I’ve written about tribalism on several occasions, mainly at Liberty’s Torch V1.0. Because of associations that link tribe with race, it’s a subject that induces considerable trepidation in persons who dislike being called nasty names. Yet it’s a real phenomenon, it has deleterious effects on a society, and when allowed any latitude it can bring about actual civil warfare.
Here are the key snippets of that earlier essay:
A tribe is a group with certain social and political characteristics:
- It possesses a set of criteria for determining who is (and who is not) a member;
- It demonstrates a substantial degree of cohesion over time;
- It prefers members to non-members in significant ways;
- It enforces a code of conduct upon members, whether formally or informally;
- It regards interaction and interpenetration with outsiders as occasions of elevated danger and opportunity.
Even after nation-states have formalized their legal systems and all that goes with them, whatever tribes they have subsumed will still exhibit tribal characteristics, at least for a while. In particular, members of a subsumed tribe will continue to prefer one another to the members of other subsumed tribes. In historical studies, this is often called sectionalism, but the geographical connotations of that word should not be allowed to lead us astray. After subsumption by a nation-state, the members of a tribe will often undergo some degree of internal dispersion. Yet they will continue to maintain tribal preferences as they disperse, until interpenetration and the slow process of binding to their new locales have had time to weaken them. Consider the resistance of various religious groups to exogamy as an illustration.
Should political incentives arise that reinforce tribal distinctions and preferences, havoc will ensue. A nation-state cannot endure under conditions of internal inter-tribal strife; as Abraham Lincoln put it, a house divided cannot stand. There must ultimately be either a convulsive reduction of the tribes to political passivity, for example by warfare, or a parting of the ways that dissolves the nation-state into two or more separate units, as happened after the British relinquished the rule of India.
Let that passage sink in for a few moments before continuing on.
Consider the following three news stories:
- The mass murder in Waukesha.
- Another Christmas “crash.”
- Murderer escapes conviction because he’s black.
The killers in the above stories are all Negroes. In each case, the media’s determination to perpetuate the “American blacks are oppressed” narrative is operating to spare the killers the appropriate attention and judicial treatment. Were white perpetrators to commit acts even remotely similar to the ones chronicled in those stories, their treatment would be radically different…especially if their victims were black.
I shan’t light off on another Cui bono rant about such journalistic malfeasance. But what does it say about the media’s collective fear of the American Negro tribe? Would any other demographic in the United States receive equal forbearance from the fourth estate? Would any racial, ethnic, religious, or political cohort be treated with such kid gloves?
The American Negro tribe has established itself as one to be feared. For nearly two years, its members have rioted, vandalized, looted, and committed crimes of violence without let or hindrance. Urban police forces have stood aside and let them do so. Cities with appreciable black population fractions that have not suffered such chaos are few. When a black American has met his demise at the hands of a white American, the media have treated the event as a modern-day lynching.
These are the fruits of tribalism ascendant. While I can’t predict its course, I’m certain that other demographic cohorts are viewing the black tribe’s seeming immunity to correction and asking themselves, “How can we get in on this?” Success does attract emulators, after all.
In another essay, I wrote:
When a society makes special provisions for a particular class of persons, such that those persons have a good expectation of not suffering for illegal or antisocial behavior, it has committed the worst imaginable injustice against the persons in that class who honor their society’s laws and norms: it has equalized the legal, social, and moral positions of good citizens and thugs. Thus, if ninety percent of such a class is law-abiding and decorous while ten percent is violent, dishonest, or disruptive, the latter category will come to overshadow the former in the perceptions of persons outside the class — not because ten percent is a majority, but because that anti-social subgroup is identified with the class’s special set of privileges.
That shift in perception has taken place among Americans, whether or not they’re willing to say so. Whatever the actual proportions may be, a majority of American whites have come to view American blacks as dangerous to them. They are not wrong, though to say so where others can hear, as for example John Derbyshire has done, is to take a huge chance with one’s social and economic position. Nor does it lessen one’s vulnerability to have irrefutable evidence for one’s contentions.
I could go on, but I’d mainly be repeating things I’ve written on previous occasions. In closing, I’d like to present a snippet from a great book, a book that every American should read upon attaining his majority: the late Clarence Carson’s The American Tradition. This comes at the conclusion of his chapter “Of the Civilizing of Groups:”
[M]uch of the practical empowering of groups has not been accomplished by either constitutional amendment or legislative act. Instead, in many instances law enforcement officers have looked the other way while unions employed coercion and violence. Politicians have practiced a policy of divide and conquer on the American people. The Democratic Party has been most adept at this, though the Republicans have often attempted to compete. They [the Democrats] have forged a party out of numerous minority groups, making promises and presumably providing favors for them. Many of these groups have become vested interests, legally and extra-legally.
Since the above was written, the disorders have intensified and spread. Most recently, they have been extended to colleges, courtrooms, and in the streets surrounding political conventions. The pattern is repeating itself. The birds are coming home to roost. If the restraints are removed from group behavior by the grant of special privilege, if groups are empowered by law, if direct action is advanced because the end is “good,” if the means for civilizing of groups are abandoned, compulsion and authoritarianism must be used to preserve order….
When groups become accustomed to having others submit to threats and pressure, they will become less and less willing to brook resistance. But there comes a time when social order requires resistance to the anarchy of contending groups. The road of resistance, however, leads to despotism in one form or another.
Professor Carson wrote that in 1964. Where he says “groups,” I say “tribes,” but the import is unchanged. Draw the moral.