No Minister

A Civil Break, not a Civil War.

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… “we don’t eat the same breakfast cereal anymore. We don’t read the same newspapers. We don’t consume the same news. We’re divided in every way, shape, and form in our culture, and thus it translates downstream into our politics”. 

In this post a few months ago I took a look at the growing talk about a possibility of second American Civil War.

But a second take on the matter has begun to emerge in the wake of the results of two criminal trials. The first is for young Mr Rittenhouse, who was found not guilty on all charges for having killed two Antifa members attacking him, plus wounding a third who aimed a pistol at his head. The second was for Mr Smollay, who was found guilty on all but one charge of faking an attack on himself by “racist, homophobic MAGA deplorables”.

Both trials have revealed that the split in the USA between two populations that has been observed at least since 2008, is growing wider. This is explored in a couple of articles. America on the Verge, and One Angry Nation, Two Wildly Divergent Explanations, both written after the Rittenhouse trial. In the first the writer looks directly at the context of the Rittenhouse shootings in 2020:

Political violence was worse in the 1960s and 1970s, but yesterday’s extremists lacked institutional backing. Today’s left-wing racial radicalism is different from the outbursts of the Vietnam and civil rights era. The inner-city explosions of the 1960s were ugly and destructive, but also unplanned and unapproved by those in power.

Compare then and now, when the most widespread and destructive urban violence in 50 years was cheered on by the mainstream media, the Democratic Party, and activist groups funded by corporate America. In 2020 alone, Black Lives Matter got $12 million from Google, and $10 million each from Amazon and Facebook. The organization received millions from video game companies, retail companies, manufacturers, hotels, sports leagues, celebrities, and wealthy individuals. 

U.S. embassies and federal agency headquarters unfurled Black Lives Matter flags as cities burned

That is a huge change between the two epochs of civil violence. It’s as if the various institutions of the USA want themselves to be destroyed. Given how many of the contemporary ruling class have marinated in decades of Leftist education whose analysis of the US is of a nation wracked by unforgivable Original Sins, that should not be a surprise. It’s why almost all of the same people jumped on the Smolley story to proclaim him as a victim and then Rittenhouse as the oppressor. They also likely think they can escape the destruction.

America still stands on the precipice of a dark abyss. The fact is, we live in a society where mass political violence has been normalized, and because it’s being used as a political and ideological bludgeon to threaten and intimidate the people of this country, the authorities have abdicated their responsibility to protect life and property. The people who have created these conditions are the same baying for the blood of Kyle Rittenhouse for defending himself from three of their own.

The second article is an analysis by one Peter Wood of a book recently published that tries to explain what’s going on in the USA, the author having interviewed a lot of Trump supporters

We Americans have become an angry bunch. On that Evan Osnos and I agree. Osnos is a staff writer for the New Yorker whose new book, Wildland: The Making of America’s Fury, surveys some of the same territory as my new book, Wrath: America Enraged. But on why we are angry and what it all means, Osnos and I diverge.

Osnos apparently wrote a very flattering book about Joe Biden and his campaign for President so that, plus being a writer from The New Yorker, gives a taste of where his latest work is going. According to him it’s all about irrational fear, starting with the 9/11 attacks:

Trump, the Tea Party, the NRA—they all made use of that rising unease of Americans who could not quite put a name to the anxieties they felt about the disordering of their world, about the puncturing of American invincibility, the browning of America, the vanishing of jobs to automation, the stagnation of their incomes. The language of force gained ground, Sarah Palin, in her appearances at Tea Party rallies and online, made frequent use of metaphors from the Revolutionary War and the world of guns. ‘Don’t retreat, reload,’ she liked to say.

Wood thinks this is merely the usual explanation that the Left loves…

… to psychologize away the dissatisfactions of the tens of millions of Americans.. who can’t quite put a name on their anxieties are the easily manipulated dupes of demagogues such as Palin and Trump…As Osnos puts it, those “already stewing in economic or racial resentment,” were not in possession of an ideology but had “a rootlessness of the mind—a loss of purpose, inspiration, and community.” 

Wood sees two things instead. First, that outbursts like this are a familiar part of American history and that the seeds of the current decay started a lot further back than 9/11 with the decline of admiration for self control and the rise of a new permission to display anger working its way into the broader culture. Second, that there are real reasons for the anger of the people that Osnos “analyses”:

Somehow missing in his 400-page plus account are the words that are seared in the memories of a great many Americans… Deplorables and bitter clingers are touchstones for almost every working-class Trump supporter I have ever talked with, and it seems odd that Osnos never mentions those words, despite quoting copiously from Hillary and Obama, and despite his interviewing a fair number of working-class Trump voters.

It’s notable that Obama’s contempt was actually aimed at Democrat voters who chose Hillary Clinton over him in the 2008 Pennsylvania primary, and that Hillary attacked him for his “arrogance” as well as being “elitist and out of touch” – before doing the same thing in 2016. Those voters likely still voted for Obama in 2008. In 2016 many must have voted for Trump when he won that same state.

[Had Osnos heard them it] would cast doubt on the idea that the Tea Party and the populist movement that followed it were rooted in “fear.” The roots of that movement were righteous fury, not baffled distress or unfocused anxiety. People understood perfectly well that a new governing class had arisen determined to overturn democratic norms and our self-governing republic and to replace them with domination by self-serving “experts” and a globalized elite.

English ex-pat writer (and North England Working Class boy) Clive Crook, had spotted this in 2016, Donald Trump, Class Warrior, which is very much worth re-reading together with these pieces.

Apparently Osnos thinks that things will calm down after a while and these people “will settle down to enjoy the normalcy of American life. The normalcy he has in mind, of course, is the dispensation of permanent progressive government.

Woods does not agree and explains why in both the article and in his own book, Wrath. In this he would no doubt be interested in the following two comments. The first one from the Chicago Boyz blog, written a year ago:

We’re already at the split. We read different books, watch different movies and television shows – those of us who still watch movies and television – follow different celebrities, earn a living in different ways, educate our children differently. We honor different things, different heroes and heroines, have wildly different aspirations and hopes for the future. We are already split.

The second almost identical one made just the other day by a Pearl Harbour historian while being interviewed about that attack:

“[Andrew Breitbart] once said, very adroitly, that politics is downstream from culture. Our culture, we don’t eat the same breakfast cereal anymore. We don’t read the same newspapers. We don’t consume the same news. We’re divided in every way, shape, and form in our culture, and thus it translates downstream into our politics. I personally think — and not that I’m hoping, I’m just an observer — but I think the United States is heading toward a breakup. It’s already happening.”

That means the numbers on this map may mean something more than just an escape from Democrat areas of high taxes, over-regulation, high crime and poor government – and the eventual result being much more than just Red states continuing to gain House seats from Blue states.

See also Secessionitis and Greater Idaho.

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