Culture Wars/Current Controversies

A Civil War is Still a Long Way Off

A friend on my page asked an important question.
“A while ago you were dismissive of the hype around a pending civil war, and you argued persuasively that the USA was one of the most stable countries, and even if it became more unstable, it would still be on the more stable end of the spectrum. You were saying that the majority of Americans are not partisan nuts. Have you changed your mind about these factors?”
My reply:
No, I haven’t changed my mind. A lot of my “civil war” posts are obviously hyperbolic. Worldwide, about 1 in 5 elections involve violence. Many countries manage to maintain an ongoing governmental structure, even with regular elections that are far more competitive than our own, while armed insurgents and low-grade civil wars are operating in their midst, and where the level of violence on a general level is very high. What I said in the previous sentence applies to most of Latin America, South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. In many countries, members of parliament get into fistfights and throw chairs at each other during parliamentary sessions instead of hugging each other like Lindsey Graham and Diane Feinstein.
The other day some drunk hippie chick that lives next door was trying to say that we are in a civil war because the police use tear gas on protestors: “What do you call it when governments use gas on their own people?” she asked. To which I replied, “I call it normal life” and mentioned how I was in Mexico a few years ago when the police casually mowed down 45 people in a protest like it was everyday business.
Real civil wars only happen when the state and its armed forces fracture. We are not even remotely at that point. In fact, the state finds the recent civil unrest so non-threatening that they haven’t even deployed troops to control it. The civil unrest we’ve had in recent months doesn’t even match what happened in the late 1960s/early 1970s in the US where there was a bombing virtually every day.
Americans are used to living in a relatively genteel middle-class society, which is historically rare. What we’re seeing is the US merely becoming a normal country with normal levels of instability and unrest. There are sports riots that take place in other countries that are just as intense as what we’ve seen lately.
Not only does the present situation not threaten state structures, but the state is actually encouraging it as a control mechanism. It’s like a pro-wrestling match from the kayfabe era where the “combatants” are ultimately working for the same promotional company, which profits from creating a chaotic spectacle. But there are always those fans who think it’s real and do things like actually stab heel characters or try to climb in the ring to help their favorite babyface character whom they mistakenly think is in real trouble.”

1 reply »

  1. “Americans are used to living in a relatively genteel middle-class society, which is historically rare.”

    And we also insist on believing that anything that happens to us is either happening for the first time anywhere and anywhen, or is happening in a better or worse way than it has ever happened elsewhere/elsewhen.

    Narcissus was obviously an American.

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