Idle EU thoughts that lead inevitably (in my mind) to government sanctioned tribalism

A few years ago, those in the know were telling us in no uncertain terms that the EU model was the future — and that America had better get used to playing second fiddle to the economic giant that a united Europe presented.  I found it hard to imagine that Europe would ever be able to overcome rivalries and tribal allegiances that span centuries, even millennia.  I also did not believe that the socialist model, which might work in a small, homogenous culture, would be able to sustain a vast economic federalism.  Watching what is happening in Europe now tells me that my common sense was infinitely more valuable than anything scholars and economists had to offer.

The whole EU collapse has gotten me thinking about tribalism.  One of America’s greatest strengths, right up there with the Constitution and the continent’s natural bounty — is that tribalism didn’t take hold here as it did in Europe.  From the beginning, we were too fluid a society.  As soon as we got a good hate going against one immigrant group (the Irish, for example), two things happened:  First, America’s lack of a class system, economic flexibility, and geographic mobility, resulted in significant numbers of the hated group leveraging themselves up into the middle and working class.  Second, a new hated class invariably came on board (e.g., Jews or Italians or Puerto Ricans or Asians), restarting the same cycle.

This malleable system, with hatreds that couldn’t last long enough to become entrenched, was aided by our participation in two popular 20th century World Wars.  (I use the word “popular” to distinguish them from the Korean War, which was greeted with exhaustion, and the Vietnam War and Iraq, which the Left used to create social divisions.)  As Israel proves daily, boot camp is the best melting pot of them all.  During the World Wars, the Brooklyn Jew and the Minnesota Swedish farm boy might not have liked each other, but they came into contact in structured environment, and fought for the same cause.

One of the most poisonous things the Left has done to America in the past 40 years is to create institutional tribalism.  Instead of a distant government that kept grinding on, whether old immigrants hated the Irish or the Jews or the Italians or the whatever, the Left got the government involved in designating victims.  Suddenly, the government is focusing like a laser on blacks and gays and differently-abled and whoever else is the Leftists’ victim célèbre.  We now have a government that doesn’t discriminate against blacks, it discriminate for them (and for all the other designated victim classes, women included), with equally heinous results.  Government should be above the tribal fray, not creating it.

Before anyone calls me on it, I know perfectly well that our Constitution, as originally written, did get involved in tribalism by treating Southern blacks as a separate class.  I don’t think I need to remind anyone, though, what a horrible outcome that official discrimination had.  Both the early Constitution and the Jim Crow era (when the South decided to perpetuate the Founders’ original mistake) are perfect illustrations of the disasters resulting from allowing governments to pick one tribe and discriminate against another.

As an aside, the only reason women haven’t been destroyed by this government discrimination is because of kids.  Children have needs that, so far, our government isn’t meeting, so Mom still has to act like a responsible grown-up.

Tribalism is dangerous.  Legislated tribalism is disastrous.

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    As an aside, the only reason women haven’t been destroyed by this government discrimination is because of kids.
    One major effect of the new regulation: Stay-at-home moms (or dads) without significant outside income no longer will be able to open their own credit card accounts — and establish their own credit histories to build their credit scores. Compliance with the rule became mandatory Oct. 1, 2011.

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  • JKB

    This quote comes from 1886, but expanded beyond languages it is directly on point:

    The multiplicity of languages is due to the policy of international hate, inaugurated by the nations of Europe to promote the selfish purposes of rulers. Barbarism is diversity; civilization is unity. The human race is one, provided it is civilized, and it should have but one language. Language is a tool, and time consumed in acquiring skill in the use of more than one tool designed for the same end, is wasted. The standing armies of Europe obstruct the way to unity of language. The time will come when all civilized peoples will speak one tongue, probably the English. Then language will cease to be a mere vain accomplishment, and become what it ought always to have been, the simple means of familiarizing the mind with things, and of the communication of knowledge.

  • Charles Martel

    The left—in fact, almost every liberal I have ever known—is scared sh**less of true diversity. You have only to look at its reactions to Herman Cain or Sarah Palin to see that what happens when somebody violates its Good Negro/Good Woman paradigm. Or watch a leftie as he attempts to deal with something really “diverse,” like a Mormon, or a Boy Scout, or a homosexual who has repudiated the gay lifestyle. It’s pretty pathetic.

    The demands of being an individual in a polity like America’s calls for more grit, insight, and character than many people can sustain. It’s easier to blame “them” and “society” than it is to acknowledge that perhaps the fault lies not in the stars. That’s why leftists don the protective cloak of tribalism. O, brave new world where my tribe/skin color/genitalia/ethnicity do the thinking and deciding for me!

  • Caped Crusader

    Charles Martel, CONGRATULATIONS!!, liberals summed up and explained in as few words as I have ever read.

  • Mike Devx

    From JKB #2, who quotes: The multiplicity of languages is due to the policy of international hate, inaugurated by the nations of Europe to promote the selfish purposes of rulers.

    Inaugurated by the nations of Europe, due to the policy of international hate?!?!
    So, evil Western imperialism is the cause of Swahili and Chinese, too!

    I think that the multiplicity of languages occurred due to geographic isolation, and the same is true even of differences of dialect and idiom within a language.

    It may be parochial, but  we each all do love our native tongue.  Good luck to those who would force a foreign tongue on everyone for the purposes of “the simple means of familiarizing the mind with things, and of the communication of knowledge.”

    What of the knowledge of weather conditions in the north, or of its snow?  Eskimo languages have a far wider variety of words for snow than does, say, the English language.  Which is more communicative of “snow”?  Some languages have twice the number of words to define “love” than others.  Do we all choose the simpler communication forced by the fewer word choices, or the richer communication possibilities of a greater number of word choices?  Who defines the rules by which we decide which language “wins”?

  • Mike Devx

    Boy, Sadie, that new rule of theirs is like using a nuclear bomb to destroy an anthill.

    I can see the problem they were trying to address: The abuse of credit-worthiness within a household by taking into account the entire household income.  Including the opening of accounts by non-earners based on the income of the earner – but the earner doesn’t know that the spouse or children is opening all these other card accounts.

    But it would have been so much better for everyone, to implement a better solution: To open a household-income account for a non-earner based on the earner(s) income, the earner(s) must co-sign.  All problems solved.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Book, you put your finger on it: tribalism. No matter how government tries to bury it, human beings are essentially tribal. Look what happened to Yugoslavia once General Tito’s boot was removed from their necks, or to the former Soviet Union. The same could happen to Western Europe overnight, which has a lot of people worried.

    The U.S. has largely been able to avoid tribalism (not all, but most), because of our process of melting different tribes into a new cultural pot. This is, of course, exactly what the Liberals have been trying to destroy…both by emphasizing “diversity” (including the silly “salad bowl” concept of society) and by creating new tribes (unions, GLBT, race, gender, etc.) that can be pitted against one another with the intention of dividing and conquering. 

    Ann Coulter is right…there are demonic forces at work here.


  • Duchess of Austin

    I think liberals prefer tribes, victim groups and bureaucracies because it absolves them of individual responsibility for the horrible social experiments that pass for policy.  As a bureaucracy, they can perpetrate terrible things on individuals, and there is nobody to actually take the blame and suffer the actual consequences (like, oh….prison time) for what they do.
    There is a story in the news today that the brass at the ATF and the DOJ may be accessories to murder from the Gunwalking operations.  I’ll bet a dollar to a doughnut hole that not a ONE of them spends a moment behind bars, even though there have been 200 murders on the Mexican side and 11 on the American side because of the whole Fast and Furious operation, which was originally cooked up as a means of wresting control of guns from the general populace in this country. 
    How far up the food chain does this go and when do the impeachment proceedings start?

  • Ymarsakar

    The rule of law no longer applies to those in DC that have power. It’s mainly Democrats with the political power to make themselves immune to the law. That’s a more serious issue for America then who starts what wars or who ends up winning which elections. In the long term that is.

  • Ymarsakar

    Danny, isn’t that why Democrats are called Demoncrats before?