war between AmericansAmericans have fought one another in two civil wars. That first civil war we now call the American Revolution. Why did so many of the colonists revolt against the mother country? To determine the causes, we need only read the Declaration of Independence. The American colonists were trying to throw off an odious tyranny.

Our second civil war goes by the name “civil war,” The American Civil War. We still argue over the causes of this war, but plainly the enslavement of blacks of African descent had something to do with it. Northern abolitionists wanted an end to the practice of slavery. Southerners wanted to spread the practice of slavery. Therefore, when Abraham Lincoln, the leader of a new political party opposed to slavery, became president, southern slave-owning states violently seceded from the Union.

Could it happen again? Could we have another civil war? The answer is “yes.” So long as the United States exists, there is a chance we will experience an irresolvable conflict that leads to war. Although we may look back at the issue of slavery and wonder why Southerners would not free their slaves, the plain fact is that the South fought with dogged determination to keep blacks in bondage. Even though they might have increased the number of their soldiers by offering enslaved blacks their freedom in return for service in the Confederate Army, the South would not do so. Some blacks served in the Confederate Army, but few had a role in direct combat. Official policy never supported the use of black soldiers in the Confederate Army.

However, blacks did serve in the Union Army (see Military history of African Americans in the American Civil War). Some were even awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

So what would the next American civil war be about? Since we cannot know for certain when or whether this war will be fought, we can only guess. How can we guess? What if we went to war with each other in the near future? What issues divide us today?

  • Abortion: Some people consider what they do with “their body” their right. Many of these even insist that they have the “right” to use government funds to pay for their abortions. Others see the rights of the unborn as far more important, and they are horrified by the prospect of being forced to pay for the “right” of other people to have an abortion. Thus, “Pro-Choice” advocates would impose their beliefs upon those who believe in Life.
  • Unconstitutional Taxation and Spending: Look at the Constitution. Then look at the Federal Budget. Don’t we have numerous large Federal programs unmentioned by the Constitution. Yet what was one of the major arguments for seceding from the United Kingdom? Was it not taxation without representation? Today our government officials routinely take money from taxpayers and give that money away to buy votes. In fact, the cost of government seems increasingly out of control. Thus, taxpayers are represented, but not in a meaningful way.
  • Secular Public Schools: Although they are suppose to be run by local and state governments, our nation’s schools have acquired many of the characteristics of a nationalized system. That includes our universities as well as K-12 education. And as the Federal role has increased, government has inexorably secularized what is taught in our nation’s schools. What the schools teach children too often conflicts with what their parents believe. Instead of being taught Christian values, government teachers preach multiculturalism, environmentalism, liberalism, humanism, socialism, and so forth. Thus, government interferes with the right of parents to educate their children in their own beliefs.
  • Immigration: According to Elements of international law: with a sketch of the history of the science by Henry Wheaton:

    A sovereign state is generally defined to be any nation or people, whatever may be the form of its internal constitution, which governs itself independently of foreign powers.

    Yet even children can swarm across our borders, and our dubious leaders will ensure these illegal aliens receive the “free” benefits of our welfare state. Thus, because we will not protect ourselves from even the weakest attempts at invasion, we risk national sovereignty.

  • Abuse Of The Powers Of Government Agencies: The power of Federal Government has grown beyond what was originally conceived in the Constitution. Here are a couple of examples.
    • At this point there is little doubt that during the last presidential campaign, leaders of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) used their organization’s powers to stifle Conservative organizations.
    • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), using Global Warming as an excuse, is being used to destroy the coal industry. Yet, no new legislation has been passed to justify this, and the legislation Congress has passed never envisioned carbon dioxide as a pollutant.

    Thus, because government leaders have so blatantly abused their authority, we risk both our freedom and our prosperity.

  • Dishonorable Judges: Our nation’s courts no longer adhere to what is plainly stated in the law.  Our judges have weirdly decided: (1) taxpayers must pay for the education of illegal immigrant children, (2) states must “marry” same-sex couples, (3) government can force citizens to buy health insurance, and so forth. Thus, because the meaning of the Law can no longer be discerned from what is actually stated in writing, we risk chaos and tyranny.
  • Dishonorable Elected Officials: When elected to executive positions, our officials no longer believe themselves obligated to either enforce the Law or adhere to the letter of the Law. This All-Star Panel: Has President Obama abused his authority? explains the problem. President Obama is essentially rewriting laws, threatening to combine legislative with executive authority. Thus, because the combination of executive power with legislative power is so easily abused, we risk tyranny.

What is the peaceful solution for these issues, one that might avoid a civil war? Because the United States is suppose to be a federation, we still have three identifiable levels of government: federal, state, and local. In the past, we exercised most of the power of government at the state and local level. Therefore, if the people of a city, county, or state were sufficiently unhappy with their government, they could leave and go where they could find a government more to their liking. Unfortunately, Federal Power has grown so immense we can no longer vote with our feet. In fact, we now have cause to wonder whether We The People have a government or the Federal Government has a people, and that should cause all of us to consider what we need to do to fix this problem.


  1. I don’t think my comment “explained why we are not supposed to have a serious discussion of what is not working.” You must have read that somewhere else. I’m all in favor of such serious discussions. I have to say, however, that the concept of war, particularly of civil war, particularly in a country and a region that have been devastated by civil war, is not, for me at least, a joke. The contemplation of war or civil war includes contemplation of things that one would kill others about, and things that one would die for. It strikes me as either wildly hyperbolic (the best explanation) or pathological (the more alarming interpretation) for someone to imply that we would kill each other over EPA regs or the 501(c) tax exempt status of political groups.


  2. Fortunately, we have a political system that allows us to find intelligent, non-violent solutions to differences of opinion. Internal civil war is a ridiculous scenario in a democratic Republic with a strong and venerable Constitution. That is a primary reason that we Conservatives are so taken by a constitutional system such as this one – it provides stability for the important aspects of life, including the pursuit of individual liberties. I assume you are joking here (although I find the joke in poor taste, given the devastation of all civil wars, including our own). Our one experience with civil war was sufficient. It occurred because the differences of opinion were very much regional, and the growth patterns of the immigrant nation had fortified, rather than diluted these regional differences. There are no such issues today.

    The problem with positing (even in jest) the possibility of civil war is that there are a lot of uninformed, impressionable, and not particularly knowledgeable people out there who might mistakenly think you are serious (as are some of the real fringe people who inhabit this medium). We (if I may this one time use your customary first person plural formulation) have a certain responsibility not to excite such people.


    1. What we have here is an example self-contradiction. First you tell us that “internal civil war is a ridiculous scenario in a democratic Republic with a strong and venerable Constitution.” Then you explain why — in our supposedly democratic Republic with a strong and venerable Constitution — we are not suppose to have a serious discussion of what is not working. There is this thing we call the First Amendment?

      The plain fact is we have elected too many people who do not respect our Constitution, people who will not obey their oath of office. The election such people creates consequences. War is one of those consequences.


  3. Interesting subject I’ve considered for over 20 years as an Army Futurist and for my own edification as a history nerd.

    If there is a Civil War, it won’t be over a single issue. The last two weren’t about a single issue. But, in the first the answer “Independence” came up with every issue. For most folks the fight was about their individual and colony rights vs the King and Parliament’s power. In the second, slavery as an issue came up in almost every point of conflict. Yet, for most Southerners the fight was about the states rights vs Federal power. For most Northerners the fight was about preserving the Union.

    I heard Rush Limbaugh say that he thought Abortion was going to lead to Civil War. Didn’t happen, obviously.

    I believe it will happen when the Conservative 40% of America feel, really feel, their family, faith or freedom is at risk. Then, many things could happen. One possibility is massive civil disobedience leads to Government over reaction. Or, there are many, many other ways things could play out.

    In 1848 the victorious US Army Officers toasting one another in conquered Mexico had no idea they would be fighting one another in 13 years. To the death.

    I think Civil War can be avoided – the bloodshed. But, the Culture War, which is civil war, will be resolved one way or another. Only one culture per civilization, country, society at a time. Culture commands.


    1. What most people don’t realize is the extent to which such a civil war would have a logic all of its own, but you hit on it.

      In 1848 the victorious US Army Officers toasting one another in conquered Mexico had no idea they would be fighting one another in 13 years. To the death.

      At some point, people will start to organize for war. At some point the government will leave those it oppresses with the belief they have no other alternative. At some point government “leaders” may — with the arrogant disdain that comes from power — deliberately provoke resistance. At some point nonviolent resistance may become desperately violent. Then God help us. We have no idea what will be the outcome.

      No idea what the outcome will be…. So it is I pray for a peaceful resolution. Yet God will not be mocked, and too many of us are mocking Him.

      There is no peace for the wicked. Therefore, I pray for a revival. Until God saves a man’s soul, that man can have no peace. And if a man’s soul is safe, God has already given him peace.


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