Many Left-leaning critics claim President Trump has ’emboldened’ the Alt Right. While this may be true, the Trump Presidency has certainly emboldened a more radical, dangerous Alt Left.
Whether observed in Madonna threatening to blow up the White House, Maxine Walters inciting mobs to intimidate Trump officials, Kathy Griffin holding up a mask to resemble President Trump’s severed head, the vitriol directed at Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Bill Maher wishing for nationwide recession, ongoing pushes to hunt down and punch ‘nazis’, Joe Biden threatening violence against the President, or even Judge Pirro being shouted down on ‘the View’, in addition to many other uncomfortable scenarios ordinary people experience in their own lives, the last 18 months has witnessed a total collapse in American Left of centre civility.
While I don’t endorse ugly attacks, the consequences of these totalitarian tactics are not divorced from their core purpose. As for one to despise individuals for political reasons is nearly the ultimate display of one’s ideological commitments: to stamp out and punish their political opponents to the fullest extent, wherever possible. This acrimonious environment means life is remarkably difficult for dissidents, as shown by the recent suicide of Charlottesville attendee Andrew Dodson. Moreover, when social and economic life is made unbearable for conservatives/nationalists, and potential newcomers are scared off, this hinders the success of the ideas themselves.
It is therefore foolish for conservatives to respond by pleading civility in this context, when the Left wishes to destroy our history, culture, nations, families and even our personal lives. Put simply, the costs of establishing civility with such a menacing foe outweighs the benefits.
Much of this visceral hatred bears close similarities to events that preceded the American Civil War. At first, Americans often disagreed on the matter of slavery, yet slaveowners and abolitionists would inter-marry as well as attend church together. Next, Americans began to intensely dissociate and ostracise others on their slavery views, such was the extent of fervent disagreement. Then, radical abolitionists started violently attacking plantations, in expressing their utmost distaste. Then, after South Carolina voted for secession, seized Fort Sumter and other Southern states followed to form the Confederacy, the federal government sought to reestablish political control, and America plunged into a bloody civil war that killed over half a million people.
Despite the lessons of history, it remains important to acknowledge the benefit of hindsight, and the challenges of accurately predicting future events. It is thus not within our capabilities to precisely determine if/if not another American Civil War will occur.
Yet, when 2 sides hold irreconcilable views on basic matters of morality, gender, nationality, race, identity, culture and history, it is difficult to envision a peaceful return to more simple days when Republicans were simply accused of wanting to ‘cut your benefits’, whereas Democrats purportedly wanted to ‘raise your taxes’.