• Michael Vlahos

Civil War Has Yet to Go Critical

An interregnum holiday lull descends. Not really a truce, certainly not an armistice: Call it a combat breather. The majority of Americans, hectored to the limit of national fatigue, hope for respite in the new year.

They won’t get it. As I suggest in my last post, The Way Ahead, we are “skirmishing our way to civil war.” A house divided may not stand. Yet it may still go down a winding, rocky road before the fall. Riving government’s own immobilization in fact may postpone the reckoning, all the while insuring that the pressure for decisive battle just keeps on building.

Before our Second Civil War (1857-1876), bipartisan acclaim hailed the Kansas Nebraska Act (1854) as solving our sectarian split. It rubbed it raw and bloody instead. There is no such redress, even in prospect, today — only cynical and self-serving sound bites, and the mocking promise “to restore the soul of America.”

History that lies ahead will of necessity bring America to its “valley of decision.” Why necessity?

There are five réalités — as in actuality, or the situation that actually exists — that can tell us, in the absence yet of precipitating events, why a reckoning is coming:

  1. BLUE is fully committed to its Church of Woke, and the full conversion of all Americans. There has been, since the Floyd Spring, a rush to missionary commitment. Converts have been “born again” — “I once was blind, but now can see” — and this means, decisively, an earth-shift in political mindset. Collectively, BLUE has renounced the existential, mythic postulates that have together defined our national ethos since the origin: That America is an agency of Good, that we are a nation united in altruistic purpose, that as fellow citizens we are all brothers, and that we are moving toward a shared future. Now, new acolytes emerge from the baptismal pool believing that America was born in evil, that RED believers are possessed by evil, and that compromise is no less than turning back on the promise of salvation itself.

  2. BLUE has erected an entire academic discipline and field of study — almost like a faux branch of knowledge — around the “scientific” study of RED. Once bona fide disciplines like Sociology and Psychology have been infiltrated and taken over by Wokeists, so that RED politics is now studied almost in the way that Anthropologists of yore lived among “primitive peoples” — analyzing their thought and behavior with equal condescension. Sociologists today write about RED communities as though they were Trobriand Islanders or Dugum Dani or Yąnomamö. Reading such lofty analyses, the word that comes to mind at once is “children.” In contrast, psychologists are more unsparing. Words drop as easily as spring rain — “psychotic,” “psychopathology,” “delusional” — all, insistently, used objectively, clinically, scientifically. Yet we all know exactly how, for the past century, these are words of criminal illness, of sickness that threatens our very society. Hence the new woke-science study of RED is most like a learned Inquisition study of heresy. Western analysis is being dismantled before our eyes. This means that Wokeism cannot be ideologically “walked back” by science: which is to say, with reason and debate.

  3. BLUE elites have wealth to gain by pushing the Woke agenda hard. They have guided America’s economic gains over the past 40 years to themselves, at the expense of the other 90%. Pushing the Woke Imperative operates as a grand misdirection, focusing the mass of regular Democrats on the criminal evil of RED, thus dividing the whole working class against itself, where “structural racism” and other demons are made to matter far more than the actual, shared economic interests of working Americans. A Svengali or Pied Piper tactic for sure — yet it has worked like a charm. Moreover, it cuts both ways: Hypnotizing BLUE working people, but also a form of deliverance for them. Woke fervency frees elites from guilt over greed and obscene wealth (that is, as long as they pay their slightly higher, and higher-deductible, taxes).

  4. BLUE elites also gain the political brass ring by pushing Woke hard — and soon. If they regain control of the judiciary they can stack the deck against a RED surge through censorship and sanction. The range of “acceptable” conservative ideas can be battened down, winnowing the beaten party right out of power most of the time (as it was for BLUE from 1876-1933, or RED from 1933-1980). The big threat would be the emergence of a galvanizing and effective RED leader who can build a true National Workers’ Party. Hence, despite all talk of a “civil war” between Progressives and BLUE establishment, they must work together to keep power. Moreover, the old establishment is even now making way for Woke Millennials, so pushing Woke is yet more imperative.

  5. BLUE elites can rely on RED to fight back hard. Indeed their very success depends on RED zeal — and the hope that their assaults work artlessly to enable the Woke narrative. In this happy preferred narrative, RED violence makes it easy for BLUE to paint insurgents as “Nazis” and “terrorists” — encouraging yet more draconian (and thus more fruitful) suppression of RED by police and military. Yet narrative battles can be just as easily lost as won, so the new administration must be at pains not to trigger wholesale blowback on Woke.

Will they, however, show such condign restraint? Hence the suggestion here that our politics raging interior dynamics can be tamped down only so long. Soon, events will again bring the rending forces in national life bursting to the surface.


The dynamics sketched above form an intricate edifice of trade-offs, fine judgment, and ever-so-delicate balancing. That is precisely why such inherently fragile structures so often go by another name: A house of cards.