American Politics Is Now Just Civil War by Other Means
In the wake of the sending of bomb-like devices of uncertain capability to prominent critics of US President Donald Trump and of a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue (both Trump’s fault, of course) – plus a migrant invasion approaching the US through Mexico – there have been widespread calls for toning down harsh and “divisive” political rhetoric. Of course given the nature of the American media and other establishment voices, these demands predictably have been aimed almost entirely against Trump and his Deplorable supporters, almost never against the same establishment that unceasingly vilifies Trump and Middle American radicals as literally Hitler, all backed up by the evil White-Nationalist-in-Chief, Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Those appealing for more civility and a return to polite discourse can save their breath. It’s much, much too late for that.
When Trump calls the establishment media the enemies of the people, that’s because they – together with their passive NPC drones and active Antifa enforcers – are enemies, if by “the people” we mean the historic American nation. Trump’s sin is that he calls them out for what they are.
Trump didn’t cause today’s polarization, he only exacerbates it because he punches back. Good, may he continue to do so. Pining for a more well-mannered time in a country that belongs to another, long-gone era is futile.
American politics is no longer about a narrow range of governing styles or competing economic interests. It is tribal. Today’s “tribes” are defined in terms of affinity for or hostility to the founding American ethnos characterized by European, overwhelming British origin (a/k/a, “white”); Christian, mainly Protestant; and English-speaking, as augmented by members of other groups who have totally or partially assimilated to that ethnos or who at least identify with it (think of Mr. Hamadura in The Camp of the Saints).
(Unfortunately we don’t have a specific word for this core American ethnic identity to distinguish it from general references to the United States in a civic or geographic sense. (Russian, by contrast, makes a distinction between ethnic русский (russkiy) and civic/geographical российский (rossiiskiy).) Maybe we could adapt Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Usonian”? “Or Americaner,” comparable to Afrikaner? “Or Anglo-American”?)
Since the Left gave up on its original focus on industrial workers as the revolutionary class, the old bourgeois/proletarian dichotomy is out. Tribes now line up according to categories in a plural Cultural Marxist schematic of oppressor and victim pairings, with the latter claiming unlimited redress from the former. As the late Joe Sobran said, it takes a lot of clout to be a victim in America these days. The following is a helpful guide to who’s who under the new dispensation:
In most of the above categories there are variations that can increase the intensity of oppressor or victim status. For example, certified victimhood in a recognized category confers extra points, like Black Lives Matter for race (it is racist to suggest that “all lives matter”) or a defined religious group marginalized by “hate” (mainly anti-Jewish or anti-Muslim, but not something like anti-Buddhist, anti-Rastafarian, or even anti-atheist or anti-Satanist because no one bothers about them; anti-Christian victimhood is an oxymoron because “Christian” is inherently an oppressive category). In addition, meeting the criteria for more than one category confers enhanced victimhood under a principle called “intersectionality.”
In the same way, there are aggravating factors in oppressor categories, such as being a policeman (an enforcer of the structure of oppression regardless of the officer’s personal victim attributes, but worse if straight, white, Christian, etc.) or a member of a “hate” subculture (a Southerner who’s not vocally self-loathing is a presumed Klan sympathizer; thus, a diabetic, unemployed, opioid-addicted Georgia cracker is an oppressor as the beneficiary of his “white privilege” and “toxic masculinity,” notwithstanding his socio-economic and health status). Like being Southern, living while genetically Russian is also an aggravating factor.
Creatively shuffling these descriptors suggests an entertaining game like Mad Libs, or perhaps an endless series of jokes for which you could be fired if you told them at work:
Two people walk into a bar.
One is a Baptist, straight, male Virginia state trooper whose ancestors arrived at Jamestown.
So the bartender says … [insert your own punch line here].
While Patrick Buchanan is right that the level of domestic violence today is not up to what the US experienced in 1968, the depth of the existential divide is much greater. This is why it’s perfectly acceptable for a homosexual, black MSM news anchor to describe “white men” collectively as a “terror threat,” but when a straight white, female counterpart makes a clumsy but mild observation about ethnic role-playing it’s a firing offense. (Note that while “female” is an assigned victim category, white females can be “gender traitors” if they are seen as putting their “racial privilege ahead of their second-class gender status”; to remain victims in good standing and an “allies” of higher-caste victim groups they need to learn to just “shut the f**k up” when POC sisters with superior oppressed status are holding forth.)
The victim side accuses its opponents of a litany of sins such as racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, etc., for which the solution is demographic and ideological replacement – even while denying that the replacement is going onor intended. This is no longer ordinary political competition but (in an inversion of von Clausewitz attributed to Michel Foucault) politics “as the continuation of war by other means.” In its immediate application this war is a second American civil war, but it can have immense consequences for war on the international stage as well.
To attain victory the forces of victimhood championed by the Democratic Party need to reclaim part of the apparatus of power they lost in Trump’s unexpected 2016 win. (Actually, much of the apparatus in the Executive Branch remains in Democratic hands but is only of limited utility as a “resistance” under the superficial Trumpian occupation.) As this commentary appears it is expected that on November 6 the GOP will retain control of the US Senate but the House of Representatives will flip to the Democrats.
That’s what’s “supposed” to happen, just as Hillary Clinton was “supposed” to win the White House two years ago. How things will actually play out though is anybody’s guess.
But for the sake of discussion, if the expected scenario comes to pass the last chance Trump’s election afforded to save what is left of the American nation is likely to come to an end. We can anticipate three results:
- First, on the domestic political front, while Democrats and their MSM echo chamber have cooled down talk of impeaching Trump, it will return with a vengeance on November 7 (coincidentally, Great October Socialist Revolution Day) if the House changes hands. In contrast to the GOP’s dithering in the area of investigations and hearings relevant to the US-UK Deep State conspiracy to overturn the 2016 election (which will be buried forever), the Democrats will be utterly ruthless in using their power with the single-minded purpose of getting Trump out of office before 2020. They won’t waste much time on the phony Russian “collusion” story (Robert Mueller’s report will be an obscenely expensive dud), they’ll focus like a laser on getting Trump’s tax returns and dredging up anything they can from his long involvement in the sharp-elbowed, dog-eat-dog world of New York property development and construction, confident they can find something that qualifies as a high crime or misdemeanor. (Some racist language couldn’t hurt, either.) The model will be Richard Nixon’s Vice President Spiro Agnew, who was forced out of office on charges relating to his time in Maryland politics years earlier. Even the GOP’s retention of the Senate would be far from a guarantee that Trump won’t be removed. It’s easily foreseeable that a dozen-plus Republican Senators would be thrilled to get rid of Trump and restore the party’s status quo ante with Mike Pence in the Oval Office. As with Nixon, Republicans will panic at whatever dirt the Democrats dig up and demand Trump resign for the “good of the country and the party,” as opposed to the way Democrats formed a protective phalanx around Bill Clinton. Unlike Nixon, Trump might choose to fight it out in the Senate and might even prevail. In any case, a change in control of just one chamber means an extended political crisis that will keep Trump boxed in and perpetually on the defensive.
- Second, for Trump’s supporters and other dissenters from the Regime of Certified Victims, the walls will continue to close in. The digital ghettoization of alternative views to “protect our democracy” from supposed outside meddling conflated with “hate online” will accelerate, with social media a particular target for censorship. The Deep State’s intelligence and law enforcement organs will step up actions to penalize any resistance to Leftwing violence, while perpetrators of such violence will rampage with impunity. Trump has done nothing to protect free speech online or in public places while his enemies continue to contract the space for both – but things can and likely will get much, much worse if the Democrats feel the wind at their back after next week. Such vestigial protections of religion, free speech, right to bears arms, and others that we still possess – for now – aren’t likely to survive much longer as the edifice of the old America continues to crumble under the malfeasance of the very Executive, Legislative, and Judicial officials who pretend to be its custodians.
- Third and most ominously, chances of a major war could increase exponentially. If Trump is fighting for his life, chances of purging his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad national security team will go from slim to none. Any hope of a national interest-based policy along the lines Trump promised in 2016 – and which still seems to be his personal preference – will be gone. Thankfully, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has run with the ball through last year’s opening and hopefully the momentum for peace in Northeast Asia will be self-sustaining. With any luck, the Khashoggi imbroglio between Washington and Riyadh will lead to America’s “downplaying and eventually abandoning the anti-Iranian obsession that has so far overshadowed our regional policy” and to an end the carnage in Yemen, even as the Syria war lurches toward resolution. Still, the US remains addicted to ever-increasing sanctions, and despite warnings from both Russia and China that they are prepared for war – warnings virtually ignored by the US media and political class – the US keeps pressing on all fronts: outer space, the Arctic, Europe (withdrawal from the INF treaty), Ukraine, the South China Sea, the Taiwan Strait, Xinjiang, and elsewhere. Trump is expected to meet with Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping following the US election, but they may have to conclude that he is not capable of restraining the war machine nominally under his command and will plan accordingly.
James George Jatras is an analyst and former U.S. diplomat and foreign policy adviser to the Senate GOP leadership.