I’ve spilled some pixels on the topic of a second civil war in the United States before. While I still think (hope) the prospect is unlikely, I recently stumbled across a post from one Matthew Bracken, author of Enemies Foreign And Domestic, Domestic Enemies – The Reconquista, and Foreign Enemies And Traitors, about the CW2 “Cube,” which although written in 2010, still makes some very good points. Note: In this post I won’t talk about the likelihood of a civil war, but instead, as in the point of Mr. Bracken’s analysis, how the factions would likely split up. He points out:
Before we move on to the cube, let’s begin with the CW2 Square. The cube is best tackled in another step. Draw the square and label one axis Poorer to Richer. Label the other axis Darker to Lighter. Darker, for brevity, includes African-Americans, Hispanics and so on. Lighter refers to those of European ancestry. The two opposed meta-groups are the poorer and darker versus the richer and lighter, or whiter if you wish to be blunt. The richer/whiter have the power of their wealth, but counterbalancing that advantage is the fact that the poorer/darker have succeeded in wresting control of much of government power. This is so, even if most of their elected leaders are anything but poor or dark.
Note that these are really, really broad categories. In 1980 I may have been more optimistic that the racial angle would be far less significant than the wealth angle, but after a few decades of ever-more-strident race-baiting by the Left, I’m no longer so sanguine. But let’s move on to the cube, which is the part I really find interesting:
Now, let’s add the third dimension and shoot another axis out from the square to form the CW2 Cube. Label the third axis Urban versus Rural, or City versus Country if you prefer. This axis gives a geographical dimension to the meta-terrain, but there will be no convenient dividing line between the opposed sides as there was during the first civil war. It has frequently been observed that today’s red-blue political map is better understood at the county than at the state level. Even blue states like Illinois, California and New York are rural-red outside of their blue urban cores. Obviously, these urban cores are heavily populated but geographically small, with all that means to the electoral process today and to a possible civil war later.
So the opposing corners of the CW2 Cube can be seen as the poorer, darker cities versus the richer, whiter rural areas. Again, don’t quibble about outliers. Yes, there are a few rich, conservative African-Americans living in Wyoming, many poor white liberal Democrats in rural West Virginia, some rich conservatives in San Francisco and every other exceptional case imaginable.
Here’s the cube (click to embiggen):
Now look at how that falls out. Wealth, sure, color, sure, but also – and I think that now, in 2023, the bigger divide – is urban/rural. Too many in the big cities have started viewing us crazy rednecks who own lots of guns and live out in the woods as a threat, and too many of us crazy rednecks are increasingly distrustful of the big cities and their denizens – not to mention resentful when they wag their fingers at us and try to tell us how to live. Mr. Bracken continues:
Most of us live in the mushy, mongrel middle, far from the tips of the two opposite corners. But the centers of gravity of Civil War Two shall be as I have described: the relatively richer, whiter and more rural against the poorer, darker and urban. One can also propose many more axes of conflict than can fit on a cube, such as the religious versus the non-believers, socialists versus capitalists, statists versus individualists and so on. However, after you reflect upon the CW2 Cube, I think you will find that most of these extra axes can be overlaid parallel to one of the three already posited.
Bear in mind that this was written in 2010. Almost every aggravating factor that Mr. Bracken describes has gotten worse, not better, since then. The corners of the cubes have mostly drawn farther away from each other. The people in those segments are increasingly polarized against each other.
We always say “it can’t happen here.” I’m still thinking a hot civil war unlikely, although I’m thinking the odds of such a thing are increasing. But people in Bosnia in the Nineties thought the same thing:
After the fact, a common sentiment heard from urbane, secular Bosnians living in the Olympic City of Sarajevo expressed complete disbelief that a brutal, bloody civil war could have come to their modern European city and tear their lives apart.
But it did.
A parting suggestion to students of modern civil war is to read “Seasons in Hell: Understanding Bosnia’s War” by the British journalist Ed Vulliamy. It’s currently collecting dust at your local public library, waiting only to be read.
Forewarned is forearmed.
It is indeed.
Mrs. Animal and I are indeed fortunate to have our rural home in the great Alaskan Susitna Valley. We know all our neighbors well. Almost all of them are hunters. Almost all of them are armed. We’re far enough away from any major city – even Anchorage – that the “troubles” won’t impinge us directly. But they will hit us indirectly, as we are dependent on the Forty-Eight for so many things, from manufactured goods to fresh fruit. Not to mention that our children and grandchildren are all down there, although not in major cities.
A second civil war would be catastrophic. It would be fought not on distant fields, not by massive armies maneuvering against each other in open country. It will be fought in the streets, in the towns, amongst us in ways no other war has touched us since the Revolution, and if similar conflicts are any indication – see not only Bosnia but also the Spanish Civil War – it will result in hatreds that will last generations. A second civil war would be the end of the United States as we know it, and it’s unlikely anything that arises out of the ashes will have any respect for individual rights and liberties.
I’d like to say the more we know, the better able we are to avoid all this. Problem is, too many folks either don’t want to know – or don’t care. As Yeats said:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
I’d rather not see that happen here. But I am aware of the possibility that my druthers may not be taken into account.