Monday, February 06, 2017

The Second Civil War

The battle lines have been drawn. Donald Trump says he wants to "make America great again." Chris Hedges says he wants to "make America ungovernable." He warns his readers that the Trump Crew worship the god of Ignorance. Their motto is "Burn It Down!"

“Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too,” [Steve] Bannon told writer Ronald Radosh in 2013. “I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”

The Trump regime’s demented project of social engineering, which will come wrapped in a Christianized fascism, can be implemented only if it quickly seizes control of the bureaucratic mechanisms, an action that Max Weber pointed out is the prerequisite for exercising power in industrial and technocratic societies. Once what the historian Guglielmo Ferrero calls the “silken threads” of habit, tradition and legality are gone, the “iron chains” of dictatorship will impose social cohesion.

The Trump regime is populated with blind fanatics. They believe in one truth, which is whatever they proclaim at the moment (any such declaration may contradict what they said a few hours before). They are possessed with one idea—conflict. They venerate a demented hypermasculinity that includes a sacralization of violence, misogyny, a disdain for empathy, and the self-appointed right to engage in bouts of frenzied rage. These characteristics, they believe, are a sign of masculinity. The highest aesthetic is militarism, violence and war. Without conflict, without enemies real or imagined, their ideological structures and racism collapse into a heap of contradictions and absurdities. They will attempt to thwart nonviolent, nationwide resistance with force. And they will attempt to stoke counterviolence, including through the use of agents provocateurs, as a response. If we speak back to them in the language of violence, we will fail. We will be transformed into the monsters we seek to defeat.

Bannon and his followers on the “alt-right,” self-declared intellectuals, ferret out facts and formulas that buttress their peculiar worldview and discard truths that contradict their messianic delusions. They mouth a few clich├ęs and quote a few philosophers to justify bigotry, chauvinism and governmental repression. It is propaganda masquerading as ideology. These pseudo-intellectuals are singularly incurious. They are linguistically, culturally and historically illiterate about the Muslim world, and about most other foreign cultures, yet blithely write off one-fifth of the world’s population—Muslims—as irredeemable. 

The only defence, Hedges writes, is in the kind of non-violent resistance that makes the United States ungovernable. Americans are about to enter their Second Civil War.

Image: OS Net Daily


Dana said...

I think the 2nd American civil war is inevitable now, Owen. It's just a matter of how much blood will be shed.

On a side note I find myself wondering how long it will be until the German people begin to question the wisdom of hosting 38 US military facilities while the US under Trump becomes an ally of an increasingly aggressive Russia. Same goes for the rest of Europe really but Germany has the highest number of facilities. A Trump/Putin alliance could make very short work of destroying the EU and virtually all European governments. They might not bother with Iceland.

Rocks and hard places everywhere you look.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Dana. Trump's vision is binary. Simple minded solutions from a simple minded man.

Toby said...

Every time the US entertains itself with civil violence a flurry of Americans head north. Do you think Junior Trudeau is ready to admit a flood of American refugees?

Owen Gray said...

It certainly sounds like it, Toby -- and it wouldn't be the first time.

Anonymous said...

"The Trump regime is populated with blind fanatics."

It seems to me the blind fanatics are the ones still enthralled with absurd campaign rhetoric and throwing mass temper tantrums because the American people rejected your Super Predator.

There will be no civil war. Why? Because, one: liberals are too big of cowards to fight one. Two: the conservatives are too busy laughing at the melodramatic histrionics of birdbrain liberal lunatics.

What a crazy cult. I'm embarrassed I was ever a part of it. Cry and gnash your teeth because Trump killed free-trade globalization while your politicians were too busy taking bribes. That's the only reason the establishment media has you so worked up. (Keep them doggies rollin'!)


Owen Gray said...

Mr. Bannon's rhetoric encourages nasty conflict, MAGA. The real question is whether the nation's institutions can handle the conflict.

The Mound of Sound said...

It's not difficult to foresee some form of mass uprising across the US in the not distant future, Owen. I've spent some time in recent months looking into America's "bubble" economy. This is one theme of Galbraith's, "The Predator State." He discusses the ascendancy of the 1%, what he calls America's "looter class."

We now have a unitary Republican government. The GOP controls the House, the Senate, the White House and, more powerfully than many realize, the US Supreme Court. Neoliberal America has gone through the stages of diminished state sovereignty, parallel private sector sovereignty, political capture, regulatory capture and now, the High Priests of the corporate sector directly appropriating the levers of power.

Just as unitary Republican governments gave America the Panic of 1907, the Great Depression of 1929 and the Great Recession of 2007-2008, they're about to set the same wheels in motion once again by the repeal of Dodd-Frank. This is one more effort to squeeze the economic lifeblood of America directly into the pockets of the 1%. Insanely reckless as that sounds, I think it's nothing of the sort. It's simply the final chapter of the neoliberal playbook being enacted.

Taxpaying, working class America (white and blue collar) haven't recovered from the Great Recession. America has recovered but all that restored wealth was funneled into a very select group of pockets. Still, Trump needs some manifestation of an economic turnaround and there's no easier way to create that illusion than by inflating another bubble, the targeted result of repealing Dodd-Frank.

For ordinary Americans it would be like going back to the post for another taste of the lash before the scars from the first whipping are even healed. Revolt? Sure, why not?

Owen Gray said...

When I was a student at UNC, Mound, the Education faculty set up a meeting between us -- newly minted teachers -- and young black students from ghettos throughout the South. These were the days when ghettos were burning throughout the United States. One young women said she foresaw much more violence.

One of us -- a white guy from Long Island -- said, "Don't you see? There's twenty-three million of you and two hundred million of them. And they've got the guns." Her answer came like a rifle shot. "I'd rather die standing up," she said, "than on my knees." Trouble is brewing.

Kirby Evans said...

While trouble is, indeed, brewing, I think it may emerge most notably in state resistance to the federal agenda. If, for example, a state like California starts to actively reject federal power (say, rejecting federal dictates on undocumented people or even taking control of airports, and thereby resisting DHS and other federal bodies), Trump and his followers will face a much bigger problem than they bargained for. Any effort of the part of the federal government to impose its will will stoke secessionist efforts in a place like California, and given the past 40 years or so of recognized rights of self-determination, federal efforts to enforce unity will lead the federal government nowhere fast. Though I have always been one who encourages taking to the streets etc., I actually think this scenario is the best hope for undermining Trump and his ilk. If a number of liberal governors like Brown, Inslee, and Kate Brown in Oregon actively resist, this resistance will have a legitimacy that could easily gain in momentum.

Owen Gray said...

It's interesting, Kirby, that resistance to Trump comes not just from people in the streets but also from state governors. And, of course, Trump doesn't understand what that means. The word federalism isn't in his vocabulary.

Anonymous said...

I think the 2nd American civil war is inevitable now,
A third actually, the American revolution was really a civil war

The Predator State." He discusses the ascendancy of the 1%, what he calls America's "looter class.".
The looter class descend upon us every time there is an economic crash.

Given that in the last 120 years every time the Republicans have held both the upper and lower houses of Government the USA has had a financial collapse the one percent must be rubbing their hands!!

TB .

the salamander said...

.. there are more & more leaks describing rank amateurs loose in the White House..
And just read the tweeted missives of Trump.. or the surreal interpretations
of Spicer, Kellyanne, Hannity, Savage, Spence Gingrich et al..

Owen Gray said...

I'd like to publish your comment, Anon, but it must be initialed.

Owen Gray said...

Santayana was right, TB. Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Owen Gray said...

They've been there for three weeks, salamander, and already they live in a bunker.

the salamander said...

.. unfortunately Owen, the Trump Bunker includes A tower in New York where his 'wife' and son are ensconsed, The White House, Mar A Lago, Florida.. Air Force One.. and soon, the traditional holiday escape of Camp David. There are a lot of locations where Trump 'patriots' can squirrel themselves or function in safe obscurity. As one observant wag noted, Kellyanne starts each day resembling a hag from hell with an astonishing witches brew bender hangover.. Spicer of course has his magic gum, likely powdered with either coke or smelling salts, Bannon of course is heavily invested in Russian pepper vodka futures - coal - fracking.. Trump has divested from Trump Inc to the charitable Trump retirement benevolent foundation.. so he can take it with him..

Owen Gray said...

David Frum is of the opinion that, for the Trump, the presidency is all about hording wealth, salamander -- for himself and a select few. He's a fool sitting on a golden pile of stuff, while the rest of the world goes to hell.