Bravery Hurts

America Needs a Civil War

February 23, 2018

Gettysburg, PA

Not to imply that such misperception and venting is always necessary. Far from it. But the increasing prevalence of views like Johanson’s suggests that there is more going on here than sheer moral failure. In the absence of good ways of living, our animal energy does not just vanish, it goes in another direction; in some cases, one as extreme as that taken by Nikolas Cruz.

Besides the profound psychological problem I have been describing, there is, again, the unwillingness of politicians to make decisions that serve the common good. Instead, these frauds and blunderers go the way of political correctness. “A cynical neighbor once summed up the counter-intuitive rules to me,” says the sage classicist Victor Davis Hanson about “the two Californias.” “If you are in a car collision, hope that you are hit by, rather than hit an illegal alien. If someone breaks into your home and you are forced to use a firearm, hope that you are wounded nonlethally in the exchange, at least more severely than is the intruder.”

Our politics, like we ourselves, are increasingly irrational. The most intractable problem is the emotional fidelity to certain abstract notions (those comprehended by political correctness: white supremacy, implicit bias, the patriarchy, and so on) that can hardly be dealt with by mere argument and debate. The unfairness Hanson relates is obvious, but since it is not a rational thing, it will require force to stop. Anyone who, like me, has spent a lot of time in discussion and argument with other people can easily see how little the rational avails. Jonathan Swift’s definition of man—an animal that has a capacity for rationality—is certainly accurate. For in the end, people generally believe what they want to believe, just as they do what they want to do—unless they are compelled to do otherwise.

And that is precisely why we need a civil war. My mother having died last weekend, I filled out her death certificate just before writing this column. Two of the boxes, bizarre yet now only too predictable, were “race decedent considered them self to be (one or more),” followed by “decedent’s single race designation (only one).” The first option, in which race is a matter of choice, was of no interest in my mother’s case, but its presence shows just how willing people are to submit to the madness of the PC crowd.

Indeed, the country itself has gone mad. There are so many bad ideas, and such moral rot, that only war can rid us of the many pathologies that obviate culture and democracy alike. Only war can bring us to a state of affairs in which people, having serious problems to face, will have a more reasonable perspective and stop griping about safe spaces, white supremacy, toxic masculinity, and all the tiresome rest. Only war will send our politicians the message that Americans will not abide their cynical manipulations and refusal to do what is best for us.

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