By Keith Preston
The federal system collapses like the USSR/Warsaw Pact. Minorities of Reds/Blues are behind enemy lines. Migration like the India/Pakistan partition begins. Massive violence happens. Hundreds of warring factions emerge like Syria and Lebanon.
Another possibility would be a situation like Northern Ireland during the time of the “Troubles.” Imagine if, say, 100,000 people were killed each year in political violence, which is the equivalent of what happened in Northern Ireland relative to population size.
That’s about the same number that dies every year of drug overdoses nowadays. It’s certainly true society could continue normally most of the time under those circumstances only with an extremely high murder rate.
It wouldn’t happen over abortion alone. But over a sum total of events and conflicts that continue to escalate over time. I suspect a disputed election result is far more likely to trigger real conflict than abortion.
Look at the violence over the George Floyd incident. Who would have thought the murder of a junkie by a cop would trigger months of de-facto insurrection? What about J6? Who in 2014 would have thought a mob would be attacking Congress on behalf of the host of “The Apprentice”?
None of the things that people fight about nowadays are by themselves enough to generate our own “Troubles” era, but collectively all of these things represent a quasi-religious conflict over existential values.
When people in the society lack even a basic consensus about primary values and institutional legitimacy, that’s when you get a civil war. There are many examples of societies where people said, “We never thought it would happen. But it did.”
As recently as five years ago, I was basically dismissing all of these things as LARPing incidents as the link below indicates. While I am not yet prepared to repudiate my former position, I do think things have escalated considerably since then.
With the pandemic, its economic effects, George Floyd/BLM, the mask/vax issues, J6, loss of electoral legitimacy, declining living standards, the repeal of Roe, and who knows what will come next, I think it could go either way, either more LARPing or real conflict.
This is from five years ago. I am less confident in these claims now.