Saturday, March 12, 2016
Civil War in America: Inevitable?
No. Not yet.
Today I was fortunate to have the chance to hear Col. Allen West speak at Hillsdale College in Michigan. It was a good talk, but far more interesting was the lengthy Q & A period that followed. In the course of discussing things such as politically correct rules of engagement for the military, the promotion of racial discord by politicians and groups like "Black Lives Matter," West observed that collectivists are trying to completely destroy the idea of individual rights, individual liberty and limits on government, and replace it with hierarchical authoritarian rule. To do this, they divide people into hostile groups. They disrupt the system and create turmoil ("Saul Alinsky should be required reading," he said. "Know your enemy.")
West then suggested that we are in for a "horrific" year. He also noted it's a crux year. We will enter 2017 with a new president-elect (I hope!) and the events of 2016 may well determine the course of the next 50 years.
Last night I was aghast to hear that a Trump rally in Chicago had to be cancelled because of threats of violence. I cannot stand Trump and think he's dangerous. But he should have freedom of speech, and his supporters ought not be threatened and have their rallies disrupted. The mob totalitarianism that reigns on college campuses has now spread from the campus to the rest of the country and inserted itself into the presidential election. As a commenter on another site puts it, "how did we get a generation that doesn't believe in free speech and often treats the idea as a joke. Silencing the opposition has become a valid tactic that doesn't even shame the people that use it, let alone have repercussions." Mike Vanderboegh wonders if there isn't something deeper at work, the spread of collectivist thinking at the expense of belief in individual rights, and that perhaps it is already too late.
A political rally has been shut down by protesters from the left. How long before this becomes standard for all non-left candidates? If it becomes common, there'll be retaliation in kind.
I don't have sympathy for protesters who disrupt campaign events. It is a form of violence. But it is also obvious that an accelerating cycle of violence will truly make 2016 horrific. We need to cut it short. We also need a president who, starting in 2017, will make an effort to reach out to all Americans, including the ones with crazy ideas, and begin the hard process of un-dividing people.
What's particularly interesting to me, and hopeful, is the approach that Ted Cruz has taken with those who try to disrupt his events. He is civil. If possible, he engages with them, treats the decently, and makes his point. I've seen several videos of him dealing with Ellen Page in Iowa, and dealing with kooks who climbed up on the stage during a Second Amendment rally. Here are two more, just posted on RedState.com (where I took the quote above from commenter Joliphant).
The first video shows Cruz confronted by an angry farmer in Iowa. By the end of the exchange, everything is different. Who knows whether the farmer really is converted into a Cruz supporter, but there's no doubt at the end he respects Cruz, and likewise feels respected. It's kind of moving.
This second video is long, but highly instructive. When "Code Pink" demonstrators try to disrupt a Cruz speech, he engages them, allows them to have a say, and debates them civilly. He defuses what might have become a nasty confrontation. He makes his points (perhaps more effectively than if Pink hadn't shown up). He demonstrates genuine leadership.