Posted by: Dr Churchill | November 2, 2020

American Civil War

Respect amongst people as it is amongst nations is the only means to a lasting peace…

Some folks refer to our current era of American politics as the latest phase of the United States Cold Civil War…

This is because the political maps of today seem to carry over a pattern that goes back a hundred and sixty years … all the way to the First Hot Civil War in these United.

And it was at that time that the sorely divided States starting in the early 1850s and culminating with the elections of 1860 that saw Abraham Lincoln winning the Presidency as the Third party independent candidate — that the boil burst and the hot flash of the Civil War blinded reason and rendered the national peace asunder, along with any pretense of national unity.

Because Abraham Lincoln upturned the apple cart and unseated the awful 15th president James Buchanan, who was supported by both of the major parties — the incumbent was bent on revenge and unleashed all the forces of Evil as he was leaving office… letting Abraham Lincoln know that he will be presiding above only a divided country.

Still Abraham Lincoln persisted and sought to speak to the people and thus through the newly formed Republic party brought about the flash that signaled the looming change and the liberation of the slaves, in order to achieve the ancient promise of “All Men Are Created Equal” that is the foundational cornerstone of this Democratic Republic and the Empire of the Mind — the Beacon of Hope that this country represents our the whole world.

And indeed by God’s Grace Abraham Lincoln won through the vote of the Independents. And thus it came to pass that the American people who ushered an era of change by voting for the Independent Abraham Lincoln the new third party independent candidate in 1860, who rode roughshod between the incumbent Whig party and the secessionist Democratic party and thus splitting their voters — the Great Emancipator was “delivered” to power in order to lead the nation out of that wretched quagmire and into the promised land of Liberty for All people… 

Yet it would seem that History repeats itself because we find ourselves again mired in the milieu of the climate of the Civil War days amidst hateful rhetoric, divisive dogma and the demonization of all other peoples.

And it is the same harpies of discord that lead our people away from pragmatism, respect, and toleration of all others — into the trenches of intransigent hatred towards our fellow Citizens.

So today, instead of mutual respect, romanticism and a classic American hopeful bent through the popular belief in a better tomorrow — we see a breakdown of our nation into two Americas that resemble each other only in name and substance of choices, but not in ideology or principle of belief.

As far back as the Lyndon Johnson strategy, from the Texas redneck who famously said: “I will have these niggers voting Democrat for the next two hundred years,” to the Nixonian “Southern Strategy” that changed the banners of the two sides, and we now have the Blue V Gray increasingly becoming the Blue V Red albeit geographically totally dispersed throughout the country..

This article, speaks of the social movement called the “confederacy” that has been at this division of our nation for a very long time. And because the hase one of the American Civil War took place in the South, during the Revolution, when the British found their strongest support among Loyalist/Tory militias in Georgia and the Carolinas.  It was Scots & Irish hill settlers, fighting for Daniel Morgan, who tipped the balance in that struggle, toward what would become the American Experiment.

As for phase two — this featured a period when southern politicians grew ever stronger in control of the U.S. federal government.  Andrew Jackson clamped down on John C. Calhoun’s secessionism, in the 1830s, and kept the nation together for a time, but Jackson’s overall sentiments were what we might call today “confederate” …

Indeed, southern control over levers of power only grew until, by 1860, five out of the nine Supreme Court justices were slave-owners.

dogma-pragmatism

This extended through the next phase of our extended and long simmering cold Civil War, starting in 1852, when the Fugitive Slave Act turned the division violent. 

Swarms of small units of southern irregular cavalry commenced rampaging across northern states, seizing anyone they wanted as an “escaped slave.” These raider squadrons had the support of U.S. Marshals who were appointed by mostly-southern presidents. When outraged northerners started forming posses to defend their neighbors, those marshals called in federal troops.

In other words, the “confederate” social movement is not always anti-central-government! 

It is only opposed to federal government when it does not control those levers of power.  Witness the tepidness of anti-government proclamations during the tenure of GW Bush. Indeed, it is a wrathful unwillingness to let the electoral winners have their legitimate turn that was behind the hysterical reaction to Lincoln’s election… and to a much lesser degree the electoral victory of president Obama, or Trump for that matter…

And by the way — those rampaging bands of southern cavalry were self-defeating.  They radicalized northerners, causing them to arm themselves, revive their dormant militias and (eventually) vote for the abolitionist Abraham Lincoln, who thus became the 16th President of these United States.

An effect that one can clearly see happening across both Blue and Red America, today.

This is why “Gun Control” is such a pathetic hot button on the right and left of the political aisle…  No one is seeking more than tweaks.  And if you recall, it was under president Bush, that many liberals started arming themselves and preping for internal conflict.

Up to this point, the Confederacy had lost phase one of the civil uncivil war — thus opening the road for the establishment of a true federal republic, but was played for a draw in the Calhoun-Jackson era, and yet it won phase three of that dastardly cool Civil War, because its agenda controlled the national government and the emancipation processes fully.

But finally, blue America got fed up with it all… 

And what ensued was phase four of the civil war — the one we normally think of as “The Civil War.” Unable to stomach their opponents ever even having a brief tenancy in just one branch of the government, the Confederacy did not bother trying to send even one delegation to negotiate with president elect Abraham Lincoln — thus eliminating all right to refer to the Justifications for separation found in Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence… that secession can be justified, but only when all other negotiations and redress have been exhausted. Anything short of that is illegal, oath-breaking and damnably treasonous behavior.

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We all know Phase Four of the American Civil War well enough, and if not, then please watch Ken Burns portray it magnificently, in his PBS series.

Phase five is the 1870s early end of Reconstruction… when the Democrats led a dirty deal for the South by bargaining to make Rutherford Hayes and the Republicans win the White House, in exchange for what they really wanted: An end to Reconstruction and the Emancipation of the Black Americans. Thus it was the “confederacy” that won this phase cold civil war, by hook and crook, when they dickered their way into an end of Civil Rights protections and a surge of Jim Crow laws that ripped off the freed slaves from their acre and a mule and their right to vote.

The real losers, though? Not just minorities, but in every pragmatic sense the entire South, which thereupon slumped into a backwater of economic retardation and romantic, old-timey hatred of progress.

If you want to deny this — then please explain how China in just 30 years went from poverty to economic superpower … when the US South has had 150 years and still blames its backwardness on Generals Grant & Sherman and of course the chief culprit the 16th president Abraham Lincoln.

Phase six is the whole of the 1880s: Now, this phase is not entirely associated with “confederacy” though it was part and parcel of the Democratic Party of those days. It featured William Jennings Bryan’s white-christian populism, Free Silver and a rebuke to the steamroller effects of consolidated northern corporations. And for the first time, the states of the Great Plains began edging toward alliance with the Olde South. Northern oligarchs won phase six … in this case.

The one time the confederacy wing of our ongoing civil war had some real, moral justification on their side and they pissed it off.

And what spun off from this phase was the Progressive Movement, which manifested all over America and was taken up by Theodore Roosevelt, whose family specialized in saving the wealthy in America from the inevitable price of limitless greed. If only today’s oligarchs understood that their greatest need, right now, is another Roosevelt.

Without gentle, moderate reforms, our current momentum can only lead to gallows, tumbrels and guillotines.

You can go start watching Ken Burns’s wonderful PBS series “The Roosevelts” which is being broadcast as we speak if you have questions on this subject…

Phase seven is the 1940s through the 1970s … Indeed this is where the civil rights movement, started with Harry Truman’s bold desegregation of the military, then Dwight Eisenhower’s firm support of school desegregation.

This essential and too-long delayed resumption of Reconstruction … which also included Lyndon Johnson’s effort to re-industrialize and re-invigorate the South. This phase was clearly won by Blue America, although the South benefited prodigiously, economically, but at a cost — which was…. the flipping balance of power.

Phase eight is the era of the Nixonian, southern-strategy “flip” leads ultimately to today’s full scale New Confederacy effort to finally destroy the United States of America. 

Not by force of arms, but by ending the effectiveness of politics as a pragmatic, open-minded process by which undogmatic citizens negotiate a mix of experiments and find out what works — the methodology behind all of our successes. Replacing all of that with dogma more intense than communism ever was.

Respect, pragmatism and science and a re-evaluation of reality are all now projected and help portray the other half — our neighbors, as enemies.

This is supported by an illogical conviction of moral superiority that cannot be shaken by facts, reason, or the heavy dose of gravity that reality represents. 

As if that is not enough — you can run through a long list of social ills, such as teen sex ages and rates of drop-outs, teen pregnanciesSTDsdomestic violencedivorce ratesbankruptcy and debt default rateseducation, economic productivity, net tax parasitism…even obesity rates… and these facts all together militate to tell us clearly that outcome metrics, do not support any claims that salt-of-the-earth types are better at life or raising kids than ‘decadent’ university-city-folk.

Indeed, by all of those measures… and countless more … the Southern charmers get spectacularly worse outcomes in life besides intermarrying their closely related first cousins, as is the folkloric lore about the appalling Appalachian types and many other moonshine drinking Southern types…

So what is to happen, and most importantly, what is to be done?

The response is to utterly ignore statistics.

Truth is all that matters.

I could go on, but the point is clear. This rebellion against the American Experiment is both ancient and deeply rooted. 

Yet now, we are in its eighth phase … as unwitting actors in the big theater of Life and looming Civil War.

Gettysburg

Does it even have anything to do with the metaphor pushed by both Fox and MSNBC?  

The hoary-stupid-lobotomizing so-called “left right political axis?”  

Looking at all eight phases, that would seem to map poorly onto our civil war, which seems to be far more emotional and cultural — a clash of two immiscible strains of American utopianism.

Yours,

Dr Churchill

PS:

 In Ted Turner’s wonderful film GETTYSBURG, one character opines that blue and gray America sang the same songs… but dreamed different dreams. 

Mark Twain commented that the confederacy side’s relentlessly recurring rage is far more psychological than anything else, a deep romanticism and obsession with nostalgia that he blamed on Sir Walter Scott.

Certainly you can gain insight by tracing which regions sell more science fiction or more romance novels and which place reads most of the “50 shades of Gray” books…

So, where is it all heading?

Today’s neo-confederacy is smart enough not to secede.  

This time, it is working from within to slash the things that it always hated. Especially science, which is the enemy of nostalgia.

But also any chance of American pragmatism prevailing in the kind of experiment-by-politics that has always been our national genius.

And yes, that campaign now includes seeking to ensure that “government of/by/for the people” SHALL perish from the Earth.

LincolnGettysburgAddress

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