SubscribeStar Saturday: Civil War?

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The nation is aflame in disorder.  These race riots—really, thinly-veiled pretenses for mob violence and destruction—have become a depressing feature of our progressive utopia; perpetual revolution for the perpetually aggrieved.

The reactions from the two sides of our great national divide illustrate the unavoidable contrasts.  The Left either celebrates the violence, or washes its hands of it, claiming they can’t condemn the riots “without walking in the shoes” of looting blacks.  The Right, grounded in reality and respect for rule of law, expresses disbelief that anyone, even a progressive, could somehow endorse or even ignore rioting.

The United States has not been so divided since the 1850s.  When John Brown, the crazed radical abolitionist, staged his raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, he was hanged for his reckless crime.  Brown’s goal had been to use federal arms to equip slaves, leading them in a massive rebellion—the deepest fear of slave owners.  In the North and among the elites, Brown was heralded as a hero of and martyr to a noble cause.  To Southerners, this praise seemed like cheering for a murderer—a murderer who wanted Southerners in particular dead.

Slavery was wrong—as tiresome as it is to have to repeat it in the vain attempt of shielding one’s self against attack—but Brown’s zealotry shed blood needlessly.  Had he succeeded, many innocent Virginians would have died—and the rebellion would have been put down.  Regardless, the differing reactions of the two sections of the country highlighted how thoroughly alienated both had become.

So it seems we are similarly poised today in the United States.

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