Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Quickies: Tribalism Redux

     Yesterday, SF / fantasy writer Sarah Hoyt posted an essay on tribal phenomena in our time. While it was generally on the mark, it contained a statement of the “everyone knows” variety that I found disturbing:

     I sympathize that those identified as white get hind teat, but pursuing “white identity” only works if you assume the government teat, with its complementary tyrannical tendencies will ALWAYS be there.

     That dismisses the most important of the reflexive reactions to the assertion of tribal identity by one group within a larger society. That an intelligent and observant woman whose experiences span two continents could say it was particularly troubling. It’s especially so given contemporary phenomena such as “Black Lives Matter” and the “knockout game:” developments that have nothing to do with governmental overreach and everything to do with the formation of a tribe determined to assert its superiority to the laws and customs that bind the rest of us.

     Tribal orientation causes those who identify with a tribe to defend its members against those not of the tribe, regardless of the rights and wrongs of the matter. In the U.S., it’s become a major factor in jurors’ decisions to acquit or convict a defendant. You can ask O.J. Simpson how important that was to him. Consider the significance of this tribal irruption, in defense of an act of aggression that was video-recorded and published on YouTube to the amazement and disgust of many thousands. But that’s not the end of the story.

     In sociodynamics just as in physics, every action will evoke a reaction. Tribalism practiced by one significant group will elicit tribalism by other groups, purely as a matter of survival. It’s the most important segregative force of all in nations that are officially “race-neutral.”

     I commented to that effect at Sarah’s place. Among the reactions was this one:

     You realize I think it’s bad for everyone, right?

     “Bad” is an evaluation. It relies upon a set of criteria, whether or not those criteria are explicitly stated. Bad for whom? Can the “whom” be disaggregated? And bad according to what values and time scale?

     While contemporary black tribalism is an aggressive, antisocial force, for whites tribalism has become a survival characteristic. It’s our reaction to the discovery that developments in the law and social currents are forcing us into a subordinate, serf-like position. Resistance to those pressures without forming into a cohesive tribe is futile.

     Tribalism founded on racial, ethnic, and ideological divisions has become one of the dominant social forces, here and in Europe. I’ve written at greater length about it, both here and even more topically, here. But concerning “bad,” one must adopt a set of criteria for evaluation – and the one uppermost in my mind is “Is it bad to want to survive and be free?”

1 comment:

  1. I am rather thick-headed. Isn't there actually only one race? If not, I guess the whole thing about creation is bogus, and almost all of the books ever written are fiction.

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