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Cold Civil War: Overcoming Polarization, Discovering Unity, and Healing the Nation

Cold Civil War: Overcoming Polarization, Discovering Unity, and Healing the Nation

America's political landscape is experiencing dangerous polarization and fragmentation, with the extremes pulling the country apart. Voices on the left and right clash over different worldviews, definitions of America, and what it means to be an American citizen. The levels of incivility and hostility lead some to invoke the language of a cold civil war or even a looming civil war: one that could split the country in two. Is there any way to step back from this dangerous precipice?

Political philosopher Jim Belcher shows that this is not merely a binary opposition between conservativism on the right and liberalism on the left, but also between conflicting visions of order and freedom on both sides. Through his unique quadrant framework, Belcher traces the people and movements in each position, examines their underlying narratives, and articulates their respective contributions and dangers. This quadrant framework not only reveals how polarization divides us but also shows us how to move beyond the right-left stalemate.

At the core of the competing visions are the seeds of a new vital center, a robust and surprising model that has the ability to transcend political tribalism and bring America back together again before it is too late.


Part 1: How We Got into the Cold Civil War

Chapter 1. The Evangelical Dilemma and the Search for Public Philosophy

Chapter 2. The End of the Vital Center

Part 2: Mapping Our Differences: The Quadrant Framework System

Chapter 3. Freedom Left 2: The Theory of the Godless Constitution

Chapter 4. Freedom Left 3: From Open Society to Closed Society

Chapter 5. Order Left 2: The Rise of the Welfare State and the Great Society

Chapter 6. Order Left 3: The Reified Postmodernism of Antiracism

Chapter 7. Freedom Right 2: Libertarians and the Quest for Open Borders

Chapter 8. Freedom Right 3: Radical Libertarians, the End of the State, and the Rise of Utopian Technocracy

Chapter 9. Order Right 2: Poison Pill Conservatives

Chapter 10. Order Right 3: The Illiberal New Right

Part 3: Forming the New Vital Center

Chapter 11. The New Vital Center: The American Synthesis and the Four Souls

Chapter 12. Patriotic Citizenship: The Sweet Offer for Resident Aliens and Alienated Residents

Chapter 13. Christianity: The Second Constitution

Conclusion: The Heroic Role for the Church


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