1st Edition

Beyond Polarized American Democracy From Mass Society to Coups and Civil War

By Michael Haas Copyright 2024
    360 Pages
    by Routledge

    360 Pages
    by Routledge

    Civil war in the United States is now a mainstream topic due to apparent signs of ongoing planning. This book reveals why in several ways.  First, four major ideological drivers of possible conflict are identified.  Next, ten arenas of ongoing nonviolent civil war are traced as increasingly for  micro-level violence.  Then several dozen alternative scenarios are traced to explain how civil war could break out very soon.  Finally, measures are delineated about how the country might prevent calamity.

    Anarchists, Christian Nationalists, Libertarians, and Triumphalists are determined to impose their views on the diverse nation and reduce opponents to second-class status. They demonstrate their blatant determination through nonviolent political contests involving conspiracy theories, cultural differences, verbal contestation, anti-elitism, racism, well-armed groups with nationwide membership, political demonization, media disinformation, Congressional hyperpartisanship, reducing constitutional rights, and legal fights by some states against others. But often they go beyond and commit violence out of sheer enjoyment in making opponents suffer. Beyond Polarized American Democracy: From Mass Society to Coups and Civil War suggests remedies for each of ten types of nonviolent civil war, but most are long-term solutions that cannot deal with an imminent threat. Accordingly, the book reviews governmental and military resources as well as efforts to counteract the ideological contest through political innovations. The analysis flows from the sociological Mass Society Paradigm, which argues that democracy’s survival depends upon the ability of civil society to relay the needs of the people to institutions of government and provide effective pressure for corrective action. As developed to explain the rise of Nazism in Germany, the analysis applies lessons from studies of coups and civil wars to identify how to prevent the loss of democracy in the United States.


    Part I. Introduction

    1. On the Cusp of Civil War

    Part II. Types of Civil War

    2. Conspiratorial Civil War  

    3. Cultural Civil War

    4. Verbal Civil War

    5. Class-Based Civil War

    6. Racial Civil War

    7. Civil Society Civil War

    8. Information Civil War

    9. Congressional Civil War

    10. Interstate Civil War

    11. Constitutional Civil War

    Part III. End Game

    12.  Countermeasures to Stop Nonviolent Civil War

    13. Metastasizing from Nonviolent to Violent Civil War

    14. Looking Forward into an Abyss?



    Michael Haas is a graduate of Stanford University and Yale University. After earning his doctorate, he taught in the Department of Political Science at the University of Hawai‘i for 35 years, with additional appointments at Northwestern University, Purdue University, the University of California Riverside, the University of London, and five California State University campuses. He is currently a member of the International Advisory Council of the University of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. He also serves as President of the Political Film Society in Los Angeles. Due to his work on behalf of human rights, both through publications and some political activity in regard to American racism and foreign policy misadventures, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

    This book offers a critical discussion about the increasing risks to American democracy. The author presents a meaningful framework of four ideologies (that co-exist uneasily together) as well as ten types of nonviolent civil wars that are currently underway in the US.  This two-level strategy allows readers to understand how proponents of the four groups can draw on any combination of the types of nonviolent civil wars to disrupt democracy. I heartily recommend this book as it starts an important conversation for all who support democracy.

    -- Anna Bounds, Associate Professor of Sociology, Queens College

    The idea of a second civil war in American politics has received scant attention and should be taken more seriously in an era of rising vigilantism, record polarization, and rising extremism. I am glad this author is making this a focus and strongly recommend this book to readers committed to maintaining democracy in the US.

    -- Anthony DiMaggio, Associate Professor of Policial Science, Lehigh University and author of Rising Fascism in America: It Can Happen Here (Routledge, 2022)