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Tribal Denialism

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Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past five years, you’ve probably heard about the “dangerous” return of tribalism.

Before 2015 (or before Obama, depending on the source), Americans didn’t put themselves in tribes. They only saw red, white and blue. Everyone was judged as an individual. Civility and decency reigned supreme. Race relations and gender relations were all just fine. Americans were one nation, under God and indivisible.

This is the god-honest truth to the average newspaper columnist. The typical pundit believes Donald Trump ruined this paradise and introduced tribalism into the land, pitting American against American in the ugliest fashion.

To a person with a better long-term memory than the average pundit, this is ridiculous.

Bitter partisanship has existed since the Founding. We didn’t agree to disagree with the Loyalists, the Federalists and Democrats dueled over political disputes, Northerners and Southerners fought a bloody Civil War, and so on and so forth. Tribalism — whether of a political, religious, or racial variety — is in America’s DNA. It’s only gotten unbearable under the strain of multiculturalism. No shared heritage, faith, or values bind us together now. We may speak the same language, but we can’t acknowledge that. We are taught our national history, but it’s a long litany of crimes and misdeeds of the historic American majority. Our official history only leads to more division and tribalism.

Yet, our chattering class orders us to overcome tribalism. The latest plea to ditch tribalism comes from Never Trumper David French. He has written many articles on this topic. In his latest, he expresses shame over his Confederate ancestors and announces he just finished a whole book about the topic, the originally titled Divided We Fall.

French says he is haunted by his ancestors fighting in the Army of Tennessee because they were victims of tribalism. They were raised in an environment where slavery was accepted and they would be expected to oppose abolitionism. Tribalism made them fight for an “unjust cause” and not consider the other side’s point of view. “[W]hen like-minded people gather, their views get more extreme. Our arguments reinforce one another to such an extent that the entire group will sometimes become more extreme than the most extreme person at the start of the deliberation,” he says of tribalism’s effect on human reason.

French does make an unintentionally redpilled point about people when he says: “We fool ourselves into believing our ideas or our intellects are in control when it is often our identity or our history.”

This is largely true. There’s also nothing wrong with that. Identity and history have always inspired man and we cannot escape our condition. The only ones troubled by this are goofy liberals who believe man should be motivated by fuzzy abstract ideals, not by who he is or his people.

You can buy Greg Hood’s Waking Up From the American Dream here.

French is one of those goofy liberals, in spite of his conservative pretenses.

“The tidal pull of tribalism should humble us all. For many of us, it renders our virtue an accident of history and birth. For others, it gives our sin and vice a terrible momentum that’s so very hard to reverse,” he laments. He sees tribalism as a sin, conveniently forgetting the Old Testament’s celebration of Hebrew tribalism.

In spite of all of his doom and gloom, French is optimistic we can overcome tribalism and unite as a nation — and Ta-Nehisi Coates, yes, the anti-white black writer who wants whitey to pay reparations, offers the answers. French includes a lengthy passage from Coates, which admonishes Americans to humble themselves and accept their own mediocrity. You would’ve been a slave owner if given the chance, Coates says. So you must shame yourself for being human to truly empathize with others. Interestingly, Coates’s writings never make much about blacks doing anything to humble themselves — but there is a lot of talk about white humility. Very curious. . .

Citing any Ta-Nehisi Coates idea should convince every conservative to dismiss whatever French has to say. French clearly cites Coates to signal to liberals that he’s a good conservative, one who can be trusted to never venture past the confines of acceptable discourse.

Later on in the essay, French concludes of his ancestors:

On this day, 155 years ago, the army of my ancestors folded its flags and stacked its arms. The tidal pull of tribalism carried away the men who gave me their name. Their legacy — and the legacy of every generation that has been caught up in the sweep of history in ways that harm us still today — should cause us all to pause.

He advises his readers to think for themselves and avoid the crowd; a bold lesson pushed on to every young student in America.

French is right to poke at the individualism of Americans who believe they come to their beliefs and preferences by sheer reason. Their background and identity influence them far more than the great being of logic. But French is foolish to think he offers the path to transcend this.

He bemoans the horrible costs he’s suffered for resisting the tribalism of the Right. He hates Trump and says it’s immoral to support the president. He damns white Evangelicals for standing by Trump and says they put their souls at risk. While French is hated by many conservatives, he reaps many benefits with his anti-Trump stance.

Before Trump, he was a minor National Review writer. Now he’s published by the New York Times and The Atlantic, and praised to high heaven in the mainstream press. He can expect his new book to be championed in all the right places. He wouldn’t have these benefits if he had followed his tribe and backed Trump.

He’s come a long way from being one of the more right-wing National Review columnists. French was one of the few conservative writers to defend the Confederate flag in the wake of the 2015 Charleston church shooting. In one column, he attacked Coates for his “characteristic vehemence” against Confederate memorials. He also disputed the notion that his ancestors fought and bled to protect slavery and proudly defended their service to their native lands.

“To change the South so that memorials are now re-cast as symbols of their eternal shame is to treat them worse than their Union adversaries did in the immediate aftermath of bloody conflict,” French wrote in another article.

Now he’s taken the woke centrist pill and wishes his ancestors had access to enlightening YouTube videos on race so their racism wouldn’t “haunt” him.

It’s fitting that French is a huge fan of capeshit. This man’s disconnection from reality makes him love the worst dreck Marvel serves up to him.

Give us this last man who thinks for himself and sees every superhero movie!!

There frankly isn’t a serious idea to unify America and defeat tribalism. French wants Americans to be guided by a moral compass that leads them to accept the neoliberal order, complete with its trash entertainment and degenerate icons. This counts as “free-thinking.” And it’s not working to deflate national polarization.

Tribalism is a natural part of life and paeans to imagined unity cannot mend America’s polarization.

America had unity when we were homogenous and shared a common culture and history, when diversity was not championed as the highest virtue and racial feeling wasn’t denounced as the gravest sin. We were a nice, white country back then — we’re not one now.

In his review of Ezra Klein’s Why We’re Polarized, British professor Eric Kaufman bluntly states what underlined the “de-polarized” Cold War era:

The cultural practices and bipartisan understandings that bound the American polity together were those of white men, limiting opportunities for women and African-Americans.

The descent into polarization stems, ironically, from America addressing its blind spots on race, gender, and sexuality. These undermined the white male Christian consensus, ushering in an age of identity politics.

Harmless conservatives and establishment liberals want the 1950s back without the white homogeneity and patriarchy. They believe they can create the conditions that made the 50s nice with modern demographics and modern values. That’s not going to happen. Homogeneity and traditional values are essential to maintain the civility and decency French so desperately craves. One cannot be civil with a stranger who’s hostile to everything you believe in. Tribalism within a nation can only be transcended when the nation acts like a tribe. It gives you a particular identity that sets you apart from the rest of the world and makes you see your neighbors as your people. When your neighbors speak another language, look nothing like you, and call you a white settler, there’s not much common ground to be had.

The radical individualism inherent to modern America also rots possible ties between countrymen. Too many Americans (primarily white Americans) think it’s wrong to see yourself in a group. It’s better to aspire to be a special snowflake who is unencumbered by history and identity. But the snowflakes can’t ignore reality forever. Tribalism is here to stay — and there’s nothing wrong with it. The real perversion is seeing yourself as an individual without a people, someone who can stand aside from your kin and pretend the world will just see you as you. 

Tribalism is the natural way of the world. The Marvel-sponsored individualism of David French is a mere fantasy for last men.

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  1. Anthony Kimball
    Posted May 1, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    I am a white man first, before anything. Whites in America have a very short time to awaken from their jewish-induced slumber and come to the realization that race is EVERYTHING. If our people don’t start to understand that ethnic solidarity is absolutely crucial to our future survival, then we have signed our own death warrant. One good thing about this pandemic (whatever one chooses to believe regarding its origin and ultimate purpose), it has given the still-sleeping segment of our people the time to ponder and reflect on the worsening social and cultural situation prevailing in this once-great land. Maybe I’m being far too optimistic, but perhaps this situation will be the thing that finally, at long last, motivates OUR tribe, the tribe that created civilization as we know it, to do what should have been done long ago.

    • Jud Jackson
      Posted May 2, 2020 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      Agreed. Except, I would go further, and to paraphrase Vince Lombardi, I would say “Race isn’t everything; race is the only thing.”

  2. Riki
    Posted May 1, 2020 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    A great article!

    “Tribalism within a nation can only be transcended when the nation acts like a tribe. ”

    This sentence is pure gold. Together with some other explanatory phrases in the article, they should be woven into a short pithy and seamless passage to invigorate and augment our argument and make a powerful tool of persuasion to explicate our ideas to the normies, appeal to and redpill them, which would surely be effective and potent.

    Hats off to Mr. Hampton for penning this concise and incisive essay.

  3. HamburgerToday
    Posted May 1, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Fantastic essay. The more one knows about David French, the more repellent he seems.

    I think the following nut-shells the US situation nicely and why White Nationalism (either under than rubric or some other) is the only logical direction for American Whites: One cannot be civil with a stranger who’s hostile to everything you believe in….. When your neighbors speak another language, look nothing like you, and call you a white settler, there’s not much common ground to be had.

    I would add that when these people who hate you are given the power of the State to oppress you, there is not reason to be loyal to that State.

  4. Dandelion
    Posted May 1, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    In Louisiana blacks sometimes owned black slaves. Julia Street in the French quarter is named after a free woman of color who owned black slaves. So by genius t coates’s logic, blacks are equally culpable for slavery bc they “would have owned slaves too, if they could.” In fact they did !

    I’ve never seen a truly good superhero movie. In fact most are vapid and hideous…

    It’s curious with the Js and their fellow travelers, you can’t make heriditarian arguments against other racial groups, but they’re apt to employ bogus heredity arguments against us!

    • MBlanc46
      Posted May 9, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Blacks owned slaves in Africa. If slavery had not been an African institution, African slavery in North America could never have become an institution.

  5. Posted May 1, 2020 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    This recent hand-wringing is merely rhetoric to reinforce the status quo position. Cultural Marxism encourages groups they like to think collectively and practice identity politics, while they froth at the mouth when groups they don’t like do the same thing.

    Our way out of this is to break the spell: expose this crazy racket, reveal their narratives as the lies they are, and cut through the climate of fear they use to reinforce it. After that, the world is going to start looking a lot more normal, and we have a way forward.

  6. Vagrant Rightist
    Posted May 2, 2020 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    French is the poster boy of uber-cuckery. You wonder how much he is being used as a tool by those around him, like when Kristol was pushing him as a ridiculous ‘Never Trump’ presidential choice briefly, or how much he is cognizant of it; cynically trying to further his career by playing to Jewish anti-white sentiment. Perhaps both are true.

    This is the same French that had a perfectly nice family and decided he ‘had’ to adopt a black African as well to impress liberals. A truly disgusting and repugnant character, but one with very little appeal.

    Perhaps conservatives/liberals who espouse the most extreme, hollow and bankrupt establishment clichés are doing so as an act of protest against their own insipidness.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted May 2, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      French truly is the runt of the conservative litter.

  7. Alexandra O.
    Posted May 3, 2020 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    In response to French’s adopting a black child, here is my story on the subject. I was an orphan, half-Irish and half-English, but adopted by a wonderful German mother and Irish dad. We moved to the New Mexico desert due to my dad’s health. When he died my mother moved back to California with me, aged 12, and remarried a German man, who had 3 half-Mexican kids by a former marriage. I thought it was great to ‘have a family’. I can tell you, a mixed-family never works. The two older boys, aged 16 and 17, left home within a year, because Mother put a curfew on them to be home by 9 p.m. and not out driving their cars. The girl, 14, shunned me completely because she sneaked out her window at night to go joy-riding with her friends, and was afraid I would tell on her. It wasn’t until I took the Iowa Tests in the 11th grade, and got a score of 93 and hers was only 51, that I got a real glimmer of the problem. She was just plain stupid as well as being nasty and annoying. DO NOT mix your families racially, especially if you already have kids of your own. I am so glad I have finally found ‘my tribe’ here in WN.

  8. Digital Samizdat
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Great piece from Hampton!

    French includes a lengthy passage from Coates, which admonishes Americans to humble themselves and accept their own mediocrity. You would’ve been a slave owner if given the chance, Coates says.

    Would have been a slave owner if given the chance? Since we’re now moving in the realm of the hypothetical, I wonder if our MacArthur “genius” has contemplated the possibility that some of his ancestors might’ve owned slaves at some point, too? West Africans have been practicing slavery for a long, long time. They were even practicing it before the Arabs arrived.

    America had unity when we were homogenous and shared a common culture and history, when diversity was not championed as the highest virtue and racial feeling wasn’t denounced as the gravest sin. We were a nice, white country back then — we’re not one now.

    In all honesty, even when it was overwhelmingly White, the United States of America still never that homogenous. If you’ve ever read a good book on the subject, such as Albion’s Seed by David Hackett Fischer, you’ll know that, right from the start, different parts of America were colonized by some rather distinct peoples from different parts of the British Isles. So even in our heyday, we were never exactly Sweden.

    Still, I would give anything to go back to that heyday!

  9. Paul Orsi
    Posted December 8, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Interesting thought about Tribes as being a good thing but remember what really strengthened the tribe going back to pagan times was the transcendental.

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