UPDATES: Civil War Averted?
Can we let out a sigh of relief?
Well, it’s Monday, January 29, 2024, and we’re all still here. No shots have been fired in Eagle Pass, Texas, and the Texas National Guard hasn’t been federalized. What’s more, only now is Big Media starting to talk about the stand-off at all. It’s crazy to think we were possibly in the midst of the worst constitutional crisis in over a century and not only did we simply go about our business, but it’s yet to even become a topic of public discussion. Then again, as I’ve said before a time or two, real-world SHTFs can be quite boring. And boring is good, most of the time, anyway.
Can we let out a sigh of relief? Sure, no civil war is a good thing. What’s more, it appears, for now, the Biden administration’s bluff has been called. All of a sudden, illegal immigration is something Biden wants to talk about:
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Immigration has never been a big issue for Joe Biden. A glance at his On the Issues profile reveals he’s been something of a pro-immigration (legal or not) moderate on the matter throughout his career. A few weeks ago, he told a reporter the border wasn’t secure and he echoes that sentiment in the above statement. I give him no points, however; the border has obviously not been secure for years and it’s not an act of courage for someone of his stature to state the obvious. The rest of us noticed the first time.
What’s happening here is a shifting of narratives. One of the reasons the media, outside of outlets like News Nation (increasingly my go-to for news), hasn’t covered this story is because it takes some stories more time to come up with a spin. I think they’ve found one: the border is open because MAGA Republicans don’t want to negotiate on border security!
I don’t want to address this charge in too great a depth, because border security should never be bargained on. It’s like negotiating with a squatter who insists on living in your residence, despite having no claim as a tenant or owner to the property. The law might allow it to happen, but it doesn’t make it right. The idea that anyone should negotiate border security is a complete non-starter and exposes the fact that yes, much of our political class not only sees value in illegal immigration, having open borders was the objective all along.
Now that there’s no hiding the obvious, the Regime under President Biden is basically attempting to shame the Right into making deals with them on the border in exchange for deals on the issues which concern the Left, namely aid to Ukraine, a country on track to lose a war. Personally, I think leveraging border security to defend a foreign country is treasonous, but since I don’t make the rules, we’ll just make note of that and move on.
The mentality that the Right is refusing to negotiate is on display in articles like these:
A dizzying week in Washington and Austin has the GOP rallying around Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) as he pledges not to back down in his escalating standoff with the Biden administration over border enforcement, while former President Trump has been working to tank a bipartisan border deal.
Abbott and Trump are marshaling Republican broadsides against President Biden on his most vulnerable issue, but while the Texas governor’s flirting with constitutional crisis is drawing near-unanimous GOP cheers, Trump’s blunt attempt to derail funding talks threatens to divide the party.
The two leaders’ approaches have laid bare the GOP strategy of campaigning on a broken border, even if it means defying Supreme Court orders or tanking a Senate deal with a number of Republican immigration priorities.
“I think the border is a very important issue for Donald Trump,” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) told reporters Thursday.
“And the fact that he would communicate to Republican senators and congresspeople that he doesn’t want us to solve the border problem because he wants to blame Biden for it is really appalling.”
What isn’t former President Donald Trump’s fault these days? I’m surprised Democrats aren’t planning to vote for him, then they can really blame him for everything that goes wrong if he ends up back in the White House.
How about we take a look at the deal that was negotiated? From FOX News’ Bill Melugin:
BREAKING: Senate border deal details, per source familiar I just had a call with.
- Mandatory detention of all single adults.
- Mandatory “shut down” of border once average daily migrant encounters hits 5,000. Importantly, this 5,000 number includes 1,400 CBP One app entries at ports of entry per day, and roughly 3,600 illegal crossings per day.
- How is that enforced? Once the 5,000 threshold is hit, a new authority is codified into law that requires Border Patrol to immediately remove illegal immigrants they catch without processing.
Where do you even start with this? First, the fact that illegal entrants cannot be booted out of the country immediately is the problem. Illegal immigration proponents have claimed the law doesn’t allow for this, proudly stating the fact as though it settles the argument once and for all. All it does instead is prove we don’t just have an open border, we also have open border policies.
Second, the idea that the border can only be shut down once a certain number of crossings is hit is an irrationality only the managerial state can produce. The border belongs to a country, not a metric. Entering this country, even legally, is a “right” only in the absurdest of logical extremes. The country either controls the lines which physically outline it or doesn’t. This isn’t complicated.
We’ve been seeing many such arguments, where Regime-aligned voices point out President Biden has no such authority, something the president himself alluded to in his statement.
Yet one of Biden’s first acts upon entering the Oval Office was to undo prior administration policy with regards to the border. Whether those prior policies were effective or not isn’t the point. Rather, the point is that there’s a glaring logical inconsistency at play: the president has no ability to secure the border, but he can make it easier to enter the country? This doesn’t make any sense. Why also claim jurisdiction over the border when you have no control of it in the first place?
As much as I harp on the Biden administration, it’s true that’s not all his fault. He wasn’t the first president to pursue open-borders policies and I have a gut feeling he won’t be the last. But that’s never been the argument, either, that this is all Biden’s fault and that everything was hunky-dory before he was elected. It’s just that he’s the president now and he’s on the hook for it. Pro-immigration or not, facilitating mass migration is unacceptable and against public sentiment. Claiming that border insecurity is the result of insufficient powers vested in his office would be a more convincing argument if Biden was serious about tackling illegal immigration, but he pretty clearly isn’t, nor was he ever.
Whatever the law says the president can or can’t do, I don’t care and neither should you. Laws are basically arguments and arguments need to make sense; if the law doesn’t make sense, it’s not worth dignifying. The Biden administration is making their pitch entirely on a legal foundation, which is precisely what you’d do if you want to argue in favor of stupid ideas. It’s especially ironic when you consider the Left has, for years, made the point that laws that excuse supposedly “bad” outcomes, like killing unarmed Black men, are wrong and need to be changed.
If the president can’t secure the border, nobody can. That’s the extent of their argument. The craziest part is, they think that’s a defensible position!
By the way - does anyone really believe Biden would use that newfound authority and shut down the border? He might do it once for show-and-tell in hopes of cooling off the issue, but I doubt he’d make a habit of it, since it’d eventually put him at odds with members of his political coalition. Since that shutdown authority is tied to an arbitrarily-set number, this doesn’t constitute much of a shift in policy. It’s almost as though the deal on the table in the Senate concedes that there’s no way to secure the border or get illegal immigration under control.
Even Texas may not be up to the task, even without federal interference. Take a look at this:
What do I make of this? I explained on X that either no political leader is really serious about border security or this is the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, a phenomenon common in bureaucracies. It’s very possible different people within the same agencies are being given two different sets of orders at the same time.
As for federalizing the Texas National Guard, not only has it not happened, but it would’ve happened by now if it were under serious consideration. The only way I think it ends up back on the table is if the situation were to escalate. Examples of escalation include migrants being abused or killed by Texas authorities in a George Floyd-style moment, something the Regime can use as evidence of crimes against humanity and leverage public sentiment with. Until that moment comes, however, I think federalizing the Guard is a move the administration wants to avoid.
It probably wouldn’t go the way the president wants, anyway. Look at what the Border Patrol Union stated on Friday, the day of the deadline for Texas to cease and desist:
Rank-and file BP agents are not going to start arresting TX NG members for following their LAWFUL orders. That's fake news.
TX NG and rank-and-file BP agents work together and respect each other’s jobs. Period. If TX NG members have LAWFUL orders, then they have to carry out those orders.
TX NG members realize that rank-and-file BP agents have their orders as well. Lawful orders, no matter how unpopular or distasteful amongst rank-and-file agents, must be followed. Unlawful orders (as determined by competent legal counsel and not what some outhouse lawyer behind a keyboard says) will not be followed.
Rank-and-file BP agents appreciate and respect what TX has been doing to defend their state in the midst of this catastrophe that the Biden Admin has unleashed on America.
We want to be perfectly clear, there is no fight between rank-and-file BP agents and the TX NG, Gov. Abott [sic], or TX DPS. It may make flashy headlines, but it simply isn’t true.
The Border Patrol Union is widely regarded as speaking for the rank-and-file agent on the ground. I also think you’d get a similar reaction out of the rank-and-file military servicemember. Since 9/11, active-duty and National Guard troops have fought side-by-side; some troops have even shifted between the two components. There isn’t a strict divide; the “Weekend Warrior” notion is outdated at this point, with National Guardsmen having deployed extensively to Afghanistan and Iraq, even Ukraine to train their soldiers for their war against Russia. Orders or not, nobody in the active-duty military is looking forward to facing off with soldiers who wear the same uniform.
What’s To Come Of This?
The Next 12 Months Part V: Civil War received a lot of engagement, for which I’m grateful to you readers and tofor sharing with his readers. There were lots of interesting comments; allow me to highlight some of them.
First, long-time reader and Substacker “Yakubian Ape” says:
You’re doing yeoman's work with this series. It’s some of the most sober and rational discussion I’ve seen of the topic, since most of the time it seems as if people take these events and make even more of a spectacle and sensation out of them than they already are. That being said, my only real comment is that I’m from Texas, my family is and many friends still are in Texas (albeit far away from the border), and, as you pointed out... none of them are talking about it. The only one who even seems concerned about it is my mom, and even then, she only knows the vague outline of what's going on because she's one of those people who makes a point to avoid indulging in the news that much. But even outside of them I've seen remarkably little coverage of what's going on in the MSM, which tells me that the powers that be really want to keep this under wraps. It's no mystery why - this whole thing is a PR nightmare for them at a time when they really, really do not need it. I can't imagine the Biden administration wants to risk escalation, especially in an election year.
It’s both troubling and reassuring to see the lack of public awareness on this issue. Sure, you don’t want everyone hopped up on civil war fever. But it also underscores how effective the media can be at influencing not only public opinion, but public awareness in general.
In an example not related to immigration, recall the ensuing panic following the killing of Iran’s General Qasem Soleimani about how World War III was nigh thanks to Trump. Meanwhile, it seems like we’re waging an undeclared shooting war in Yemen against Iran-backed proxies, with an actual direct confrontation with Iran growing likelier by the day, and… nothing.
All I’ll say is, when it does come crashing down, nobody better pretend like they didn’t see it coming. If I can see it, so can everyone else. Not noticing the obvious is a choice.
Yakubian Ape concludes:
We are on a knife’s edge right now, and while I sincerely hope that this ends reasonably and without any violence, I think it's a foregone conclusion that if this isn't the event that pushes things off a cliff, another event this year will. Maybe it won’t go into full Civil War territory, and I hope it doesn’t, but things could come awful close.
I’ll talk it about in more in the final installment of The Next 12 Months. I think the border situation won’t get better, but the confrontation between the federal government and the states will be fought out in courts, not with guns. If the situation continues to de-escalate, then I think we can go back to thinking 2024 isn’t the year the next civil war begins. But there’s a civil conflict coming in the next 10 to 15 years, I’m pretty certain of that.
Next up, we go to “Austin Olive.” I found his comments especially compelling [bold mine]:
Americans in general are much the same on political matters. The South had a whole range of serious constitutional issues in 1850. But they tolerated the intolerable until a hot button moral issue (that affected the pocketbooks of the wealthy slave owning class) actually led to secession.
Today, Americans tolerate evils and abuses from our government that make the causes of the Revolution pale unto insignificance beside them. We have for decades.
For goodness sakes,in a Supreme Court case, the Federal Government is forcing ship owners and fishermen to quarter federal employees on their ships at their own expense. This is exactly the same as quartering soldiers in homes, which is actually listed in the grievances against King George III.
And that’s something so drowned in the bureaucratic tyranny of the regime that hardly anyone knows of it.
But what cannot continue won’t.
My hope is that when this ‘irrepressible conflict’ comes, it’s over an honorable issue. Immigration is one. So is the budget. So are ‘forever wars.’ So is ‘transing kids.’
But Americans have a sorry track record of resistance to tyranny unless it affects rich men’s pocketbooks and until they finally allow those rich men to choose dishonorable causes.
I sincerely wish that my Alabamian ancestors and the South had seceded in 1850. We would have won, and over honorable causes. Instead they delayed until a rich man's cause came along. They still fought for their homes and for the principles of the Founding. (My poor Cracker people in non-slaveholding north Alabama did anyhow.) But the whole nobility of the cause was shot through with defending the intolerable stain of chattel slavery.
And we lost because we waited until the balance of power had shifted such that a Southern victory was next to impossible.
If we do not resist and demand a return to constitutional government now, when we have right on our side, I fear that in years to come others will resist on worse ground, and when the hopes of success are narrowed to the point of impossibility.
I never thought of it that way. It’s true, too - people often pick the wrong hill to die on, though I’d argue that if we invaded another country today in an attempt to stop modern-day slavery, that country would probably fight us tooth-and-nail and it’d only be rational for them to do so.
It’s also true that it’s often only when the bottom lines of the people who possess power and wealth in society are threatened that armed conflict ensues. It’s a useful model for thinking about how and when the next civil war might begin, though I’m still not sure how that fits into our current situation, nor the border crisis.
Perhaps it finally pops off when the border does manage to get shut down, a mass deportation program, the kind Trump is claiming he’ll implement if elected, gets underway, and threatens to deprive big businesses and the upper-class of the cheap labor they so tremendously benefit from? In some ways, that’s a reversal of roles from the Civil War; today’s rebels aren’t the ones whose lifestyles and pocketbooks are at risk.
This leads to the next point, made by longtime reader “Brian Villanueva,” concerning whether Texas Governor Greg Abbott really has what it takes to cross the Rubicon:
I think Abbott is basically a wussy, establishment Republican who will eventually cave. His statement floored me, but he can read the populist room and words are cheap. Would he actually take concrete actions that would put himself or his assets in jeopardy in open defiance of the federal government? Not a chance. Biden nationalizing the Texas Guard would be a best-case scenario for Abbott, an offramp which ensures he doesn't end up in the DOJ crosshairs but still gets to claim he "did everything he could to stand up to the elites." Who knows, this could all still be a play for a Trump cabinet appointment.
Bottom line, this isn't the event that will start it. But it’s another indication of how dysfunctional our governance structure has become.
Intriguing perspective. There exists a point of diminishing returns for both Biden and Abbott when it comes to how far they want to force the issue. I feel like Biden has already run out of rope - hence, his shift towards professing a desire for stronger border control, if not for those dastardly MAGA Republicans - but Abbott ultimately cannot secure even the Texas-Mexico border without help from the federal government. At some point, a modus vivendi will need to be reached, even as it’s likely the border situation will probably remain unresolved.
My stance is that federalization of the National Guard is not something Abbott would want to see happen, even as it’s a high-risk move for Biden. Abbott is, at the end of the day, a politician and the less crisis there is, the better. It’s why, I think we can conclude, for now, that Eagle Pass isn’t where the first shots of the next civil war will be fired. But it does ratchet up overall tensions quite a bit. It’s yet another line drawn in the sand.
Going back briefly to the deal negotiated in the Senate; should the Right agree to it? I say “sure” and not because I think it’s a good deal. It’s quite terrible, actually. Rather, it’d force Biden to put his money where his mouth is. Let’s see how serious he is about border security. I think that question has been answered many times before, but I don’t see a whole lot of harm in seeing what Biden does with his new authorities. At minimum, Biden won’t be able to claim he has no authority to secure the border, while at the same time claiming jurisdiction over it. The ball would very much be in his court.
In closing, I want to remind everyone: indifference isn’t an option when it comes to illegal immigration. Either you think it’s a good thing or it’s a bad thing. Either it needs to be stopped or not. Anyone who suggests there’s room for compromise or a middle ground on this is part of the problem.
Max Remington writes about armed conflict and prepping. Follow him on Twitter at @AgentMax90.
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