The New American Civil War involves unusual rhetorical disarmaments.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of rhetorical disarmament, you have to first think of words as weapons. Take the case that you can arm yourself with language. Our constitution has limitations to the first amendment that preclude “fighting words,” in fact. So the law agrees that words can instigate fighting. There is also no protection for language that incites crime. So language is also viewed as capable of causing crime. That makes sense in simple terms: a conspiracy requires people to talk to each other.
However, it’s very dangerous to presume certain people’s language itself is a crime. For example, our country protects the rights of white supremacists and other hate groups. Our country does not allow for them to physically hurt or otherwise discriminate illegally; however we don’t legislate hate. It turns out that state control over language is worse than hateful language.
Just as we have the 2nd amendment to protect the right to defend one’s self with something outside your body, the 1st amendment doesn’t just protect your right to say *whatever you want*. It is meant to protect language, as a means of defense. To enable you to redress the government when they have wronged you. This is a common thread in the bill of rights. State power is too easily wielded unconstitutionally when certain rhetoric is disarmed.
The 5th amendment for example grants you the right not to speak. That means you are legally endowed with the right to remain silent on your own accord if you are being accused of a crime. Ask any lawyer how important that is. Some lawyers advise clients to never speak to the police under any circumstances because of how accidentally incriminating it can be.
Imagine removing a person’s 1st & 5th amendment rights. That’s incredibly disarming. If you had no 1st or 5th amendment rights, you could have your entire ability to speak compromised, while being forced to defend yourself against crimes alleged by the state.
That’s the opposite of the American constitution.
It’s A Cold Revolutionary Civil War
Short of infringing on somebody’s rights with state force, there are many social and indirect ways to control language. These days “cancel culture” has made people afraid to speak their mind at work. I don’t know about you but I’ve certainly been alienated by people in my personal life for my views.
But there are extreme ways that people have words stripped from them, or branded on them. Ironic that in this case, leftists think their identification of another person should trump that person’s self-identification. In other words, you can be branded racist even if you don’t *identify* that way.
For example, leftists routinely call their opponents “Nazi” or some such derivative. The goal is not only to brand their opponent as something horrible, but it eliminates certain rhetorical arguments (they think) from their opponent. It ends up coming across like you’re just saying, “I know you are but what am I?” like a child.
If somebody calls you a Nazi first it’s rhetorically difficult to say that the person making the original accusation is actually what they are accusing somebody else of being.
In other words, if you call somebody a Nazi before they call you a Nazi, rhetorically speaking, it’s harder for the 2nd person to defend themselves. I think the worst part about that is the fact that the people accusing others of being nazis more often exhibit Nazi-like tendencies.
Who’s Fighting The New American Civil War?
In History class they teach about World War 1 & World War 2.
But we only talk about America having a single Civil War.
Over the last few years many people debated whether another civil war could happen. But there has been no such declaration from Trump, nor from any other political figure, that a civil war is underway.
Perhaps that is simply just an outmoded concept: declaring war.
Our country declares *war* on things as a metaphor more often now. The war on drugs, et al. But not other countries. When was the last time you remember the President getting on television to say they declared war?
What most people think of when they think about even the prospect of a new American Civil War is much like the old one. Visions of “Proud Boys” and “Antifa” clashing in the streets of Portland or Seattle come to mind.
Two distinct sides. In uniforms.
Each with reportedly different views & goals.
But these clashes are hardly ever brutally violent like our first civil war.
It ends up being mostly social media moments. Theatrical representations about what’s happening; for the cameras. The news media industry has dumbed things down so far, that a simple binary story is all they can handle. Therefore that’s what the public has come to expect. At this point though we are so far from reality that nobody knows what’s really going on.
For the record, I don’t think real revolutionaries fight in the streets by throwing piss-filled condoms while arming themselves with umbrellas like some undisciplined Mummers. But that’s antifa vs. proud boys for you.
The real American Civil War is not getting any press coverage right now.
More on that in the future…for now, let’s talk about the Capitol “siege.”
The Capitol Siege Was A Bipartisan Farce, Not A Fascistic Revolt From The Alt-Right
When most people think about the New American Civil War, they think about antifa & the Proud Boys. Two “sides” which clash in the streets of places like Portland, Seattle, and other largely Democrat-run cities. But neither side has any public leadership. They don’t seem to have a real agenda either. Antifa seems more interested in chaos, and anarchy, than even a progressive platform. Proud Boys seem more interested in fighting antifa than having a real movement of their own. The press uses both groups to drive whatever simple points home they are out to make.
A lot of right-wing pundits likened the Capitol siege to 2020 riots Like the George Floyd riots. It was especially hard to watch people like Jake Tapper on CNN talk about how Trump could “end this with 1 tweet,” as if he literally ordered people to go there. Tapper and his colleagues around the country pretended this event was the most horrible thing they’d ever seen.
“Mostly Peaceful Protests” Is Only Half The Story
One of the rhetorically disarming movements of 2020 was the phrase “mostly peaceful protests.” It is insidious for a lot of reasons, chiefly because it lumps various groups together in a dangerous way.
For example, in Philadelphia during the Walter Wallace Jr. riots, there was one evening in West Philly that illustrates this point. At Malcolm X Park, a totally peaceful protest occurred. People gathered and spoke. A woman asked why people would elect Biden (crime bill) and Harris (top cop) if they wanted to abolish the police. Nobody got hurt. Nothing was destroyed. She made a really profound point. Too bad nobody in the press reported on it.
Down the street? Riots. Looting.
Two different events.
The New American Civil War makes this hard to see.
Press reports on both as one depending on their bias. People remember only 1 or the other, and neglect whichever side doesn’t conform to their identity or idea of how things should be. But the reality is there were riots in West Philly and there were peaceful protests. From a national perspective they may think it doesn’t matter, but even our local press fails to identify this reality.
There Is A Wide Spectrum Between Constitutionally Sound Protests And Anarchistic Terror Attacks
On one side, you have completely constitutionally protected protest. There are procedures to get permits, having insurance, etc. that would completely legitimize a certain kind of protest. Those definitely still go on. On the other end you have unfettered chaos with people destroying anything in their sight for no reason. In between those two extremes you have 2 other major categories. One would be genuinely what could be called a “mostly peaceful protest.” The other would be a politically motivated riot.
- Constitutionally Protected Protests
- Mostly Peaceful Protests
- Political Riots
- Anarchistic Terror
Looking at the events of the Capitol siege, some people simply stood on the Capitol steps waving a flag. Completely, unequivocally constitutionally protected protest. The people who destroyed random property? Anarchistic terror. Mostly peaceful protestors are the people who walked calmly through the velvet roped off area taking selfies. You could classify some of the people as political rioters like the people who stole Pelosi’s property or assaulted police officers.
Jake Tapper Is Making You Dumb
But when the news reported on this, they brand all the people there as “pro-Trump” or “Trump supporters.” People like Jake Tapper from CNN claimed (on the live coverage) that Trump could stop this “with one tweet.”
This moment was described as a “bloodless coup” attempt. Elected officials and people from around the country are getting fired or sued over this.
That is the most tragic part of the whole thing, because they died in vain.
This was not the kind of political attack most people view it as. It was an attack of political disarmament. The rhetorical disarmament of things like “coup,” or “insurrection” by Democrats will leave Republicans and worse, we the people, without those things to claim. In fact, Trump & AG Barr contemplated using the insurrection act, but didn’t. I imagine they thought that even with the chaos, this may be too extreme of a measure. But the incoming Biden administration seems intent on removing all our defenses.
Nobody At The Capitol Siege Was Fighting For WE, The People
Branded a pro-Trump event, not even the political rioters had an American agenda. There was no monumental speech about saving the nation. Nobody occupied Congress for more than an hour. No discussion about how unfair this election was for us. Just a bunch of flag-waving with no direction or leadership. You could say that one of the greatest failings of Trump’s Presidency will be that he failed to engender leadership around him.
People followed him instead of taking inspiration from him.
Also, there weren’t even real anarchists there. If there were, a lot more blood would have been shed. Despite the claims of a “bloodless coup,” it should surprise everybody that a right-wing battle at the Capitol involved no loss of congressional life. I was mildly surprised there was no occupation like we saw at CHAZ in the summer of 2020.
No Uhaul vans full of supplies.
What I’m saying is, if Trump were really behind this, to an impeachable degree, it wouldn’t have gone down like a high school civil war reenactment. If this was truly the right-wing response to all of that antifa/BLM style criminal mischief, why were they so neutered in response? Not one person there could articulate why Congress shouldn’t certify the election. It was clear they just wanted Trump to remain in office – at most.
Nobody Will Be Able To Even Rhetorically Impeach Biden Now, Either
Back when the first impeachment sham took place, I warned people that it was a way for the House to tacitly endorse Biden. The trial sidelined several leading candidates from the Senate, too: Sanders, Warren, Klobuchar, Harris. Go back and read the impeachment articles. The impeachment articles themselves are a joke. It looks like a lawsuit of Biden v. Trump. The same principle of rhetorical disarmament took place then as well.
Trump was investigating Biden’s potential corruption in Ukraine. As a result the intelligence community backed Biden. So did the House. Instead of the American people getting to find out if Biden was dirty, Congress wasted millions of dollars and a lot of time on nothing. Once the impeachment began there was no real rhetorical or political way to investigate Biden.
Same thing is happening again. With the ridiculous nature of this 2nd impeachment, Biden will remain untouchable. During the first one I argued that our constitution should provide a President the right to counter an impeachment. Otherwise every President will be a sitting duck for their opposition in the Congress. That’s not good.
This was a major flaw in our constitution that has subsequently treated the President as if they are below the law. Not above the law. Not equal to the law. But below the law. Stripped of rights that every other American should have. However, the rhetorical disarmament has had very real non-linguistic consequences. For example, the phony impeachments actually make it logistically impossible for Congress to conduct 2 at one time and get any other real work done.
Prepare For War, Because It’s Already Here
So Biden’s first initiation of an impeachment, as with this second, has masterfully clogged the halls of Congress. It’s almost like a filibuster in a way. This topic of rhetorical disarmament is incredibly important and I will be writing further on this topic as time goes on. The consequences have already been too dire, and they are getting even worse.
The New American Civil War is definitely underway. It doesn’t matter so much anymore when it started. But we do need to finish it swiftly.