July 2024

From tribalism to Democracy back to tribalism?

(Wednesday blog)

The escape from tribalism

Lots of clever people – much cleverer than me – have written endless scholarly works about why the West has been so successful, while most of the countries in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America are total sh*tholes. Although, of course, all these smart people wouldn’t use the word “sh*thole”.

At the risk of generalising, might I humbly suggest the one reason why the West has provided a good life for its citizens while the rest of the world is a poverty-stricken, excrement-covered, miserable disaster?

The success of the West has been its triumph over tribalism, our ability to transcend narrow sectional interests through rational discourse, something that never really caught on in the Middle East, Africa and many other countries split along tribal lines. Our belief in a liberal order with all equal before the law and all eligible adults able to express their political choice through the democratic process has been the fruit of abandoning tribalism.

Moreover, until recently the West made good attempts to tame the excesses of capitalism through progressive taxation and re-distributive policies and embraced the mixed economy of both private and public. We also recognised the cumulative advantages of wealth and made some headway with equality of opportunity. On measures such as GDP per capita, a good enough guide to countries living standards, the first 37 places are mostly western democratic countries. All this made possible because we abandoned narrow sectional tribalism in favor of working together to try to improve our lot.

This is not a picture of contentment, far from it. But it has given us a lot better life than the inhabitants of the world’s tribalist sh*tholes.

Back to tribalism

But this is breaking down. Why? Because in the name of multi-culturalism and diversity, our rulers are importing the very tribalism we so successfully rejected:

We are moving back to tribalism in two ways. Firstly, our rulers are importing millions of Third-World people whose only experience of life is living in tribal (and thus usually failed) societies. As is clear, most of these people are unable to adapt to our non-tribal, democratic, largely law-abiding, non-violent, tolerant lifestyles.

Moreover, our previous collaborative approach to solving problems is being replaced by much more antagonistic attitudes. Whereas in past times we emphasised shared values and sought equality before the law, equality of opportunity and so on, frustrated with the failure of every socialist experiment around the world and their lack of progress in the wealthy West, the Left has become increasingly intolerant and has embraced a toxic form of tribalism based on group characteristics such as gender, race and sexuality. Rather than equality, they demand special treatment, recognition of supposed grievances and affirmative action. We are told that this would lead to greater social harmony. In fact, stoking such grievances has actually led to increased, intolerance, resentment and mistrust.

So-called ‘diversity’, when pushed too far, leads to divisive polarisations, conflict between groups and a breakdown of social harmony. People talk, or rather shout, at rather than to each other. Rational discussion is abandoned and everyone seems aggrieved at something. What started as a university thing has escaped the box and now the Left are trying to stoke up antagonisms throughout society by convincing every group (except, of course, white males) that they are somehow a victim of someone else’s oppression. White males are, as I’m sure you  know, always top of the list of ‘oppressors’ and our friends from the world’s most tolerant and violent religion are always top of the list of the oppressed:

Incredibly, while stoking up tribal tensions between different groups, the Left supported by the liberal mainstream media manages to get away with blaming the Right for increasing social tensions.

This really is turning into a bit of a mess. So let’s hope we can step back from the brink of total societal breakdown before it’s too late.

5 comments to From tribalism to Democracy back to tribalism?

  • William Boreham

    I’ve always been totally baffled as to how, in this day and age, a quite obviously ridiculous and quite mad religion like Islam is still expanding its influence and taking over in many countries we once assumed were rational and sane.
    The history of Islam and mystery of its appeal to other than psychopaths’ is still mystifying.

    And one very courageous woman.

    Should be shown to every young girl in Britain – but it won’t!


  • daveh

    I agree with William, the journey from tribalism to Democracy and back again is a bit like hitting your own thumb with a hammer …. you don’t like it very much, but you have no one to blame except yourself.

    Good article David.

  • A Thorpe

    Not only is tribalism a feature of multicultured Britain, it is even worse than that. Our own culture is now seen as unacceptable and inferior to other cultures, and is viewed as the cause of the problems suffered by other cultures. George Osborne is now explaining how he got things wrong and did not recognise the benefits of migration. If migration is so good for everybody why is it only in one direction. Europeans do not migrate to Africa and the Middle East to experience the cultures our politicians tell us are so fantastic.

    You say we are able to express a political preference through our democratic processes but our voting system does not give a proportional representation of the parties in the Commons. The Lords are not elected. But if we did have proportional representation we always want a government that has a majority to get things done and our voting is based on party promises. Our party system is the problem. It creates disagreement and not debate. We must get rid of the parties and have independent MPs who can debate and arrive at a consensus view, not a party view determined by a majority party in the Commons that does not have the support of a majority of the electorate.

    I do not agree with your view of capitalism. Capitalism is the only way to generate wealth so there is no such thing as excesses. It is just jealousy and greed from those who think they are entitled to a bigger share of the wealth without working for it. Capitalism is essentially about investment and this is what creates jobs and wealth. We all have the same opportunity in education but some do not want to put in the effort. Why should they when they can let wealth redistribution provide their needs? Wealth redistribution is a socialist system that never works and effectively all a country needs is one socialist party and the rest have to follow. Political parties only want to gain and keep power and they can only beat the rest by offering more and more that they have no means to provide.

    Capitalism also means that people have to take responsibility for themselves and to determine their spending priorities. Once the state decides to tax us and provide services it cannot determine priorities and it distorts market forces. The health service show the worst of this. Once the state promises free health care it cannot prioritise expenditure because it effectively promises people the best of everything regardless of cost. If it tries to deny expensive drugs then there is an outcry. When people do not have to prioritise their healthcare they spend on holidays, cars, entertainment without a care in the world. The market in every area is distorted by the the NHS. All our environmental problems are essentially caused by transport and holidays because of state control of our lives in every country. We need freedom from the oppressive states.

    It is hardly surprising that people do not want to take responsibly for themselves when the state has turned education into brainwashing. Nothing demonstrates how useless education has become when the majority of people believe that we can control the climate. The global warming brigade have our ignorance on their side. They have created the idea that the earth has an average temperature that must be maintained for our benefit. The temperature has never been at a predetermined level. To suggest that it has means the past history of ice ages has to be ignored. Even the concept of an average temperature is meaningless but the masses think they understand an average. Some quantities can be added together, such as mass and length, and the total has a meaning, but the average does not necessarily mean anything and averages are never used in science and engineering calculations. The average height of people is a useful indicator but we cannot make clothes on the basis of the average. Temperatures are entirely different. The temperatures of two objects cannot be added to produce a total temperature that means anything. It is an intensive variable, unlike mass and length which are extensive. Temperature is completely independent of the the size of a system. The sum of the temperatures of two system does not mean anything and so the average is also completely meaningless. But the masses are taught and believe that the earth has an average temperature and that we can control it. As a result we have another wealth redistribution system imposed on us by politicians through pointless energy policies. This time the wealth goes from the poor to the rich.

    The politicians are the cause of all our problems and are really no better than tyrants, but we keep voting for them and the existing system of so called democracy. We must have freedom from state control.

  • Stillreading

    Humans are naturally tribal, as is all animal life. It’s the basis of survival instinct – self, offspring (one’s own genetic material – very precious), family, village, town, county or state, country. Cooperation essential for survival leads to commonality of interest and unity of action. Aliens (neighbouring tribe, village, town, nation) are naturally viewed with suspicion. They are after the incumbents’ food or territory. Incomers who desire acceptance must therefore, in order to gain acceptance, demonstrate their willingness to adopt the mores and rules of the host tribe (country). The “civilisation” of which we are so proud and which appears to exist when newcomers adapt to the status quo is the thinnest of veneers and we disrupt it at our peril. Uncontrolled immigration from cultures (tribes) which are a millenia behind Europe in terms of democracy and tolerance and the ability to adapt can only lead to eventual total breakdown of society as we understand it. When Armaggeddon comes, everyone of obvious Caucasian descent will swiftly be obliterated. People of mixed race, whose affiliations may not immediately be evident, will have to declare themselves, which will be a sticky situation indeed for many. It will be a particular quandary for members of the very strongly believing and openly practising sector of Afro-Caribbean UK citizens. Once the bloodbath is over and none remain on earth except practitioners of the Religion of Peace, further bloodshed will commence as the various sub-sectors of that belief system take issue with each other. Not a happy prospect. Oh Brave New World, that will have such people in it!

  • Julia Green

    Always spot on.

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