A confederacy of leftists
What we most often refer to as "the Civil War" really wasn't one. A civil war occurs when two factions go to war over control of the same government. While it once made a stab at invading Washington, Lee's army didn't want to seize the city for the Confederate capital. The South had already established its own seat of government some 90 miles away in Richmond. Despite whatever else might be said of it, the Civil War was a war for independence – Southern independence.
What now impends is something different. Less a regional than an ideological conflict, it is one in which one faction (the Democratic Party-occupying regressive left) has lost control of the democratic institutions through which it was able to apply, consolidate, and enforce its ideology over the past eight years. Worse, as the IRS scandal, the Benghazi cover-up, and the Fast & Furious fiasco have variously come to show, these efforts were usually undertaken in ways that trash the Republic's centuries-old rules for governing. Instead, they undermined laws and tradition via methods that might be termed "cynical" – although "Stalinist" wouldn't be a harsh mischaracterization.
To the Democrats, the courts, Congress, and the presidency have constituted institutional versions of that which Lenin famously termed "useful idiots." Having lost the usefulness of these institutions through the popular will, the party now denigrates them, using a barrage of slanders and abuses against lawful immigration, the presidency (and for the Trump campaign's alleged collusion with the Russians), the current Supreme Court nominee, and the traditions of Congress. Moreover, having lost these institutions of government, the left's libels regarding them aren't attended by much in the way of dignity nor reason. Rather, and in the manner of Pelosi and Schumer, they are issued arrogantly or, failing that, angrily. In instances when made by those who'd don vagina costumes, they are sometimes made gleefully – but always by those who can see only theirs as the One True Ideology and who are therefore openly at odds with tolerance as a cultural or political principle.
Such are the civil warriors of the regressive left – neither traditional Democrats nor Republicans, nor even traditional democrats or republicans – but proto-totalitarians whose actions increasingly reflect those of declared enemies. Done with the goal of upending not only the country's democratically elected administration, but the country itself, their "resist" rebelliousness now more than ever bluntly regards the Revolution and the Constitution with contempt, while it subverts the rule of law.
Little wonder for a political ideology that holds at its core the Leninist belief that ends justify means.
While the Democrats' rhetoric might be likened to the mere harbinger of a new Civil War, things could be said to already have gone well past that – for just as the South had taken Fort Sumter, the Democratic Party is in the regressive left's hands. While still officially a part of our system of government, its laws, and its elections, the Democrats' spokesmen daily reveal their rebellion against each. Never mind that the North Koreans show every sign of preparing to launch a nuclear attack – these confederates of the regressive left have their own war to wage. As Sultanknish writes in his essay "The New Civil War," this is not protest. Nor is it activism. Fortunately (and except perhaps for the phenomenon of increasing black municipal crime), neither is it combat. Let's hope it remains at the level of bull before turning into Bull Run.
Alan Wellikoff is author of five books on American material history including The Civil War Supply Catalogue, a History Book Club selection. His automotive blog, "Hoovering the Horizon," can be accessed at www.HooverTheHorizon.blogspot.