Which I wouldn’t recommend, because despite all the vaccinations they’re given, I’m pretty sure they don’t cover whatever variant of Jakob Cruetzfeldt disease afflicts libertarian pundits who have never held an actual job and have absolutely no real world experience. But I repeat myself!
Now that the throat clearing is out of the way, I want to make a quick follow on point to AL’s cataloguing of McArdle’s idiocy. Specifically that the US has never actually fought a civil war. A civil war refers to a form of low intensity warfare – as in less than interstate war* -where the supporters of two or more claimants to power fight for control of the state. The claimants may have either de jure (legal) or de facto (extant) claims to control the state. This is not what happened in the US in the 1860s. Rather, what we call the US Civil War was actually a rebellion in support of secession from the state in the attempt to set up a new one. There was no dispute as to the legitimacy of the election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency. What was in dispute is that the southern states that would become the Confederacy refused to accept the election’s outcome and sought to break away and form their own nation-state.
Had supporters of Secretary Clinton, including Democratic elected and appointed officials at all levels of government, refused to accept the President’s election as legitimate and contested his inauguration, including violently, once they learned that the US intelligence community had determined that the Russians had interfered in the US election with the specific objective of electing the President, then we’d be talking about a civil war. That did not happen despite some of the comments posted here over the past 18 months or so…
What McArdle doesn’t understand, because she knows nothing about war – theoretically, conceptually, and/or experientially – is that there has been a low level insurgency in the US going back decades. We sometimes call this the culture war. Sometimes it’s referred to as the Southern Strategy, but it involves one of the two major political parties and its supporting movements, including religious movements, in the US refusing to accept the legitimacy of any other ones. It includes frequent use of dehumanizing language and threats of violence ranging from legislatively and regulatorily directing the power of the state, utilizing lawfare, and actually threatening and sometimes undertaking violence against their opponents or the objects of their dehumanization campaigns when the insurgents don’t get their way. And these people – elected, appointed, voters, supporters, pundits, etc – are McArdle’s fellow travelers! They are part of the larger political, ideological, dogmatic religious, and sub-cultural groups and movements that McArdle has been marinating in since she was an undergraduate.
They also make the mistake that they are the only ones that get to define patriotism and to actually care about the US and its ideals. They have convinced themselves that they are the only ones who can properly interpret the Constitution when in fact they are the poorest of linguistic and political historians of the late 18th Century, which leads to constantly misunderstanding and misapplying the Constitution. And they have deluded themselves into thinking that because their opponents believe in civility that their opponents are also unwilling to actually defend themselves in the political, ideological, social, religious, economic, and/or legal arenas. And those delusions include the mistaken belief that they don’t have the means to do so.
Right now the US is experiencing one of its periodic bouts of growing pains. As was the case in the 1780s and 1790s, the 1830s and 1840s, the 1860s, the late 1870s through the 1890s, during WW I, in the mid to late 1930s, and in the middle 1960s through the early 1970s, a period of imperfect progress is being met with a backlash against it. It is ugly. It is unpleasant. It is damaging. People who do not deserve to be hurt are being hurt. The real question that McArdle should have asked, yet is incapable because she is as the one who does not know how to ask, is what does it really mean to form a more perfect union? And what are the best ways to go about perfecting the union? Those are the real questions of American civic life. Not whether Democrats in urban areas know how to use guns.
Finally, that McArdle would even contemplate tweeting about this on Memorial Day weekend is insensitive and disrespectful for those who have given their life in service to the US. Discussing whether Americans should or could kill each other again en masse in pursuit of political power on this of all weekends should lead her to remove herself from opining. She needs to flee the public square and contemplate that the people who have given their lives for the US, with the exception of those fighting on behalf of the Confederacy, did so despite their political and ideological and regional and religious differences. They did it to ensure there would be a union to continue to perfect. McArdle is a poor excuse for a public intellectual. Unfortunately she’s an all too perfect an example of a poorly informed and poorly educated American ideologue.
And in case she or one of her followers sees her name in the post title on Cole’s twitter feed and decides to pop over and ask who am I to question her expertise in regard to war, here’s my abbreviated professional bio:
Adam L. Silverman is a consulting national security subject matter expert specializing in low intensity warfare (asymmetric, irregular, and unconventional warfare, revolution, insurgency, terrorism), Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations, and cultural considerations for strategy and policy. In May 2016 he assisted XVIII Airborne Corps in their strategic assessment of the Iraqi and Syrian Operating Environment for their deployment as the command element of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve and provided the keynote briefing for their strategic assessment week. In 2015 he served as a Senior Fellow at SOCOM’s Center for Special Operations Studies and Research at Joint Special Operations University. Prior to that he served as a Subject Matter Expert with the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Security Dialogue and US Army Europe from June through August 2014 assigned (Operational Control) as the Cultural Advisor to US Army Europe. From July 2010 through June 2014, he was the Cultural Advisor and Professor of National Security and Strategy at the US Army War College. In June 2014 he was awarded the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal by MG Anthony A. Cucolo, III.
Dr. Silverman has advised and/or provided support to the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Security Dialogue, US Central Command, US European Command, US Special Operations Command, US Army Europe, the US Army Institute for NCO Professional Development, the US Army Sergeants Major Academy, US Army Special Operations Command, US Army Central, the US Army’s Office of the Provost Marshal General and US Army Corrections Command, US Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command, I Corps, III Corps, XVIII Airborne Corps, 1st Armored Division, the 101st Airborne Division, the Department of State’s Near East and South Asia Desk, and JIEDDO’s Science Directorate. From NOV 2013 to AUG 2014 he served as the Cultural Advisor to the Commanding General of US Army Europe on temporary assignment. From OCT 2012 to NOV 2013 Dr. Silverman served as the Cultural Advisor to the Civil Affairs Branch Chief on temporary assignment. During 2012 Dr. Silverman served as the Cultural Advisor to the Commanding General of III Corps on temporary assignment from JAN through AUG. In 2010 he was the external subject matter expert on temporary assignment to US Army Civil Affairs Branch’s Capability Based Assessment and then through JUN 2011 to the US Special Operations Command’s Joint Civil Information Management Test Development program. He previously served as the Cultural Advisor to the Commander, 2nd Brigade Combat Team/1st Armored Division from OCT 2007 through OCT 2008 and was deployed with the brigade in Iraq in 2008. Upon returning from Iraq he served as a social science advisor in US Army Training and Doctrine Command’s G2 (2009). He routinely provides operational support to a number of US Army, DOD, and other US Government elements. Dr. Silverman holds a doctorate in political science and criminology from the University of Florida, as well as masters’ degrees in comparative religion and international security.
* An interstate war involves two or more sovereign states whose militaries are fighting in uniform under their states’ flags with a minimum of a thousand battlefield deaths. Interstate wars will often include types of low intensity warfare, such as rebellions, revolutions, insurgencies, and terror campaigns on one or more sides of the conflict.