I’ve had an ongoing conversation with a friend that has lasted for several years. It starts with the following premise and two questions:
1: Assume that there exists a political group within the United States similar to the Communist revolutions in Russia and China.
2: Based on that assumption, what steps would that political group take to advance their agenda?
3: What would be the logical sequence of steps needed for that political group to be most effective?
Several years back we agreed that this would require an increasing polarization of American politics in order to “radicalize the center” (by making being a centrist a radical position to take) and create “political tribes” that have no access to “political uniters” which are centrists. We also thought that there would need to be some sort of symbolic victory at some point to catalyze the movement, similar to a Reichstag Fire, that would allow some sort of crackdown on a political scapegoat. We also decided that if a convenient political scapegoat wasn’t handy, it would be necessary to create one.
Now all of this was just to guys talking “what ifs” over beers and cigars, but what we didn’t realize at the time is that this exact scenario was already in place in the Ukraine conflict.
1. There existed within the Ukraine a large enough political group to desire re-unification with Russia.
2. The group colluded with Russian government agencies to set conditions into place.
3. The Russians created a Ukrainian Boogeyman in the form of neo-Nazis who, if just given an inch, would march on Moscow.
Now, in 2017 all of this is clear in hindsight, and it looks like the same playbook is happening in the US.
1.There exists within the US a large group of radicals on the Left who desire a socialist/communist style of government.
2. The anti-Capitalist groups changed identity from “Occupy Wall Street” to “AntiFa” as the political target changed from “capitalism” to “Donald Trump.”
3. The rise of the increasing use of the charge “Nazi” and “Nazi-Sympathizer” required that an increase in coverage of the pitifully small Neo-Nazi movement be radically increased in order to seem a real threat. This is the same as murders in the US half halved since the peak in 1992, but increased reporting makes it seem much more prevalent.
Maybe our predictions were so vague that they can be morphed like a Fortune Teller’s prediction to fit any circumstance, but then again maybe not. I recently read a piece in Foreign Affairs which touched on this very subject of how we seem to be on a political slide into conflict.
The sobering conclusion is that liberals who think they can safely abandon humanist culture for the high ground of citizen politics will be overrun by the left’s identitarians and their intersectional allies. Politics will not save us from identity politics because politics can never save us, however inescapable and indispensable it may be. To pursue a truly shared vision of justice, humans require a deeper common ground. Yet even for hostile critics of liberalism—especially Christian or secular humanists on the right—now is not the time to give in to schadenfreude. Today’s deep crisis may have been inevitable. It may augur some healthy or inspiring changes. But if liberalism does collapse or shrivel up, history strongly suggests that the restoration of Western social order on a different foundation will require another great cycle of war.
The question that the author of that piece doesn’t ask, is whether or not war is the desired outcome. The cry of “REVOLUTION!” is still strong on the radical left, and maybe, just maybe, we should believe them when they say they are working to make it happen.