Summary: Today we have another weekend discussion post. It’s a summary of primary theme driving my posts, the new tribalism of the American people. It probably makes impossible reform of our society and salvage of the Second Republic. I have no idea how to do more than describe it. Please post your thoughts about this in the comments, especially about its origins and possible cures.
The self-righteous debunking by the Left of the Right’s lies at Tampa display no love of truth. Instead they are another futile volley of words in the vain battles that characterize our post-fact society. These factual rebuttals, however accurate or well-delivered, change no minds on the Right, whose members are indoctrinated to ignore input from impure sources.
We see the exact same dynamic at work in the climate change propaganda campaigns. Here the Left displays the same contempt for fact — ripping research findings out of context, exaggerating their magnitude and certainty, and tribalism (good climate scientists sound the alarms, evil scientist are skeptical or have alternative theories). Here the Right gains a feeling of superiority citing facts and authorities to which the Left remains blind.
Like all religious wars, both sides bask in their moral superiority — and rejoice in the ignorance and evil of their opponents.
There is a simple reason for this phenomenon: the people on both sides are Americans, with the same easily exploitable weakness. Tribalism. Our truth is sovereign, your truths come from false idols.
Some flaw in our society makes us susceptible to this tribalism, some need for community and certainty that this fulfills. We see it at work in the comments on the FM website. Intelligent and well-educated people display an awesome willingness to believe quite bizarre things, and an immunity to both facts and expert opinion. Each sides mocks the other, quite correctly — never seeing the parallelism.
Our ruling elites have skillfully exploited this, herd us like sheep into two pens — from which we furiously bleat at one another. This tribalism makes it impossible for us to accurately see the world (in many ways it acts like beer goggles) and — perhaps worse — makes it difficult to find common cause with our fellow Americans.
Many themes have played themselves out on the FM website, most futile. This is the latest. Perhaps the most important.
How do we find the will to cure ourselves? As always, the solution is easy. It starts with the Man in the Mirror. Get involved politically and attempt to see beyond tribal truths. Read the enemy’s mainstream news media, and share your discoveries with your peers.
Reform must come from within each community or tribe. The willingness of the Right to reform can come only from within the Right. I doubt that criticism from the Left will have effect, no matter how well-founded, well-conducted, long, or intensive.
And vice versa.
Perhaps we can find a common vision only under pressure during tough times. Let’s hope we can avoid this path to a solution, as it might prove painful.
This posits an operational equivalence between Left and right. That does not imply moral equivalence, or that effects on our society are equal from both sides. IMO the Right is ascendant, fallen prey to endemic dark traits of the American character.
The discussion in the comments have been terrific during the past month. Why has traffic been so low? That’s an odd divergence; these two usually rise and fall together.
For more information
Many posts on the FM website document this phenomenon. Of course they’re but snapshots, hardly proof in any sense. Proof would require a multi-disciplinary project on a large scale.
Posts about tribalism:
- At the Tampa Convention Right & Left display our great illness: Tribalism, 2 September 2012
- Swear allegiance to the truth as a step to reforming America, 24 November 2013
- Facts are the enemy of both Left and Right in our America, 12 May 2014