Over the last several years, we have seen pundits and pollsters begin “rumors of war”—to wit, rumors of an impending US civil war, based on the red-blue divide. For example, in 2018, Rasmussen polling found that 31% of likely voters felt there would be a new US civil war within five years. Two months ago, in February 2021, a noted security studies scholar opined, “the United States now displays all three core elements that can lead to civil breakdown. If one described them—fractured elites with competing narratives, deep-seated identity cleavages, and a politically polarized citizenry—without identifying the United States by name, most scholars of civil war would say, ‘Hey, that country is on the brink of a civil war.’”

What do you, dear readers, think of this analysis? Do you think the US is headed for another civil war? If so, why? If not, why not?

Full Citation for this Article: Editorial Board, SquareTwo Journal (2021) "Readers’ Puzzle, Spring 2021: Rumors of Civil War," SquareTwo, Vol. 14 No. 1 (Spring 2021),, accessed <give access date>.

Would you like to comment on this article? Thoughtful, faithful comments of at least 100 words are welcome.


I. Ashley Alley

I always hesitate to put a time stamp on any particular predictions associated with the Last Days, since we know the Lord works according to His own time table. However, recent events and the increasingly divisive world we are living in makes me think that we may need to seriously consider the implications of potential conflict within our own countries, if they are not already experiencing them (assuming some readers may reside outside the US). I cannot say I would be surprised to see civil wars continue to breakout across the world, including within the US.


II. Ralph Hancock

I'm afraid the prognostications of civil unrest and breakdown of regular order are all too plausible; the divide between ruling elites and their allies and those relegated to the tribe of "deplorables" is wide indeed, and communication between the sides is less substantial every day it seems. It is hard to conceive of just what form a breakdown of order might take. The division clearly has a geographic dimension, but it is not tidily sectional. Perhaps we are seeing a geographic sorting that will clarify battle lines, but the map will not be neat. The Church of Jesus Christ of LDS, with faithful members to some degree on both sides of the divide and with a cohesiveness and authority somewhat resistant to the general breakdown, could provide an alternative source of legitimacy and order and achieve prominence far beyond its numbers.


III. B. Kent Harrison

I have certainly heard rumors of civil war. It seems to me that those peaked around the time of the November 2020 election and the months following until the inauguration. Currently they do not seem to be so much of a concern.

Of course there have been previous such fears. After all, we had an actual civil war 160 years ago. There have been national crises such as the hot wars and the cold war, the threat--real or imagined--of communist infiltration, the Cuban missile crisis, 9/11--but I don't see a threat of civil war in any of these. In recent years we have had survivalists who seem to want to take on the Federal Government single handedly. I discount these.

To sum up--not to worry.


IV. Michelle Brignone

We are headed for a civil war only if we want to be. There will always be political division in a multiparty system. However, I believe the collision of four main drivers have created the current situation. First, the rise of the internet where anyone can express any opinion and find followers. Second, the transition to a 24-hour news cycle and the attempts of news organizations to try and fill all of that extra time with mindless media and political pundits fighting ad nauseum. Third, the swing towards partisan media outlets that feed their viewers carefully curated facts, half-truths, and downright lies to advance a particular political agenda. And finally, the Citizens United v. FEC case in which the Supreme Court “asserted that corporations are people and removed reasonable campaign contribution limits, allowing a small group of wealthy donors and special interests to use dark money to influence elections.

It is not too late to avert civil war. Almost 80% of the country say they believe in God, yet we are failing to live the precepts we say we believe. We can avert a civil war by remembering we are each a child of God and choose discipleship over allegiance to a particular political party.


V. V. H. Cassler

Well, there certainly is civil war on social media, all day and every day. I worry that is training people to hate one another, to be sarcastic and full of contempt for others. I worry that social media brings together those who will make each other worse and not better, such as the incel crowd.

I also see our government become more inept and ineffective. Yes, it’s always been that way, but the fiasco in Kabul is not something one would have seen 10 or 20 years ago. It’s incompetence at a whole new level.

And the very basis of a common reality is being eroded by ideologies which tell us not to believe our eyes or senses. The parroting of things we know to be lies cannot end well.

We have seen cities burning and full of random violence. We’ve seen people justify such violence. We’ve seen the Capitol building assaulted. I think it is true that the fabric of our country is fraying, and we are doing it to ourselves.

And yet, there are still people who help others, who speak kindly words, who go the extra mile. There is so much goodness in so many people in our country. So many honorable people, so many loving families. I do not know what the future holds for our nation, but I believe the good will endure, and will be protected by God. I hope for a renaissance after the fire has burned itself out.