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Christopher Scott

Marine combat veteran, 4X author, speaker and host of over 1,700 podcasts and radio shows. 

A Civil War Would Destroy Us

The Devastating Consequences of Division

In recent times, there's been a surge of conversations about the possibility of another civil war in the United States. This is a worrying sign of the heightened level of hate and division within our society. It's eerily reminiscent of the pattern that led up to the first Civil War. Regrettably, this pattern seems to be re-emerging today.

The Civil War, while celebrated by some as a badge of honor, brought profound tragedy and destruction to America. The romanticized narrative of war often focuses on the triumphs, overlooking the devastating aftermath.

It's debatable whether we are better off because of the Civil War. In fact, those who were pushing back against a strong federal government during that time may have been correct. They might not have predicted the mayhem that our government could inflict on us, but their premonitions were not entirely off the mark.

The Civil War brought an enormous amount of death to America. Approximately 620,000 to 750,000 soldiers died, about 2% of the population at the time. Including those who were wounded or missing, the total number of casualties is estimated at 1.5 million. Today that would mean 6 million dead and 12 million total casualties.

The South suffered significant property damage, with many plantations, farms, and cities destroyed. Many businesses, particularly in the South, were devastated due to the destruction of infrastructure and the disruption of trade. The total cost of the war is estimated at $6.6 billion in 1860 dollars, which would be about $75 billion today, probably much higher. This does not include the long-term economic impact of a devastated South, lost labor force due to emancipation, and the ongoing cost of veterans' pensions.

Comparing this to today, we can only imagine the impact another civil war would have on our society. The economic burden would come on top of enormous existing debt. Where would the money come from? Consider we have been operating on a debt economy for decades. Presumably a Civil War would end the borrowing or increase it leading to massive economic swings. It could potentially disrupt every part of our lives for years and inflict damage on our future that could last decades. And that’s if it goes well. We’d expose ourselves to all kinds of external and internal threats.

The American Civil War was primarily ignited by profound disagreements between the Northern and Southern states over the issue of slavery, but that fails to tell the whole story. It was an argument over states rights, property rights and the structure of our government. Economic and social disparities between the two regions also played a significant role. Today, the division is not as straightforward as North versus South, and the issues are different. But that doesn't make them any less potentially explosive.

What is needed in this time of heightened tension is not another civil war, but civil discourse. We need conversations where people can discuss their differences and seek understanding rather than domination. The lessons of history are clear: a civil war would be destructive to our country. In fact it could be a death blow. What would that mean if the United States collapsed and became what? It's a road we've traveled before and should strive to avoid in the future.


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