A new biography of John Brown gives him substantial credit for initiating the civil war. In a review of David Reynold's biography (John Brown, Abolitionist : The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded Civil Rights) in The New Yorker, there appears this interesting quote that I think pertains to our present situation: "Terrorism is an autoimmune disease; its purpose is to cause harm by provoking an overreaction. This is exactly what happened after Brown's failure [at Harper's Ferry.] A rational Southern observer would have seen that the raid was a sign of the fundamental weakness of abolitionism as an armed cause and, with a bit of wisdom, would have seized the chance to do something before it became a stronger one. Of course, just the opposite happened: panic about slave revolts and further abolitionist raids set in throughout the South. . . it was this atmosphere of panic and paranoia . . .that produced secession and , with it, the arming of the North and the war."