A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand

Matthew 12:25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”

As is well-known, Abraham Lincoln was inspired by this verse.  On June 16, 1858, he offered his famous “House Divided” speech upon the occasion of being chosen as the Republican candidate for the US Senate.  Although the speech did not propel him to a victory in the Senate race, it certainly set the tone for his presidency.

From Lincoln’s speech:

If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.  We are now far into the fifth year, since a policy was initiated, with the avowed object, and confident promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation.  Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only, not ceased, but has constantly augmented.

In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.  I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.

It will become all one thing or all the other.

The battle lines at the time were regarding slavery, north and south, free state or slave state.  Today there is again in the United States a divide, not slavery in any sense similar to that of 150 years ago, but something in some ways more sinister – and certainly less visible…at least until recently.

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Lincoln’s words ring equally true today.  Angelo M. Codevilla writes of today’s divide: there is no more republic; there are only stakeholders and subjects.  This divide will lead almost inevitably to something not good:

… as Publius Decius Mus argues, “America and the West” now are so firmly “on a trajectory toward something very bad” that it is no longer reasonable to hope that “all human outcomes are still possible,” by which he means restoration of the public and private practices that made the American republic.

It matters not who is elected this year, although it is clear that Trump’s successes to date are a result of the “subjects” pushing back against the “stakeholders” in the only way they currently know – or in the only way that they are currently willing to contemplate.

It matters not who is elected because the machine is too well greased.  One person, a Donald Trump – even if truly committed and supported by a large portion of the population – cannot change the direction (and, in fact, has made it clear he will not change the direction back toward a constitutional republic).

Codevilla identifies the awakening that occurred in the American population – and the event that united republican and democrat alike:

The ruling class’s united front in response to the 2008 financial crisis had ignited the Tea Party’s call for adherence to the Constitution…

That would be Ron Paul, although Paul’s movement had significant energy in 2007 – before the magnitude of the financial crisis was visible to most.

The movement behind Trump is the movement that was brought to life by Ron Paul. Most in the movement today don’t recognize the connection; most in the movement do not see the drastic contradictions in Trump vs. Paul.  But this is the common root, and 2016 was the year ripe for someone to tap into this discontent, this call to adhere to the Constitution.

Because, as Codevilla suggests, there is no such thing as constitutional law remaining in the United States.  He points to a major turning point as the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which “substituted a wholly open-ended mandate to oppose “discrimination” for any and all fundamental rights…”

This act destroyed any remaining possibility of freedom of association and property rights.  Bakers, photographers, gender self-identification gratifying toilets, penalties for insufficient political correctness, mandatory training in performing abortions in order to secure a medical license.

The American people have come to learn that all that matters is raw power – they see this in the politics and in the government policies.  They have concluded that raw power is all that can counteract this – hence Trump.  It is raw power, not constitutionalism, which the subjects, the people, are supporting.

Of course, the 1964 act has its roots in the progressivism born during the turn of the last century: it is the progressive intellectuals against the leave-me-alone socially “irredeemable,” the deplorables.

Codevilla’s sobering, but completely reasonable, conclusion:

We have stepped over the threshold of a revolution. It is difficult to imagine how we might step back, and futile to speculate where it will end. Our ruling class’s malfeasance, combined with insult, brought it about. Donald Trump did not cause it and is by no means its ultimate manifestation. Regardless of who wins in 2016, this revolution’s sentiments will grow in volume and intensity, and are sure to empower politicians likely to make Americans nostalgic for Donald Trump’s moderation. (Emphasis added)

For those who fear that some form of extreme fascism is coming to the United States, they need not fear Trump; the fear is in who (or what) comes next – win or lose for Trump.


It is the state against the people; it is the stakeholders against the subjects.  Significant power and wealth and militarization and a massive overt and covert “security” apparatus are on one side, and significant anger and frustration are growing on the other side.

Returning to Lincoln’s speech:

In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed.

We know what came a few years after Lincoln’s speech, the last time the house was so divided.

Reprinted with permission from Bionic Mosquito.