are legendary: the Mussel Slough War of 1880, immortalized in The Octopus; the Cochise County War of 1881–1882, immortalized in My Darling Clementine; the Johnson County War of 1892, immortalized in Heaven's Gate.

Those were not the last great spasms of bloodshed. There was Red Summer in 1919, when whites invaded black neighborhoods across the country, killing hundreds. There was another wave of labor-capital combat during the Depression, complete with steel companies stockpiling poison gas. There were the riots of the 1960s, and there were the bombing campaigns of the '70s. ("During an eighteen-month period in 1971 and 1972," Bryan Burrough writes in Days of Rage, "the FBI reported more than 2,500 bombings on U.S. soil, nearly 5 a day." Though most of those did not kill anyone, prompting Burrough to call them "exploding press releases.")

There were locally focused fights too, like the 1898 coup in Wilmington, North Carolina, when white supremacists overthrew an elected biracial government, killing dozens and possibly hundreds of people in the process. Or, on a less overtly political level, those prohibition-fueled gang battles for territory and market share that have periodically seized a city—Chicago in the 1930s, Miami in the 1980s.

When violence wasn't actually breaking out, you still sometimes could feel it simmering. In Georgia in 1968, Hancock County elected a predominantly black government—the first county to do so since Reconstruction. Not everyone in the area was happy about that. The ensuing decade saw sporadic harassment, arson, and gunfire, and there are locals who haven't stopped harboring suspicions about the plane crash that killed black activist John McCown. At one point, tensions were so high that both the county seat's all-white police force and a club formed by McCown started stockpiling submachine guns. The governor, an up-and-comer named Jimmy Carter, eventually stepped in and helped negotiate a disarmament pact. But in another timeline, they might still be telling tales of the Hancock County War.

***

If you think it a bit inflated to call such conflicts civil wars, I think you're right. No, not even the Western Civil War of Incorporation—that's a handy historical framework and a wonderfully evocative phrase, but it does not describe a war in the conventional sense of the word. There is a reason why that four-year fight from 1861 to 1865 is "the" Civil War. Those other mêlées pale beside it.

But you should remember this long history of armed conflict when people issue overwrought warnings that America is headed for a new civil war. Those Civil War II discussions tend to conflate two different scenarios: one where this ambient political violence intensifies, and one where Red/Blue polarization evolves into an actual war with two formal sides. The first is certainly plausible; the second is not. (And then there are the pundits with their own private definitions of "civil war" that apparently do not require violence at all. Last year, New York Times columnist Charles Blow published a column headlined "We're Edging Closer to Civil War." About a dozen paragraphs in, he allowed that "this new war will be fought in courts, statehouses and ballot boxes, rather than in the fields.")

Plausible or not, that fear of a full-fledged civil war has been growing for several years now. It has become especially intense since the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. As the first anniversary of that eruption arrived, two books surfaced to greet it. Barbara F. Walter's How Civil Wars Start and How To Stop Them is a tour through recent research on political instability. Stephen Marche's The Next Civil War takes a more fanciful approach, sketching out four stories of possible paths to Civil War II and a fifth in which the U.S. breaks up peacefully. Walter comes across as someone who has read a lot of serious social science; Marche comes across as someone who has read a lot of Vox articles. Yet Walter's arguments leap far past anything demonstrated by her scholarly evidence. And Marche, whose method gives him permission to make huge leaps, somehow keeps forgetting to jump all the way to a civil war.

The problem with Walter's book—well, one of the problems—is best seen in her discussion of the Polity Project, which rates countries on a scale from -10 to 10. If you come in at 6 or higher, you are a liberal democracy; if you hit -6 or lower, you are an autocracy. Walter informs us that the countries in-between, dubbed "anocracies," are more likely to see a civil war break out; the United States, she adds ominously, has recently slipped into that middle zone. She offers several reasons to expect a country that is democratizing but not yet democratic to be more unstable, and she buttresses her case with examples from Indonesia to Ethiopia. She weaves such an enticing argument that you might miss the moment when she casually concedes that every one of her real-world precedents involves a country rising, not falling, into anocracy territory.

In fact, she offers just one example of a backsliding country that even came close to civil war: Ukraine around the time of the Euromaidan protests. That's our single precedent: a country with a very different history than the United States, in a very different geopolitical context, that didn't actually fall into a civil war. Suddenly the science is looking a little threadbare.

The science looks even less impressive when we learn a bit more about the Polity Project's precise-sounding numeric scores. When the U.S. recently dropped to a rating of 5, Walter breathlessly tells us, it was our "lowest score since 1801." So according to this oh-so-scientific measurement, the entire period from 1801 to 1865, when vast swaths of the population were not just kept from participating in politics but were held as human chattel, was more democratic than America today. And this scale is supposed to tell us something useful about the risk of civil war? Garbage in, garbage out.

Marche is less interested in crunching numbers and more interested in spinning scenarios. There's one where federal inspectors shut down a bridge they deem unsafe, and a sheriff defies them by reopening it, and the sheriff becomes a right-wing folk hero, and one thing leads to another, and pretty soon we've got militias facing off against the Army. In another, an incel assassinates our first female president. Or what if a drought hits the Midwest while a hurricane destroys New York City? Or a dirty bomb irradiates the U.S. Capitol?

Marche tries to justify his story choices by citing various experts and by mentioning the occasional historical precursor, as when an Arizona sheriff backed a county government that had opted to fix a bridge before the federal government had completed an environmental impact study. (Yes: Marche replaced a sheriff who wanted to repair a bridge with a sheriff trying to keep a bridge from being repaired. I guess the original setup wouldn't let him have the sheriff say things like "Anyone can choose to use the bridge or not to use the bridge. You know, my grampy always told me life is unsafe.") While it's easy to think of ways that these stories aren't likely, I don't want to dwell on that. Marche isn't trying to convince us that one of these specific stories will happen; he's arguing that something could happen. These are just illustrations.

So it's striking that even then, they tend not actually to end with a second civil war. The hurricane story is apocalyptic, but in a Mad Max way, not a Chickamauga way. At the end of the sheriff's story, militias are mustering and swaths of the country are under military occupation; it feels a lot like…Reconstruction. And no, Marche is not using a looser definition of "civil war" that would include Reconstruction or Red Summer. He explicitly invokes the Civil War as the sole civil war in U.S. history, even as he offers outcomes that don't look much like it.

***

Needless to say, a Red Summer rerun would still be extremely unwelcome, even if it isn't Civil War II. My point here isn't that we have nothing to worry about. It's that we should worry about the right thing. You won't find the right remedy if you've made the wrong diagnosis.

When I say the wrong diagnosis, I don't just mean this tendency to conflate political violence in general with a full-scale, 1860s-style civil war. I mean a tendency to treat political violence and partisan polarization as two sides of the same coin, as though the next war will be fought between the Fox and MSNBC audiences: the Red and the Blue replacing the Blue and the Gray. It is possible, I guess, to conjure unlikely scenarios where this happens, maybe centered around a disputed election. (It's odd that none of Marche's stories begin that way.) But political disorder is not encumbered by the structural factors that have allowed just two parties to dominate American elections. Our hatreds, our loyalties, and our violence point in far more directions than just two. And while Walter and Marche both understand that, that isn't true of everyone prone to pending-civil-war chatter.

Think of the riots of 2020. These often come up when right-wing figures predict that we're heading toward a Red/Blue civil war. (Here's a Townhall columnist writing that summer: "There is good reason to believe our nation is heading for a bloody civil war given the myriad forces supporting rioting, looting and terrorizing innocent people…") Yet that year's violence doesn't fit onto a partisan map very well, given how much of it was directed at Democratic municipal governments. When liberals fret about Civil War II, meanwhile, they're more likely to cite the Capitol riot of January 2021. That one did at least involve the partisans of one party trying to prevent power from passing to the other party. But even there, the pro-Trump unity masked a lot of competing agendas and mutual distrust—and the latter has increased considerably since then, as the fear of federal infiltrators drives groups that were already distrustful even further apart. The Capitol mob doesn't look like the seeds of a unified army; it looks like a temporary alliance that almost immediately disintegrated.

That isn't the only misdiagnosis floating around. Walter's book opens with another recent moment of violence, or rather would-be violence: the time a small group of anti-lockdowners conspired in 2020 to kidnap and kill Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Walter describes the conspirators as white nationalists, but at least one of them participated in that summer's Black Lives Matter protests. Not that they were all pro-BLM: Another one reportedly tried to start a fight with some anti-racist protesters. This group just wasn't united by a racial ideology.

They weren't united by partisan loyalty either: The cabal included both a guy with Truckers for Trump lawn signs and a guy who said Donald Trump should be hanged. What united them was violent opposition to Whitmer's COVID policies. And under the surface, even that didn't unite all of them: At least a dozen informants and at least two undercover FBI agents were part of the plot, sometimes taking significant organizational roles.

Not content to misdiagnose, some analysts offer remedies that don't even fit their diagnosis. When Walter gives us advice on how to avoid a civil war, one of her first suggestions is to restore trust in America's elections—and one of the ways that she'd like to do that is to adopt automatic voter registration. This may well be a good idea on its own merits, but it makes absolutely no sense as a way to restore trust in elections. The people who worry the most about voter fraud are overwhelmingly likely to believe automatic voter registration makes fraud more likely.

Walter half-acknowledges this: The "far right" won't be assuaged, she tells us, since its "vision of a white Christian nation depends on disenfranchising minorities." But she waves that aside, declaring that the reform would "earn the support of moderates." That's the sort of thing you write when you have no idea what the debate over election integrity looks like in mainstream conservative circles.

If anything in these books makes me anxious about the future, it's moments like that one—not passages that argue compellingly that we're heading toward war, but passages that display the blindness that makes civil conflict more likely. Political violence has been a part of the American experience since the colonial days, and no doubt it will be with us for years to come. If we are to withstand it, let alone transcend it, it'll help to have a grounded sense of what those guys on the other side of the barricades believe.

How Civil Wars Start and How To Stop Them, by Barbara F. Walter, Crown, 320 pages, $27

The Next Civil War: Dispatches From the American Future, by Stephen Marche, Avid Reader Press, 256 pages, $27

NEXT: 10 Million Ukrainians Have Been Displaced By the War. The U.S. Has Taken in 690 Ukrainian Refugees.

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  1. People who think this country is headed towards actual bloody killing civil war are deluded. Reality is the government ratchet, each side adding their own control and leaving the other sides' previous controls in place. At some point, something has to give; whether that is a President ruling by decree executive order in increasingly more trivial ways, or a constitutional convention enshrining a few pet peeves while retaining the great bulk of creative constitutional misinterpretations in place, or something else altogether, I have no idea. But something social and cultural will change before there's any kind of actual bloody killing civil war.

    1. Agreed. I would add that some righties like to bluster on about civil war and secession; a few too many left-leaning media types and academe have noticed that they can make money fear-mongering about civil war, and pretending that the thousands of white supremacists are endemic. Things would be nicer, at least quieter, if both groups would STFU, or grow the fuck up, but this seems unlikely.

    2. "But something social and cultural will change before there's any kind of actual bloody killing civil war": Something social and cultural has already changed.

      1. Yes, leftists are psychotic and wholly malicious.
        Leftists are literally cancer.

        1. +10000000000

    3. Are We Always on the Verge of Civil War?

      Yes, and nowadays, you can have your choice of Shit Hits The Fan (SHTF) scenarios, all live and in progress. Next question...

  2. Just for the record, the correct term is "The war of northern aggression".
    The genteel ladies of the south refer to the period in the 1860s as "The late unpleasantness".
    In a major violation of Reason policies, the picture directly relates to the article; a large group of armed federal officials attacking a group of citizens.

    1. Much preferred: "The War for Southern Independence." The Southern states seceding to try to gain independence came before the Northern aggression to pull them back into the Union.

    2. I and many others have no problems with the South seceeding. But it wasn't something accomplished by the stroke of a pen. It should have been done by referendums at the least. There were assets to divvy up. The south fired on Fort Sumter without reasonable provocation. And the haste just showed how silly their provocation was -- they seceded before Lincoln had even taken office.

      Whether or not the war itself was justified, the south brought it on themselves. The slavocracy was a bunch of imbeciles acting in haste then just as much as they had violated the constitution for so many years before, and I will lose no sleep over their losing a war they had been itching to start for so long.

      1. Secession is a tool for good or for evil.

        Here it was for evil because the Confederates wanted a slave republic.

        The Unionists didn't make that distinction, at least at first, because many of them really weren't big supporters of the rights of the slaves - but they thought secession in itself was evil. Their support was needed to keep the war going until it turned into a war against both disunion *and* slavery. So the two issues finally fused together.

        1. Or perhaps I should say...the "reunion with slavery" people, in many cases, came to realize that they couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again, and if they wanted a restored Union they'd have to kill off slavery.

      2. There were referenda, alephbet.

      3. I agree with alphabet dude

  3. So let's consider an even more likely phenomenon; the Convention of States [currently at 19 States having passed the necessary resolutions to mandate an Article V constitutional convention] succeeds with the requisite 34 [38 States legislatures would then have to pass any such resolution in order for it to become a constitutional amendment]; would it even have to get that far before a number of States [and I, and you, can list at least a dozen] would be threatening to secede?

    1. I think that would be an interesting time period (one in which I don't want to be around for.) It seems very clear to me that we need far more power devolved to the states than we need more concentrated at the top, let alone amendments.

      There is a very clear line between states anymore and what one would find fantastic another would find abhorrent.

      1. raspberrydinners is right for a change -- agreed

    2. A constitutional convention would be a disaster. It's highly unlikely that a modern convention would end up with a document as libertarian as the one in the 18th century, and if the pro-freedom states did pull that off, the high-population states would complain that it was undemocratic, and start their own convention.

      1. You have a better idea?

        Proposals, as I understand it, are restricted to term limits, federal spending limits, and federal power and overreach [and yes that is a broad one; perhaps a refinement of the commerce clause?]; I think the idea of a "runaway" convention is exaggerated; in any event the real safeguard is that 38 States then have to ratify any proposed amendments coming out of such a convention.

        And the intent is not to replace our current constitution with any "positive" rights as you seem to suggest [?]; what the government giveth it will most surely taketh away.

        1. The convention which produced the current Constitution was a runaway convention.

        2. The Constitution we already have is pretty good. Why not keep that one? Just win more elections and appoint judges who will uphold it.

          1. "...the outnumbered (and larger population states) would most likely call it anti-democratic and split away."

            Are you saying that is a bad thing?

            1. New Jersey
            2. Connecticut
            3. California
            4. Massachusetts
            5. HI
            6. Delaware
            7. Maryland
            8. Oregon
            9. Washington
            10. New York
            11. Rhode Island
            12. Illinois [Chicago as a W Berlin flyover?]

            Steady as she goes and hoping for the best is not keeping the government from entrenching career politicians, career [and unelected and largely unaccountable] bureaucrats, engaging in increasingly out of control spending, and increasingly intruding into every aspect of our lives.

            "In sum, I am not prepared to assert that the Founders put an instrument into the Constitution that would harm the Republic. The Founders were wiser than that. Proof of their wisdom is their anticipation of the day when the federal government goes rogue, for which they provided states a remedy in Article V—if we find the will to use it."

      2. No it would not. All a convention can do is propose changes. Those changes still need 38 state approval.

        You and a lot of anti-convention idiots make that same mistake so often that it begins to seem intentional misinformation.

        1. Justice Scalia puts is far better than I can:

          https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomlindsay/2019/11/11/the-risk-is-minimal--justice-scalia-on-the-need-for-a-convention-of-states-to-restrain-federal-power/?sh=5fbb961045fb

          We can all play the cynic and come to sites like this a bitch endlessly, but doing nothing does indeed seem to be the bigger risk

        2. A convention could implement an entirely new constitution. It's what happened in 1787.

          Could a new constitution be better than the one we have now? Possibly. But I think people in general, and politicians in particular, are a lot less libertarian than they were in 1787, so we would likely end up with something less libertarian than we have now.

          And if the pro-liberty representatives did push through something good, the outnumbered (and larger population states) would most likely call it anti-democratic and split away.

    3. Excuse me, the correct term is ratify; and I have no idea what asshole just posted in reply because I muted the stupid shit day one.

    4. I think the Convention of States is a great initiative to prevent the Nazi take over....

      At the same time; I don't really get how a stricter Constitution is going to do any good. The one we have already gets ignored like dirty toilet paper by the Nazi-Politicians so what makes anyone think a 'new' one won't be ignored the same way????

      And THERE is the problem with the USA. It's NOT the USA anymore.. The *real* USA was defined by that Constitution. Where's even an 'implied' power for the people's retirement and healthcare. Where's even an 'implied' power for the Environment. Etc, etc, etc............... The IGNORANCE D.C. shows towards their sworn oath of office and the U.S. Constitution is ENDLESSSSSSSS............

  4. "The Capitol mob doesn't look like the seeds of a unified army; it looks like a temporary alliance that almost immediately disintegrated."

    Once again, reason trying to downplay it.

    And what if they had succeeded? What if they had reached the members of the House, etc.? We might not be discussing how they "just immediately disbanded." We'd be talking about a national crisis.

    For the love of cake, stop downplaying the damn insurrection attempt.

    1. What if they succeeded? What were they going to do when they reached the House members? They were unarmed.

      1. Sure, because it’s not possible to kill, harm, kidnap people unless you have guns.

        1. Let's see how you spin the armed Burn Loot Murder riots.

          1. That also attacked federal buildings and the White house.

            1. Remember when all the progs were chanting "bunker boy".

              1. They also injured secret service agents.

              2. You know who else was a “Bunker Boy?”

        2. Tell that to Ashley Babbitt.

          1. Fake libertarians are glad she died.

        3. Even assuming they started ripping the representatives apart with their bare fucking hands, WHAT THEN? They still can't appoint themselves as the new Congress. They could pretend to sit there and pass laws until the National Guard rolls in and arrests them all for murder and insurrection.

          1. Is that the national guard under the command of Trump at the time? Trump could have used this as an excuse for a whole bunch of bad things. Not saying he would have, but he definitely could have.

            But even beyond that, kill a couple of congressmen, kidnap a couple more, and then if the violence spreads to the home districts suddenly the congressmen have a clear message to vote a certain way. Which... many did. The vote to impeach was met with calls for violence, and so congressmen scared for their family did not vote to impeach. Was it enough to make a difference? Don't know, but we do know a few definitely changed their votes because of it.

            1. Is that the national guard under the command of Trump at the time?

              Are you assuming that the National Guard units, had Trump chosen to federalize it at the time, would have gone along with overturning a presidential election? And that's even assuming the Joint Chiefs wouldn't immediately arrest the guy for conducting a military coup.

            2. Isn't the national guard under the governer?

              1. They are until stood up on a Federal mission, then, no. So for that instance in DC, would have been under some dipshit GO in DC, running up to some clown ass motherflipper in the Pentagon. Maybe Joint Chiefs, hard to say w/o a printout of DC chain of command in front of me. I know some green collar dudes who might have mowed people down on 6 Jan, some who would have just blocked access to the doors, none that would have assisted in the left's frenetic masturbatory insurrection fantasy.

      2. Did they all go through security?

        1. Yes. I have been assured the police guarding the Capitol knew all rioters were unarmed, and the rioters were all staying behind the velvet ropes taking selfies.

          1. Goddamn your are an evil lying cocksucking piece of shit.
            You are likely a fed though, so that ads up.

    2. If they had succeeded in disrupting the certification of the election? Probably a month-long national review board to assuage their concerns would have been established, reaching the same conclusion as the months-long review of election fraud cases in the courts. Finding "no widespread election fraud" the results would have been certified and everyone would go home.

      1. The extremists who stormed the Capitol would never calmly accept such a conclusion. Trump would never accept it, and would continue to whip them up.

        1. Lots of supposition fantasy, a new form of political SF. How do you deal with the reality of six months of Burn Loot Murder actual rioting and killing and suppression of freedom?

        2. The vocal majority in these here comments still don't accept it.

          1. Because of some vague, hand-wacky election fraud.

            1. Curious that iPhone correction thinks hand-wacky makes more sense than hand-wavey.

          2. Why would they? Trump won massively in actual REAL in-person votes.... Funny how a protest can be an insurrection but REAL F'EN numbers can't possibly be signs of election fraud...

        3. The extremists who stormed the Capitol would never calmly accept such a conclusion.

          Which doesn't matter bit. The left has been exaggerating the Jan 6 riot since it happened. But they omit what the riot showed about the right. Recall that there were supposed to be massive protests on inauguration day all across the country. In most locations literally no protesters showed up demonstrating that just about everyone on the right rejected the violence.

          Compare this change to the antifa / BLM riots which continued for months pulling in more and more of the left. Despite this clear difference the left wing propagandists continue to exaggerate and lie about 1-6 even as they minimize the BLM riots.

          1. Compare this change to the antifa / BLM riots which continued for months pulling in more and more of the left.

            Keep in mind, Time Magazine admitted that these groups were ready to go themselves if Trump had won the election, and were even going to be counterprotesting on January 6th, but their leaders were told to stand down by their establishment contacts, because they knew what would happen if Antifa showed up looking for a fight with a bunch of blue-collar workers and ex-military.

          2. "that just about everyone on the right rejected the violence."

            Which was, and continues to be, a mistake.

            1. This is wrong. The battle has to be won bureaucratically.

                1. How?

                  It depends on exactly what we're fighting against. But let's use CRT as our example. Most states have laws similar to the feds CRA of 1964 which outlaws discrimination in education. So the Florida Attorney General should start and investigation into schools implementing CRT principles such as claiming whites oppress others merely by existing, expecting people to show up on time is white privilege, or other discriminatory principles. If they are discovered everyone involved [whoever designed the program, whoever decided the school should use it, whoever trained the teachers, any teachers executing their plan] should be prosecuted for violating the students' civil rights.

                  If one state does this others can follow. Then when Reps next control the Federal AG office they can address the other states.

                  1. Ok, good answer to that particular point.

                    But how about the topic of this thread related to the difference between how people that engaged in burn loot murder for the year leading up to the election were treated compared to 1/6 protesters.

                    Or that the IC spies on a presidential candidate, then continued to spy on him and sabotage his presidency with bullshit throughout? That people within the executive branch, to which he was duly elected to head, publicly stated they would #resist that constitutional authority? All without consequences (one guy got probation for lying to FISA).

                    Judges would rule previous executive orders couldn’t be undone by current executive orders. Then they refused to hear challenges to illegal changes to voting before the election because no one had standing, then wouldn’t hear them after because it was to late.

                    We currently have a ruling class of bureaucrats and elites that don’t even pretend that the rule of law applies equally to everyone, and we are now at the stage where they flaunt the different set of rules in our faces just to show us they can.

                    How do you fight bureaucratically when the people enforcing laws/rules are the same people breaking them?

                    1. There's not always an easy answer since losing elections has consequences. In the case of 1-6 we need to continue pointing out the discrepancy in how the media reports violence based on politics, as well as the sentencing discrepancies. This sort of thing is quite obvious and delegitimizes the left over the long term. Then we need Reps to win back the house and Presidency so they can end politically driven prosecutions. Further we need to mock everyone who says "insurgency" and point out both how false it is and that this false characterization is entirely politically driven.

                      We have a natural handicap because libertarians and conservatives have never sought bureaucratic power with the zeal of leftists. But we have a natural advantage that vastly more of the public opposes wokeness and political retribution. So in the places our lack of institutional power limit our response we have to highlight how crazy these people are and translate this into voting out the Dems who empower them. Then we need to comb through our institutions to eliminate the political activists and replace left activist management with people opposed to corrupting our institutions into left-orthodoxy enforcement operations.

              1. Impossible.
                The longer you refuse to admit reality, the worse your chances will be.
                Might already be too late anyway.
                Only question left might be: die on your feet or live on your knees?

                1. “Or live on your knees?” Oh, leave the VP out of this!

              2. The main question of the holocaust, in my opinion, is not: how did all those people go along with and participate in it?
                We're certainly seeing it head down that road again, and have no cause to expect different results.

                The most important question about the holocaust really is: how did all those people go peacefully to their own execution?

                Why didn't more people force their captors to kill them while fighting back rather than simply letting themselves be executed?

        4. Surely some would continue to question the "audit" or "review process" or whatever it would have been called, but locking up those calling for an investigation only gives the paranoid more evidence that you're really out to get them.

          1. This is a group of rioters demanding an investigation after scores of investigations and lawsuits had already come up with nothing. They are impossible to satisfy because they want an investigation that comes to a conclusion counter to reality.

            1. Kill yourself.

            2. "come up with nothing" --- NEW??? Or what?
              It was well established that many States changed voting law by executive fiat.....

              1. When you ignore all evidence that contradicts your narrative, then all the evidence supports your narrative.

                Presto: no election fraud!

        5. That happens after a lot of elections.

          1. No, something like January 6th does not happen after a lot of elections.

            1. It just happened all through 2020. Kill yourself.

        6. Eat shit fed faggot.

          1. For mike the fed.

    3. Additional passages from Stolen Elections, Stolen Hearts the latest in the genre known as 'Trumptator fan-fiction' from acclaimed romance fantasist raspberrydinners:

      "The tanned and burly rebel had finally made it into the office of Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez before she was spirited away. He claimed his tears were due to the gas, but really, it was the knowledge that his love was forbidden."

      1. Something something torn shirt something.

    4. I fucking love cake.

      1. How about a girl in a short skirt and a long jacket?

        1. I haven't seen them in 20 years but cake was a great show every time

        2. I always thought the girl in the song would have been a Randian heroine rather than a Feminist one.

          It also looks like Cake also started a YouTube category even before YouTube: The Listener Reaction Video. Now it seems every song of every era has that equivalent.

    5. WHAT IF... WHAT IF... WHAT IF!!!!

      But for! BUT FOR! BUT FOR!!!

      1. It's interesting that the libertarians seem to think the only acceptable action to take in the face of tyranny is whining about it and asking the tyrant to please be less tyrannical.

        1. Shitlunches isn’t a libertarian. Neither is Dee.

          1. Oh I know. They weren't the ones I had in mind

      2. TO BE SURE! TO BE SURE! (Just trying to keep this Reasonable)

        1. MY GOD! MY GOD! (Tribute to Crusty Juggler. Damn I miss him!)

    6. And just like that ... raspberrydinners reverts to total DUMBASS

      There was NO insurrection you fucking dumb ass!!!!

  5. When half the people don't even bother to turn out to vote, I don't think getting them to actually fight for their political beliefs is going to happen.

    And if a state voted to secede these days, the correct course of action would be to let them. People have a basic human right of self-determination, to choose their own government.

    1. > When half the people don't even bother to turn out to vote...

      Ditto. However, I suspect a huge percentage of the True Believers don't vote anyway.

      The history of revolutions happens when the populace is split 33/33/33, then something happens to instantly separate everyone out into 50/50.

  6. Secede? I want a procedure to force states out of the "union".

    1. that's "perpetual union" in the common parlance.

  7. >>the time a small group of anti-lockdowners conspired in 2020 to kidnap and kill Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

    dude opened his book with a thing that didn't happen?

    1. It could have happened.

      1. It would have if the FBI were competent.

        1. The FBI was behind it in the first place.

          1. exactly.

      2. Progressive, left-leaning sociopolitical viewpoints and culture are largely, maybe entirely based on fictional interpretation, false assertion, and outright lies, endlessly repeated. It creates common knowledge that is wildly incorrect, and never questioned. The 'whitmer kidnapping' is a great example. The effectiveness of masks as a protective measure for a virus is another. The US spending more on Defense than education is a chestnut.

        1. Leftism is NECESSARILY psychotic

        2. https://twitter.com/MattWalshBlog/status/1505953412625707012?t=6LiFrhzagQN83uZqC5D0-w&s=19

          It's a very simple strategy for the Left. They didn't like the Florida parental rights bill but couldn't argue against it without sounding like a bunch of perverted freaks, so instead they completely invented a different bill out of thin air and argued against that instead.

          1. Arguing against this: 'Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.' does make the fucktards seem like, fucktards. Kind of seems like material that families would prefer to handle, or would be better handled by health care professionals, and at a later stage of development. Early Ed teachers are, to be blunt, not a very bright group.

            1. I've been having fun asking "So, why do you want to talk to five year olds about anal sex, exactly?"

              1. ^THIS +10000000

  8. As a shitty singer for a shitty band once said "The future's uncertain and the end is always near."

    1. American. Poet.

      1. Dead. Drunk.

        1. You should know.

    2. Hey! He may have been a shitty singer but his band was quite talented.

      1. Not really. Mediocre blues band.

  9. Are We Always on the Verge of Civil War?

    I can't speak for you.

  10. If it doesn't happen, the American experiment is over.

    1. It's over.

      People are wayyyyy too comfortable and lazy nowadays to risk injury or death for freedom. Maybe not 100% of people, but definitely 98 or 99. I've got my phone and internet and house and office job and health care and indoor toilet and all the food I can eat to make me fat....I don't have to toil in the dirt and sweat and mud and witness the death of 2/7 of my children in infancy. I don't have to travel 500 miles on foot to make a new life. I'm good even if our leaders are dictators.

      I will TAKE LOUD STANDS on the Internet. But will I actually, physically put myself in the line of fire? Um, I will TAKE LOUD STANDS on the Internet.

      98-99%.

  11. https://twitter.com/Rothbard1776/status/1505739281372962816?t=cc_gH5n5-h9rmdtpSirUzA&s=19

    The same FBI who set-up General Flynn, doctored emails to secure a FISA warrant on Carter Page [to spy on the Trump campaign] and established the Mueller Special Counsel based on their fake intel from Hillary Clinton had Hunter Biden’s laptop over a year before the 2020 election.

    They also had video of Biden threatening to withhold $1B in loans to the Ukrainian government if they didn’t fire the prosecutor that was looking into corruption at Burisma, where Hunter was on the board making over $83,333 a month.

    Now Joe Biden [who is implicated in the emails on Hunter’s laptop, confirmed by their business partner Tony Bobulinski] is the President and we’re giving billions and billions of dollars in more aid to Ukraine, one of the establishment’s favorite vehicles for money-laundering.

  12. https://twitter.com/libsoftiktok/status/1505920918232600580?t=HsrLu9_9hXN3ILy2NIlAEQ&s=19

    .@AustinISD held a pride parade. Students paraded through the halls celebrating pride and the LGBTQ+ community. Homeschool your kids.

    This pride parade was in the same school that is set to start “Pride Week” today which they made students promise to not tell anyone about.

    [Video]

    1. they made students promise to not tell anyone about

      Not a fan of Pride, but a public school system failing to Pride is pretty funny.

      1. It's a bit ironic

  13. https://twitter.com/theammind/status/1505927225111359489?t=ca2Rrr0KD1oDYRaYyxQA9Q&s=19

    Habi Zhang: “Increasingly I see resemblance between China and the U.S. on many fronts…what so troubles me is why the American people seem to have changed – truth is no longer the highest value.”

    [Link]

    1. "truth is no longer the highest value"

      That is just silly. Our current president values "truth" over everything, even facts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15RjcRJ3Z70

      1. C'mon, Man! He values the truth of Jello Pudding and Boost and Hoveround. 🙂

  14. Having grown up a stones throw away from Mussel Slough (okay, a few stones throws) I had to learn about it in history class several times. The standard narrative was always "evil capitalism against the poor worker." And indeed the area was a hotspot of wobblies for the longest time.

    But the truth was that it was NOT free market capitalism, or even market capitalism. But state corporatism. The Federal government and the state granted vast swathes of land to the railroad, swathes that were miles wide instead of just the fifty feet or so needed for the tracks. So whole towns were literally owned by the railroads, by government decree. This was up and down the entire state of California. I don't like progressives, but the progressive politics aren't in this state by accident. They were a reaction against the overt corporatism of the 19th and early 20th century. Corporatism as the fusion of state and corporation.

    1. No, that is not what "corporatism" is.

      Corporatism is a collectivist theory of organizing society by various interest groups. While business groups may form one type of corporation under such a system, the word does not mean under that theory what you are taking it to mean.

      1. Fine, crony capitalism.

        Brandy's point still stands--the decades-long influx of marxist-sympathetic immigrants and the poor worker safety and pay records of the businesses that came to dominate the US economy in the Gilded Age produced a very fertile field for economic populism to flourish. Some of the most radical left-wing enclaves were in places in the American West that are now dominated by Republican-voting residents. That evolution was the whole basis for "What's the Matter With Kansas?", which at least tried to understand why formerly radical ag-industrial towns became more conservative, but failed to understand the sociological construct of rural communities because it's stuck in a post-World War II liberal/conservative paradigm.

        1. Because the good folks of Kansas as progressive populists they were, were not cosmo wokes from Vienna circa 1920! They were not degenerates but religious (usually protestants) who believed in hard work, freedom, liberty and family. Not nuking traditional values like the immigrants from eastern europe who were socialist and secularist and had a deep hatred towards salt of the earth peasants. The US had a far left in the mid-west for sure, but it wasn't the cultural marxist type of central and eastern europe.

          1. Some of the most radical left activists in the US were Germans who fled here after the 1848 revolutions. It wasn't just the Italian or Jewish immigrants that came here in the late 19th century.

            And yeah, those people were straight-up marxists. Rural communities in Oregon and Montana were redder than than a blood bank. The IWW was founded by Frank Little and Big Bill Haywood, a farmer and a miner. Colorado actually elected a Populist governor and the Granger movement was huge there.

            What eventually turned these places against the commies was that the IWW and most marxist unions were largely made up of itinerant labor--people who didn't actually live in and support the community, but migrated from place to place. So every time they had a huge strike or direct action, it negatively affected these towns, which survive through social conformity and can't handle deviant or divisive elements that threaten their communal cooperation.

    2. My grandfather, a lifelong Republican, was a judge in California in the 1930s-40s. He somehow fell afoul of the Big Railroad companies and it cost him his career.

  15. https://twitter.com/davidharsanyi/status/1505961030660333568?t=mF6hzcnijGzSSuenpD-9gA&s=19

    Every justice was confirmed using the constitutionally prescribed method. These people believe anything that denies them power is dubiously attained

    A major political party smearing a candidate as a gang rapist is something worth "whining" about, btw.

    [Link]

  16. https://twitter.com/meghaverma_art/status/1505960553268797443?t=u5HumigV-1aEw1Y7RBLIiQ&s=19

    Gustave Flaubert speaks about France in the 1870s:
    "One half of the population of Paris wants to strangle the other half, and the other half has the same idea; you can read it in the eyes of people passing by"

    Sounds a little familiar doesn't it?

    1. I don't want to strangle anyone. I just want to be left alone. That's the real problem- one group is more than happy to let the other group do whatever they want, as long as they mind their own business. The other group is incapable of minding its own business because they think it's their job to mind everyone else's.

      1. I would go farther. The group that minds other people's business, believes they have the right to deny other people basic courtesy, deny human rights, deprive those with whom they don't agree of the means to earn a living. I fall into to the 'just want to be left alone' category. I suspect most of the center, center-right, right, and libertarian folks do. A smaller portion of the center-left, the so-called classic liberals should fit in there as well. The rest however, will not take the hint, it seems, even when it has been coded into law and custom.

      2. I don't want to strangle anyone. I just want to be left alone.

        Silence is violence. Get with the times.

        1. I LITERALLY just killed all the black people and trannies with my indifference.

  17. Died WITH Alcoholism or FROM Alcoholism?

    Nearly 100,000 Americans died from an alcohol-related cause - a 25% jump - during the pandemic, NIH study finds: Social isolation, stress and disruptions to daily life are blamed
    Deaths caused by alcohol in the U.S. surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, an NIH study finds
    In 2020, 99,000 deaths were tied to alcohol in the U.S., a 25% jump over the previous year
    Researchers blame disruptions to daily life, social isolation and pandemic related stress for the increase
    A similar rise was found in drug overdose cases as the same factors affected that metric as well

    1. Silly, clearly they died of covid, but alcohol was related somehow. They should have got the 2nd booster and worn a mask, maybe. I joke, the clear toll on mental health due to the incessant dishonesty of the news coverage, coupled with the fragility of the minds produced in this society, is quite clear. Now, me for a Yamazaki 18, neat.

      1. Those poor souls wouldn't have had to drink if people just got their vaccinations when they were told. This is all the fault of anti-vaxxers. And Republicans.

    2. I’d love to see diabetes statistics for 2020-2021

  18. "Political violence has been a part of the American experience since the colonial days, and no doubt it will be with us for years to come."

    If the next civil war is fought with one or more sides armed with nuclear weapons, that should put an end to the American experience.

  19. "You will own nothing"

    https://twitter.com/Breaking911/status/1506042660670291973?t=4uMa4V8Sp6xI7Q7BteaoIQ&s=19

    POTUS: "Now is the time where things are shifting. There's going to be a new world order out there and we've got to lead it."

    [Video]

    1. Some 10 million Ukrainians own nothing right now. Sounds like Vladamir Putin is fulfilling that meme worse and quicker than the Davos crowd.

  20. https://twitter.com/pepesgrandma/status/1505955177584631813?t=x4v1BQf-s3H5XUjT9mMHAA&s=19

    U.N. Chief Guterres Says The World Must Endure High Gas Prices For The Good Of The Planet

    [Link]

  21. If we are to withstand it, let alone transcend it, it'll help to have a grounded sense of what those guys on the other side of the barricades believe.

    So, it is up to Republican, conservatives and libertarians ... we are SCREWED!!!!!!

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