Tribalism

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Tribalism

Postby Wise One » 2009 Jan 22 19:57

I've have been ruminating about Tribalism that is clearly ubiquitous, and sometimes pernicious, in modern America.

Tribalism is human. It's in all of us, as it is in bands of people in the Middle East or Africa. We delude ourselves to think "We're above that" because, emphatically, we are not.

When people elevate their group by using a Label, and ascribe inferior status to others because they are not in that group or have beliefs and practices that differ from the norms of the Labeled Group, they are practicing Tribalism.

Sometimes Tribalism is innocent and fun, and sometimes it is negative and destructive. It depends. Here are some examples that distinguish between two kinds of Tribalism.

Innocent and Fun Tribalism
  • White shirt and red shirt teams (tribes) playing Capture the Flag.
  • A professional sports team's fans cheering their team and booing an opposing team.
  • A summertime reunion, uniting a family's generations and its branches but excluding others.
Negative and Destructive Tribalism
  • Labeling oneself or others "conservative" or "liberal" as if that were enough, to the exclusion of rational weighing of the pros and cons of each individual issue
  • Racism, leading to different treatment only because of skin shade
  • Denying equal treatment under the law, as in the larger straight tribe imposing different rules and laws on the smaller gay tribe
  • Aggressively starting a war against a group or nation using the excuse "they are not like us", or "they hate our way of life."
  • Applying a fair system of law to our American tribe of prisoners, but denying such application to the Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib tribes of prisoners.
  • Asserting that torturing our fighters is a war crime, but torturing their fighters is a "necessity of national security."
Sometimes even examples in the Innocent and Fun category can veer into Destructive territory. For example, soccer hooligans attack, injure and sometimes kill fans of the other team. The Thomas Jefferson family reunions, years ago, had warring factions divided only by race.

We should acknowledge the reality of a human imperative toward Tribalism within us all, and yet also recognize an obligation to practice only those forms that are truly Innocent and Fun.

:razz3: People whose dogs poop on my lawn hate our way of life. We need a "War on Pooperism!" :razz3:
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."
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Re: Tribalism

Postby fangz1956 » 2009 Jan 23 08:21

Thanks for the most excellent and thought provoking piece. Unfortunately, some folks are like airports.....ZOOOOOOOOM, it will go right over their heads.


:wink:
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Re: Tribalism

Postby Uji » 2009 Jan 23 13:53

Thanks, WiseOne. Nicely put. Once any of us start talking about "them," those folks that aren't "us," we're head for the negative end of your continuum. We all do it, I guess, starting with "family-member" and non-family-members. It's human. But like a lot of human inclinations, worth suppressing much of the time.
But, as CoonDog suggested on another thread, we don't HAVE to let the Zombies eat our brains. :tongue8: I for one am simply gonna stop responding to folks who clearly don't want to discuss things. Life's to short -- at least mine is.

By the way, I recommend the book,The Big Sort.It's a wonderful modern history of the sort of religious/political tribalism that WiseOne talks about below. A wonderful read. (I think Rockbridge Regional Library has it.)
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Re: Tribalism

Postby fangz1956 » 2009 Jan 24 08:35

Thanks for the info, Uji. I clicked the link and read the intro to this book. I'm going to see if I can find a copy this weekend. Sounds as if it might just be time well spent.


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Re: Tribalism

Postby Wise One » 2009 Feb 08 15:20

Perhaps this is a kind of creative tribalism that would allow all to join?

:clap: If nothing else, it is certainly good music !!! :clap:
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Re: Tribalism

Postby Wise One » 2009 Mar 25 09:57

Fangz has me totally hooked on Glenn Greenwald.

His column today is a wonderfully clear exposition on aspects of tribalism, and some big differences between two tribes, conservative and progressive.

:pat: Hey conservatives, read this. Then you're invited to come on over and join our tribe. :pat:
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Re: Tribalism

Postby fangz1956 » 2009 Jun 13 11:28

Ever looked at someone and thought "the wheel is turning but the hamster is dead"?
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Re: Tribalism

Postby Amy Probenski » 2009 Aug 14 07:47

The difference between Lefties and Conservatards.
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Re: Tribalism

Postby Juggler » 2009 Aug 16 14:48

Image
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