THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 589, September 26, 2010
"Why do creators create?"
Tribes vs. Individuals
Special to The Libertarian Enterprise
For most of recorded human history, people have organized their lives into tribes. The most recent forms of tyrannical governance around the world seek to either subjugate or destroy tribes. But those tyrannies don't seem to understand tribes fully, even though tribalism is sprinkled throughout their lives.
I'm writing this to explain why you should care about tribes, and how your everyday life is affected by tribalism.
For the purpose of this article, I am going to loosely define the word "democracy" as "any form of governance that allows its members to vote on outcomes that affect the members." So under this definition, even communist governance qualifies as democracy. And communist countries have not been any more successful dealing with tribes as any other democracy.
For the purpose of this article, the word "tribe" is defined as "a social group comprising numerous families, clans, or generations together with slaves, dependents, or adopted strangers all having a common character, occupation, or interest."
The western democracies have the individual, the rest of the world has tribes. In democracies, individuals are sovereign. Citizens look for freedom in individuality. But in tribes, the tribe itself is sovereign. Tribesmen find freedom in the group... for the group. Tribes are not democracies, tribes are hierarchies. Tribes have a pecking order, and every member finds its place in that pecking order.
What characteristics define tribes?
Tribes around the world operate within these strictures to a greater or lesser degree. Tribes are the bedrock of human governance... the lowest common denominator of sorts. When some leader decides to unite the tribes under his own leadership, he attempts to build a nation. William Wallace of Scotland tried this, failing in his quest to unite the clans against England. He couldn't get them to stop tribal squabbles long enough to throw off the tyranny of the English king.
And throughout human history, ambitious leaders have tried to defeat and domesticate tribes... many times to their own peril. Consider the Afghan tribes.
Afghan tribes killed Cyrus the Great of Persia, they defeated Alexander the Great in the 4th century, they defeated the British Empire twice in the 19th century, they defeated the Soviet Union's Red Army in the 1980s, and are now in the process of kicking the American military's asses.
Washington is now trying to subjugate the world's largest tribe, the Pashtun of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Pashtun numbers over 40 million people. DC will not succeed with a couple hundred thousand soldiers on the ground.
Why should you care about tribes? How is your world affected by the tribe?
One of the reasons that Islam is so popular in the world's tribes is that Islam and tribes have identical values. Islam was created by a tribal leader. Tribal virtues are Islamic virtues. So Islam and the tribe have identical values, and give the same psychological payoff to the adherents. Islam is tribalism writ large. Islam layers on the expansionist evangelical element to tribalism it never had before. Now the warrior code mixes with the hostility to everyone outside the tribe, and now the outsiders are infidels to conquer, subjugate or kill. This is not to say that all Islamists wish to kill infidels, any more than all Christians wish to kill unbelievers. But both are evangelical and both have fringe elements that are hostile to outsiders.
Curiously, Westerners love tribalism in some ways, and fight against it in others.
Westerners teach their armies tribal virtues. The West teaches their police tribal virtues. Football coaches teach their players tribal virtues. But then when it comes to interaction with the tribes of the world, the West seems to forget tribal customs and characteristics entirely. Washington DC doesn't seem to even notice tribalism's hostility to democracy as it attempts to force democracy upon the tribes of the Middle East. Consequently, America became embroiled in a war with Middle Eastern tribes from which it cannot extricate itself without admitting defeat... an admission that the haughty DC cannot abide. The USA cannot ever subjugate the Arab and Persian tribes, no matter how much money they waste, nor how many years they keep troops on the ground. So, if you have friends or family in the US military, tribalism affects you because the US military can never defeat the tribes. Your family and friends are simply the raw flesh fed into a meat grinder. And your income, stolen from you at the point of a gun, is burned up in an effort that can never succeed.
Things are the way they are with tribes and we are not going to change them. There will never be a successful, long term representative democracy in Islamic countries because democracy is about the individual, and Islam is about the tribe.
So, when some state of the Union secedes, and begins to interact with the other nations of the world for trade, it should understand what tribes understand:
Any new nation, born of secession, should work with tribalism and not against it. That sensitivity to a culture not its own will stand the new nation in great stead with tribes, and will build a reputation as a trustworthy nation. Such a reputation sets it apart from the dastardly United States of America's government in DC.
Secession is the Hope For Mankind. Who will be first?
DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.