Tribalism is the new American norm

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

Americans keep dividing into two hostile camps, Victor Davis Hanson says:

It seems the country is back to 1860 on the eve of the Civil War, rather than in 2018, during the greatest age of affluence, leisure, and freedom in the history of civilization.

The ancient historian Thucydides called the civil discord that tore apart the fifth-century b.c. Greek city-states “stasis.” He saw stasis as a bitter civil war between the revolutionary masses and the traditionalist middle and upper classes.

Something like that ancient divide is now infecting every aspect of American life.

Americans increasingly are either proud of past U.S. traditions, ongoing reform, and current American exceptionalism, or they insist that the country was hopelessly flawed at its birth and must be radically reinvented to rectify its original sins.

No sphere of life is immune to the subsequent politicization: not movies, television, professional sports, late-night comedy, or colleges. Even hurricanes are typically leveraged to advance political agendas.

What is causing America to turn differences into these bitter hatreds — and why now?

The internet and social media often descend into an electronic lynch mob. In a nanosecond, an insignificant local news story goes viral. Immediately, hundreds of millions of people use it to drum up the evils or virtues of either progressivism or conservatism.

Anonymity is a force multiplier of these tensions. Fake online identities provide cover for ever greater extremism — on the logic that no one is ever called to account for his or her words.

Speed is also the enemy of common sense and restraint. Millions of bloggers rush to be the first to post their take on a news event, without much worry about whether it soon becomes a “fake news” moment of unsubstantiated gossip and fiction.

Globalization has both enriched and impoverished — and also further divided — America. Those whose muscular labor could be outsourced abroad to less expensive, less regulated countries were liable to lose their jobs or find their wages slashed. They were written off as “losers.” Americans whose professional expertise profited from vast new world markets became even richer and preened as “winners.”

Geography — history’s intensifier of civil strife — further fueled the growing economic and cultural divide. Americans are increasingly self-selecting as red and blue states.

Liberals gravitate to urban coastal-corridor communities of hip culture, progressive lifestyles, and lots of government services.

Conservatives increasingly move to the lower-tax, smaller-government, and more traditional heartland.

Lifestyles in San Francisco and Toledo are so different that it’s almost as if they’re on two different planets.

Legal, diverse, meritocratic, and measured immigration has always been America’s great strength. Assimilation, integration, and intermarriage within the melting pot used to turn new arrivals into grateful Americans in a generation or two.

But when immigration is often illegal, not diverse, and massive, then balkanization follows. Currently, the country hosts 60 million non-natives — the largest number of immigrants in America’s history.

Yet unlike the past, America often does not ask new immigrants to learn English and assimilate as quickly as possible. Immigration is instead politicized. Newcomers are seen as potentially useful voting blocs.

Tribalism is the new American norm. Gender, sexual orientation, religion, race, and ethnicity are now essential, not incidental, to who we are.

Americans scramble to divide into victimized blocs. Hyphenated and newly accented names serve as advertisements that particular groups have unique affiliations beyond their shared Americanism.

America is often the target of unrealistic criticism — as if it is suddenly toxic because it is not perfect. Few appreciate that the far worse alternatives abroad are rife with racism, sexism, civil strife, corruption, and poverty unimaginable in the U.S.

The last few elections added to the growing abyss.


  1. Harry Jones says:

    It’s not stasis. It’s clarity. We all know where we stand with each other. The passive-aggressive era of US politics is over.

    “Inclusivity” was never sincere. Tribalism is human nature, and always has been. Now it’s harder to pretend. I say we’re all better off without the polite lies that kept society together until it all fell apart by itself. Now we can finally build from scratch on a better foundation. I propose these rules:

    1. Respect must be earned.
    2. Respect, having been earned, must be paid.
    3. Don’t go looking for a fight.
    4. Don’t run from a fight that has come to you.
    5. Take people as you find them.
    6. Judge everyone by his deeds, and nothing else.
    7. Work with people who are willing to work with you for a shared benefit.
    8. An unwillingness to learn the common language in your locale is an unwillingness to engage with society. Don’t pretend otherwise.
    9. The only kind of group worth taking seriously is a group designed to accomplish a common purpose beyond just having a group identity.

    Let all the old slogans be laughed into oblivion. Rebuild on a new rationality and a new empiricism. Let’s put the science back in political science.

  2. Magus says:

    “Few appreciate that the far worse alternatives abroad are rife with racism, sexism,”

    I’m so tired of neocon cucks….

  3. Sam J. says:

    “…Americans keep dividing into two hostile camps…”

    About time. Whites are being overrun.

    I’m not saying Whites should be overtly hostile to anyone not White. I am saying in any and all situations we should ask what is best for Whites “first” then follow through. We should simply act like the Jews who are one the primary, possibly THE, irritant that got us to where we are today. Maybe it would have been the same without them. We’ll never know but a serious constant attack on Whites by the Jews for over fifty years has made the US future rather murky. They did the same in South Africa and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Whites there will be mass murdered. They’re already having serious attrition from terrorist attacks.

    This what is happening to South Africans. I WARN YOU. IT’s A TERRIBLE VIDEO. I’m not kidding. You can’t unsee it. It made me feel anxious for several hours after I saw it. I recommend you do not watch it. One last warning. It’s really bad.

    If the alternative to being treated as in the above video is to have the Jews call us racist on their controlled media I’d rather be called a racist. Whites are far from perfect and have made some mistakes but there’s no doubt that we have tried to make things right in the name of fairness. Whether we did it correctly or enough is not the point. We have spent multi-trillion dollars in the effort to do so. We’ve made a very strong good faith effort to do so and it has gotten us…nothing. Worse than nothing. It seems that it has only instilled in other races the idea that we are worthless push overs to be abused at will. The Jews are especially bad about this. The Jews are fools to be so dependent on others yet abuse them constantly.

  4. McChuck says:

    Oh, noes! Do anyfing you want to me, but don’t call me raciss or sexiss! Take my wife, take my children, take my land, my home, my culture, my church! Take everfing! But pleez don’ call me raciss or sexiss!

    This message was taught to you by your enemies. Examine who told you, “You must not say this. You must not think that.”

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