The more I follow geopolitics as well as the news coming from various parts of this country, the more I believe our world is de-evolving from a complex civilization back to its most primitive element, the element found among early cave dwellers. We’re moving back to identifying with our tribe.
Think about the racism that’s reared its ugly head recently as well as the lament over the Confederate flag being taken down from the statehouse in South Carolina. We have skinheads who identify with each other and hate virtually everyone else. We have southerners who hate liberals and most northerners and certainly hate blacks. We have strict religious groups or tribes that hate everyone who is different. I suspect a lot of the hatred for President Obama came not from his middle of the road politics, but from the color of his skin and the feeling among some whites that he wasn’t one of them but a member of a different tribe.
You have the paranoia of some Texan conservatives who are sure they’re tribe is about to be invaded by the big bad federal government. That’s the same government that gives Texas more money than it takes from that red state. The Israeli “tribal” members hate the Arab “tribe members and vice versa even though if you stripped them naked, it would be impossible to tell them apart once their head covers were removed.
Tribal structure is one reason why Americans are so uncomfortable with the idea of mass transportation. It forces people to sit next to people from different tribes who clearly are different. By the way, this inclination to revert back to tribal structures applies to other groups including hippies, beats, druggies, valley girls, jocks, etc. All dress in certain ways and thus can identify each other. It’s fascinating that ultra-orthodox Jews and ultra-orthodox Muslims both dress in ways that isolate them from the world around them and encourage them to seek out others who share their belief systems. No beard? Clearly you are not part of either group.
The problem with this trend towards returning to tribal groups rather than assimilation is bad for our country and for the world because people in tribes distrust groups they don’t understand. That distrust can easily grow to hatred. Since we have nuclear weapons today and not merely rocks or spears to throw, the results could be disastrous.