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Op-Ed: Last gasp of stupidity — An American civil war as a serious topic

Forget it. Change the subject and move on.  

The New York State Police: — © Digital Journal
The New York State Police: — © Digital Journal

Americans aren’t stupid. I grew up surrounded by them. I’ve worked with many of them. I have quite a few American friends. I doubt whether the timid little skanks making all the noise could have survived a simple conversation with the guys from Michigan I caught the school bus with every day.

Yet the dumbest of all subjects, an American civil war, is getting more space in the media. The movie is a huge hit. That’s worrying. America tends to imitate its media slavishly, sometimes for years on end.

This idiotic topic comes in various forms. There’s The New York Times version of the subject, carefully stated. There’s the mass media version, all over the place in theories and projections. …And, inevitably, there’s the rhetorical version, spouted by secessionists and other idiots of political “shades of hay”. It is fodder for the trailer park tyrants and the barroom boors.

It’s meaningless in one way – Nobody apparently has any idea how bad modern civil wars are. The talk is largely theoretical. That’s not a good sign. The civil wars of the past were bad and brutal enough; add modern weapons, hate groups, and political psychopaths, and they’re that much worse.

Psychoanalyzing America is a particularly thankless task. Do they mean it? Would they know if they did? Given the astonishing levels of ignorance and sheer irresponsibility in some parts of American politics, they may mean it, but they don’t understand it. Sound familiar?

Consider this scenario:

The world’s most heavily armed country goes to war with itself. There’s a vague notion of carving out a group of states for “right-minded” people. This is not a movie about a civil war. This is the real deal.

This highly medicated country then proceeds to fight itself. A lot of crystal meth helps maintain the rhetoric and the atrocities. This is not a war of gentlemen. It’s a lot of barely educated maniacs killing each other.

Some people make a lot of money bringing in ammo and more weapons. …And lots and lots of drugs. It’s a “Bonfire of the Sanities”.

The rich and their money move offshore instantly. Organized crime relocates over the borders.  Everyone else hangs around getting killed and maimed. Every possible crime is committed on tens of millions of people in the process. Police and military units fight each other.

The cities and towns are trashed by modern weapons of all kinds. Heavily urbanized areas are uninhabitable and too dangerous to live in. Water and power crash and stay crashed for months and in some cases years.

Communications are jammed. Everyone gets hacked. Hate campaigns move to the phones. Healthcare can’t handle any of it. People die as much from disease and neglect as combat.

There was a scare about the possible use of nukes. It didn’t happen, but it could have. The alleged targets were going to be Washington, Kansas City, Miami, and New York. Nobody admitted to anything.  

It dragged on for years until it couldn’t go on. There are millions of dead and many more people displaced for the foreseeable future. A smoldering resentment remains for generations later. The country is an unmitigated mess, impossible to clean up.

In the meantime, America’s status as a superpower is effectively neutered. America’s enemies don’t mind a bit. America’s friends are as usual and for so long in despair.

It’s a charming picture, isn’t it? A civil war that can only make things much worse, in the name of making something better for “some of the people”. Meanwhile, nobody knows how to put America back together.

Naivete isn’t a recommended hobby for Americans at the best of times. This would be America at its absolute worst. I doubt very much whether anyone in the country is so stupid.

…Which leads to a couple of questions or so:

Why are you idiots even thinking about this?

Aren’t things bad enough?

About eight years ago, I said that the Disunited States of America can only be a pitiful version of the United States of America. You’ll lose a civil war.

Forget it. Change the subject and move on.  


The opinions expressed in this Op-Ed are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Digital Journal or its members.

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Editor-at-Large based in Sydney, Australia.

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