Yes, We Are Headed for Violent Civil War

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by Jef Costello, The Unz Review:

On October 1st, with little fanfare, Politico published an extraordinary opinion piece that may be the most important thing I’ve read all year. Titled “Americans Increasingly Believe Violence is Justified if the Other Side Wins,” the essay was penned by three “senior fellows” at the Hoover Institution, New America, and the Hudson Institute, as well as a professor of “political communication” at Louisiana State University and a professor of government at the University of Maryland (that’s five authors, in case you lost count).

The major takeaway is presented in the graph that appears below:

Way back in November of 2017 (my, how long ago that seems . . . ) a mere 8% of both Democrats and Republicans held that it is legitimate to use violence to advance their political goals. Actually, there’s nothing “mere” about it. It ought to surprise us that such a sizeable percentage of both parties could hold such a radical view. Also surprising is Republicans running neck and neck with Democrats. Contrary to how they are perceived by Leftists, conservatives are slow to embrace the idea of violence, or any sort of punitive measures against their opponents. Their Achilles heel, in fact, is commitment to “fair play.”

We must remember that when these numbers were compiled it had been a year since the 2016 election. A year of unhinged rhetoric by the Left, and repeated calls for Trump to be assassinated. Madonna spoke about her fantasies of blowing up the White House, and “comedian” Kathy Griffin held up an effigy of Trump’s severed head. Of course, those were the unserious, tongue-in-cheek threats. Countless other people made similar threats, quite openly, and seemed to be pretty serious about it. To my knowledge, none of them was charged with a crime.

As Trump Derangement Syndrome continued to spread, it was actually a healthy sign that more Republicans began to entertain the idea of using violence as a political tool. Leftists presented themselves as having no boundaries. There was no low to which they would not stoop, no trick too dirty. They were threatening to attack and kill not only the President, but his supporters, and, in fact, the entire white race. They made it quite clear that they could not be reasoned with. Faced with an enemy like this, violence was bound to become more attractive, or at least more justifiable, in the eyes of even the most mild-mannered Republican voter.

Almost a year later, in October 2018, the percentage of Democrats condoning violence had jumped to 13. It had become obvious to them, at this point, that the results of the 2016 election were not going to be reversed, though many still held out the hope that Robert Mueller would uncover some dirt that would prove Trump’s undoing. True to form, conservatives lagged behind (see what nice people we are?), with a mere 11% condoning violence. Still, the number had risen. At least part of this has to be attributed to the Kavanaugh hearings (of September-October), which were a wakeup call for many Republicans, including Lindsay Graham, who seems to have sort of lost his innocence as a result. The hearings proved once and for all, if any more proof had been needed, that liberals have no principles whatever, and that attempts to play fair with them will only backfire. One can’t really blame Republicans for that 11%. Please pass the ammo.

But we hadn’t seen anything yet. That was before COVID and BLM. By June of the current year, these percentages had doubled, and Dems and Republicans were now equally in favor of breaking heads: 30% of both groups now condoned violence to advance political goals. Let us pause to consider this number once more: 30%. Let us also pause to consider that this poll was conducted at the beginning of June, when the George Floyd riots had just gotten going.By December 2019, things had gotten genuinely scary. The trend had continued. And how. This was the month that the House approved articles of impeachment against Trump. Earlier in the year, in April, the Mueller report was made public, revealing that we had been subjected to two solid years of hysteria about “Russia collusion” for absolutely no reason whatever. The libs were frustrated, to put it mildly. 16% of them now condoned violence. Republicans were behind the curve again, but not by much, with 15% of them thinking the same way.

By September 1st, the percentage of liberals condoning violence had risen by just three points. Still, at 33% this constitutes one third of all Dems. The more interesting result came from the Republicans, however. The percentage in question had risen to 36%, and for the first time Republicans rated as more violence-approving than Dems. If you will read the fine print, you will find that the September poll’s margin of error is 2.0 percentage points. Thus, the three percentage points separating Republicans from Democrats are statistically significant; conservatives are now demonstrably more in favor of violence than liberals.

Has the sleeping giant awakened?

We were slow to consider violence an option. Unlike liberals, after all, we really do have principles, and we did not want to be like them. But they have pushed us to this point, and it’s difficult to see how there can be any debate about that. Months of watching our cities burn. Months of our history being torn down. Months of draconian lockdowns and arbitrary rules imposed by Democrat governors and mayors. Months of being told that we had to shelter in place, while BLM was given free rein to loot and burn. Months of being told we have no right to defend ourselves; that if you are white, you are automatically guilty. Countless lives and businesses destroyed. Given all of this, and more, it’s surprising that the number isn’t 56% — or 76% or 86%. But since many conservatives are probably afraid to say they might condone violence, I think we can round that 36% up a bit. Quite a bit.

The other day I spoke with a friend who lives in New York. He told me that he recently drove to his local rifle range, which he has visited many times in the past. He had not been there for several months, however, and when he arrived he was shocked to find a line stretching out the door (made up entirely of white people) and what wound up being a 45 minute wait. When he finally got inside, he asked the proprietor about the large turnout and was told that it had been like this every weekend since the BLM riots began, and that the numbers were increasing. I hope all those folks brought their own ammo, because my friend also told me the store was completely sold out. And this was New York, not South Carolina.

Two weeks prior to the Politico essay, The Hill published an opinion piece by a former federal prosecutor titled “Why Democrats Must Confront Extreme Left-wing Incitement to Violence.” It’s a weak and cowardly piece of writing but is nevertheless interesting on multiple levels. The author begins by asserting that Right-wing groups “by far pose the greatest threat of violence.” He bases this on a study by something called the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). This group looked at 900 cases of politically motivated plots or attacks since 1994, and concluded that Right-wing extremists had claimed the lives of 329 people, whereas “Antifa members haven’t killed any.”

This is like somebody saying, in January of 2020, “Over the last 25 years, seasonal flu has claimed the lives of 890,000 Americans,[1] but COVID-19 hasn’t killed any Americans. Therefore, the flu is the real threat.” This would have been a ridiculous position, because COVID was something new and entirely unknown. We had no way of knowing, in January, how dangerous COVID was going to be. And, since then, it has, in fact, claimed far more American lives than the flu ever takes in a given year.

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