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Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures: Part 2

(Part One is here.)

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.