Thursday, October 13, 2016

War Is the New Flex

I understand the idea that the Culture Wars may, one day, actually escalate into a shooting war. It's not like it's never happened before. But it's beginning to seem to me that threatening a new civil war in the United States has become a method of showing one's Conservative bona fides. In this quick screen grab from LinkedIn, a commenter warns that civil war will break out over media bias. Never mind that the story isn't identified as "Computer industry news." It's just something that's trending among readers who self-identify as being in the Computer Software Industry. People like me - after all, that's how I wound up seeing the link for the story in the first place. And given that there doesn't seem to be a single media outlet that lacks the bandwidth for another story about Donald Trump, it's not surprising that a lot of people in the Computer Software Industry have seen the story. It's a safe bet that a lot of Hairdressers have seen it, too.

But even if LinkedIn had intentionally miscategorized the story to smear Donald Trump, that's worth starting a conflict that's likely to end in the deaths of at least tens of  thousands and likely millions of people? Really?

Part of me says, "of course not," and so it seems that this part of a feedback loop, where, in order to be heard over a million other voices saying the same thing you have to say it just a little louder, just a little more stridently, until the next thing you know everyone is screaming at the tops of their lungs just to be heard at all. The talk becomes more and more outrageous, because everyone is talking it.

I understand that at the heart of the "civil war" rhetoric is the idea that there is a group of Americans who feel that the nation is being taken from them and given to people less conservative, more religious, less loyal, less invested in the proper idea of "America" than themselves. And the people taking it are tyrants. And sometimes, the only way to deal with a tyrant is to take up arms. But wars, even (and sometimes especially) civil wars, are brutal and bloody affairs. They are only romantic in hindsight or from a very safe distance away from the battlefield.

I suspect, to a degree, that part of the "civil war" rhetoric is just that, rhetoric, designed to show the speaker as disdainful of the American Left, whose aversion to the tools and practice of violence is becoming self-parody. And "the (Mainstream) Media" is also said to be a creature of the Left, so threatening war to protest its apparent excesses is a two-for-one. But it shows how divided we're becoming as a nation, when we casually speak of unspeakable tragedy, simply to pose for the adoration of political campmates.

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