I’ve argued around the intertracks and in the meat world that the United States is already in a state of civil war. There’s been no organized violence. Or at least none perpetrated by anyone outside current governments. But physical combat is only one aspect of war.
I see several factions with irreconcilible differences. They’re currently waging rhetorical and legal battle to bring the force of the state to bear on their enemies. I say the so-called uncivil dialog we’re being lectured about is not a precursor to war, but evidence that war is at hand. Because we’re hiring lawyers instead of Hessians to fight on our behalf certainly makes day-to-day living easier, but there’s a bullet waiting behind every legal brief.
The factions are not perfectly aligned into two camps. But as the differences become more obvious, polarity will increase. My forecast sees manifest violence precipitated not by the anti-government factions. Instead, I see all the dependents of the government getting unruly when the state can no longer afford the handouts and the structure of protective favoritism collapses.
That brief period of violent unrest will complete the polarization of factions. We’ll find out which neighbor is on which side of a people vs. government conflict. That conflict is essential and primal to our national identity. Where from does legitimate authority spring? Do people create governments, or do governments permit people to live?
I do not expect most people to think on such an abstract or philosophic level. The battle lines will be drawn locally and more personally. It will be “leave me alone” versus “you owe me” in many forms in every neighborhood.
But the root of all those battles can be well understood in abstract. Commenter “Mr. Frank” at Neo-neocon lays it out nicely:
As was the case with the Civil War, sometimes there is no compromise position. Do states have a right to secede or not? I happen to think they did, but might makes right. In the case of today, does the government have the obligation to take care of the individual and to control his/her life to meet that end? Or, conversely, do individuals (with families and communities) have an obligation to take care of themselves? There is no real logical mid point on that.
The matter is not about whether it is right or proper to choose to help others. Essentially everyone is willing to help somebody somehow under some conditions. To frame the argument as charity or lack thereof is a non-sequitur.
The question is about obligation. What are we compelled—by force or threat—to provide for others? Can a majority or supermajority justly bind any individual into a contract for service?
Who owns each of us? There is no middle ground between self-ownership and being property of some other person or collective. The issue of slavery in the United States is still not settled.