Vance Byers: “Our Gathering Storm — On civil war in America and other unpleasant possibilities”

Editorial Comment: A lot of people have been thinking about civil war lately, including some some writers on TOO: “Thinking about Civil War II,” “Is Civil War Inevitable,” and the last chapter of my 2019 book, Individualism and the Western Liberal Tradition. As Vance Byers notes, the events in Texas on enforcing immigration law have brought the issue to the forefront.

Authored by Vance Byers in The American Mind, published by the Claremont Institute.

If you had asked me ten years ago about the possibility of a future civil war in America, I—an “Intelligence Community” veteran who analyzes civil conflict in Asia—would have laughed. I’m not laughing anymore, and neither are a lot of other people. Recent tensions between the federal government and Texas over the former’s refusal to secure the border and enforce immigration law are bringing to life scenarios that once seemed theoretical, if not fantastic. In mid-January, “Texas soldiers” took control of a section of the border near Eagle Pass and then denied access to federal agents, setting the stage for a standoff some alarmists are calling “today’s Fort Sumter.” Even as Texas pushes beyond legal and normative boundaries, creating a potential constitutional crisis in the process, more dangerous challenges lie ahead. In today’s America, a combination of democratic backsliding, ethnic factionalism, and elite splintering have set the stage for a series of intractable political and legal challenges that could plausibly lead to violence in 2024. The only real questions now relate to the scale of the violence and whether the American union will ultimately survive it.

I’m not alone in my pessimism; Barbara F. Walter, a prominent political scientist, argues that the conditions for civil war are emerging in America. Her findings are a relatively sound synthesis of a large body of research into the correlates of civil war. What mars Walter’s study is that she embeds her findings in a tendentious analysis of American politics, laying the blame for these dangerous trends at the feet of white men, Republicans, and all the other boogeymen of the Left. There is a revealing irony in seeing an assessment of the prospects for civil war laid out so myopically by a rising member of the ruling class, as if the last eight years of Democratic Party-led soft coups and anarcho-tyranny never happened. It is this same lack of self-awareness that is driving our society to a breaking point.

Since 2016, right-wing populist movements have, with varying degrees of success, pushed back against the managerial elite that sits atop the Western political order. From recent riots in Ireland over migrant crime, to farmer protests in Europe over taxes and climate policy, regime opponents are demanding to be heard. But rather than seeing these events as an invitation to adjust course, today’s optimates, disdainful of the plebs and their tribunes, are doubling down on their divisive policies and embracing authoritarian methods to subdue the populares.

In Canada, that meant shutting down the bank accounts of “Freedom Convoy” protestors. In Britain it meant suppressing information about so-called “grooming gangs.” In Germany, it has meant a concerted effort to marginalize a major political party that could culminate in the banning of that party. In the United States, which has been at the center of the right-wing populist storm since the beginning, the system has attacked Trump and Trumpism from many directions. The man is effectively facing multiple life sentences for a mix of speech and paper crimes, while at the same time regime agents work to expropriate his wealth in a politically-motivated sham trial in New York. The rank-and-file members of the movement also face peril. Some are in jail for crimes that, while technically real, would be forgiven if committed by regime allies. These unfortunates can best be described as political prisoners. Others face daily censorship and loss of livelihood—forcing a retreat from the daylight of public discourse in favor of the shadows of social media shitposting and electronic samizdat.

Predictably, the effect of these ever more nakedly antidemocratic, antiliberal acts has been to drive the Right toward embracing its own hardline measures. One can see a newfound desire to reject the old politics of compromise and dogged adherence to system norms in favor of tit-for-tat factional politics of the sort unfamiliar to most Americans. The old conservative establishment—dedicated as they are to the system—is increasingly marginalized. Replacing them is a motley crew of diverse thinkers, from Catholic integralists to Nietzschean vitalists, united only in their disdain for the system and their unwillingness to play the role of the beautiful loser. It is this combination of intellectual ferment and frustration with traditional politics that is driving interest in the writings of men like Carl Schmitt. Schmitt’s ideas, particularly the “friend-enemy distinction” and the “state of exception,” have taken on an almost cliched quality as conservatives seek intellectual justifications for embracing hard-nosed, action-reaction politics. Similarly, talk of a “Red Caesar”—a Napoleon-like figure willing to pick up the crown of a collapsing America with his sword—further signals that many on the Right are increasingly open to hitherto unthinkable solutions to increasingly insoluble problems.

All this has combined to push the American political system from the sometimes messy, but mostly safe world of liberal democracy—where leadership transitions are predictable, and disagreements are sorted out at the ballot box—to the decidedly less safe world of anocracy—where confidence in institutions is low and a winner-take-all system raises the stakes for all players in the political game. As Walter and other scholars of intra-state war have noted, anocracy is a bad place to be, because democratic backsliding correlates strongly to civil war—something no one should be eager to see.

But a slide toward authoritarian politics is only one of the forces in play. Of equal concern is the rise of ethnic factionalism in America. Ethnic diversity in itself does not correlate strongly to civil war, but it does provide convenient fracture lines for a society. The presence of distinct ethnic communities also helps to reduce the force of the collective action problem at the heart of the civil war question, attenuating the increased risk of death or imprisonment faced by the early adopters of resistance to the state. For our society, atomized, deracinated, and individualistic as it is, the collective action problem is even more acute. We’ve been bowling alone for a long time, and so ethnicity, race, and religion provide useful connection points for people who otherwise lack a common basis for organizing. The presence of a coherent ethnic community provides would-be rebels with not only a means of framing potential grievances (e.g., past oppression by a majority group); it can also provide potential rebels with unique cultural institutions capable of facilitating collaboration (e.g., the stereotype of the local radical mosque) and thus lowering collective action barriers.

[Comment: The fact that an ethnically diverse society is less able to engage in collective action is the main reason Jewish activists have promoted multi-ethnic immigration to the West and promoted deracination among Whites. For these activists, the events beginning in 1933 in Germany are a potent warning about what can happen to Jews in an ethnically homogeneous society.]

In contrast to how a sane regime would manage the challenge of presiding over a multiethnic society through policies intended to downplay racial grievances and encourage unity, America’s ruling elites seem committed to the opposite course. Indoctrinated as they are into a globalist ideology of struggle toward a borderless utopia, America’s ruling elite seem fully committed to an endless cycle of relitigating and reinterpreting the country’s past through the lens of race and gender inequality. The result is the rekindling of dormant racial animus and the breeding of new resentments as essential national myths are discredited with every school renamed and every statue melted down to be replaced with “inclusive art.”

Yugoslavia provides a useful historical example. …

In the case of America prior to 2016, it would have been appropriate to think of the elite as united in its basic assumptions and ideology—the “transpartisan,” managerial elite James Burnham described in The Managerial Revolution. While there were some minor disagreements about policy—how much to tax and how much to spend—even on matters of war and peace there was remarkable uniformity of opinion.

The election of Donald Trump in 2016 changed all that. For the first time in decades, American elites are truly fractured. The Republican Party has become more the party of Donald Trump and less the party of Nikki Haley. The substance of this is that the Republican Party is becoming a true counter-elite as it grows more alienated from the assumptions of the old managerial order, and more open to a radically different vision of society and governance. Meanwhile, federalism ensures a certain amount of political fragmentation is already baked into the American system; it’s no coincidence that the battlelines for America’s first civil war largely matched state borders. …

As the Right becomes more unified under Trump’s leadership and more intellectually and morally at peace with embracing a rougher brand of politics, we’re likely to see a more open embrace of tit-for-tat factional fighting.

To cite a well-known historical example, the Roman civil wars of the first century BC were preceded by years of violent factional politics and elite fracturing. As in the case of Rome, there will be plenty of off ramps along the way. Pompey and the Senate could have avoided war with Caesar had they been a little more flexible, after all. Of course, if men of Pompey’s and Brutus’s caliber couldn’t find their way to those off ramps, I doubt the cast of geriatrics and buffoons leading our politics will.

[Comment: I am pretty sure Trump is not our savior, but he is certainly a step in the right direction. Our elites, including especially our dominant Jewish component, realize that and have pulled out all the stops to prevent Trump from winning in 2024.

Given the ethnic fractionation of America, it’s clear that it’s going to basically be Whites against the rest. It’s going to be a wild ride. The legal system, the educational system, and the media are absolutely opposed to White identity and interests and are almost entirely controlled by our current elite, and the left has attempted to purge the military of people who would be sympathetic to the pro-White side.

But an enraged and motivated White population would be a force to be reckoned with. It certainly happened in Germany in the 1930s. The ultimate failure of that movement is now the defining feature of our politics.]

7 replies
  1. Tim
    Tim says:

    From 2008: CIA chief Michael Hayden expects civil wars in Europe

    On April 3, we exclusively reported on a secret CIA study according to which the CIA internally expects civil wars in many European metropolitan areas by 2020 at the latest. Some have therefore accused our editorial team of
    of “scaremongering” and unsubstantiated “speculation”. At the time, the CIA study was still classified as secret. Now, CIA chief Michael Hayden himself has gone public – and issued an urgent warning about the looming civil wars in the heart of Europe.

    CIA chief Hayden is quoted by the renowned Washington Post newspaper as saying that Europe will continue to see a strong increase in the Muslim population. At the same time, the birth rates of the established European population will continue to fall. The integration of these Muslim migrants will present the European states with major challengeschallenges – and will significantly increase the potential for civil wars and extremists.

    The CIA chief thus made public for the first time the summary of a CIA study from spring 2008 on globalization, migration and the threat of civil war, which we had already quoted on 3 April. In the CIA study the CIA study presented in April, the “ungovernability” of many European conurbations “around the year 2020”. predicted. In Germany, this allegedly includes: parts the Ruhr region (Dortmund and Duisburg are mentioned by name), parts of the Duisburg), parts of the federal capital Berlin, the Rhine-Main Rhine-Main area, parts of Stuttgart, districts of Ulm and suburbs of Hamburg. suburbs of Hamburg.

    The CIA sees similar developments for the same period in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden and Italy. The study speaks of “civil wars” that would make parts of the aforementioned countries “ungovernable”. The background to the study is migration movements and the unwillingness of some immigrants to integrate, who would fight for “lawless, ethnically largely homogeneous spaces” and defend these against all attempts at integration, including by force of arms. Against this backdrop, the CIA claims that parts of Europe are “imploding” and that the European Union in its current form is likely to break apart.

    The CIA orders serious youth riots, such as those that have occurred in the the last few months in the French suburbs, in the the Netherlands, Denmark, Great Britain and Sweden in recent months as “harbingers” of these coming civil wars. In the
    coming years, the criminality of unemployed children of of immigrants will increase, and the rising social spending of European countries would not be enough to keep this population group in the long term.

    The CIA study points out that in some European countries, up to European countries, up to 70 percent of imprisoned offenders (for example in Spain as well as in France) come from the Islamic culture. Europe is perceived by a Europe is seen as weak and doomed by a considerable proportion of migrants. doomed to destruction. The laws, values and norms are not recognized. recognized. This increases the potential for unrest in the coming years to come.

    Btw., Brits (and other EU vassal states) have been outsourcing their overcrowded prisons to the Balkans and elsewhere for some time now.

    From 2017: Outlook to 2035 – Migration, nationalism, climate change: CIA book gives gloomy forecast for Europe

    Of course, nobody knows what the world will look like in 2035. So why bother with it? On the other hand, those born today will be just 18 years old – and their parents and relatives will say “how quickly time flies”. 2035 sounds a long way off, but it’s not.

    Moreover, in many cases it takes several years for analyses to be prepared, options for action discussed and solutions decided. It takes even longer if international coordination is required. From contract negotiations to procurement programs, the impact of new training programs to investment in new production facilities, it often takes many years for the desired effects to unfold.

    Other things, however, happen very quickly. Technological progress, particularly in the information and communications industry, is changing the living conditions of our societies so rapidly that it is difficult to say how we will communicate in a few years’ time or what the consequences of everyday surveillance of individuals will be.

    The National Intelligence Council, a think tank of the American services, regularly looks at the future and thinks about strategies. For those who also want to look beyond the daily news, the volume “The World in 2035 as Seen by the CIA” („Global Trends, Paradox of Progress“) is an excellent book that discusses various development options.

    The book is divided into two parts. First, it explores global trends up to 2035, which in turn lead to two glimpses into the future. The first look is into the near future, which primarily discusses the risks. The second look looks further into the distant future and brings hope into play. If governments and company managers see the dangers that are piling up, they could find a way to cooperate. So the authors are not completely pessimistic. In the second part, the regions are examined in terms of developments over the next five years and then global trends – demographics, health, the environment, artificial intelligence and others – are measured.

    To start with Europe: This is where the report strikes with a gloomy outlook for the next five years. “Over the next five years, Europe will have to confront the possibility of the European project unravelling as the post-war order comes under increasing pressure from migratory flows from the unstable, often threatening periphery and from the pressures of a globalized economy that exacerbate economic inequality.” And further: “The existential crisis of the EU, as shown by the example of the ‘Brexit’ referendum, will certainly continue for at least the next few years.”

    Disunity within the EU; the narrow limits imposed on the southern European euro members for a growth policy; and inadequate responses to the challenges of terrorism and migration are cited as causes for this gloomy forecast, as are the threats from Russia and a spillover of terror from the Middle East. However, these external threats will not lead to Europe’s populations uniting. “Russia threatens Europe directly through propaganda, disinformation and financial support for parties that oppose the EU.”

    The global importance of the EU, which is primarily based on the unity of its member states, will therefore decline. This is because Europe’s share of the world’s population and economic output will continue to decline, the authors write. The inability of the EU member states to solve the pressing problems will promote a growing “nativism”.

    European countries will continue to age until 2035. The median age – an age that is calculated by dividing society in half, i.e. 50 percent are younger and 50 percent older than the stated age – will then be 49.6 years in Germany and 43.3 years in France. By comparison, the median age in Niger in 2035 will be just 15.7 years, in Congo 19.4 years and in Nigeria 20 years.

    This demographic situation, combined with corruption, climatic changes and economic pressure, means that these countries are likely to be susceptible to internal political conflicts, which in turn could trigger migration movements. For the next five years, for example, the authors predict: “Around 75 to 250 million Africans will experience extreme water stress – the likely consequence will be mass migrations.”

    The authors expect an increase in populist movements, partly because “identities are hardening” and “tolerance and diversity” are eroding in a disconnected information and media environment. Populist parties are equally directed against elites and the development of globalization, changing the scope of action of governments.

    It is therefore crucial what conclusions governments draw from the developments of the coming years – and in which direction the world order moves. The authors propose three scenarios for thinking about risks and solutions in equal measure. In the first, the states live as islands that separate from each other in a protectionist manner due to the economic consequences of globalization.

    In the second scenario, called “orbits”, they revolve around the old and new superpowers. The development spaces that open up here depend largely on the relationship between these great powers. The third scenario, which the authors call “Communities”, assumes that the importance of states in further technological development will decline. Companies and other organizations will then play a greater role in shaping the world.

    “With unprecedented speed”, developments will interlock, create political instability and increase the number of those who can prevent solutions. Establishing order will become more difficult, in individual states and internationally. As the authors write several times, governments and society will have to “renegotiate their mutual expectations.” And preferably quickly: 2035 is not far away.

    • Mike Bennett
      Mike Bennett says:

      Western civilization made as black & deadly mistake to adopt the Jewish augmented Christian religion! Perhaps, we really live at the last stage of, “age of the Kali Yuga”..! Only a bloody insurrection or divine benevolence will save this Western Canton!?

  2. James Bowery
    James Bowery says:

    Individualistic peoples can only self-organize for war under two conditions:

    1) The objective is in service of individualism.
    2) The war is declared in terms that are objective enough to permit individuals to evaluate when the objective has been attained.

    Keep in mind that probably the closest representative of a military aristocrat in the US was Patton and they offed him once he’d served the Jewish purpose.

    Here are the fallback declarations of war since, quite obviously, That Unspeakable Thing In DC will not relent until it has either crushed all people of individual integrity, or is itself crushed.

    I) Replace the 13th and 14th amendments with the minimalist rules for sortocracy:
    1. Sortocracy recognizes all States* have legitimate power to control the presence of individuals on their respective territories. This includes exclusion or exile of anyone for any reason whatsoever.
    2. Sortocracy requires that all States provide relocation for anyone, and their dependents, requesting emigration or being exiled. This does _not_ necessarily include relocation of capital assets claimed as “property” by those relocating. “Property rights” are defined by States themselves, not by Sortocracy. Their dependents include any children that have not been given up for adoption.
    3. Sortocracy grants States territorial value in proportion to a census of their members. Sortocracy issues cash flow to States for territorial rent. This money is backed by territorial value. States then competitively bid to rent territory from Sortocracy.
    4. New individuals qualify for admission to Sortocracy under one of 2 conditions:
    4.1. Inheritance: For example, an ancestor of a child may will his membership to a descendant.
    4.2. Territorial acquisition: A State admitting an individual as a new member of Sortocracy must add territory to Sortocracy equal in value a member’s territorial rent*.
    5. If no other State will accept a relocating member, at least one State of Nature must be set aside for such members in which human group selection is suppressed by rules enforcing individual sovereignty, including death penalty and deadly natural duel as nature’s preferred dispute processing of last resort.
    \* Since it is increasingly obvious to even Jews that the relentless increase in immigration rates since 1965 against the will of more than a supermajority of US citizens was a mistake, this option must be accompanied by acquisition of territories in the countries of origin of that horrific era of mass immigration from around the world — and those claiming US citizenship from those countries must be the ones fighting the front line for those territories.
    II) The first position (I) is only offered to those who think there is something worth preserving about the form of the US Constitution. It is preferable to dispense with that form entirely and view the minimalist rules for sortocracy as a replacement for The Treaty of Westphalia, most likely enforced only after a long and bloody struggle not unlike The Thirty Years War.
    III) The fallback from (II) is protection of local property rights with — distributing economic rents to only young men. If you think that young men are too broken to take up the responsibility of, through their patronage of businesses as consumers and proxied voting shares as corporate owners, to rebuild the Total Fertility Rates by being the ones to whom young women must turn for sustenance, then you are unworthy of them and they will kill you — perhaps only after your Cartel soldier protectors, forward deployed as “doing jobs our worthless young men are too lazy to do”, have been killed to get to you and your property.

    If you don’t like that last sentence, you’re a creature of Jewish virulence.

  3. Weaver
    Weaver says:

    I don’t have enough information to predict the future, but secession is legal in some parts of the US. When the USD loses reserve status, we’ll see hyperinflation and a reduction in living standards. Social security and Medicare might then be cut. If cut or ended entirely, secession will suddenly become extremely popular.

    If a few areas break away, then other areas will feel that secession is more acceptable. China and others would love for the US to break up. Perhaps a new statelet would face conquest or oppression after secession.

    America has some good political ideas like the Bill of Rights, but we also have some very stupid ideas. So, new statelets could be badly run, badly designed. We could also see a repeat of the same sort of problems that plagued the US.

    Alternatively, the US might merge with Canada and Mexico, then merge again with others. This seems more likely. A new mega empire could perhaps rival China. I’m uninterested in challenging China, but Neocons would love to.

  4. G.F
    G.F says:

    Re: the Power of the Press

    Clearly, the media won the election for Biden in 2020. How?

    1. CNN departed from the usual procedure of having the last presidential debate focus on foreign policy. The reason? Trump was the first president in 40 years not to start a new war–although he was vicious in fighting the wars he inherited. Biden was vulnerable on this issue because of his Iraq War vote and the fact that as chairman of a Senate committee holding hearings before the war, he slanted the witness list to pro-war speakers.

    2. The false claim that Trump called Nazis “very fine people” when in fact he denounced such persons in the same press conference.

    3. The sensational coverage of the George Floyd killing. Do you notice that we don’t hear about such killings now that Biden is in office? Did unarmed black men suddenly STOP getting killed by white policemen? No. The choice to make the Floyd killing the lead story for over six months while ignoring subsequent, similar events was a reaction to the Trump presidency.

    4. CNN headlines that were editorial–many used the adjective “unhinged,” which is not a news headline.

    5. The attack on Trump *voters,* who are accused of being racist and stupid all the time. I cannot recall the mainstream media calling George W. Bush’s supporters “warmongers.” Of course, at the time, CNN’s parent company was AT&T, which had billions in defense contracts.

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