We are amidst a cold civil war

Clinical psychologist Hector Garcia interviews Peter Montoya about his book The Second Civil War. They talk about similarities between the civil war of the 1860s and our current political divide, the causes of our societal division, our cognitive biases, the role of the media, and practical strategies that you can deploy to help reunify our nation.

So, Peter, I read your book, The Second Civil War, and the premise to understand and then repair our political divisions is especially in the United States, is vitally important. Now, regarding the title of the book, The Second Civil War.

Do you see any similarities between the Civil War of the 1860s and the political divisions that are happening right now in our nation? To me, there are, of course, similarities, but there are also very different. The 1860s civil war was obviously a hot war, which means they used violence.

They used guns and cannons and things like that. And this war has had some hot flashes. Last year, they reported about thirty five deaths in riots, explosions, car crash, intentional car crashes that were probably attributed to that, the civil war.

But the civil war is largely a cold war and a cold war is everything that’s not violent. And I would actually say this also largely a social civil war, which means it is a friend against friend. It is children against parents.

It is neighbor against neighbor. It’s even an employer versus employee or employee against employer. And what we’re seeing is a lot of shaming and shunning and cancelling. And that’s a big word, kind of at the metal level, this cancel culture.

But we’re doing it at the local level individually too. Almost every single person I know has canceled one of their friends. So, Peter, it’s funny, I gave a talk last weekend and somebody in the audience asked me, they said, Dr. Garcia, how should we talk to somebody with whom we disagree politically?

Like a family member? And immediately I thought of your book, so I had my own answer to it. But I definitely want to hear what you have to say about that. How do we how do we talk to somebody on the other side, so to speak?

So I like you. I really want to have a lot of civil discourse to make sure that we’re actually vetting out issues, gaining more empathy from other perspectives so we as a society can actually collectively solve our problems.

Unfortunately, because of our tribalism, the tenor is such that we’re not able to really have those dialogs. So I’m going to give a couple of choices. So the first one would be this. If you decide… I very rarely these days get into political conversations.

That’s the first one. And the reason being is I don’t really find political conversations these days actually to be about policy. Most political conversations these days are actually just tribal signaling virtue signaling. And what people are doing largely is they’re picking the news du jour.

Whatever story broke yesterday or last week, could’ve been a riot, could’ve been the election results? And each side is tribe and I’m oversimplifying here, kind of drips down their talking points and it’s just these little phrases. And then each person, us and our families, will repeat the same talking points, these same phrases.

And we think we’re making an argument. But actually, all we’re doing is signaling which tribe we’re in. And so when the other person uses a different set of talking points, we know, hey, they’re not on our side and inside our midbrain just kind of lights up and then we’re very, very likely to get in arguments.

So that’s why it’s so volatile right now, is we’re not really debating, discussing, rationalizing about politics. All we’re really doing is saying, my dad can beat up your dad. Are you on my team? My team can beat up your team.

That’s what most political conversations are these days. So a lot of what you said, I think is is right on. And, you know, it makes me think about what messages we receive from the media, because a lot of times there are complex political issues with a lot of nuance.

But that’s not the way they get delivered through through through the media. So it’s almost as if the media you know, it’s not almost it very much literally is that the media gives the populace the soundbites that are very tribalistic.

They’re very dichotomized to make that sort of disagreement, those those tribalistic stances, you know, more likely. What are you what are your thoughts about that? I couldn’t agree more. So here’s one of my epiphanies is I really after thinking about it long and hard, I really don’t think I’ve got an original thought in my head at all when it comes to politics. There is a phrase that psychologists use, you know this one. It’s a cryptomnesia and cryptomnesia means that you absorb ideas, you absorb content from other places, you forget that you’ve heard it somewhere else and you assimilate it into your own thoughts, and then you regurgitate it as if it was

your idea. And the truth is, if you really pay attention to it, there’s very few people who actually have original thinking when it comes to the news, politics, social issues. And Dr. Garcia, you are one of them, by the way.

I don’t put myself in that category. I know how original thoughts because I’ve read your work. Thank you. Well, let me tell you, I like what you’re doing here. You know, and I think there are original thoughts in your book.

I read it from cover to cover, but I like what you’re doing here. It’s you know, you’re expressing ways to communicate across a very fractured nation. And I think there are some very psychologically savvy points that you make.

But it’s in a way that the average person can understand. And we absolutely, absolutely need that. And we need that discussion. You know, we’ve seen each other become my first choice is not to do it. Then my second choice, if I’m going to go into those most conversations, I almost always set some ground rules and

they sound kind of like this. Hey, just so you know, I’m glad to have this conversation with you. But do me a favor. Do me a favor. Please don’t try to change my mind. And I promise not to try to change your mind.

I love to hear your side of this so I can understand your side better. And I would love to share mine, too. So that’s one of the things that I do. And then the next thing I do is I always look for some way to agree with a point they made.

And as soon as you do that, their defense is almost always, not always, but almost always drop a little bit. And it can be as simple as simple as that is a really good point you raised. And that’s a great question that I haven’t heard anybody ask before.

You raise some interesting facts that I got to go look at those. Those are great. And as soon as you acknowledge the person’s point, it usually takes a lot of attention out. That’s my second strategy, is to set some ground rules and then find some points of agreement.

Yeah. And sometimes it can be hard, right. It’s a skill that if you’re if you’re speaking to somebody who’s, you know, thoughts about politics, thoughts about, you know, civil rights or whatever, whatever the topic du jour is, if you’re talking to somebody whose beliefs are so drastically different from yours, that’s not always easy to do.

It’s a skill that you have to to practice, I think. But I think I think you’re right. It’s what you’re talking about is very similar to what happens in in in couples counseling and teaching people how to to communicate better with their spouse or even assertiveness training, just communication skills in general, teaching how

to do what’s called reflective listening. So even if you don’t agree with what the person is saying, like just repeating back what they said, OK, so what you’re saying is blank sometimes just the person knowing that you heard what they said and it diffuses, like you said.

Right. And if you can find a point of agreement, even a small point, even better. I’ve got a third technique, by the way. So this is the third technique that I’ve got. So my first technique is not talk about politics, because really all we’re doing is saying, what tribe are you in?

My second technique is to find points of agreement and to empathize with them. And here’s my third technique. So every once in a while, we’ll be having a conversation with a friend and they will elicit a point of view which is so outrageous and so immoral and so volatile to you that you’re going, oh, my God, how

can they think like that? You want to go, what the heck are you thinking? Are you out of your mind? And when you have that reaction, that is the absolute worst thing you can do. So I borrowed this technique of how you deal with narcissists, and it’s called either gray rocking or gray stoning.

And so when someone shares with you a political opinion that or social opinion that is immoral to you, and you go, I can’t acknowledge this and say, I hear you a great point. You don’t want to do that.

And then you also don’t want to give them any kind of sense, even a headshake or an eye roll will put them into a defensive posture and they will actually double down on that. So the best thing to do is absolutely nothing.

And so how you stop a narcissist from dominating you is to be like a gray rock and give the least possible expression. That means you’re a gray rock. You don’t move your facial fixtures. You don’t nod, you don’t smile, you don’t smirk.

You don’t say yes. You just go dead. Hold on them. And what happens is, in most circumstances, it doesn’t always work, but they usually get so uncomfortable that they change the topic and subconsciously they know they now have a bumper.

Kind of like a speed bump going down the road, though. Maybe I shouldn’t talk about that again. I wasn’t rejected, but it just was so uncomfortable. I’m not going to do it again. Yeah, that’s very interesting. You know, sometimes certain people will feed off emotional responses.

But, you know, that’s also very akin to, you know, teaching communication skills. A lot of times, body posture, emotion in some kind of facial gesture, tone of voice like non-verbals are more strongly tied to emotion than than actually what the person’s saying.

So that can elicit huge amounts of information because because those gestures are, you know, are very old. Like before we even had language, we communicated with facial gestures and body posture and things like that. So they go straight to the emotion centers of the brain.

What you’re saying is don’t even don’t even go there. Right. It’s so amazing because they happen so quickly. And so subconsciously, it could be as simple as it could be that simple. The other person will pick up on it.

You might think they don’t, but they will automatically puts them into a more defensive posture. Yeah. So, Peter, what is your political party? Are you are you a Fox News guy or are you a Huffington Post New York Times guy?

That is a phenomenal question. I’m so glad you asked that. I denounced my political affiliation back in 2003, and I had a political affiliation because I thought that it was what you did to be a patriot. You joined a party and you try to, you know, fight for your side.

But what I discovered back in 2003 is that I can’t believe in myself, in my mind. I said, you know, who is the most deceptive party? Who is the… which party lies the most? Well, it was the opposite party that I was in.

But what happened was back in 2003 is I found out that I was lied to by my party. And what I came to realize is the most deceptive party, the party that lies the most is the party that you trust.

It’s not the other party because you don’t trust them now. So obviously, I’m speaking in a kind of very, very micro sense to you individually, because if you trust somebody, that’s the person, somebody some news source, some political organization, that is the organization that’s most likely to deceive you.

So my only allegiance is to the United States of America. And I don’t put I don’t affiliate with a political party. My only mission and goal is to make sure that we collectively work together to solve problems. Right now, we are in a power struggle where we have forgotten that it’s not Republican against Democrat.

What it’s supposed to be is Republican and Democrat versus our collective problems. That’s what we’ve got to get back to. I like that last part, I like what you said just now, and that is there, you know, we lose sight of the mission when we began fighting ourselves.

And there’s there’s plenty of social problems to focus our efforts and attention on as as a team, as a unit. I don’t know. I think, you know, how much a party lies may be an objective question. That’s that can be, you know, looked at by fact checkers.

You know, it may be an answerable question and we may be, you know, put in the position of, well, do we choose the lesser of two evils? But at the same time, you know, this idea of never buying fully in with both feet to any any tribe, I think that’s important.

You have to have because of our our tribal psychology is so ancient. It’s so it involves so many primal emotions. We have to have one foot outside of that to remain objective to do so far. As insofar as your tribe being the nation, I think that’s a great it’s a great overall.

It’s a good strategy. Yeah. Because as soon as you put on any identity onto yourself, as soon as you say, I’m a Christian, I’m Jewish, I’m Muslim, I’m Republican, I’m Democrat, as soon as you put that identity yourself, it creates a bias.

And a bias by definition is an error in reasoning. So as soon as you put that identity on you, you are not seeing you’re seeing reality even worse than it is, even more distorted than if you would at least attempt to be neutral.

I was listening to an amazing podcast with Donald Hoffman, a psychologist at a University of California, Irvine. He studies consciousness. Are you familiar with him and his work? No? Oh Gosh. He’s brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. And they were talking about consciousness and they asked Sam Harris, asked him and said, what was the hardest thing you ever learned?

And he said that my version of reality is not true, that what I perceived to be reality is not reality at all. And on top of that, this is what he said. This blew my mind.

He said, I actually believe that the moon is not there if no one looks at it. He said, when you look at the fabric of the fields of study in physics, that this is what he believes. The moon’s not there.

Now, whether that’s true or not is not the point. The point is we really a wise man knows his own mind well enough to mistrust it. All of my knowledge is temporary, pending new information. I hold on to my facts very, very loosely.

They’re always… I’m always looking for new information to replace the bad stuff and find the stuff that’s better. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. You have to you have to update what you know or think, you know, with incoming information. But we know one thing you said.

I have a question about it. Good. Are you saying that we can’t be in a political party? We can’t remain objective and, you know, belong to a political party or a tribe or an organization? Is our our identities inherently biased or do you think that we can we can have an affiliation, but approach that approach that organization

or the tribe or the social group with thoughtful questions? So I think a person can. So here’s my question and I’ll see where you land on this. I don’t understand what the benefit is to me as an individual to belong to a political affiliation.

So here’s what the benefit is to the political parties. First of all, they have a source for revenue. They have a person who’s most likely… their cognitive defenses are lowered and they’re more likely to be a foot soldier and get enacted in the course of that.

Also, that person is more likely to then attack or go after our enemy. The other party. So there’s lots of benefits for political parties for us to be part of them. But for me as an American. Okay. Here in California, I can’t vote in the primary because I’m independent.

That’s OK. And I think that for me, a better off and keeping hopefully better objectivity. I’m not objective. I don’t have any monopoly on the truth. My mind and my thinking is as flawed and error ridden as anybody’s.

And every single day I wake up going half of what I believe is not true. Let’s see if we can find out what it is. And I think when you affiliate with a political party, it makes it harder.

So let me test that and you tell me. And by the way, I have donated. I voted on both sides of the aisle. I’ve donated money on both sides of the aisle. Is there really a benefit to us that I’m missing when we belong to a political party and I’m talking about we as individuals, not the party?

I don’t think we can dispense with with political parties or groups or, you know, those kinds those levels of organization just just for practical reasons. But I do think, you know, some very old psychology gets enacted that makes us blind to the logical fallacies of our party because we want to belong so badly.

Right. And because in our ancestral past, really not belonging to the tribe was a very dangerous proposition. So it was death and it was. Yes, I mean, either being executed by the tribe or abandoned by the tribe.

So so we have this this natural tendency to fear going against the tribe. But, you know, every group, just like every individual, needs a mirror. And I think that’s what discourse like this. And, you know, the book that that you’ve written and the objective that you’re putting forth.

I think that’s what it serves. I have learned all the cognitive biases, I’ve seen them, and there’s obviously there’s hundreds of them. It’s amazing you start reading when you go. I didn’t know there was a bias, but I’ve done it before.

And then there was a bias that then before and you can look at, I think some of the ones that are really well known are a confirmation bias. Obscure mistakes. And there’s one called in-group-out-group. And when I first learned about the cognitive biases, I kind of learned them as all this long, long list.

And now the more I look at it, I really look at the in-group-out-group bias, which is your tribal bias is actually a master bias. I think it actually controls a lot of the other biases beneath it. So I’m coming to believe that first we choose our tribe, which is we belong to.

And we ask oftentimes wonder, you know, why do we have this confirmation bias? And one argument is, is it saves energy? So if we all are ever doing is confirm what we already know. It takes less processing power, less food, less energy to process our brains.

But I also think the other reason probably is, is as long as we’re being allegiant to our tribe, we’re less likely to be thrown out. So maybe one of the reasons that we have confirmation bias that we use motivated reasoning to rationale why our tribe is good is not only to save on a little bit of our

calories in our brain, but maybe it also helped us survive by being loyal to our tribes. Absolutely. I could not agree more. I think that’s one of the most important understandings that I think the world can arrive at just because of how vulnerable those political biases can make us as as we saw from the 2016 election forward. Yeah, I think so, too. So there’s a popular meme that goes around and the mean goes like this. Racism isn’t you’re not born a racist. You’re taught it. And I’ve seen that since I was a kid. And I always thought, oh, my gosh, that’s absurd.

Right? You know, racism is taught. And now I actually think exactly the opposite. I think that tribalism is our default setting. And I keep looking at all the different institutions in our country and our communities around the world that have to constantly reinforce that we are all human.

And so I thought about it. We look at when we first started going to school and we were saying the Pledge of Allegiance and the Pledge of Allegiance means that we have all this common tribal identity. It’s another way of saying, OK, well, everyone in this classroom, everyone in my school, everyone in the country, we’re all actually

equal. We’re all the same, we’re told as part of our history that all men are created equal in our country. Another way of saying everyone is equal in our country. These are all people of our tribe. We watch Sesame Street and we’re taught that we have different colored monsters.

And we’re all taught that we have to share with one another. OK, everyone’s sharing. We have this kind of collective idea. It’s because that this tribalism, this desire to kind of peel off and take care of our own smaller groups is our default setting.

And to somebody who’s listening, this is going. Yeah, Peter, I don’t do that. I’ve evolved. OK. Have you ever been to a cocktail party or a networking meeting, looked around the room and been judgmental about the people in the room?

That is your tribalism. That is it. Right there you’re going. Not my person. Might be my person. That’s my person. Not my person. I’ll talk to them. That is actually it. And you can see it in real time.

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, sure. You put people in different colored T-shirts and they will start forming groups and forming tribes just based on the color of their T-shirts, you know. But when you take a step back and look at the course of humanity, I will say this just to add a you know, a positive view,

you know, I would say an accurate view of humanity on a broad scale. We have become more and more and more civil with one another since the days of our hunter gatherer ancestors. You know, research finds that, you know, warfare was pretty much continuous among our tribalistic ancestors.

And that’s you write in your book that maybe up to 30 percent or 35 percent may have died of violence. Is that where I read that fact, looking at looking at, you know, death rates of contemporary hunter gatherers?

And that’s that’s men, men from these tribes at the hands of other men, you know, intertribal violence. Yeah. So that kind that was one of the pressures that that shaped this tribalism. Right. But but as time went on and we develop things like centralized government laws and other other facets of modern society, we’ve been able.

To get along a lot better with one another. You know, warfare has to decline tremendously for a good look at this. Steven Pinker’s book The Better Angels Of Our Nature. And we’re able to form these amazingly large societies, hundreds of millions, billions of people, you know, so so we’ve come a long way.

But, you know, the 2016 election in the past, you know, for the four years following that just showed us how quickly that fabric can can, you know, dissolve. Yes. You know, it can become unraveled so quickly suggesting like we have this volatile, tribalistic psychology that given the right manipulations can spring forward and it can spring forward quickly. So overall, we’re marching towards that. But we need to focus on that just given its destructive power, that it’s righteous and moral to attack the other side. So I hear this a lot. You know, I want to fight for my country.

And fighting for my country means arguing with people, defending people, yelling at people, demonizing, vilifying, slurring, slandering other Americans. Just so we’re clear about that. That is not helping your country at all. We attack ideas. We don’t attack people.

Right now, as we in America the last five years have been in practical gridlock where we’re attacking each other, the parties that are winning because we’re attacking each other are the following. China, Iran, North Korea, Russia, our enemies, our competitors are sitting on the sidelines just relishing watching us attack one another.

We are doing more harm to ourselves than any other outside terrorist organization could ever do to us. Well, there’s there’s there’s certainly, you know, a lot of evidence to suggest that our competitors would like to see us tear one another apart and certainly had contributed to that by, you know, flooding social media with memes to incite our, you know, our tribalistic hatreds. So so I think that’s a fair point. So you’re right. I think they spent five hundred thous and dollars in 2016. They got the absolute deal of the century. They took us off the world stage for four or five years with a relatively small investment.

It’s awful. It’s terrible. That’s a bargain for them. Boy, half a million dollars. That’s, I mean, that’s incredibly easy to do. Then if that is the case, I remember going in here, it wasn’t listening to a lecture in 2015 and he was taught was not an expert on the economy and also on Russia.

And he said, listen, people, Russia is not a big deal. They’re not a problem. The United States had at the time, it was like twenty two trillion dollars in GDP. He said Russia was a two point one trillion dollar GDP, but they just lost their oil revenue.

And now there are only a one point two trillion dollar GDP. They just are worth worrying about. Boy, was he wrong. Right, right, right. So so that’s, you know, something I often try to express, if we don’t understand, are our tribalistic psychology or other facets of our evolved psychology.

Others will understand and understand it better than us. They’re going to use it to manipulate us, either outsiders or those, you know, within our nation’s borders who, you know, have something to gain. But you mentioned something in your book that I want to ask you about.

You said that that politics has become the new religion. What did you mean by that? Yeah. So I didn’t when I said religion, by the way, I hope I’m not offending anybody who has a very deeply held faith.

The word religion, a synonym for that is a way of life. So for some people, their way of life is surfing. For other people, their way of life is being a dad or a parent. And for many people, their way of life was their religious practice.

And what we’ve seen in the last four years, and especially the last year, was church attendance plummeted and many people turned to politics. And when you look at politics through a slightly different lens, it’s a lot like professional wrestling.

We have the good guys, we’ve got the bad guys, we have the people on the outside of the rings telling us what’s happening, interpreting who’s moral and who’s good and who’s bad. And so for a lot of people, they’re now consuming two, three, four, five hours of political content each and every day, ratcheting up their anxiety and

their anger. And that’s all they can talk about. They go to work, they come home at five o’clock, they turn on the news, sit on the couch and watch four or five hours of political news which vilifies, demonizes, objectifies other Americans.

They go to sleep. They wake up while they’re eating breakfast. They’re watching more news. They get in the car. They listen to more talk radio in the car on the way to work. And then they call their spouse and complain about what they just heard about on how bad the other side is.

So here is the very, very painful, painful truth is what political figures have figured out and what many of the many media. When I say media, I mean that phrase very broadly. It could be social media. It could be radio, television, cable.

What they’ve learned is the best way to get your attention is through fear. And the more they can get you addicted to outrage, the more you watch and the more advertising they sell and the higher their revenues are.

It is nothing more than outrage porn. And you’re hearing that going well, Peter, surely the media, not the media that I consume, would ever be that intentionally evil. So here’s here’s the litmus test. If you believe that half of America are evil and are trying to destroy the country, you are currently a pawn on somebody else’s chess board.

Because when you look at the data on what we actually feel on a policy point of view, we’re not that far off. But what the media and political figures have done is they put us into tribes. And when we start talking about tribes, we’re completely divided.

We talk about policy. We have 60 and 70 and 80 percent agreement on every issue, ranging from gun control to climate change to immigration. Yes, even immigration. There’s depending on which question you’re asking regarding policy, it’s 70 percent.

We agree on policy. What we’ve been taught is how to hate one another. We have been given permission to hate one another. Well, I think you’re right on about, you know, fear being a way to boost commercial airtime and to make, you know, to sell to sell commercial airtime.

That is I mean, they don’t tell you. Today, 350 Americans went to and from work and school and to the grocery store, and they were fine. That’s not news. That’s not what keeps you glued to the TV set.

But it certainly has a way of disrupting higher cortical functions like fear. There’s clear research on this. Fear impairs one’s ability to think critically. And that’s a dangerous vulnerability to0. Above and beyond, you know, how much money can be made off of us buying products off, you know, the Internet or the TV as we’re watching these fear mongering news reports. So, Peter, you talk at the end of the second civil war that each individual must stop playing the game. What did you mean by that? I’m going to take it one step back.

Ah, the first civil war, which was awful in the sixties. It killed 725,000 Americans, and that was about 2.5 percent of the population. And that that happened today. If we got into another hot war and it killed 2.5 percent of the population, it would be seven or eight million people.

It’d be awful. And there are some people who have blood loss and think, well, the other side deserves it. And so I want or like that. Just so everyone’s clear, most civil wars, but not all, but most civil wars end with some level of genocide.

There’s almost always some level of genocide. So if you think that is a good idea and that we will ever recover from most civil wars, don’t end. The Civil War only ends when the enemy says it’s over. And so some civil wars have lasted that decades, and if not centuries, they will keep fighting these grudge matches for hundreds of years. So the first of all, war had very clear dividing lines. We knew it was over slavery and over federal versus state rights. And we actually had battlefields where we actually knew where the battle was being fought.

So the question is today, first of all, what is the dividing line? And the answer probably is something like, I have a different version of reality than you do. That’s probably one part of it, not the only part.

That’s probably one part of it is I disagree with your version of reality. That’s one one part of it. And then the next question is, well, where’s the battlefield? Where is it being fought? And the answer is the battlefield is in your mind.

There are at least two factions, two kind of generalized parties right now who want to occupy your mind, your wallet, your attention, and they want you to be on their side to help. Demonize the other side so they can win at the ballot box.

Now, I hope that everyone who hears that realizes that if you’re hating half of Americans and I’m saying this without vilifying you, but you have become victim of this. And it does not make sense for our country to try to move forward with vilifying the other side.

So the only way to exit the civil war is not to play the game. It is to lay down your proverbial arms. Stop attacking anybody based on politics and just put down your arms. And the quote that I use this really dates me was from the movie War Games.

And if you remember that movie, they had a computer called Whopper. WOPR or something like that, and it started running this artificial intelligence, which it couldn’t have had back in the 1980s, basically doing these different war game simulations.

And they came to realize… computers came to realize that there is no way to win a nuclear war. Both sides always lose. And that is the same thing. That’s true for the Civil War. There is no beating the other side into submission in our country moving forward.

The only way to win is not to play the game. Well, I hope we can somehow arrive at that mentality. It’s going to take a lot. It’s going to take a lot of emotional wisdom, psychological wisdom and maturity.

And so I hope for the sake of of the fabric of our nation, that that we can. And I think the rest of the world is with us there, because, gosh, I have friends all over the world who have told me how how much what goes on in the United States is is, you know, they’re having election watch parties in Ireland and the UK and Australia and Spain and Italy. And I think the rest of the world is with us there. So I hope we pull it off. The world does need our leadership. They need us back in our leadership spot as a beacon of hope, of democracy, of light, of possibility.

They need us. So we have a moral responsibility to continue to be that shining beacon on a hill, to show the rest of the world what a democracy can do, how we can lift people out of poverty, how we can stop oppression, how we can reduce violence, and how we can work together to solve our collective problems.

The world needs us. So let me ask you, are there any times at which what the other side is saying is so egregious that you really do take a hard stand and say, you know what that is morally reprehensible?

That’s bullshit. That’s insane. Are there… I mean, what if what if somebody is saying, I really do think the other the other side should should die? I really do think we should go out and take arms up against, you know, our neighbors because they think differently politically or I really do think that, you know, a certain minority class should be attacked or or something like that. Is there a point at which, you know, we are required to take that kind of stance? That we should. Yeah. So I have got a very strong moral grounding.

And there are things that are absolutely no go and violence is one of those. So the United States government has a monopoly on a couple of things, and one of them is the ability to raise taxes. Another one is on large federal spending.

And the third thing the government has is a monopoly on violence. And that was one of the best things that any democracy, any government ever figured out. Because what happens when we get in, it’s called a cycle of violence for a reason.

You push me, I push you harder. You hit me. I hit you harder. And our tribal brains, our ape brains kick in and we will not stop. It is a runaway freight train of revenge that we will keep wanting to raise arms until we beat them, even though if you think about it logically, it is a

no win scenario. So I draw a very, very hard line. There is… about the only time to use violence is in self-defense. That’s about the only time to use violence, but otherwise destroying property, vandalizing, physically attacking other people.

It does not help. And almost always, you will be on the be the moral loser on that one. The public will side against you if you enact violence. If you are more committed to national unity than partisanship, please check out my book, The Second Civil War: A Citizen’s Guide to Healing Our Fractured Nation.

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