by Victor Davis Hanson
As Joe Biden’s polls stagnate and the midterms approach, we are now serially treated to yet another progressive melodrama about the dangers of a supposed impending radical right-wing violent takeover.
This time the alleged threat is a Neanderthal desire for a “civil war.”
The FBI raid on Donald Trump’s Florida home, the dubious rationale for such a historic swoop, and the popular pushback at the FBI and Department of Justice from roughly half the country have further fueled these giddy “civil war” conjectures.
Recently “presidential historian” Michael Beschloss speculated about the parameters of such an envisioned civil war.
Beschloss is an ironic source. Just days earlier, he had tweeted references to the executions of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who passed U.S. nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union in the 1950s, in connection with the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago.
That was a lunatic insinuation that Trump might justly suffer the same lethal fate due to supposedly mishandling of “nuclear secrets.” Unhinged former CIA Director Michael Hayden picked up on Beschloss death-penalty prompt, adding that it “sounds about right.”
Hayden had gained recent notoriety for comparing Trump’s continuance of the Obama Administration’s border detention facilities to Hitler’s death camps. And he had assured the public that Hunter Biden’s lost and incriminating laptop was likely “Russian disinformation”.
So, like the earlier “Russian collusion” hoax, and the January 6 “insurrection,” the supposed right-wing inspired civil war is the latest shrill warning from the Left about how “democracy dies in darkness” and the impending end of progressive control of Congress in a few months.
On cue, Hollywood now joins the civil war bandwagon. It has issued a few bad, grade-C movies. They focus on deranged white “insurrectionists” who seek to take over the United States in hopes of driving out or killing off various “marginalized” peoples.
Pentagon grandees promise to learn about “white rage” in the military and to root it out. But never do they offer any hard data to suggest white males express any greater degree of racial or ethnic chauvinism than any other demographic.
When we do hear of an insurrectionary plan—to kidnap the Michigan governor—we discover a concocted mess. Twelve FBI informants outnumbered the supposed four “conspirators.” And two of them were acquitted by a jury and the other two so far found not guilty due to a mistrial.
The buffoonish January 6 riot at the Capitol is often cited as proof of the insurrectionary right-wing movement. But the one-day riotous embarrassment never turned up any armed revolutionaries or plots to overthrow the government.
What it did do was give the Left an excuse to weaponize the nation’s capital with barbed wire and thousands of federal troops, in the greatest militarization of Washington D.C. since the Civil War.
In contrast, Antifa and BLM rioters were no one-day buffoons. They systematically organized a series of destructive and deadly riots across the country for over four months in summer 2020. The lethal toll of their work was over 35 dead, $2 billion in property losses, and hundreds of police officers injured.
Such violent protestors torched the ironic St. John’s Episcopal church and attempted to fight their way into the White House grounds. Their violent agenda prompted the Secret Service to evacuate the president of the United States to a secure bunker.
The New York Times gleefully applauded the rioting near the White House grounds with the snarky headline “Trump Shrinks Back.”
As far as secession talk, it mostly now comes from the Left, not the Right. Indeed, a parlor game has sprung up among elites in venues such as The Nation and The New Republic imaging secession from the United States. Blue-staters brag secession would free them from the burden of the red-state conservative population.
Over the last five years, it was the Left who talked openly of tearing apart the American system of governance—from packing the Supreme Court and junking the Electoral College to ending the ancient filibuster and nullifying immigration law.
Time essayist Molly Ball in early 2021 gushed about a brilliant “conspiracy” of wealthy tech lords, Democratic Party activists, and Biden operators.
Ball bragged how they had systematically poured hundreds of millions of dark money into changing voting laws, and absorbing the role of government registrars in key precincts.
What was revolutionary were new progressive precedents of impeaching a president twice, trying him as a private citizen, barring minority congressional representatives from House committee memberships, and tearing up the state of the union address on national television.
In contrast, decrying the weaponization of a once-professional FBI, and the scandals among its wayward Washington hierarchy is not insurrectionary. Nor is being appalled at the FBI raiding a former president’s and possible presidential candidate’s home, when historically disputes over presidential papers were the business of lawyers not armed agents.
Historic overreach is insurrectionary, not objecting to it. And those who warn most of some mythical civil war are those most likely to incite one.
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Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is an American military historian, columnist, a former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush. Hanson is also a farmer (growing raisin grapes on a family farm in Selma, California) and a critic of social trends related to farming and agrarianism. He is the author most recently of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won, The Case for Trump and the newly released The Dying Citizen.
Photo “Black Lives Matter Protesters” by Stan Wiechers. CC BY-SA 2.0.