BRANDON J. WEICHERT | THE WEICHERT REPORT
Last weekend, Fox News host and constitutional scholar, Mark Levin, interviewed Attorney General William Barr. The greatest takeaway is that he is a war-time attorney general. Watching the interview, I see a man who is saddened by the hyper-partisanship of the era but who has resigned himself to this new existence and has embraced his role in this dreadful era.
This era is an era of quasi-civil war.
Edward Luttwak recently spoke to Sebastian Gorka about how the United States was founded as a revolutionary country. The revolution ebbs and flows. But our default position is to be revolutionary. Luttwak assessed, quite accurately, that our revolutionary impulses are either directed outwardly or inwardly. It appeared to him as though today America had shifted to looking inward.
I read an interview between Saagar Enjeti and The American Conservative‘s Curt Mills in which the latter asked the former why Sagaar, by all rights a foreign policy reporter in his initial days in Washington, had morphed into an exponent of the Populist ethos? Sagaar’s response was telling: a decade ago, there was nothing significant going on in domestic politics. All of the big questions, it seemed, had been decided. All of the action was in foreign policy: the Middle East, China, Russia.
For someone like me, a foreign policy superfreak, this is a sad state of affairs. While I, too, have been watching with renewed interest US domestic politics (and this website has been at the forefront of tracking the nationalist-populist revolution), the idea of constantly being harangued by and having to be in a permanent war fever against fellow citizens is daunting.
My colleague, F.H. Buckley has written a fantastic book on precisely this subject–entitled American Secession: The Looming Threat of a National Breakup from Encounter Books. It’s a marvelous work, as I’ve written at The American Spectator. It should be required reading this year especially. Having said that, I grew saddened as I realized the potential exists to not only have nasty domestic political disputes of the sort that we endured in the 1960s and 1970s, but that we could very well be facing a real national breakup.
This builds off themes present in the works of Angelo Codevilla, in which he has consistently–presciently–warned of a “cold civil war”–or the controversial 2012 book, Coming Apart: The State of White America (1960-2010) by Charles Murray, which documented the self-sorting of America’s population along socioeconomic and educational lines (the birth of a soft class society, the one thing that our Founders did not want for the land they had wrested from the British Empire).
Recently, Christopher Caldwell’s, Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties documents the revolutionary Marxist ethos of the 1960s student radicals who tore our country apart at the seams, and whose work identifies more sources of our current national discontent. My colleague from Hillsdale College, Juan Davalos and his colleague, Clifford Humphrey, have started a news aggregation website entitled A New Civil War to collate and document all of the references in the media to a new civil war–and, boy, are there many…and not from fringe sites, from mainstream sources.
Civil War is on the brain. I say all of this in relation to Bill Barr’s interview because this is what he’s up against. We have in Washington, a capital city entirely run by bureaucrats inimical to the United States as it was founded. Either out of ideological antipathy or simple self-interest, our political elites not only disdain the people they are supposed to be serving in Washington but they actively work against them. This has gone on for decades–and people are tired, which is why they voted for Trump to begin with in 2016.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump, a man who was elected in a contentious, though free and fair national election, has faced what amounts to a rolling, administrative coup imposed upon him and his cohorts by his predecessor, Barack Obama. This is part of the civil war effort against Trump and the ordinary American voter (especially white, middle-class and working-class voters) and the American way of life.
Should a new Civil War indeed breakout (as I hope it does not as it will be catastrophic), it will not be fought by armies marching in a field, blasting a drum, and wearing gray or blue wool uniforms. It will be fought in and among our population; within the cities; throughout our storied streets and boulevards. It will require hearty and smart–and utterly ruthless–men to mitigate its worst aspects and ensure that the constitutional order ultimately prevails.
Bill Barr is one of the most important generals we will have, should this new civil war erupt. Decisions he and his team at the Department of Justice will resonate throughout the decades of the 21st century, long after his tenure is over and well after the conflict. They will indeed shape our times and determine our nation’s future–which very much hangs in the balance. His exchange, as you will see below in the video provided by Fox News, is very telling: he comprehends the ideological roots of our current woes. Barr at least appears to be more attenuated to this threat than anyone else–and he’s in a position to squelch it.
So, let us hope that Barr not only understands just how caustic of a political moment the country finds itself in, let us pray that his rhetoric is matched with action. And for Barr and the Trump Administration, the play clock is running down. They need to move quicker and bolder to ensure victory not just in this election but for the American constitutional order. Otherwise, our problems with China, Russia, Iran, or North Korea will not matter. If our country loses its soul; if its leaders do not clearly stand up and fight for what is constitutionally right, there is no foreign adversary worth wasting our time on.
Anyway, here’s the FNC interview. It’s wild: