Political polarization is an issue that has been dividing Americans for the last few decades. With many issues being voted on along party lines, it almost seems like there’s nothing the Democrat and Republican parties can agree upon. According to the Brookings Institution, nearly half of Americans believe a future civil war is likely, as Democrat and Republican states engage in far different policies. Given the relative peace most Americans have experienced in their lifetimes, it’s understandable that many would fear the consequences of such an event. But I am here to tell you that the upcoming Uncivil War (or the War to End All Civil Wars) would be the best thing that could happen to America, even if it destroys the country.
First, let’s talk about something war has consistently improved – infrastructure. War naturally necessitates infrastructure for purposes of deploying troops, controlling trade routes, producing weapons, etc. Infrastructure is what gave the North an advantage in the first Civil War and the U.S. as a whole during WWII. Thus, much work would be done by both sides on infrastructure to secure an advantage in the war. Sure, billions of dollars of damage would be done to existing infrastructure, but even this would free up land to develop newer and better infrastructure.
Overall, another civil war would greatly speed up the process of developing the country’s infrastructure, which recently took the government months to debate on. Why should the government have to debate about anything? If one side wins the Second Civil War, then they can simply pass their agenda through and avoid debate entirely. Another win for infrastructure. Following the war, this infrastructure would then provide economic prosperity by greatly boosting the country’s manufacturing capacity. Some losing states may be left with their infrastructure decimated in the same manner the Union destroyed Confederate railroads, bridges, and tunnels, but given that they chose to oppose the righteous winners, they ought to face some consequences to dissuade further division.
Then, there is the matter of unemployment and overall poverty. Through a widespread recruitment program for the army or factories, governments would help get people off of the streets and doing productive tasks. People who previously had limited education would get job training in the critical fields of medicine, manufacturing, and the military. Going forward, they could then stand on their own two feet and make their lives as they see fit …. assuming they still have two feet after the war. For those who struggle with drug addictions, the strict nature of the Army or a factory setting would help them get over their ailments and be more productive in society. The only potential downside would be if they got hooked on opioids as a result of the trauma. Nonetheless, the veterans’ benefits during service such as the training, food, healthcare, and shelter (plus discounts on Veterans’ day), surely outweigh any possible negative consequences.
While there would certainly be many casualties throughout the war, it’s not necessarily all bad. Going back to the matter of poverty, eliminating vast amounts of the population would do wonders. Many of those who were previously destitute would no longer be around and thus not need support from other people or the government. Additionally, there would be a vast number of job openings as those who previously held certain jobs passed away. Sure, many business owners and, as a result, businesses will have been killed during all this, but all this does is free up competition for new businesses and new ideas. Similarly, with the massive reduction in demand for housing from the population decline, there would be a precipitous drop in housing prices as a result of supply and demand. Those who had been living in the streets for a long time, or simply could not afford a house, would have an abundance of homes and apartments available to them, with fewer people even around to outbid them for a place. Particularly in places like San Francisco, this would do more to create affordable housing than anything the local government has done in the last several decades.
The Uncivil War would also greatly reduce gender inequality. The vast majority of casualties during the war would be men, as they would make up most of the military and be in most immediate danger. Eliminating a large proportion of men would free up many job opportunities for women particularly in fields like STEM and business, both of which are very lucrative. Through this, the country would slowly close the earnings gap between men and women, a great step forward in people’s missions for equality.
Furthermore, tilting the sex ratio heavily in women’s favor would greatly empower them, giving them more of a say in leadership roles. As seen by the show, Y: The Last Man, the fewer men there are, the more in control women are. This would also go a long way in satisfying activists who proclaim that the future is female, as that would quite literally be coming true. As a consequence, overwhelmingly male-dominated professions such as garbage collectors would finally get to see some more women in them.
Casualties would also produce unbelievable changes in the healthcare system. For one, doctors would have to come up with techniques to deal with ailments when they may not have all the resources that they would need, being in the environment that they are. During the First American Civil War, doctors produced groundbreaking work such as performing life-saving amputations and closing chest wounds.
However, prior to the Civil War, American medical education paled in comparison to Europe’s, with many traveling there in order to get a more complete education. The war enabled a complete overhaul of the system, with specialty hospitals being set up to learn about different types of injuries, and hundreds of thousands of autopsies being conducted to learn about emerging fields in medicine. Given that the population today is over ten times that of the U.S. during the First Civil War, and that weapons that are more varied and dangerous, I for one cannot wait to see what kinds of medical advancements would come out of the war.
These advancements play into the cost aspect of healthcare. Given the crude environments doctors would have to operate in, they would have to develop techniques that could be done cheaply without expensive medical equipment. As a result, cheaper alternatives would replace existing medical solutions and help bring down the price of healthcare. Furthermore, training people to perform medical services outside of a university program would greatly increase the supply of doctors and help with the cost of healthcare. People have more doctors they could go to, and costs do not have to be as high to compensate for the doctors’ time in college and money spent.
Now, let’s finally go back to the thing that sparked this discussion in the first place – political polarization. This too is an issue that can be fixed through a civil war, regardless of the outcome. Suppose one side wins, getting the other to surrender to them. That side is now free to enact its vision for the country.
If they claim the USA for their own and send the others off to a split-off territory (such as Alaska, hopefully, Alaska), in an India / Pakistan-type situation, then political unity will have been achieved in the new United States.
If they keep their opponents subjugated and unable to challenge their will, then political unity will also have been achieved, for there cannot be polarization without dissent.
But even if there is no clear victor, unity can come about. Through sharing the same pain and the same losses as each other, both sides may extend an olive branch, coming to terms with what each other stands for. Thus, experiencing war is the surefire method for enabling long-term peace.
So, don’t fear the Uncivil War. Embrace it. And just know that in the worst case where two new countries are formed, at least all federal debt will have been eliminated in these Disunited States of America.