“We are OWNED by guns. Only one thing will change that.
“We must have Economic Civil War. Blue States must financially starve the Red States, the Gun Lobby, the GOP, the Death Lobby, and the crooked judiciary into submission.
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) February 15, 2023
Keith Olberman was a sometime sports presenter, a sometime political talking head, and is now nothing but a chronically unemployed former media hack who could never manage to hold a job for long due to his, uh, prickly personality and spectacularly cantankerous assholishness.
Since there’s no one left who’s willing to take the risk of employing him again, he now puts out a version of his old MSNBC show via podcast, no doubt reaching dozens of his formerly devoted fans.
Like so many on the anti-gun left, Olbermann was quick to jump on the DO SOMETHING hot take train yesterday, reacting to the Michigan State shooting. But rather than clownishly calling for an assault weapons ban (the MSU shooter used handguns) while sidestepping the inconvenient role that “progressive” criminal justice policies played in making the shooting possible, Olbermann — as has always been his wont — went farther. A lot farther.
Staring gravely into his iPhone, he pronounced that . . .
We are owned by guns. And therefore, there is only one way to stop the mass shootings. It is to suffocate the businesses that make billions of dollars in profits off guns. To destroy the gun lobby, the death lobby, and the Republican party that defends those lobbies and those businesses.
And the only way to do that is an economic civil war. The blue states have all the money. They must starve the red states into submission, or another 600,000 Americans will be murdered in the next ten to twelve years.
If he’s aware that an economic civil war aimed at crushing those with social and political views he finds repugnant would have a not-insignificant chance of turning kinetic, he doesn’t seem to care. Fortunately, there’s little reason to take anything seriously that a washed-up crank like Olbermann, who has only a tenuous remaining grasp on reality, manages to shout out into the vastness of the internet.
It’s all too easy for a cosseted, cardigan-clad bloviator, one with more self-regard than actual cranial capacity, to call for another civil war in order to finally put and end to the evil Gun Lobby™ and politicians that at least still pay lip service to the right to keep and bear arms.
Never mind that the assumptions that apparently underly Olbermann’s anxiousness for an economic civil war are ludicrous. Of the 600,000 lives he claims would be saved by nuking the gun lobby, statistics show over 350,000 of those are suicides. If he thinks waging war to decimate Big Gun will prevent those, he’s even more delusional than he looks.
Olbermann also claims that “blue states have all the money.” That will come as something of a surprise to states like Texas, Florida, Ohio, Georgia, Tennessee and others. Then there’s the fact that the Civil War of 1861 to 1865 began with economic sanctions on southern states. Over 600,000 died by the end.
What America would look like if, somehow, only the government was armed isn’t a concept his big brain can accomodate. Let alone the fact that it was something the Founders feared more than almost anything else. That’s why they guaranteed the right of the people to arm themselves, ensuring a necessary balance of power, keeping would-be tyrants at bay and the populace free.
The likelihood of Olbermann’s hoped-for economic civil war escalating into a shooting war is significant and not one even remotely worth taking. Too many on both the left and the right have begun to talk in recent years about another civil war as if it’s an inevitability. They seem to assume that it would be concluded quickly and in favor of their side. They see what they believe is an intractably, mostly evenly divided country and can only conceive of one ultimate resolution for he problems that keep them up at night.
In reality, a new civil war isn’t something that should ever be taken lightly or wished for by anyone. If it somehow happened, it would be a disaster beyond the imagination of the vast majority of Americans.
As historian and Civil War expert Allen Guelzo makes clear . . .
“There is no civil calamity greater than the two words [civil war] we have in view today; not plague, not a depression, not even war itself,” Guelzo said. “And it is my earnest hope that no one listening to us will take those two words into their mouths with anything except a sense of horror and revulsion.” …
The American Civil War was short-lived, but its consequences for the country were terrible and continued to affect the generations that followed, he said.
“Americans have endured one civil war, and though by the standards of civil conflicts of world history, ours was comparatively brief, only four years, compared to the 20 years of the Taiping Rebellion in China in the 1850s and ’60s and the English Civil War of 1642 to ’53, yet its costs were heart-stopping,” Guelzo said.
Those costs were 750,000 Americans dead, wounded, maimed, or missing, and “a federal veterans pension list so big that for a half-century afterward it was the single largest item in the federal budget.”
That’s why Guelzo warned of those looking toward a future of an America embroiled in civil war, adding that we “must never let those two words pass our lips lightly, or even worse, seriously.”
Again, after serial bouts of career seppuku, Olbermann has lost his prominent platform(s), virtually all of his audience, and any shred of credibility he may once have had. He’s mostly just a punchline now with a podcast and a Twitter account.
Still, it’s more than a little disconcerting to hear anyone — even a washed-up, inconsequential has-been — announce that the last best solution for the social, political, and policy pathologies that have resulted in increased violent crime in America is to wage war against those on the other side of the spectrum. Idiots like Olbermann have no idea what it is they’re wishing for.