I’ve written many times about the implications and the sometimes horrifying results of modern-day tribalism.
This subject has always been fascinating to me because by my very nature I am not a joiner. I am certainly not the overly romanticized “lone wolf” character, but I am comfortable traveling in my own direction. Unfortunately, that means that I have nobody to blame for my failures. If you decide your own destiny, you are forced to look in the mirror to understand your failures. Today’s world could use a bit more of that.
I have joined a few things in my life. I was briefly in a little boys group called The Pioneers. I say briefly, because I went to one meeting and decided (I had good parents) that one size does not fit all and I’d rather blaze my own pioneer trail. I played Little League baseball for almost one season but I could not understand the arbitrary way the manager managed. Do understand, I acknowledged and respected his position, and I believed he was just doing what he thought was right. I have been a member of labor unions on four occasions. I had no choice (forced tribalsim) in three of those but I helped bring that fourth one into fruition. A year later, I helped remove it. My fellow workers were of the type that really preferred to decide their own destiny. I admired them for that and hopefully helped bring back a little independence to their lives.
I worked a commissioned route sales job for a long time, and one way the company motivated people to sell more, was to have sales contests. Whenever possible, I would ignore their contests, and just let whatever sales that occurred naturally be my finished total to the contest. At times, they were insistent that I prove that I was participating in the contest. I never argued that they had that right to do so, and I would do my best. I always placed high and occasionally won those contests. One time, they decided to have a contest in teams of three. I was at the time, going through a particularly difficult period with sales. One of the chosen captains was a friend of mine. Nobody was choosing me to team with do to my poor sales over the past three months and my friend felt bad, and chose me. Apparently, I was like the awkward kid that got chosen last for sports. I rewarded him and my other teammate by driving the team (through my sales) to victory as I personally set the highest totals in the state. My point isn’t to “toot my own horn” so to speak, it is to say that when I do commit to a team, I try to be a great teammate.
I am not against joining. Very little would ever get done if all of the 7 billion people of the world, pulled in their own direction. Dedication to the team, is what makes things possible. I said dedication, not blindly following our selected tribe.
The human race began forming tribes as soon as our numbers reached a point where it was possible. The Bible is full of tribes, because that was the method that we used to protect ourselves and to build and grow. Tribalism (nations) of a sort, was and is essential for protecting our land, our beliefs and our borders.
Tribalism can be used for productive causes, or destructive causes. Tribes can also be co-opted for personal gain and especially for personal power. The modern-day essence of the tribe, is power. It is more important than the phylosphy.
Communism, socialism, and leftist tribalism were created to further the group, and diminish the individual. It has become a quest for power by promising great things for its members, such as the Robin Hood syndrome of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. Whether or not you believe that is justified, and I do not, those that benefit are now the ruling powers of that socialist movement, and the people are the pawns. A meager existence (welfare, etc.) in exchange for giving away power, only enriches the leaders of the movement with both power and money. The tribe today pretends to be about people, but is all about its leaders.
The worst part of all modern tribalism is that the members of any given tribe, become so poisoned through propaganda (including fake news), that they no longer view members of other tribes as truly human. The members of those other tribes, may be co-workers, neighbors, friends and relatives, including those who we speak to with warmth, but when we part, we go back to our tribes and renew the hate, almost not realizing who we are hating.
I do not belong to any political parties or movements. That’s just me. I use terms like conservatives, liberals, the political left, and the political right (all tribes), so people who read what I write, know who I am writing about. I identify with one side more than the other, but I always retain my freedom to follow my own beliefs and criticize whom I choose.
Religion, including denominations of religions are tribes of a sort. I follow and listen to many Christian spokespeople, and they are of varying denominations (tribes). I will admit, that I lean toward independent ministries who owe nothing to anybody except their congregation, and most importantly to God. I am a Christian (you can call that a tribe), and my personal beliefs are that being a Christian, means developing a personal relationship with God, through acceptance of Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Those are my (educated) opinions. There are a handful of books available to help us become literate in this journey, but one and only one, called the Bible,is in my opinion, the true Word of God. All that said, there is till some tribalism involved in my endeavor.
There has indeed been much death and destruction through time, in the name of religion. My tribe versus your tribe. Today, Islamic fundamentalist terrorists (fundamentalists not extremists), are the main perpetrators of death and destruction in the guise of a religion. Over time, many who have called themselves Christian, have done the same. Remember the crusades?
Tribalism “can be” self-gratifying brutality, no matter what name it carries or how many are a part of the group (tribe) that you belong to.
As we here in America, have spent the past year watching our buildings being burned, our cars being destroyed, and our people being beaten and killed, we are getting a lesson in tribalism gone wild. What it is not, is individual people coming to rational decisions based on intellect and morality, and then bringing that to a group (tribe). It is tribalism at its worst. People being manipulated to hate, destroy and kill based on what tribe they profess to belong to. An excuse to blame “other tribes” for their own failures and misgivings. An excuse to justify violence. When the good people of those same tribes, do not speak out, they are of the same ilk. They become no better than the burners and the killers.
Tribes in one form or another, will always exist. In and of itself, that is not necessarily bad. Co-existing tribes are at least better than anarchy, but tribal warfare can be merely planned anarchy, and that is what we are seeing in the word today.
To me, the answer will always be about people who refuse to be held by captive by others. Mentally, physically, emotionally or spiritually. It’s up to us. Seven billion independent people who practice love and respect, is better than a thousand tribes that preach and teach hatred and violence.
As a people, we never have to tolerate violence or breaking of laws. Independent or tribal, we have a right and an obligation to stop criminals whether they be terrorists, rioters, or merely shoplifters. All good people have a right to self-preservation and that is why armed forces, including the military and our police, are absolutely essential to survival.
Select your tribe carefully.
For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and great wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
(Watch out for the leaders of tribes who promise (or seem to show) you a pure and righteous journey. They might deceive even the best of us)