Victor Davis Hanson on Tribalism
I was planning to upload a batch of quotations from Chapter Three, Tribes, in Victor Davis Hanson's, The Dying Citizen: How Progressive Elites, Tribalism, and Globalization are Destroying the Idea of America, Basic Books, 2021. But my effort was stymied when the library book was recalled. For now, I content myself with the surmise that the reversion to tribalism that we are now seeing all around us may be inevitable. Collectively, we appear to be 'defaulting' to tribalism. Thus Hanson:
Tribalism is by far the most ancient, natural, insidious, and stronger idea than nonracial citizenship. It is the default state of mankind. Its pedigree dates back to prehistory, and its vestiges were worrisome to later civilized states. (100)
[. . .]
Tribalism is now swiftly becoming a synonym for multiculturalism. It accepts that the strongest human affinities in a society, past and future, must arise from similar and natural racial, ethnic, religious, or clannish ties of blood among like groups. These pre-state bonds properly should supersede the citizen's collective and constructed political and social allegiance to the nation-state. (100-101)
Hanson rightly distinguishes American multi-racialism with its commitment to a common culture from multi-culturalism and notes their opposition to each other. A multi-racial society could work but only with a shared culture. Without the latter, the nation will "unwind" and "revert to pre-state status," issuing in a Hobbesian bellum omnium contra omnes.
That is what we are in for, I fear. As ‘minorities’ become more tribal, whites, the least tribal group, will inevitably become more tribal in self-defense.
Not long ago, tribalism was seen to be backward, reactionary and pre-civilizational, as "innately toxic" and "anathema to any pluralistic democratic society." (101) But no longer.
Here is an eight-minute video by Hanson on this delightful topic.
Here is an extended treatment: