A number of readers have written to me specifically about the "Tribe And
Tribalism" segment in this series. Their missives have suggested both
alternate approaches to "tribe" and a great many additional examples of
recognizable tribes within this nation and others. It's the sort of
feedback that makes me pleased to have elicited it, because it indicates
that people are thinking seriously about fundamentals.
One "tribe" that's drawn particular attention is the ideological tribe
of hard-left "progressives." We can see from the criteria in that
earlier essay that self-nominated "progressives" do constitute a tribe:
-- It possesses a set of criteria for determining who is (and who is
not) a member: Identification is by political alignment and the use of
the proper "shibboleth" words.
-- It demonstrates a substantial degree of cohesion over time:
"Progressives" virtually never defect from their tribe.
-- It prefers members to non-members in significant ways: Have you ever
known a "progressive" who would willingly associate with
-- It enforces a code of conduct upon members, whether formally or
informally: Mandatory attendance at a certain number of public protests
and demonstrations per year.
-- It regards interaction and interpenetration with outsiders as
occasions of elevated danger and opportunity: Mainly to meet
"progressives" of the opposite sex for, ah, extra-curricular dialogue.
When Eric Hoffer wrote of "a compact and unified church" of "true
believers," he might well have had his era's "progressives" in mind.
However, it's fairly clear that, whatever "progressives" might truly
value, progress, at least as we regular humans understand it, is no part
of their agenda:
"Progress is the improved satisfaction of human desires, morally, with
less input." -- Kevin Cullinane
Indeed. Even if those "human desires" included all the ostensible policy
goals "progressives" claim to cherish, they can't claim progress toward
those, either. As a recent humorous example, consider that wind farms,
long a totem of the enviro-Nazi faction of the "progressives," are now
believed to contribute to "global warming."
(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17871300) That puts the
"warmistas" at war with the renewable-energy bunch and the Left's cadre
of crony capitalists! Superb!
As matters are trending, "progressives" might soon become an endangered
species. The tribe is incapable of advancing on its overt goals, ever
more deeply riven by internal discord, completely dependent on a
relatively small group of "sugar daddies," and frowned upon by an
increasing fraction of the American electorate. America still shelters
enclaves within which it's safe -- nay, required -- to pose as a
"progressive," but those habitats are relatively well demarcated
geographically. More, their denizens seldom venture out, unless it's by
aircraft to another such habitat.
Perhaps it's time to get the EPA involved...