SEARCH BLOG: TRIBALISM
In this year of elections, we take for granted that there are certain inalienable rights. Our Constitution guarantees them. A simple question: what guarantees the Constitution? To answer that question, you must examine the dynamics of the herd:
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2004Relationships: Rules of the Road
Humans are "herd" animals. Humans that live in isolation are less likely to survive. Herds survive by spreading the risk and sharing the resources. There are implicit "rules" of the herd. Rules allow the weak and strong to co-exist while acknowledging the strong through larger shares of the resources and protecting the weak by receiving a measure of protection from the strong. So, killing another member of the herd is prohibited except under extreme circumstances. Allowing the strong to kill the weak at will would destroy the herd. Sharing resources, albeit unequally, satisfies the strong and accommodates the weak.Politics is always about herd dynamics regardless of those who want to talk about individual rights or unions. Look at the world and you will see that nations are amalgamations of many tribes who struggle to co-exist with different versions of tribal mechanisms designed to provide a framework for individuals to co-exist. While that is difficult at best, international politics is a balancing act in which these amalgamations seek to maintain or expand their power while other amalgamations attempt the same thing.
As individuals, we presume certain "truths" about the way our amalgamation of tribes should function. "We hold these truths to be self-evident...." "Long live the King...." "لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله...."
When we are faced with truths that conflict with our own, we resolve it with compromise or conflict... depending on how strongly we adhere to our truths and how strongly we are pressed by those opposing our positions.
Sometimes it is necessary to "rally the troops." Iran has its "great Satan." The U.S. had its "Evil Empire." Conflict is threatened in the hope that the opposing faction blinks first. Sometimes, no one blinks.
As individuals, we have a strong incentive to support our tribe... or who we believe represents the interests of our tribe... as long as we believe our personal interests are represented as well. Sometimes we will support those who represent some interests contrary to ours as long as they also represent our interests. So, we oppose a war, but we support the leader who promises to take care of our wants and needs despite leading us into war. Sometimes it is "the devil we know" versus the devil we don't know. We all know that leaders lie to or mislead us; we just hope their lies and deceptions are not too damaging.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 06, 2012Damn Politicians Lie To Us
The point of all of this is that for those who want an objective truth as the basis for their politics, they are faced with the basic dynamic that drives all politics: what's in it for me? It seems we are often left with the feeling that our choice boils down to our perception of what is the lesser of two evils.
So, again, what guarantees our Constitution? Nothing more than people... and leaders... who are willing to play by its rules. If the framework is allowed to be fluid and transitory, there is very little in it for individuals. The tribe disintegrates.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 08, 2012