This violence begins before the crisis breaks, and continues for some time afterward.
- The Civil War crisis is best-known for violence, but remember that this violence began well before the crisis occurred. Bloody Kansas began in 1854.
- The violence within the 1890s crisis, which resulted in the Thesis of progressivism and its Anti-Thesis, populism, is sometimes forgotten. Management violence was the major feature, as in the 1894 Pullman Strike.
- The violence inherent in the Great Depression was bad enough. But the 1931 march of the Bonus Army, and its brutal put-down, stands out among the pre-crisis violence.
- The Detroit Riot of 1967 was just one of many urban uprisings that marked the time before Nixon's election in 1968.
In all these cases the violence preceded the Crisis, and was evidence of it. What defined the Crisis was America's reaction to that violence, and its rejection of the causes on which that violence was based. This led directly to a rejection of the old Political Thesis and the desire for something new. It was a pre-condition for that rejection.
So the current fighting in Lebanon, and war in Iraq (why do we forget Afghanistan) is bound to result in real violence here at home, on the part of the falling Political Thesis. Remember, this is the Nixon Thesis of Conflict, the assumption that "hidden enemies" are behind every failure. This Thesis has dominated our political life for 40 years. Do you think it will go meekly?
And I have no doubt that some violence will result. Somewhere in
this country there are people who believe this nonsense, who will
follow this nonsense, who will obey these instructions.
So people are going to die. I take no pleasure in saying that. But this is just as certain. From those deaths, and our revulsion over those deaths, a new era will rise.
If America remains true to its history, it will be a better era.