It's time to stop our cold civil war from heating up

The question on the table today is whether the Left as a whole will continue to abide by the rulebook and rely on the political process—which includes a guarantee of free speech—or try through nefarious means to destroy opposing opinions with force. The former is a choice for the Constitution; the latter—let us speak candidly—is the beginnings of a declaration of war.

We have seen a number of dramatic articles written recently with threateningly martial themes, and not without cause. Angelo Codevilla has called our current circumstances a “Cold Civil War” due to the palpable decrease in toleration on both the Left and Right. According to Codevilla, there are two ways to prevent that cold war from becoming hot, and we must pursue both of them.

First, we must “relearn federalism” as a way of practicing toleration. We should permit as much diversity of opinion expressed in law as possible within the 50 republics encompassed within our federal nation, so long as one or a few states do not endanger the rest. Second, we must restore “a coherent, persuasive idea of the common good… to the public mind.”

A few issues affect every state equally, immigration and national defense upmost among them. Social justice warriors should focus on trying to effect change by persuading the people in their own states with arguments, not with fists or calling for bringing the full weight of the national government to bear on things like “bathroom justice.” If anyone is more to blame than others for threatening our nation, it is those who have given up on the power of argument to persuade and have resorted to force.