What Now?

In my previous post I mentioned the fault-lines dividing the nation, and said it seemed the ground was beginning to shake. There’s no question that the West’s tectonic plates, which have been locked for a long time now, have begun to slip; the collapse of the Democratic Party, and the ascension of Donald Trump, could not have happened without real seismic movement.

As a result, there has been a convulsive reaction on the Left: riots, mass demonstrations, an annulment/secession movement in California, boycotting of Senate confirmation hearings, and incendiary denunciations by every organ of the Cathedral. There has also been, to borrow from the Left’s own glossary, a general intensification of “othering”, at a level bordering on outright dehumanization. Those not enthusiastically supportive of the activist Left are no longer “conservatives”, or even “tea-baggers”; they are now Nazis — and, the label having been applied, it’s broadly considered justifiable, if not downright fashionable, to assault them. (Even the New York Times considers the question worth debating. If that’s what they say in public, one can imagine what their private sentiments might be.)

Last night, riots broke out on the Berkeley campus in response to an speaking engagement by Milo Yiannopolous. Certainly the ground is shaking a bit. The question we should ask, though, is whether these are foreshocks — the early tremors of an impending catastrophe — or aftershocks. To pursue the seismological metaphor, might it be that the plates having slipped, the shaking will gradually abate as the landscape settles into its new configuration? Or are we, as some are suggesting, on the brink of far greater shocks, possibly including civil war?

Best of all, of course, would be peaceful disaggregation — but so deeply interpenetrated are the opposing sides as to make that almost impossible. California may secede (with my blessing!), and so might Texas, and there are some geographic generalities that may offer other possibilities, but for the most part a split is going to be very hard to arrange. If it really does come down to war, think Rwanda. (And the Left will lose, badly.)

I don’t expect that to happen, though I do expect real violence to erupt here and there. Certain cities might not be safe places to be, without a lot of warning, and sooner than you think.

If you imagine the chief features of the modern left-wing activist, “impulse control” is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. This means that they tend to behave badly in public, even when times are good — and for the American Left in early 2017, times are not good. It seems likely, then, that in the coming weeks and months, we will see more and more vandalism, disturbances of the peace, obstruction of public thoroughfares, shouting and insults, “getting in people’s faces”, and general obnoxiousness, as they feel power and representation slipping away. This in turn will alienate more and more of the quiet, middle-of-the-road sorts who might once have had some sympathy for their cause. In short, the more chaos they create, the more people will come to realize the primary importance of order. Order is one of those things, like air or water, that you don’t really appreciate until it’s in short supply — but when that supply is threatened, restoration becomes Job One.

So, the divorce we’d all love to see isn’t going to happen, I’m afraid, and so the sullen left, I’m sorry to say, will continue to be with us for the foreseeable future, and will continue to be a degrading, corrosive force. They will never sleep, and will pounce on any weakness, and there will be some very ugly outbreaks. But in their spasm of anger they are now going to present themselves so badly to the American people that they will lose a great deal of sympathy, and with it a great deal of power, for some time to come.

That’s how it seems to me tonight, anyway. (I might have a different opinion by morning.) Am I right? We’ll see.

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  1. Thomas says

    The divorce could happen. But only if Trump hangs tough and continues to do stuff that the left hates, and then only if Congress backs him, however narrowly. If that were to cause Californians to vote for secession by a large majority, which seems likely, it would set the stage for similar votes in other deeply Blue States. Would Trump then pull a Lincoln and try to squelch the secession movement, or would he say “so be it, if you don’t want to be Americans, get out”? My money’s on the latter possibility. Trump the negotiator would then negotiate a partition, which would include arrangements regarding defense facilities, etc., on terms that would likely favor the non-seceding States. Conservatives who live in seceding States would simply have to decide whether to leave or stay, as would lefties who live in non-seceding States. But that’s true now. I live in Austin, and it would become a much more pleasant place — like the Austin of old — if most of the lefties were to clear out when they find themselves in a non-seceding State.

    Posted February 3, 2017 at 12:08 am | Permalink
  2. bob sykes says

    The key is whether extremists on the Right counter-riot. That would be Weimerica, and the result would be horrendous.

    Peter Turchin, the UConn historian, has predicted that the 2020’s will be an era of wide-spread, extreme violence.

    Posted February 3, 2017 at 8:00 am | Permalink
  3. Whitewall says

    Today reminds me a lot of 1967-1969. The ongoing riots and civil disorder are always directed at someone or some idea but seem only to be taken out on parked cars, store fronts and law enforcement. When law enforcement is overwhelmed, the national guard is called in. If somehow the mob overwhelms these measures and filters into communities where the law abiding live, then it is up to each of us as citizens to defend ourselves and our homes by any needed action.

    Meantime, it would be helpful for us to point out in conversations, letters to the editors etc to point out the fact that the rioters are not a separate identity called “anarchists”. They are Democrats who lost the last election unexpectedly and are taking it badly. Same Democrats that disrupted Trump campaign rallies, same Democrats who were in the streets of DC on January 20th, same Democrats who marched in DC the next day. Some old same old. “Anarchist” lets the Democrat off the hook.

    It should also be remembered that one event brought a halt to the riots of the late 1960s and that was the tragedy at Kent State University May 4, 1970. After that, no more riots.

    Posted February 3, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink
  4. Whitewall says

    John Leo has a brief response for UC Berkeley:

    Posted February 3, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink
  5. imho I don’t think much will happen in the long-run. stability will prevail

    Posted February 3, 2017 at 10:02 am | Permalink
  6. Malcolm says


    Today reminds me a lot of 1967-1969.

    It’s worth noting, then, that the election that followed in 1972 was a 49-state landslide for the party of order.

    Posted February 3, 2017 at 11:43 am | Permalink
  7. Troy says

    But only if Trump hangs tough and continues to do stuff that the left hates, and then only if Congress backs him, however narrowly.

    Agreed. But I don’t think Trump is going to back down. It just isn’t his style. Barring something like a personal crisis, i.e. a monica lewinky sort of thing, Trump’s just gonna keep on steam rolling.

    I think another factor is at what point will the silent majority (or Trumperica if you please) decides that it has had enough. IMHO, the bubble of white identity that is brewing is that parts of Trumpmerica have been back into a corner and are not at all interested in cowering.

    Guess we will see. This summer ought to be a hoot.

    Posted February 3, 2017 at 1:31 pm | Permalink
  8. guy says

    It depends on where the violence is concentrated.

    When blacks riot they generally destroy their own neighborhoods. This latest lefty riot was in Berkeley. The buildings that were set on fire were in Berkeley. Are there a lot of ‘right wing’, Trump-supporting property owners in Berkeley?

    In my neck of the woods it’s Madison(or in the case of BLM rioters, Milwaukee). Everyone else in the state understands that Madison is ‘special’. Like short-bus special. No one is all the shocked when stupid people do stupid crap there.

    If the rioters decide to take their show on the road to non-lefty owned parts of the country then I think you’ll start to see some serious bloodletting.

    Posted February 4, 2017 at 4:32 pm | Permalink