Let’s Watch Greg Gutfeld Justify Why a Civil War Is Necessary in the United States

“You need to make war to bring peace because you have a side that cannot change,” Gutfeld said.

Greg Gutfeld with his finger as a gun and he's smirking

Evan Agostini/AP

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“Elections don’t work,” Greg Gutfeld explained, as the co-host of “The Five” and Fox News’ answer to Jimmy Kimmel descended into a dorm room caliber monologue that attempted to justify why a civil war in the United States may be necessary to reverse American “decline.” The good guys in this one will not be opponents of slavery, but right-wing Americans fed up with crime. 

Gutfeld made the comments during a Thursday broadcast as part of a discussion of recent looting in Philadelphia. After saying that law-abiding Americans were “being driven out of cities by the oppressed,” Gutfeld turned to the Civil War and the need for another one:

We had a war over slavery. We knew slavery was inhumane and immoral, but somehow we couldn’t solve slavery peacefully. It was an evil, but one side refused to acknowledge that it was evil because it was too big of an admission for them to make. Doesn’t that feel that way now? That this defiant refusal to reverse this decline argues against the survival of a country. What does that leave you with? It leaves you with, you need to make war to bring peace because you have a side that cannot change. Because then that means an admission that their beliefs have been corrupt—all the time. So, in a way, you have to force them to surrender.

There is nothing ambiguous about this. Gutfeld is saying that acts of violence committed by the fed-up Travis Bickles of Philadelphia or San Francisco would be not just tolerable but righteous—proclamations of emancipation from those who’ve seen the truth and fight for it.

The thing with wars is that people get killed. So who is Gutfeld saying should die? And who does he think should kill them? Here it’s helpful to turn to the late white nationalist Sam Francis’ concept of anarcho-tyranny, which has had a resurgence on the far-right recently. Francis argued in a 1994 essay that the middle-class was being subjected to a never-before-seen combination of simultaneous anarchy and tyranny. The tyranny came from above, as cosmopolitan elites forced them to pay taxes, obey seat belt laws, and register their guns. The anarchy came from the criminals below who, as Gutfeld put it this week, force everyone else to “change our lives to accommodate risk wherever we go.”

As I wrote earlier this year:

Francis’ anarcho-tyranny is the lens through which the blurry rage of MAGA comes into focus. When Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) complains about a “lunatic” in New York getting away with harassing a white family as Donald Trump is hounded over a hush-money case, it can seem like an age-old tale of liberal hypocrisy. But as [Tucker] Carlson made clear earlier this year, the New Right sees progressive elites as engaged in something far more sinister. “What they’re describing is a caste system,” Carlson explained, “where they can do what they want, and you are subject to the minutiae of their legal code. It’s called anarcho-tyranny.”

The argument is that the vague middle is pincered between puppet masters controlling society and anarchists ruining it. What option do they have but vigilantism?

In Philadelphia, the city that prompted Gutfeld’s rant, the tyrannizer of the Fox News viewer is District Attorney Larry Krasner, who is seen as emblematic of all the problems that left-wing ideology has inflicted on the middle-class white people who often euphemistically get called taxpayers. The anarchists are the mostly Black looters shown on screen. These are the groups Gutfeld wants to see crushed.

His argument is premised on the idea that “society is in peril and chaos because our elections don’t matter.” But Gutfeld is not alleging that the elections are rigged, even though Fox News has done plenty of that. He is just saying that they don’t deliver the results he wants. In 2021, Krasner was reelected by more than 30-point margins in the primary and general elections, despite a well-funded effort to defeat him.

Gutfeld responds to the failure to beat him at the ballot box by endorsing violence. Francis, who wrote his missive from what was once Robert E. Lee’s childhood bedroom, made a similar move at the end of his essay on anarcho-tyranny. After celebrating Bernhard Goetz for shooting Black teenagers on the New York City subway, he argued that “only when Americans take back their own streets themselves will they have any streets that are safe.” Gutfeld takes Francis’ idea to its logical end.

Why just celebrate individual acts of retribution? Aren’t those half-measures? Wouldn’t a war be better? 

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