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A Second American Civil War for Independence Day

by Eric Ferguson on July 3, 2018 · 1 comment

Artist's conception. Not actually an Alex Jones listener

Artist’s conception. Not actually an Alex Jones listener

I first heard verbally that the nutcase right had a new conspiracy theory that liberals are going to start a civil war on July 4th, which as I write this, is tomorrow. Damn, I haven’t even dug out my musket and bayonet yet! Anyway, I found the source, the source of so many tinfoil hat conservative conspiracy theories, Alex Jones (hat tip Johnny Wendell at Daily Kos).

 
Sane people know not to believe any of the craziness Alex Jones spews, but many trumpers believe him, including the Russian President of the United States, Trump. I don’t know what is more disturbing, that Trump and other bigoted lunatics believe him no matter how many times he’s proven to be making it up, or that some of them seem to want a new civil war. There’s an element of the extreme right that doesn’t want to start it, not because they don’t want it, but rather because everyone is the hero in his own story, which means they want us to start it. Mocking them is much more fun and much less deadly, so no. Hey guys, how are we going to start a war when you have all the guns? Could you share? Just to make the odds more even?

 
Of course, the Confederacy did get impatient waiting for the Union to invade and just went ahead and started the first civil war, so maybe best not to encourage them.

 

Arguably, the first civil war was actually the American Revolution. The more conservative elements of the colonies stayed loyal to Britain. I don’t buy the conventional wisdom that the country was split into thirds: one third for, one third against, and one third neutral. That comes from John Adams’ speculation on the proportion of support and opposition, but they hadn’t exactly invented scientific polling back then. I can’t see how the third that was rebelling could get a hold of all the colonial governments when the third that was loyal had the support of the British government and army. I’m guessing the proportions were more like 50% for, 10% against, and the rest neutral. But no, I don’t have some solid source to point to for that opinion. It’s quite arguable, just as it’s arguable whether Jones’ paranoid fantasy would be civil war number two or number three.

 
Anyway, try to forget our Putin-wannabe for a day and have a happy Independence Day tomorrow. Or today, if you see this on the 4th. A tradition NPR has is having their on-air staff read the Declaration of Independence aloud, which was a part of the usual festivities in the early days of our republic, if we can keep it, as Ben Franklin explained when answering the question of what sort of government the convention had given us, but he hadn’t counted on us letting a crooked Manhattan billionaire seize the presidency. But while we still have a republic, here you go:
 
Transcript here.
 
And an article about the text, explaining how it was written with the assumption it would be read aloud.

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