Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's the tribalism, stupid...

In a recent Gallup poll, 59% of Pakistanis said the US is the biggest threat to Pakistan--only 11% said it was the Taliban. A majority of Pakistanis--and this includes the middle class there, not just uneducated poor people--blame the recent spate of bombings there on outside forces--Mossad, India, the CIA, the West's "War Against Islam" etc.

This confirms my growing belief that a majority of humans in developed countries and even more in poor ones are primarily tribal in their orientation. Tribalism excuses everything anyone on your side does and ascribes only evil motives to anything the "other tribe" does, and always blames one's own culture's troubles on "outside forces."

In the South at the dawn of racial integration in the 1960s and 70s, White Southerners usually blamed the Blacks' struggle for equality on "outside agitators."

And today Republicans blame America's ills all on foreigners--mainly Democrats, who they regard as not actually Americans, abetted by the United Nations and international banks etc.

Partisan Democrats aren't much better, never acknowledging any legitimacy to conservative thinking even when it's correct, as with illegal immigration.

It's tribalism that blinds people to reform efforts, and to the idea of using principles rather than tribe as your central philosophy.

1 comment:

Brian said...

You've got that right. I have come to the conclusion that tribalism (aka: in-group/out-group) is a leading motivator in people's party affiliations--people decide who is not like them, who they *don't* like, and join the other side.
Consequently, the "policies" people support have a lot more to do with whatever is the opposite of the what the out-group wants than the policy itself.