An American Civil War: the Home Front

There’s been rhetorical shots fired in the war between America and secessionist California, one in which Californians will lose. Those are the breaks though. When South Carolina’s militia, augmented by The Citadel’s Corps of Cadets, fired on Fort Sumter, there was a lot of fantasy-thinking and wish-casting, similar to Californian chakra-blasting. Confederates believed there would be no widows, no orphans, and the parents back home would worry, a little, but otherwise get the crops in and get down the fiddle in joy.

There were widows. And orphans. And unless Maw and Paw had a way to smuggle luxury crops such as cotton to Europe, there was a lot of privation. First to go was textiles. Medicines followed, followed by other processed products used by urban dwellers.

To help keep order, since in every war many if not most police and firefighters and EMT join the military and head off to the front, the Confederate states constituted another paramilitary force called the Home Guard. Usually focused on capturing deserters, the Home Guard played a role in ensuring the citizens stayed compliant.

How would this play out today, besides being ugly? Both sides start off with a very large population in need of care: de facto widows – single mothers – and orphans – legions of abandoned babies and elderly who will drain resources. There is also a very large population that is able-bodied but wholly dependent on other people working and providing for them. We’ve already witnessed riots when the Food Stamp debit cards didn’t get reloaded. The Left already has a solution for the babies and old folks, so it’s merely an academic exercise in wondering how long before its citizens are buying and selling lampshades and used clothing with questionable provenance.

There is also the brain-splodey of law enforcement – which may not enforce the laws today – having to enforce new or remembered laws. With the experienced policemen at the front, local communities will have to create new police officers and more likely create vigilante gangs. We witnessed the quality of law enforcement plummet in the first decade of this century with repeated deployments of military reservists. We have a generation of citizens who know there are laws and we expect law enforcement to not enforce them. A recent example is the beclowning of Colorado Senator Cory McPothead threatening to not staff law enforcers because LEO may enforce laws that Senator McPothead can re-write and likely get passed and signed into law. Rule of law means laws are enforced, not selectively. So what laws can secessionists expect to have followed without resorting to short ropes and tall lamp posts every time?

Like the Confederacy, textiles will become scarce. There is the loss of skills in harvesting and processing natural resources such as sheep’s wool, cotton, and others into wearable, usable clothes. Clothes wear out. Kids grow. Adults do too. And then there’s bandages, car seats and other uses. For the coastal secessionists, there won’t be processed petroleum available. This means the Chinese and Europeans will have to show up with soldiers AND food AND domestic products ready for use.

Good luck with that.

It leads back to the question concerning humanity: generalization versus specialization. Please read the comments at that link, too. Specialization leads to scarcity of knowledge and skills, and the lack eliminates security, which creates anxiety growing into panic. Infecting a group, the resulting panic will ultimately destroy every semblance of order and folks find themselves living “The Walking Dead.” For any secessionist, it won’t be the battle front that defeats them, but the Home front.

Über DaveO

Retired soldier, micro-farmer, raconteur and pet owner from the great state of Oklahoma. Wandered in as a frequent commenter and have been enjoying blogging ever since.
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