Desperate solutions to genuinely severe public crises and the breakdown of civil order are not unheard of. We in Canada, for example, experienced martial law during the October Crisis of 1970 when the War Measures Act was invoked to deal with the threat of domestic terrorism in Quebec. The FLQ (the Front de libération du Québec), spurred by the political evangelism of a partisan press, resorted to violence to further the cause of Quebec separatism. Many have claimed that Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau overreacted; his assessment of the risk is still being bruited. But he did not hesitate to respond in decisive fashion, calling out the troops and suspending the writ of habeas corpus when he believed the future of the Confederation was at stake.
America in 2018 is in far graver peril than was Canada in 1970. “Fixing our nation seems like an impossible task,” writes Gary DeMar, senior fellow at The American Vision, “when the media, the government, the courts, Hollywood, and the schools have been captured by Leftist elites.” In his book Whoever Controls the Schools Rules the World, DeMar argues for parental pushback against the ideological force of government-controlled education as a solution to the problem. Unfortunately, parental revolt, while a good start, is too unorganized and dispersed to be ultimately effective. Something far more comprehensive, potent and systematic is needed to halt the revolutionary momentum of the Left.
This is where, if warranted, the Canadian precedent may come into play. If nothing else works, it follows that a given political instrument that may have a chance of success in combating an insurrectionary movement and in quashing the political and cultural dragonnade threatening the Republic is precisely what no one wants to contemplate: martial law. Dinesh D’Souza concludes his must-read America: Imagine a World without Her treating a possible progressivist triumph with the following words: “[W]e will be living in a totalitarian society. … America will truly be an evil empire, and it will be the right and duty of American citizens to organize once again, as in 1776, to overthrow it.”
Martial law — no less than D’Souza’s mass revolt — is clearly a last-ditch scenario to be avoided by all means possible, but cannot be entirely ruled out of consideration when a democracy is subject to a totalitarian démarche, irruptions of violence and institutional collapse. It is something that needs to be thought about, if only as a putative deterrent against continued subversion. That is, the fact that the law exists and the fact that it can be legally implemented should be sufficiently alarming to get people thinking concretely and in some detail about how to halt or reverse the decline into political anarchy.
Can any realistic observer or patriot doubt that something dramatic needs to be done during the time in office of the one administration that has a chance of delivering a devastating blow to the perfidious Left and rescuing the nation from civic implosion? Moreover, why keep martial law on the books as a contingency measure, if we are unwilling even to discuss its use and relevance — whether to endorse or rebut — or, for that matter, to ponder its modification, as Canada’s War Measures Act was replaced by the less sweeping Emergencies Act in 1981?
Naturally, much would depend on the definition of the term “insurrection,” but the effort to undermine the Constitution, the plot to resist the legal orders and directives of a sitting president by a wide variety of means, however covert, the prosecution of bogus crimes or misdemeanors with the intent of overturning a lawful election, the frequency of declared assassination hopes in a general climate of revisionary violence, and the usurpation of presidential authority by federal and circuit judges would fall within the scope of the term. On a fair reading, neither the Insurrection Act of 1807 nor the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 (emended 1956) would hinder a presidential response to the clear and present danger of national disintegration.
As mentioned, the prospect of martial law is a last resort that cannot be undertaken lightly or often. Indeed, the last time martial law was declared on a national level, that is, on behalf of a national government, was in 1861, although it has been invoked in local circumstances on several occasions since. Admittedly, we cannot know whether the proclamation of martial law would be subsequently ratified by Congress, as it was in 1863. But there are times in the tumultuous history of a nation like the U.S., especially in the absence of concurrent congressional support and institutional obedience, when pivotal measures of some sort must at least be explored and deliberated.
In any event, it seems to me that only some form of determined action by the current administration can prevent the future dissolution of the country. Here it is important to be specific. For there is little point in merely describing or deploring a dire situation unless one furnishes proposals for empirical action. The sources of Leftist activism and recruitment are both multiple and ubiquitous and must be met head-on.
Ergo, the academy, from which the ideological contamination has emerged and spread, should be selectively defunded. A sectarian press and accessory internet sites, which are not “free” but propaganda arms of the Marxist axis — American Pravda, as James O’Keefe calls it — need to be prosecuted for flagrantly violating the SPJ Code of Ethics. Organizations that have proliferated for decades with the intent of sabotaging a constitutional republic — the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Planned Parenthood, among an innumerable host — must be disbanded.
Similarly, powerful corporations that use their wealth and influence to eviscerate the economic, social, cultural and political structures meant to sustain a strong and prosperous nation — such corporations as the Tides Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the infamous Clinton Foundation — have to be neutralized, and individuals whose billions go to fund the revolutionary enemies of the Republic and foment schism and turmoil must be arrested, deported or extradited.
In addition, guerilla outfits like Antifa need to be declared domestic terrorists and face the might of a loyal military. Groups that play the racist card to extort illegitimate advantages and sow discord should be put on notice. UN-supporting globalists need to go the way of desuetude along with an anti-American anachronism like the UN itself. The U.S. should deal diplomatically with nations on an individual basis rather than subsidize a Wilsonesque institution mired in corruption and Security Council obstructionism. The Democratic Party and their assorted Republican allies should be exposed for the oligarchic fifth column they are.
Let us not mince words. Desperate times call for desperate measures failing which the writing is lividly on the wall. There is no compromising with an enemy for whom compromise is not in its arsenal. The lure of reconciliation is a mirage in the cultural desert. Gradually healing what is irremediably broken is pure wish-fulfilment. In short, however the task is definitively undertaken, the Swamp must be drained and the Deep State deep-sixed if the licit State is to survive.
Understandably, very few would want to go the martial route. Neither would this writer. Other initiatives, such as those detailed above, would be preferable, assuming they are available and that the president is in a position to use his constitutional powers. Considering the opposing forces arrayed against Trump and the pervasiveness of a seditionary agenda, that is the question. What is not in question is that America is now at the crossroads. Will it have the fortitude and insight to save itself, by whatever effective means are at its disposal, from perhaps the most determined and powerful internal adversary it has encountered since the Civil War? Or will it succumb in the name of Liberty and concessionary accommodations to the diabolical shadow it has allowed to grow in its midst?