Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Brief blurts about tribes and tribalism in America — David Brooks, “The retreat to tribalism” (December 2017)

David Brooks remains on a roll trying to inform us about the tribalization of America. This time he draws on observations from Jonathan Haidt about identity politics having “dropped its centripetal elements and become entirely centrifugal”, and from Pascal Bruckner about how excessive individualism “paradoxically leads to in-group/out-group tribalism.”

Against this background, Brooks concludes that:
“Haidt and Bruckner are very different writers, with different philosophies. But they both point to the fact that we’ve regressed from a sophisticated moral ethos to a primitive one. The crooked timber school of humanity says the line between good and evil runs through each person and we fight injustice on the basis of our common humanity. The oppressor/oppressed morality says the line runs between tribes. That makes it easy to feel good about yourself. But it makes you very hard to live with.”

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