American Decline

Civil War: Death Match between Continuity and Change

This author predicts three potential outcomes: secession, complete Blue Tribe victory, or Red Tribe reaction.

By Michael Vlahos, A New Civil War

That compressed tension between continuity and change is the mainspring of History. Societies characteristically work to balance continuity with change. This is the heart of the normal political dynamic. Equipoise is maintained by a natural, if informal understanding that some measure of compromise and accommodation is necessary — and desirable — in constitutional order.

Thus political competition is refereed by a collective expectation that things will likely “change enough to stay the same.”

Practical politics support equipoise. First, the reality of many contending change agendas must mean much balancing, encouraging a politics of equilibration. Second, historical custom should disfavor escalating conflict beyond certain thresholds — our very mythos itself discourages partisan agendas whose fulfillment puts the constitutional order at risk. Third, no vision or partisan agenda seeking to breach continuity or force change by fiat can be permitted. In other words, we took essential steps so that our political order would not be threatened by an unyielding existential issue — since the 1850s — for a reason.

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