Saturday, February 04, 2017

The Civil War You Get Is Not The Civil War You Expect

No sane, reasonable person wants a civil war.

I think there two camps about what a civil war is like:  those that are currently violent and those that are quietly preparing.

For those that are currently violent, they mistake the times.  They think the acts of violence they practice in a society that has not yet converted to a truly civil conflict is what an actual civil war would be like.  They believe that violent acts perpetuated against people and things that are (on the whole) not fighting back is what the future would be like - only they would win when the "gloves" are removed and they can act without concern.  They forget that their ability to continue to perpetuate such violence in civil situation derives largely from the larger population's forbearance against such an event.   It is one thing to protest, yell a slogan or two, rush a helpless crowd, maybe throw a rock or even a Molotov cocktail, and then go home.  It is another thing to find the other side prefers to shoot rather than arrest and to flee home only to find your home and your family or friends have been destroyed.

For those that are quietly preparing, they mistake the impact.  They believe that they will be able to either weather the storm in place or come out ready to fight, not to receive.  What they fail to apprehend is that once the war has started it is very hard to end, often outlasting whatever preparations they have made.  They also forget that civil wars any more are seldom self contained events:  extra-national players are more than happy to intervene and while planning to face rioters with rocks and zip guns, they are faced with AK-47s and the latest in anti-personnel mines.

The final problem, of course, is that civil wars seldom end the way either side hoped or expected.  No matter who actually wins the situation is usually not better: there is always a loser and the winner is seldom in a generous mood towards the losers.  The cities and countryside are often destroyed, industry is ruined, entire cultures are decimated and sometimes never returned.  This discounts completely the loss of life and population displacement that inevitably occurs.  It can take states years, even decades to recover.

Civil wars are brutal, bloody events.  To pretend they are not is to engage in the sort of fantasy thinking of video games, where the simple flick of a button resets the game back to how it was.

Reality is not nearly so accommodating.


  1. It's even worse than you said here. No one in their right mind wants such a thing. This, of course, helps to explain the rioting adolescence of the Left, who will be the first to go.

    1. Reverend, I wish people would read their history. Not just about civil wars, which are brutal enough, but about the aftermath of such wars. It takes years for countries and cultures to recover, if at all.

      People use words as if they knew what they meant by them. Words like "Kill, Revolution, Blood, Death" to sound ferocious and committed, not grasping what those words actually look like in practice.


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