CRB: The cold civil war

The new (Spring) issue of the Claremont Review of Books is in the mail. Thanks to our friends at the Claremont Institute, I have read the new issue in galley to select three pieces to be submitted for the consideration of Power Line readers. As always, wanting to do right by the magazine and by our readers, I had a hard time choosing. You, however, can do your own choosing at the heavily subsidized price of $19.95 a year by clicking on the link above and accessing subscription services. At that price the CRB affords the most cost-effective political education available in the United States of America. Subscribe by clicking on Subscription Services at the link and get immediate online access thrown in for free.

In his cover essay “The cold civil war,” Angelo Codevilla provides a sobering assessment of the gaping moral, cultural, and political divide between the rulers and the ruled – a crisis that calls for a statesmanship capable of “preserv[ing] what peace remains.” Codevilla writes:

America is in the throes of revolution. The 2016 election and its aftermath reflect the distinction, difference, even enmity that has grown exponentially over the past quarter century between America’s ruling class and the rest of the country. During the Civil War, President Lincoln observed that all sides “pray[ed] to the same God.” They revered, though in clashing ways, the same founders and principles. None doubted that those on the other side were responsible human beings. Today, none of that holds. Our ruling class and their clients broadly view Biblical religion as the foundation of all that is wrong with the world.

As a nod to its combative nature, the ruling class, which counts “government bureaucracies, the judiciary, academia, media, associated client groups, Democratic officials and Democratic-controlled jurisdiction” among its ranks, now forms the “Resistance” to the 2016 election. Their objective: “[to] delegitimize not so much the politicians who champion the ruled from time to time, but the ruled themselves.”

“It is a cold civil war against a majority of the American people and their way of life,” Codevilla observes. “Statesmanship’s first task is to prevent it from turning hot.”

As a famous man once observed in the run-up to our hot civil war: “If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.” What is to be done? I don’t think I agree with Codevilla’s modest proposal, but I do think he has identified one form of the problem, which is at the least a good start.