Premonitions of violence are in the air everywhere here in the USA. You can’t avoid it on social media, the news, and even entertainment. Even though some of the ferocity has been tempered – oddly enough since the election. For many months during this insane year, we have been peppered with rumors of a second civil war, and people on both sides have breathlessly waited and warned of this inevitable reality.
The divisive political climate, the riots over the summer, election angst, and protests over all manner of perceived injustices in 2020 seem to clearly show just how at odds we might be with our neighbors. I have seen many YouTube Survivalists and Prepper Podcasters talk about their fears of a second civil war but I for one humbly submit that we are nowhere near a second civil war. Even more specifically – nothing like the Civil War in America is even close to happening now.
You may think I am totally bonkers for saying that. I admit it’s hard to ignore the absolute hate and anger present in major pockets of our culture right now, but I can give you my rationale. Before I do that, let’s just state a few facts of the Civil War in America for context. I understand full well that any “fact” I put down here can be debated to death so I will stick with less controversial items that we can all hopefully agree on.
American Civil War
- Deaths ~ 620,000
- Duration – 4 Years
- Sides – Northern States (Union) and Southern States (Confederacy)
- Causes – Confederacy Seceded to form their own government
Again, the causes and minutiae of the Civil War is an argument we have been having since 1865 but using this event in our history as the basis for people saying we are headed for a second event just as horrible: a second civil war, is misleading and just a little bit hysterical.
What do you mean by second civil war?
When I hear the term “Second civil war”, it is most often is in the context of people pushing fear porn. It takes a few different shapes, but generally, the second civil war is either more of a race war with blacks and whites killing each other or something resembling a class war where the poorer (middle class) downtrodden rise up and attack the rich people. Another flavor is democrats vs republicans to right the wrongs of an election. Or finally, socialists who want to overthrow this country versus capitalists patriots.
I can’t see any of these scenarios happening. At least not without something catastrophic happening first. But before I get into that, let me share my reasons why I don’t think you need to worry about a second civil war just yet. And all of these prophetic voices saying to worry about this may deserve a little further examination before you hunker down.
There are no identifiable sides
In the American civil war of the 1860’s, it was pretty easy to know who you were fighting for and against. There were people who fought for the North from the South and vice versa, but it was States that voted for action and if you were included in the fighting forces you got the appropriate color of uniform and fell in line.
In our current culture, there is no North and South. You do not even have issues strong enough to compel (significant numbers of) people to start killing which is kind of necessary for war. You cannot call a protest or even a riot a war. If people go home in the morning to take a nap or go to work, then you don’t have a war.
Yes, there are groups like BLM and Antifa but nothing even close to something resembling the numbers you would need for a military force. Not when there are close to 400 million guns in the United States.
The adults are not buying it
Is there anger? Yes. Is the anger justified? Sometimes, very much so. Do bad things happen that shouldn’t have? Yes but this is nothing new since the dawn of time. Do we go to war every time we have cultural issues that need to be addressed?
In most situations, I have seen that prompt these protests, there are various facets that intelligent people can look at and see through the haze of screaming and violence to form their own opinions about the righteousness of the riots. At the very least, the facts should compel someone to look for more answers before they decide they need to set a building on fire.
Do I think everyone that is killed is innocent? Hardly. But the opposite is also true. In the overwhelming majority of cases, if a cop shoots you – you were doing something wrong. Are there tragic exceptions? Yes. But, these are exceptions. Should you protest and demand to be heard if you feel something is unjust? Sure, and our Constitution even protects that right.
What people forget though is that you have the right to peaceful assembly. When your methods to address grievances start ruining innocent lives then you lose credibility and a good bit of sympathy.
Personal economy is more important than ideology
A second civil war on the scale of what we saw last time would destroy our economy and put it simply, would make it hard for people to make a living. Do you honestly believe that we could have a full-blown war here in America where access to the internet is considered a right?
Do you think people would protest the war they are fighting in if they weren’t getting paid enough or their boots weren’t brand new? Would they fight if they weren’t able to be called by their preferred pronoun? Would they still be engaged if they didn’t have enough work/war balance in their lives?
Consider the numbers of people who sat out during Covid because they could make more money on unemployment. Is this the same intestinal fortitude that you would see assaulting a hill through a hail of bullets?
Riots and protests are rare and short-lived
The civil war lasted 4 years and change, but most protests burn out in a couple of days max. There are exceptions of course, but I can’t see this second civil war energy persisting long enough to have anything like a real War. Actually, people complain about teargas and rubber bullets in these protests. They get highly offended when one of their numbers gets arrested.
What would they do if 50 of them were shot dead in a single incident? Who would they complain to then if no media was there to promptly tell their horrible personal story of rights abuses?
Race issues are not bad enough – yet
I am sure some of you will think I am naive, but I do not believe this country is systemically racist and I don’t believe that a majority of African Americans feel that they have no recourse except for war.
For our country to be systemically racist, there would, by definition, have to be systems in place (Laws) that treated African Americans differently – negatively. If you can show me those current laws, please do.
Have we had a past that was unfair and discriminatory in ways? Absolutely, what country hasn’t? Are there people who are racist to this day? Of course, on both sides – and I think there will always be. Have some people been slighted because of their race? Sure.
However, our country is not racist in action. Our laws concerning your freedoms, the ability to get a job, to make money, to marry, to purchase property, to enjoy life aren’t written to give one race any advantage or disadvantage. Systemically we are race-neutral but individuals do still impact other individuals.
We still have work to do on the race front I believe but it is a matter of the heart. You can’t change someone’s mind by arguing or yelling at them, just look at the comment feed on any social media post. I also don’t think the majority of people feel like this country is broken to the point that we need to go to war to fix it.
Or, that we need to kill everyone who disagrees with us because it’s so bad.
In a civil war, you would face military
Yes, if anything approaching War broke out, the military would be called in and I can’t see that being a fair fight. Does your side have a Navy or an Air Force? Yes, militant operations have defeated armies since the beginning of time but we would have to go a long way and through a lot of death for that to happen here.
Going back to my previous point about riots – if the military started walking into your protest ready to really engage, I bet those idiots wearing hoodies and gas masks would haul ass quickly. But the military would be in the conflict too you say? So half of our military would fight the other half? C’mon! That is the subject of some really good prepper fiction though.
And the military would be divided also
In any type of national uprising that affected the whole country, you would have people in the military on both sides philosophically. But, they would not be cordoned off in a nice state by state group with only like-minded people. There are all types of backgrounds and perspectives in the military and they are all mixed together, fighting together for the goal of the military. Not the individual.
More than anything, I cannot see the military easily coming in to kill their own citizens. Their families and loved ones. And, you would have untold thousands of prior service (experience in actual war) military members and veterans in the mix as well who would probably feel the same way.
Lone guns do not lead movements
There have been a few nut jobs that tried to get the ball rolling with their ideas. The people who tried to kidnap the Governor of Michigan allegedly wanted to kick off a second civil war. These aren’t the types who lead movements that get half a country involved. Without a mass of people behind you, how do you expect a war to happen?
If you can be taken out by the local police, then you don’t really expect to win any wars do you?
Many people have no capacity for death or hardship
Today as I write this, there have been 307K reported deaths from Covid in the US. This tragic figure is from a disease. In the course of managing the fallout from this disease, we have shuttered major parts of our economy. We have had at least one stimulus to give people money to offset job losses. We have closed borders, prevented people from attending funerals and church and so many other things.
Over a disease with a 98% survivability.
I have been hiking in national forests without a mask and people hug the other side of the trail, cover their faces, and look away in fear that I could infect them. This is in the middle of thousands of acres of fresh air. Can you imagine the paralyzing fear the prospect of armed conflict, war would bring on large portions of the population? I expect a giant portion of the United States would put their masks on and lock their doors praying that war wouldn’t come to their doorstep.
No, I don’t think we are anywhere near a second civil war because I don’t think this country has the guts right now to wage anything remotely approaching the horror of war internally. Could that change with the right circumstances? Yes, but that hasn’t happened yet and I think we would have to get much much worse to even consider it.
But, I think that is really a positive sign for our nation. We shouldn’t be ready to go to war over cultural issues like this. We should be able to work through our problems and differences in a more civil way. We should even be able to be uncivil and still not want to cause harm to anyone.
So what does that mean to you?
I think discussions around any topic like a second civil war falls under the category of seriously considering the reasons you are prepping in the first place. To me, this has equal weight with being invaded by a foreign country or having a giant meteor strike hit us. Are all of those possible? Of course, but what is more likely to happen to you, a giant meteor or a power outage due to a winter storm?
Come back to the reasons why you prepare and evaluate what is most likely. Let that rationale guide your plans and preparations. But do this from a standpoint of confidence that you are taking steps to protect your family.
Not fear of some second civil war coming to your town.