So I was reading a conversation over at HBD Chick’s the other day about why some people take her work way too personally (and confrontationally,) even though it clearly isn’t meant that way, in which someone pointed out that even if she doesn’t exactly mean it that way, if you call people clannish or tribal, they’re bound to get offended, because nobody likes clannishness.
But wait, I thought. I know people who like clannishness.
This seems obvious when you consider that the majority of people who live in societies-that-are-more-clannish-than-mine probably like their societies and prefer their level of clannishness to my society’s level, otherwise they would take steps to change their society. Even if they might balk at the words like “clannish” or “tribal” (or the insinuation that their society has higher levels of in-breeding than some other society,) there are plenty of practical aspects of clannishness that some people actually like.
In the clannish society, you can depend on your extended kin network to always have your back. Clannish societies are generally very friendly–compare the outgoing friendliness of southern Italians to the more reserved-natured Germans. People with strong kin networks are born with a supply of friends, role models, advice givers, and potential business partners. Their kinfolk will even stick up for them, defending them against outsiders.
The inverse of clannishness is atomization, and atomization is lonely and stressful. In the atomized society, you are stuck on your own, with no one to catch you if you fall. You might be a single mother or an only child, or a hikikomori. Either way, you’re alone–and most people don’t seem to cope well with loneliness.
(The downside to tribal societies is that friendly extroverts are more likely to punch you in the face.)
Several of my friends have visited or lived in societies that fall outside the Hajnal Line, and absolutely loved them. “The friendliest place I have ever been,” raved one. “The people there are so friendly, I hear they’d stop and talk to their neighbors on the way to the hospital!” said another. “I just got hit on for the first time in my life,” said a third. “The only place I have ever felt what it meant to have a loving family–if only my family were like that.” “Everyone was so hospitable and polite and absolutely mortified when my hotel got bombed.” “If it weren’t for my [obligations], I would move there in a heartbeat.” (Quotes from five different places.)
Some of these same people have gone through decades of loneliness in outbred societies. One friend had literally no friends for a decade, after losing a spouse to a divorce and a child and parent to death; two are considered unattractive and are perennially alone. Several have little to no relationship with their extended families; most live quite far from their nearest relatives.
So even if people may not like being called “clannish” or “tribal,” these societies certainly have their fans.