For a good five years, since a certain New York real estate mogul announced his second bid for the US presidency, a term unheard of in a Western context for almost a century has seeped its way into the public conscious. Civil war. It began with the usual hyperbolic outbursts from online aggrievement professionals, then spread to the commentariat that follows them, and before long it started popping up in dinner party diatribes and pub banter. For the listeners of journalist, commentator and podcaster Tim Pool, it’s even become a bit of a meme, with the beanie-wearing reporter somehow managing to slip in a reference to impending conflict into almost every single video of his. As tiringly hilarious as it is to always catch Tim’s latest lament, it cannot be ignored that ever more people are concerned about the possibility of such a thing. Ten years ago, this would have been completely unheard of. A Rasmussen poll in 2018 measured that 31% of American voters expect a civil war in the future. Similar polls have not been conducted across the pond, but the truth of the matter is that were a civil conflict to occur in America, its strongest repercussions would be felt in the highly Americanised West. Trends from the New World have a nasty habit of making their way over here, often wholesale and with no localisation wanted or applied by those that follow them. With the rise of social media, this phenomenon has only been exaggerated. It isn’t a wholly one-way street either, with trends in fashion, music, thought and ideology intertwining through fibre-optic cables below the Atlantic. What this means, is that were a civil conflict to erupt in the United States, it would quickly turn into a much larger, global conflict, and not simply by proxy as is the case in Syria.
Who’s doing who?
These trends in thought have, over the past five decades, slowly edged us into a situation where two rough sides can be discerned. The nationalistic Right, and the globalist Left. Of course, there are splinters, subgroups and huge ideological variety within these groups, and even the labels of Right and Left are suspect, but for the sake of brevity, I won’t get into that here. What matters is that these two sides are growing increasingly distrustful, hateful and not only misunderstanding, but “non-understanding” towards each other. What I mean by the last term is that the two sides see the world and existence itself in such fundamentally, irreconcilably different ways, that any kind of civil, parliamentary consensus is nigh impossible. Lesser deadlocks have led to civil conflict in the past, so the situation is very worrying from purely that angle. From this point of view, I too see coming unrest as inevitable. However, there is a key factor that continues to delay the Big Barney.
2 comfy 2 boogaloo
The West as it stands now has grown far too comfortable. Too set in its ways, too bloated, too complacent, weak-willed and, quite literally, too old. Even the vanguards of the two previously outlined sides are complete jokes. On the Left, you have the revolutionary fervour and righteous spirit needed to start, but absolutely no follow-through or long-term thinking, let alone practical skills, as proven recently in Seattle. On the Right, the resolve and the skills are present for conflict, but conversely, no will to commence and conquer.
This doesn’t change the fact that the unsolvable differences in worldview continue to exist and exacerbate between the two sides, leading to ever more of the sort of low-level scuffling that we are increasingly becoming accustomed to. The timid, term-limit-conscious, largely technocratic governments of the West will continue to try and muddle their way through somehow, playing favourites with whatever side aligns somewhat with their own. The frustration of the populace will continue to grow, strawmen becoming boogiemen becoming boogaloo boys. The masses however will continue to be more concerned with their mortgages, their branded sportsball teams, the latest episode of their favourite streaming service tripe.
The groundswell is certainly there for civil war in the West. However, the sort of spark needed to ignite the blaze has to be quite something. To force people into a situation where they see the organised killing of others as the only way forward requires almost complete collapse of the structures and creature comforts of everyday life. Such a thing could only be caused by a massive economic downturn, or a global pandemic orders of magnitude worse than the piddling thing we have now. These are of course, not out of the question, so while I doubt the inevitability of civil conflict, I do prepare for its possibility.
Yes, Sir, I can boogie
To end, I must say that it is of absolutely no use to anyone to shake fingers and admonish doomsayers and accelerationists with “civil war’s bad, mmkay?”. The forces of public consciousness and mass psychology are far too sizable and fickle to be able to control with opinion pieces, podcast visits, panels of intellectuals, and parliamentary speeches. The best way to both attempt to prevent and prepare for it, is to build and organise your community. Bonds of friendship and commonality still trump ideology for most of the species. The result is either that you build out of your surroundings such a strong foundation that these issues are overcome, or should the worst transpire, you have a chance to ride it out and survive. To be immune to the strife, let your motto be “ignore and organise”. Hit the gym, hit the track, hit the range, but most importantly, hit up your friends. And leave the would-be revolutionaries screeching on the periphery.