Staying Neutral In America’s Collapse
In the real world, when violence breaks out staying well out of the fray is the best option for the vast majority of people.
Don’t let the movies delude you — most people, most of the time, can work out a way to get by without standing in the line of fire.
The key is to refuse to accept the very idea of distinct sides.
Humans just ain’t that simple, folks. We’re inherently tribal, and what’s more, we can define the boundaries of our own tribe.
Red and Blue, Right and Left, both are simply groupings defined by how the people within them talk to each other. Humans show group affiliation by adopting its main language and behaviors.
Most people don’t actually believe in abstract political principles, they mimic what their peers say and do. That’s why most American coverage of politics includes a strong moral dimension — America’s fake political sides need people to feel obligated to act the way people on their side say they should.
The idea that people are ever unified and homogeneous is just wrong. Saying they are is a tactic used by powerful people and groups to convince others there is no other way to live but theirs.
Beautiful thing about the internet is it makes calling BS on the rancid game easier than ever because it is blazingly obvious that there are many sides in this world.
To get through America’s collapse intact, you can’t let yourself be distracted by all the nonsense put out by people who want you to believe their way is the only one. America is incredibly diverse, as any quality research will show:
In the First American Civil War most people didn’t pick a side. Entire states stayed neutral. Rich people paid others to take their place on the battlefield, giving the poor the honor of dying because powerful people wanted a fight.
The sequel will be no different. As America’s political nightmare deepens, the most important thing you can do is stay way out of the fight.
In America, most of the people who talk about a Second Civil War are either paranoid, using it as a rhetorical device to gin up more political donations, or like the terrorist Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and Three Percenters are actually insane enough to actually want such an awful thing to happen.
I am none of these.
I am simply a scientist whose research uncovered extremely strong structural parallels between the United States and other countries throughout history indicating a consequential and repeating pattern we ignore at our peril. Our lives are perpetually impacted by powerful forces that, depending on where you are in the grand eternal seasonal cycle of human history, tend to yank the trajectory of the future in a distinct direction.
Right now America is at a point where the main forces at play will tend to, if not actively managed, lead inexorably to division. China, Europe, Mesopotamia — check out some of the awesome reconstructed world maps Thomas Lessman began publishing twenty years ago and the pattern ought to be obvious.
Under the surface of all politics is simply people trying to get by. Leaders wind up getting control of too much power and then pervert the system, rigging it in their interest.
They may say they’re good and noble and holding to tradition, but that’s a self-serving lie, one of the oldest. Power corrupts, and the more concentrated it becomes, the more severe corruption will be — worse, people with power will begin to insist this is the way things always have been.
There are clearly defined scientific processes at work that make the idea of any country lasting forever patently ridiculous. Humans could manage the long-term dynamics of political systems, but much like the climate system or global pandemic response our already-divided world is simply too disorganized, too many centers of self-protecting power camping on the resources we need to get a move on.
In the coming years we should all expect big, complex entities to experience growing internal pressures trending towards some level of division. The aggressive actions of powerful countries like America, China, and Russia are driven in large part by their leadership castes’ recognition that change is coming, like it or not.
Their ambition is to come out the other side still on top, come what may.
The trouble is that most powerful people like the way things are well enough that many are willing to fight to keep control of what they can for as long as they can. This can turn a simple process of national dissolution into a brutal civil war —this happened once before in American history, and can happen again even if most people don’t want it to.
It doesn’t take much to start a violent conflict. Only a group with sufficient power determining that it has to win no matter the cost is needed for tragedy to commence.
That is exactly what happened in the run-up to the Civil War that broke out in 1861. This was not as simple a conflict as the successors of the victors and defeated both fight to this day to make us believe.
The American Civil War was about slavery — but only in the sense that slavery was the key issue that convinced the Southern plantation elites that America wouldn’t work for them anymore. Northern elites only later invented principled opposition to slavery as their main justification for engaging in violence to prevent Southern secession.
Had the South not seceded, the North might well have allowed slavery to continue. The real motivation behind the Civil War was, as it usually is when powerful leaders drag their followers into a violent fight, to maintain their own power.
The Southern plantation elite’s chokehold over the Southern states relied on pitting poor whites and enslaved Black Americans against each other — the same evil game elites from the two dominant American parties play to this very day.
Fear of the rising abolitionist movement in the North this minority of Southerners to protect their inherited power at any cost. When the chaotic 1860 Presidential election gave Lincoln the Presidency, a group of plantation states seceded — not so much because abolition was likely, but because they wanted to rule it out forever.
For months Lincoln tried to avoid an open fight, then came the Confederate assault on Fort Sumter. With federal troops under open attack, Lincoln had to fight back somehow — what he chose to do was escalate further, asking for thousands of volunteers to join the Union army to defeat the Confederacy in open war.
Right or wrong, in the complex politics of the moment this was perceived by a large group of pro-slavery but not necessarily anti-Union states like Virginia to secede and join the Confederacy. Many people on both sides opposed slavery but also opposed the Union going to war to abolish it. In the South, Lincoln’s call to arms was portrayed as an incitement against all Southerners, unifying them in opposition to the federal government despite the fact the Confederacy didn’t much appeal to them all that much.
A group of border states like Missouri and Kentucky, were caught in the middle and tried to stay out of the fighting, but to little avail. Northern slave-states like Delaware and Maryland might have tried, but came under swift Union occupation.
It is notable that slavery was not abolished in the Union until after the war was over. In the North there was substantial ambivalence about fighting a war over slavery— the history of Reconstruction shows just how much Northerners truly cared about Black people as people.
Like most wars, the American Civil War never truly ended — it morphed into a new form. The Confederacy won Reconstruction, re-establishing most of the physical legacies of slavery. The memory of the conflict then became a key political flashpoint in the 1950s as racism again merged with longstanding battles over how much power the federal government ought to have in America.
The experience of fighting in a segregated force in the Second World War trained a generation of Black veterans that they were as capable and deserving of equal treatment in American society as everyone else. The military for this reason was one of the first national institutions to desegregate — honor demanded it after the sacrifices made by Black Americans for a country that still scorned them.
This soon spilled over into the rest of American society, accelerating the Civil Rights movement. That in turn triggered a political crisis that split the Democratic Party of FDR, long an uneasy alliance between sons of the Confederacy who had re-established most of their political control of the South during Reconstruction and the ever-embattled labor movement in the North.
Southern Democrats abandoned the party over its embrace of Civil Rights, first starting a segregationist spinoff before folding into the Republican coalition, long the haven for big business interests. This corporate-backed whitelash became the Reagan Revolution, which led straight to the 1990s Clinton-era effort to make the Democratic Party safe for the wealthy, a strategy that set in motion essential trends that drive America’s collapse to this day.
Through it all the wealthy have happily played both sides, carving out a unique so-called moderate or centrist space that has done an astonishing job of hollowing America out to the point it is near death. Now, as one political era comes to an end and a major realignment begins, these same entrenched power interests are investing in pitting regular Americans against each other to keep everyone distracted from the cancerous inequality eating away at the foundations of this diseased nation.
Instead of accepting the truth that America is broken and requires dramatic reform — a position held by the vast majority of Americans — the country’s political power players are doing all they can to keep their long con going at any cost. The two parties so deeply embedded in the fabric of civic life, powered by an unprecedented torrent of money flowing in the form of political donations and a compliant media’s habitual reduction of any issues to a simple two-sided moral choice, they cannot now countenance anything other than complete victory.
This, of course, is impossible when America’s two main sides define their struggles in absolutist moral terms. Each actively politicizes any issue they can, the political battlefield expanding and the conflicts intensifying even as very little actually gets done.
All contemporary discussions of the Civil War are tainted by the geographic correlation between Confederacy and the Republican Party, Union and Democratic Party. The GOP uses Southern feelings of victimhood to gin up support, the DNC sells its backers a kind of moral cleansing by association, a kind of modern Catholic Indulgence system that lets Democrats lay blame for America’s brutality at their enemies’ feet.
There is no profit in solutions for either side, only in conflict — and once a country has fallen into that trap, there are few ways out. Just look at the past five years — the fighting is already taking on a life of its own, dragging participants along whatever their individual beliefs and goals.
Partisan pundits everywhere are demanding we pay attention to politics, get involved, lest the other side win. To make it through this decade intact, I have one crucial piece of hard-won advice:
Don’t listen to them, people!
America’s future is grim no matter how hard anyone fights to keep it alive. Without fundamental changes it will remain a deeply predatory system that relies on creating new victims to exploit, fresh bodies to place in debt or jail or a grave abroad.
Most of America’s near-future in a broad sense is now written. Powerful people have made and will continue to make short-term bets that wind up producing this baseline trajectory. American politics is now driven by the intersection of groupthink psychology and material power concerns, making the moves of the major players fairly predictable.
Absent a major shock, the straight line America has been walking since about 2012 lead to a single clear destination: Collapse, division, and possibly a hot civil war.
The last, thankfully, remains a distant prospect for one simple reason: the United States military does not want to fight itself under any circumstances. Most Americans are and will remain full of hot air, unwilling and frankly, in most cases, unable achieve anything with violence so long as the military remains intact.
Talk of military coups with tanks in the streets remain incredibly improbable. American politics is predominantly theater — its turn to violence in the attack on the Capitol came as a severe shock to most observers and the knee-jerk reactions by politicians and the media are a symptom of the panic they felt when the game suddenly turned into real life.
Many Americans are armed and a substantial number say they are open to political violence. But most have no clue what this really means or the wherewithal to wage a meaningful military campaign. Nor is it 1861, when muskets and cannons were the tools of warfare and could be made anywhere. Drones and GPS guided missiles make fighting a very different prospect in today’s world, and the American AR-15 toting set stands little chance against trained personnel.
Remember, a mob only breached the capitol at all because the police were unprepared and reluctant to open fire on people calling for the murder of democratically elected representatives. The first bullet that made contact with an insurrectionist ended the threat. Most of the people who today talk about wanting violence won’t survive the first shots.
Because the President is ultimately Commander In Chief of the military, the armed forces only split is if there are rival claims to the Presidency that senior service members feel strongly attached to. This, thankfully, will remain only a remote possibility in 2025.
Given Republican structural advantages like the Supreme Court, State Legislatures, and Electoral College, Trump is clearly positioning himself to be installed as President through technically-legal means. This will be presented as totally legal and Constitutional once it happens, sanctified by the Supreme Court, and the military will be obliged to follow Trump’s orders following his inauguration.
And if Trump does manage to lose — he has an impressive talent for self-owns, after all — the military will remain under the command of the duly elected President even if Trump cries fraud again and stokes violence. So long as the Pentagon maintains its funding and privilege, it will not allow America’s divisions to split the military —and it will also refuse to get involved in any domestic turmoil that follows.
The most likely outcome of a contested election result in 2024 is an America entirely paralyzed, many Blue or Red states effectively refusing the legitimacy of the President. Fighting beyond street-level brawls between activists will be swiftly quashed by local National Guard deployments under the command of local governors.
What happens after that is the real question. My sense of the Democrats is that they will surrender if it comes to it, even if Trump brazenly steals the election. Their identity is now completely wrapped up in being morally superior to Republicans, so even if America stops being a democracy their future is secure.
Thing is, at some point political dysfunction leads to the people themselves looking to alternatives to the existing system. After a contested election of the sort we have to expect in 2024, states themselves may very well start to break apart.
Americans like to forget that both their country and its fifty states are purely artificial constructs of settler colonialism, more so the further west you travel. Many of the stark political divides between Americans at the national level are present in states, too.
In 2021 the federal government, even controlled by a Democratic Party trifecta, is comically inept in the eyes of most Americans. Biden, though he tried to claim the mantle of FDR, has achieved almost nothing in his first year in office, and polls show Americans are angrier than they’ve ever been.
Balkanization is a distinct possibility, whole states breaking apart until America becomes a collection of regionally-focused metro areas— which is, incidentally, more or less how the American economy is split these days. For most Americans, the urban region they live in or near matters far more than their state or the federal government.
It is entirely possible that America’s fate is to structurally reform along urban area lines because of powerful social and geographic forces. And localization isn’t a bad thing — the trouble is getting there.
Some Americahns will probably do violent things. That can spiral out of control, leading to gangs of thugs roving through neighborhoods looking for outsiders to harm.
If a Second American Civil War does start, that is the form it will initially take absent a split in the military, which could come after if things get bad enough. And the ultimate outcome will be ideologically-aligned, geographically-coherent regions that may or may not recognize a common federal government.
Groupthink is a powerful force in society, and the determination of some people to make others choose a side is a deadly danger to us all. The reality of America’s collapse is that it is now being driven by our participation in this broken fake democracy.
To make it through the rest of this decade as intact as you can, it is absolutely vital to stay neutral through whatever form the Second American Civil War takes.
Reject any and all moral claims laid upon you by either side — question everything they assert, accept nothing as truth, avoid the rhetoric partisans embrace. When they demand you pick a side, shrug and say you think politics is too broken to talk about.
Some will mock you or claim your neutrality means you are weak or indecisive. Others will claim you are surrendering America to fascism.
All that any of us should be fighting for right now is peace and prosperity within our communities. The world is broken and clearly no one in a position of authority has the ability to patch it together, which makes it incumbent on the sane people to find non-violent ways to get by.
Get with the people who think like you. Build institutions that protect your chosen community from the madness of the outside world.
Don’t fight a Second American Civil War. Reject it, reject this diseased version of democracy Americans falsely believe is the only kind.
Neutrality doesn’t mean giving up. It means not fighting the doomed struggles of the past.