The Coming Civil War

By Sean Carroll | February 24, 2009 12:11 pm

Glenn Beck — who has a daily TV show on a popular cable news network and therefore must be taken more seriously in some quarters than scruffy people ranting on streetcorners — assembles his friends to war-game the coming civil war. Apparently a combination of 95% tax rates and a flood of unwashed Mexicans is going to provoke militias made of Bubbas to rise up against the U.S. government. Also, Obama is going to force states to accept stimulus money against their will.

Beck follows up by explaining how God fits into all this. The answer is: God gave this country freedom, and God has a method of communicating to us when our freedoms are being taken away. That method, apparently, goes through the gut. Imminent threats to freedom are foreshadowed, if I understand correctly, by a mild sort of indigestion.

You might think this is an isolated case, but here is Alan Keyes — who used to have a TV show, and was recruited by the Illinois Republican party to run for Senate, and therefore must be taken more seriously in some quarters than random fulminators on internet message boards — also warning darkly of the coming civil war.

Indeed, it may have already begun. If I understand this article from correctly, several states have already declared sovereignty, paving the way to full-scale secession from the Union. Nobody wants this to happen, you understand; but if the Democrat party wants to undermine the Constitution and redistribute the wealth, the consequences are simply inevitable.

Here at Cosmic Variance, we believe in always being prepared. The coming civil war isn’t going to be pretty. Don’t say you weren’t warned!

  • Brian Mingus

    These people are very depressing. And sad.

  • ollie

    To the states that want to leave: don’t let the door bang you on the way out.

    Oh yes, we get to keep Austin, TX. :)

  • Tony

    It wont be pretty….but hot damn will it be entertaining. And thats all the news outlets really care about.

  • Harbles

    The Wingnut mighty Wurlitzer noise machine is at full force inciting revolution.
    The same voices that said only a few short years ago that if you didn’t agree with the President’s views you were a traitor.

    Corporate owned mainstream media cannot be trusted!

    Revolution is coming.
    The beltway punditry will find their heads on the pikes of average Americans who finally have had enough of the lies.

    No wonder Rove is following your twitter. lol

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  • Harbles

    Oh and by the way the Orbiting Carbon Observatory was sabotaged by the Energy Cartel.

  • Clerk

    Well it’s about time! “Grow your Mohawks and get your Dune Buggies!”. . . (MAD MAX) baby YYYAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!

  • Chris W.

    Imminent threats to freedom are foreshadowed, if I understand correctly, by a mild sort of indigestion.

    Okay. I guess the stimulus package should include a provision to provide everyone with a free supply of Tums. :)

  • Brando

    Why do I see a correlation with these people’s mindsets and that of the most superstitious? Oh yeah, they think with emotion, not with reason.

  • Matt

    Alright, are we ready to admit that 24-hour cable news channels (all of them) have been an abject failure and a serious detriment to society? Are we ready to admit that the cons have far, far exceeded the pros? It would be a bright day if Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, Al-Jazeera, and the like all suddenly ceased to exist.

    What I would give to go back to a time when we had nothing but the one-hour network national evening news. I just heard a radio broadcast the other day from the 1940s with Edward R. Murrow. How far we’ve come.

  • GR

    It’s okay. We have the LHC as our ace in the hole, in case they get real uppity. Let’s see how bubba reacts to a black hole interfering with his John Wayne fantasy.

  • doug

    I just came from watching these vids over at Glenn Greenwald’s blog and decided I would shake off the horror by catching up on some physics news.

    Alas, ’twas not to be the case. ::sigh::

    I’ll be holed up in the southern Appalachians by the summer of 2012, if anybody wants to reserve a space at the compound…must have farming/gardening/carpentry/sustainable tech. skills, be pleasant company, enjoy making music and chopping wood, or be otherwise qualified to ride out troubled times with like-minded hippie-types in a well-disguised holler. If Bubba’s coming for me, I’m damn sure going to make myself hard to find.

  • tyler

    Incitement to treason is hilarious. Ha! Ha!

  • Peter Morgan

    Try thinking more globally. For example:

    Interesting times, sadly. Walk, travel less, use less.

  • Warren Bonesteel

    Heh. I thought scientists actually researched the things they commented on…

    So much for the scientific method, eh?


    Map located here:


    February 19, 2009 at 23:23:27
    View Ratings | Rate It
    Firestorm Brewing Between U.S. States and Federal Government
    by Lance L. Landon


    I have dozens, even hundreds of resources available, if you want them, from physicists to economists to Harvard chairs…

    Email me, Sean. I’ll hook ya up.

    Beck may be a bombast, but on this one? Mebbe he actually did some small bit of research before he shot off his mouth.

    You people need to get out more often. Ya know that, doncha?

    This is just one ‘movement’ that is in the works.

     There is a now growing ‘tax revolt’ which is also in process of becoming
    something much larger. It was in the process of growth long before Michelle
    Malkin and PJM or Dick Armey jumped on the band wagon.

     These are just two of several such ‘movements’ which are in the process of
    growing and developing.

     Also,keep an eye on the news wrt to the border between Mexico and the U.S.
    There was recently a full scale battle fought in a Texas border town which
    killed twenty people. The federal government has ignored the Texas governor’s
    pleas for help and as a result, the Texas National Guard has been placed on
    alert. The Minutemen have also put out a national ‘call to arms.” The media
    has ignored the story.

    As for the economy? Have I got news for you…and so does the CEO of GE and the leading economist in America from Merril Lynch…even George Soros agrees with them…

    and see:
    ‘Rapidly Collapsing U.S. Foreign Policy’

    That’s just a taste. There’s more if you want it…or need it.



  • j

    I’m fine with this. We should just go our separate ways.

  • Bob

    I have been doing my best to keep the rest of the world up-to-date on the crisis via my Bitter account:


  • Anonymous Snowboarder

    Alan Keyes is not taken seriously by anyone, Republicans included. A check of history will show the only reason he was the senate candidate that cycle was because of a last minute drop out with nobody else wanting to step up to the plate. Keyes is a joke.

    Beck is just another loud mouth TV host. Sometimes has a meaninful point but is almost always bluster with echo chamber guests.

    To the poster who said kill all the cable news outlets- I agree, they have had a bad influence on politics and debate in general. Hopefully they will ultimately not be profitable and die death that way.

  • Nik

    Oh, harsh. Bubba was my soft toy when I was two or as Bitter would have it, 10.

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  • Jason R

    This type of bubba’s revolt comes up every time a Democrat is elected. Remember all of the Militia scares and news bites when Clinton was president. Militia’s generally speaking are hard core republican. Whenever a Democrat is elected its time for them to circle the wagons and tighten their grips on their guns. I grew up in Oklahoma and saw this first hand.

  • luis sancho

    Unfortunately it might be truth. There is a cycle which i first published in 1994 in the book ‘radiations of space-time’, and was the first application of fractal time theory ( which you might love/hate. it is called the generational cycle of 72 years by historians. It is the mean life of human beings. but it is also the cycle of the industrial r=evolution of machines and global stockmarket crashes:
    1857-global crash of the steam/railroad age + 5 years=civil war.
    Add 72
    1929-global crash of the electrochemical age + 10 years=world war II
    Add 72
    2001-global crash of electronic money (.com bubble) re-repeated in 2008 (7 years short wave) add 10 years (w.w.III)
    this was to my knowledge the only book ever published in the 90s that predicted with absolute accuracy BOTH the 2001 and 2008 crash. Published both in spain and the US, (of course it got trashed because FINANCIAL crisis were a ‘thing’ of the past and it required in the complex model to undestand also the algorythms of fractal time, which certainly neither economists or for that matter physicists at CERN understand)… nto their blame, rathe as Planck/kuhn put it: ‘for a new paradigm to take place in science, the entire generation that learnt the old paradigm, must die’ cynical but let us hope Planck/kuhn are not right this time at geneva…
    there is any solution? Of course, to BOTH but ‘the arrogance and ignorance of man is infinite’ (A.einstein) to hold back the nuclear/weapon industry and implement them, avoiding wars and global genocides…
    luis sancho

  • gopher65

    Easy solution. The northeast can join Canada. The southwest can join Mexico (note: requires another decade or two of industrial and social development in Mexico first). The heartland can retain the designation USA. Simple and easy, and everyone goes home happy.

  • luis sancho

    fascistoid concepts, as usual, human are anthropocentric. War has nothing to do with people but with industrial machines. The cycle of war is industrial. That is why it has cycles that coincide with those of the economical crisis.
    That evolution has gone through a generational cycle of energetic evolution of 72 years, with 3 phases, each one lead by the nation which invented those machines, from 1785 to 1857 we lived the age of steam machines and Britain, from 1857 to 1929 we lived the age of electro-chemical machines/energies and Germany, and now we were at the end of the III cycle of electronic machines, 1929-2001, the age of America, and we started the final cycle of the Singularity, when machines will acquire organic, autonomous forms (Age of solar energy and robots, 2001 onwards), the age of Asia.
    So how war fits in? Very simple. Company-mothers of machines do both, the peaceful machine and the weapon. The railroad and the blinded railroad. The car is Hitler’s tank. The chip is the smart weapon. So when the crisis strikes companies paid lobbies and politicians to reinvent demand with war. Lincoln, Moltke in the civil wars of the 1860s were the first a lawyer lobbyist for the illinois company and signed the railroad act that exterminated the indians, Moltke a railroad engineer, mercedes multiplied by 5 profits in the II W.W. loosing it. GM for 8. What is good for GM is good for America. Bush made a fortune in war. As long as obama is president we wont have a fascistoid war against the TRUE, ORIGINAL INHABITANTS OF California called mexicans.

  • Harbles

    @Gopher65 Who gets the nucs?

    no also agrees with Sean.

  • changcho

    Wow – those Republicans are…what’s the word…crazy?

  • Ron Hager

    I believe that Glen Beck is a money grubbing lying sack of excrement, he promotes the hatred of minorities and encourages sedition in our nation, and that there is no limit to his evilness. I fully expect for him to die a long, slow, painful and mutilating death brought about by a sexually transmitted disease given him by one of his loved ones. Well, I can only hope.

  • Bubba

    There are millions of us who have had it with this government. Bush and the Republicans started it; spending money like drunken sailors. Now Obama and the Democrats (who used to complain about the Bush deficits) are spending money like an entire drunken navy. If they raised taxes to a 95% marginal rate for all earned income over $250k it would not pay for half of the recent spending. They are bankrupting this country and will eventually make our fiat currency completely worthless. The increased taxes are going to kill small and large businesses and cause even more unemployment. Just look at California, New York, and Michigan. People are leaving those places in droves because of the high business and job killing taxes. It is a lot harder to leave a country. We revolted against England for a lot less. They are leaving us no other option.

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  • james matthues

    Sign me up the govrenment has been screwing my people for to long the single white male has been discrimanated agianst since that idiot Clinton Obama gettin elected is affirmative action at work.

  • coolstar

    Bubba, grow a brain. “Stimulus” spending so far is about 10% of GDP and the entire national debt is about 55%. If you’ve ever had a house or car loan you’ve been in far worse debt. If FDR had done nothing, we’d still be in the great depression NOW! I recommend you vote with your feet……

  • vytrvalost

    Hey I was curious Sean, how much to you make a year as a professor? And how much of it will go to taxes, at the federal, and at the local level?

  • Jason R

    Maybe we should pray on it. :)

    Please pray to ____ insert your deity of choice___.

  • Bubba

    coolstar, I have a car and house loan and I am not even close to being in worse debt than the United States. The United States debt is $10+ Trillion and with the new Democrat budgets it will be growing by over a trillion a year for several years into the future. Future unfunded federal obligations (Social Security, Medicare, etc. ) are now over $50 trillion or about $170,000 for each American. My budget operates with a cash surplus and my debt is being paid off. When was the last time the U.S. budget was even balanced? It can be argued that FDR’s policies actually delayed our recovery just as Obama’s will delay if not worsen our current situation. WWII ended the depression, not FDR. So coolstar, read a few books and learn the truth. Our country is bankrupt and borrowing more is not the solution…

  • Zeke

    Democratic Party, NOT Democrat Party.

  • JR

    Socialist Party, Not Democratic Party.

  • Johnny

    Boys, in my part of the world, every redneck I know is buying bullets for the many guns they own. Used gun prices have doubled since November. Gun permits have tripled (check it out) I don’t even own a gun, but I will soon. This month I have made several trips to ball games, meeting and such, each time with a different group of guys (usually four of us), and it is the same song, similar verse. “When are we going to take our country back?” What can we do to prevent Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi from making our country a socialist state?” “All we need is a credible leader, that is what everyone is waiting for, and when that happens all hell is going to break loose.” That is what I keep hearing over and over every day and in most converstions.

    I am not in favor of all this stuff, but I am a defender of states rights. What is good for Louisiana may not be good for Washington State and so on. Should my state secede then I will go with her and defend her to my most utmost ability; hopefully in peace. Should Obama form his militia guard as he promised in Louisiana he can expect fight. All you doubters hide and watch. We will not become a soviet state. Period.

  • Whatever

    I agree. We will not bow to the PC a$$hats much longer.

    She’s about to blow!….

  • ELIT3 squir3l

    Y’all should have voted for Ron Paul

  • Winchestermagnum

    The time has come for all of us to stand up and enforce our constitution. Those who follow our government blindly without questioning it must wake up and look around them. Those are the ones who are afraid to lose what they have instead of giving everything to bring our country back to our good (legal)citizens

  • John Gearheart

    You ignorant, closed minded, fascist liberals need to actually watch or listen to one of shows that you love to bash. I watched the episode that this is about. What Beck was talking about, was that if these things do come to pass, then it could spark civil unrest. Not that he was saying these things would definitely happen, or that he was condoning civil unrest. In fact, he was warning that this could indeed happen in a worse case scenario, and we need to be wary of civil unrest and not go in that direction, but instead look for peaceful solutions. I always love to hear the liberal left on their hate diatribes, bashing everything that they have never watched, listened to, or know anything about. They can not stand any dissent of their narrow little viewpoint.

  • Adealia Artist

    We have a young narcissistic president who fancies himself a prince and messiah. The Progressives behind him have no real concept of reality and are very much modern brownshirts. Judging by the Progressives commenting here it is clear they are followers who cannot think for themselves or take care of themselves. I expect, like others, when this fool President completes bankrupting the USA that we will be in the a depression so great it will be generations before we are out of it. In the meantime violence and maybe even civil war will ravage our country.

  • Chelsea

    What Can we common Poeple do about the Bailout? Nothing.. we just have to wait and see if the company comes up and develops new cars and prototypes to please the americal consumer

  • bob

    Well just so long as the bath houses and swinger clubs do not get shutdown you democrats ought to be happy enough.

  • william mony

    the country is headed down a dangerous road

    we have a worthless currency and soon when even the chinese don’t show up at the bond auction the fed will have to buy more and more of its own debt

    go to to see how bad the situation really is-half of homeowners will be upside down by 2010

    and govt controlling healthcare and energy and production is going to make “things better”

    a collapse of our currency is not a matter of IF but WHEN


  • Sabastian Curry

    Obama is just another looting criminal politician. Bush sucked, but this jerk and his band of fellow traveler freaks will destroy what is left of this once great country.

  • thedog

    This was different to read. The political aspect being what it is many fail to look at the heart of the problem. The issue is beleifs. We have devided as a county along the lines of our beliefs. Beliefs are what we fight and die for. We have reached close to 50 50 on the sides just look at the actaul number of votes to each side in the presidential election over the last 25 years and this is evident.

    We have lost tollerance and respect for the beliefs and rights of others when they disagrre with ours. Dont beleive in guns or abortion dont get one but stay out of my life and dont regulate what i can have or do.

    Yes there will be some type of upheaval in this country be it by force of arms or roits or elections.

    If you need proof look at the sales of rual land, weapons, long term food storge and supplies ect.


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Cosmic Variance

Random samplings from a universe of ideas.

About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] .


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