President Obama openly described Republicans as “the enemy” in campaigning for Hispanic votes, and in a recent Democratic presidential debate progressive candidate Hillary Clinton described Republicans—not radical Islam, not a nuclear Iran, not economic malaise, not dreaded diseases—as her primary foe.
Black Lives Matter openly calls for the murder of law enforcement officers. Progressive commentators’ smear Ben Carson in an attempt to destroy his candidacy rather than engage his message.
Champions of the Second Amendment are antigoverment “gun nuts” collectively responsible for shootings of innocents at abortion facilities.
Principled opponents of gay marriage are “homophobes” to be sued and jailed. Heralds of the threat of radical Islam imported under the guise of refugees are “Islamophobes scared of widows and orphans.”
Administrators whose sole crime is being white and insufficiently obeisant to sophomoric student radicals demanding “safe spaces” and insulation from critical thought are “racists” to be fired immediately.
Global warming skeptics are thought criminals on moral par with Holocaust deniers. Social media battles waged by progressive character assassins against conservative academics and politicians approach cyberwarfare.
In 2015 the U.S. is $20 trillion in debt, under Islamist attack, and adrift from its political and moral traditions. It is not merely a country in steep military and economic decline. It is a republic in a cold civil war.
Every issue is contested by opposed camps who convert disagreements into hatred and enmity. Rule of the mob is replacing rule of law, and rather than look outward for enemies we turn inward.
ISIS has threatened to make U.S. streets run with blood. We may beat them to it, or at least help them prevail.
We must do three things right now to save our nation from civil war.
First, we voters and politicians alike, must recommit to the Jeffersonian principle of limited government. Not every problem is a government problem. Harnessing government to take resources from some to pay for entitlements that purchase the votes of the entitled is un-American and unaffordable for the masses.
Progressive ideology threatens the basic national compact. Attempts to fundamentally transform the nation through legislative or judicial activism inevitably fuel an ideological conflict that imperils the nation.
Second, the Constitution established a modus vivendi to allow conservatives and progressives to coexist but only if we read that document as the Founding Fathers intended it—as a series of “thou shalt nots” limiting government power.
Progressives can have their safe space to live their version of the good life in the private, but not in the public, sphere. They must stop trying to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.”
That very phrase declares ideological warfare and abandons the Constitution, laying down two of the three predicates for U.S. civil war.
Finally, Americans must (re)learn what the concept of “enemy” means. It isn’t an opposing political party.
Americans have lost the knowledge that those who fought in World War II possessed. Enemies are those who threaten the continued existence of the nation. Radical Islam is the enemy of the 21st century just as Nazism and Communism were the enemies of the 20th.
We must admit this and come together to defeat it.
In 1995, an ethnic Serb fighting on behalf of Croatia advised this author that, as horrific as the civil war in Yugoslavia had been, the Second Civil War he predicted for our nation would be far more terrible and bloody, making the world forget the Yugoslav Civil War, because the U.S. is far more ideologically divided and resource-rich than his own.
Indeed, a second U.S. civil war that inflicted death on the scale of the first would kill ten million Americans.
Let’s prove our Yugoslavian friend wrong by committing to limited government, a traditional understanding of the Constitution, and a relearning of the concept of the “enemy.”
Only by doing so can we ensure that Americans never suffer the hell of civil war again.