Rarely do people set out to start a civil war. Invariably, when such wars break out both sides consider themselves to be the aggrieved ones. Right now in America, even though the Left has control of all the institutions of cultural power and prestige — universities, movies, literary publishing, mainstream journalism– as well as the federal courts, they feel themselves oppressed and threatened by traditional religion and conservatism. And even though the Right controls both houses of Congress and the presidency, as well as having ample outlets for their views in nontraditional media and an ever-increasing dominance over American religious and economic life, they feel themselves oppressed and threatened by the cultural dominance of the Left.
And they are threatened, just as they are also threatening, because nobody is willing to accept the simple idea that someone can disagree with their group and still be a decent human being worthy of respect.
Can it lead to war?
Very simply, yes. The moment one group feels itself so aggrieved that it uses either its own weapons or the weapons of the state to “prevent” the other side from bringing about its supposed “evil” designs, then that other side will have no choice but to take up arms against them. Both sides will believe the other to be the instigator.
In 2009, when this was written, it seemed less likely. In 2014, it seems much more likely, as the free marketplace for ideas shuts down, as the ideals of free speech set out by John Stuart Mill become ignored and deprecated, and people on both sides are more open about calling to their men ‘aux armes.’
In 2013, Jim predicted something similar to what Card anticipated. He also predicted the shape of early conflicts, eerily predating the conflict in Ferguson, MO by more than a year.