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Lincoln at Gettysburg
credit: smithsonianmagazine

I have long considered what would be required to provoke a second Civil War.  The kindling is arguably already in place.  America’s divisions are deep.  The national and local Democrat parties have demonstrated they no longer believe in American constitutionalism, if indeed they ever did.  Victories won by Republicans on election day are later overturned by “harvested” ballots that often exceed the number of registered voters, and which magically appear once Democrats know how many will be required to win.  Democrats do not accept any election won by Republicans as legitimate. Leftist-controlled states and cities, already in ruinous debt, plagued by crime and social dissolution, are doubling down on failure and blaming normal Americans for their self-inflicted misery.

Normal Americans are tolerant people.  They think so little of politicians, and the national government in particular, little surprises them.  As the Japanese in WWII discovered, they are slow to anger, but once aroused, their wrath is terrible.

Leftists routinely vilify anyone that suggests the Second Amendment was written to deter, and if necessary overthrow, a tyrannical government. Immediately thereafter, they scoff at the idea that normal Americans, armed only with small arms, could possibly resist the armed might of the American military.  Some, as I pointed out in They Really Do Want You Disarmed, threaten, only somewhat metaphorically, to use nuclear weapons against Americans resisting gun confiscation.

It is gun confiscation that would be the spark that lights the fuse of civil war, a role it played in the American Revolution. As the Founders knew well, private ownership of firearms is the ultimate guarantor of liberty.  Armed men are free men.  Despite their self-satisfied mocking of normal, honest Americans, Leftists know they cannot impose their progressive utopia on an armed populace.  Disarming the law-abiding and free is a prerequisite. It would occur very much as it does in Stephen Coont’s prophetic novel Liberty’s Last Stand.  

In order to pacify most of America, federal law enforcement officers would have to be willing to abandon the Constitution, and to murder their fellow Americans.  They would have to pledge their allegiance to leftist politicians rather than the Constitution.  Thanks to Barack Obama and his lackeys like James Comey, we already know many of them would.  Some would do it because they want to be on what they might think would be the winning side.  Some are leftist true believers.  Some think themselves superior to normal Americans, a part of the self-imagined elite; killing the less worthy would trouble them not at all.  Others would not want to lose their jobs and pensions, nor would they want to be imprisoned, even executed.  But many would refuse.  They would, one day, no longer come in to work, and may just sit on the sidelines, but some would join the resistance, in this case a real resistance fighting to protect the Constitution and preserve America.

The same would be true of local police officers and for the same reasons, but a much larger number of them—in many cases, entire agencies—would refuse to assist federal officers.  Many of them, on a good day, have a well-earned, healthy distrust of federal law enforcement.  They also have to live among the people they’d be attacking, and of necessity, killing. Their neighbors know who they are and where they live.  If their police turned on them, their lives wouldn’t be worth a bucket of warm spit.

These modern brownshirts would have some initial success at seizing private arms, and they would gladly kill some resisters.  As with all tyrants, they’d engage in brutal violence and repression to make examples.  When the news spread, despite the best efforts of a compliant leftist media to suppress it, they would quickly discover just how dangerous normal Americans armed with small arms–more than 300 million–can be.

An American patriot

Millions of Americans–female and male–are military veterans, and millions are far more proficient in tactics and shooting skill than police officers. They know the local terrain.  Throughout the country, entire groups of raiding feds would be shot down, and the offices of federal employees, law enforcement or not, would be attacked and forcibly closed, those working there killed if they resisted, the rest imprisoned or run out of state.

By this time, some states, likely led by Texas, which could easily survive as a nation, would secede. In so doing, they would surely absorb their National Guard forces, and would also seize the materials of active duty installations within their boundaries.  In so doing, they would also absorb many willing active duty personnel.

This would force a military escalation, which the tyranny would surely already have well underway.  Active duty and National Guard units would have a momentous decision to make.  Do they obey orders to use force against fellow Americans?  Some would think it their duty, but most would refuse to kill Americans.  Our military members have hometowns, wives, children, sisters, brothers, parents and friends.  Many would join the resistance, taking their issued arms, and a wide variety of larger and more deadly weapons and munitions with them.  Many personnel would simply return home and sit it out.

If the military, as a whole, decided on neutrality, to allow non-military Americans to sort it out, mass casualties could be avoided.  If, however, significant portions of our military began attacking civilian targets, all restraints would be off, and the conflict could easily make the first Civil War look tame by comparison.  Soldiers captured by the survivors of the Americans they slaughtered would wish they had been killed, but not for long.

Among the first actions of a corrupt government would be the arrest and detention of anyone they thought might resist them.  This would include many congressional Republicans, all Constitution-honoring Supreme Court justices and lower court judges, any member of the media not an avowed leftist, and every federal employee unwilling to enthusiastically support their tyrannical power grab.  This would extend to state and local governors, mayors, politicians and other prominent citizens thought to be hostile.  Even many in the media would be seized, screaming that they are on the side of the tyrants, who would want only the most terrified and therefore, loyal, to spread right think.

It would also, for all to see and know, reveal the true extent of the deep state, whose identities would soon become well known.  They would not last long.

Massive concentration camps would be set up.  Torture, murder, and staged executions would be the order of the day.  Hyperbolic? It’s merely the socialist/communist playbook, the tried and true methods employed by all tyrants.

Eventually, these camps would be raided, all guards and other officials killed, and the inmates liberated, but this would take time. Discovering what the tyranny did in these camps would enrage Americans, and would provoke more bloodshed.  Supporters of the tyranny everywhere would face death at every turn; there would be no mercy.  The betrayal of American constitutionalism, and personal betrayal, would surpass even that of the First Civil War, leaving wounds that might never heal.

2016: Donald Trump won 3084 of 3141 counties.
credit: scopes.com

The self-imagined elite running the tyranny would soon learn some hard lessons.  Their safe areas—cities, some military reservations and similar facilities–would quickly become uninhabitable.  The majority of the country—flyover country—is where all the food is grown and processed, where virtually all power is generated, where fuel is produced, and where virtually all of the products necessary for modern life are made. Without complete control of the countryside, the cities would quickly become death traps.  Without electricity to run refrigerators and sewer systems, starvation, disease, crime, medieval afflictions all, would run rampant.  Some states, such as California, dependent on other states for water, power, and everything else, would quickly devolve to a brutish state of nature.  Wildfires would become apocalyptic conflagrations with neither manpower, fuel, machines or money to control them.

But they’d seize flyover country!  The logistic problems with that, even if every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine supported the tyrants, are almost unimaginable.  Taking and holding an area of that size is impossible, and invading forces would face constant hit and run attacks, damaging equipment and killing thousands.  Huge portions of the country are nightmare terrain for any invading force, and the advantage would be the resident’s, not the invader’s.  There would be nowhere they could go, no safe areas, where death wasn’t stalking them.

But what about tanks and other armored vehicles?  Modern tanks and other tracked vehicles must be transported long distances to the battlefield.  Their combat range is short and they require enormous amounts of fuel and massive maintenance support.  Much of the country is virtually impassable by heavy, armored vehicles.  The long supply lines necessary to transport them, and all military equipment, would be particularly vulnerable to attacks of all kinds.

But what about attack helicopters and other aircraft?  They too are short range, maintenance intensive platforms.  While powerful, they have to land, and any forward bases—and their pilots–would be prime targets.  Their success also assumes the resistance did not have access to man portable anti-aircraft missiles and other systems, such as those available in the armories of many military installations.

credit: youtube

Would a tyranny use nuclear weapons?  There would be little tactical/strategic utility, but if they became desperate enough–and they eventually would–it’s a possibility. Should that happen, free Americans would never again feel a need to be merciful, and the casualties among the tyranny and its supporters might be total, or nearly so.

It’s difficult to predict how such a conflict would unfold. Kept within the boundaries of the former United States, the tyranny would be quickly eliminated, but if they tried to enlist allies among criminal cartels, or even foreign enemies of America, the conflict would be much longer and bloodier.

The aftermath would be ugly.  There would almost certainly be little mood for Lincoln’s “With malice toward none, with charity for all.”  Separating the country into two nations—red and blue—as in Kurt Schlichter’s Indian Country and People’s Republic, might be the least destructive option, but would have the effect of establishing a permanent cold civil war.  Unifying the nation, even if the states that seceded would be willing, would require the complete  and permanent pacification of any and everyone participating in, supporting, or even sympathizing with the tyranny.  There would probably be sufficient will to do this, as brutal as it would be.

An allied danger is attack by foreign enemies, or at the least, foreign enemies unrestrained by unified American power running rampant elsewhere in the world. By the time an American civil war was more or less settled, the world would likely be a very different, and far more hostile, place.  Decades, even centuries of diplomacy that produced relative peace would be mostly lost, and might never again be regained.  Millions would die.

Lest anyone suggest I hope for such destruction—well, let’s just acknowledge they’re probably the kind of people that might provoke it, or support those that would.  No sane person hopes for war.  I pray it never becomes necessary.  The Founders knew it could happen, and with stunning ease.  All that is necessary to avoid such horrors is for every American to willingly embrace American constitutionalism.

That’s why I fear a second Civil War is all too possible.