The difficulty with modern politics is that it is stupid. Stupid, cultish, and insane.
Let’s use a recent example: Esquire ran a cover article about a white male teen entitled “American Boy,” and and at least a handful of people reacted with the kind of vitriol that makes alt-right conspiracy theorists point and yell “See? See? We told you so!”
Since when has “the cover of Esquire” been a “we”?
Just a few of the responses to Jemele’s Tweet, which has over 48 thousand likes:
So let me get this right, @esquire can’t put any other color person on their cover during the ENTIRE month of #BlackHistoryMonth !?!?
All during black history month. They know what they’re doing. All press is Good press
I can’t even believe that! Especially during Black History Month? I mean it’s not right to begin with but it’s completely ridiculous this month! The least they could have done was cover me! I’m the biggest black sheep there ever was ask anyone! So kidding…Sry,I know, NOT FUNNY!
During Black History Month no less. Just don’t get it at all.
What the hell?!!!! Was there some type of urgency? Some clamoring from the masses, a cultural void that needed to be filled that warranted the commissioning of this article?! WtF
Seriously?!? Just the title of this article made me throw up in my mouth a little
Okay, new rule: You’re not allowed to talk about single people on Valentine’s Day, colon cancer in October, food during Ramadan, or jam during the entire month of March, because March is National Celery Month. Also, the second week of July is Nude Recreation Week, so consider yourselves forewarned.
By the way, this is the March issue of Esquire, not February. (As far as I can tell, the last time Esquire published a February issue in the US, it featured a black man–Pharrel–on the cover.)
Ironically, I agree, strongly, with the folks who say we need to teach non-white history–the history of Africa, Asia, Oceana, and the rest of the world.
It’s not a pretty history. It involves cannibals. If they’re right that those who fail to learn about history are destined to repeat it, then we’re in for a lot of trouble.
Humans are fundamentally tribal creatures, even when they pretend to themselves that they aren’t. It’s part of our psychology; it’s part of how we understand the world and process threats. Human history is largely the history of one tribe of hairless apes bashing another tribe of hairless apes with increasingly advanced rocks. When we understand history, we realize that our current travails are more of the same old, same old, just fought with new technology.
Tribalism makes sense if you rewind the clock a hundred years or so to before the invention of the car, plane, and television. When most of your dealings were with members of your own community, and your own community was small enough that you knew a good portion of the people in it, “tribalism” was just regular life.
The tie that divides: Cross‐national evidence of the primacy of partyism:
Using evidence from Great Britain, the United States, Belgium and Spain, it is demonstrated in this article that in integrated and divided nations alike, citizens are more strongly attached to political parties than to the social groups that the parties represent. In all four nations, partisans discriminate against their opponents to a degree that exceeds discrimination against members of religious, linguistic, ethnic or regional out‐groups. This pattern holds even when social cleavages are intense and the basis for prolonged political conflict. Partisan animus is conditioned by ideological proximity; partisans are more distrusting of parties furthest from them in the ideological space. The effects of partisanship on trust are eroded when partisan and social ties collide. In closing, the article considers the reasons that give rise to the strength of ‘partyism’ in modern democracies.
In practice, partyism is mostly racialism. 90% of blacks vote Democratic; the majority of whites vote Republican.
The problem is that these days, we don’t live in communities of a few hundred people. We don’t just interact with members of our own tribe.
The Esquire controversy is old-fashioned tribalism dressed up in modern language–really, all SJW politics is just tribalism dressed up in new words. There is nothing “social” or “justicey” about disliking an interview with a teenager; Jamele and the thousands of people agreeing with her aren’t objecting to the quality of the article nor the lad’s personality, but expressing a very simple emotion: You aren’t part of my tribe, therefore I don’t like you.
But who cares about any of this? 40,000 likes is a lot of likes, but then, there are >300 million people in this country. 40k isn’t even 1% of them.
Yet I think it is important. For starters, this low-level sniping is pervasive. Whether you’re on the internet or just watch TV, people who don’t like you are everywhere.
20 years ago, I wouldn’t have had any idea whether Jemele liked Esquire’s latest cover article or not–and I wouldn’t have cared, because I don’t know her. She doesn’t live near me, doesn’t work with me, doesn’t run in any of my social circles. She could hang out with her friends, talking about how much they hate this dumb Esquire cover, and I could hang out with my friends, talking about squids and Aztec sacrifice, and never the twain would meet.
Now we do.
Every group has memes about how awesome the group is and how much other groups suck. (If they didn’t, well, they’d stop existing pretty quickly.) Jocks insult nerds; nerds talk shit about jocks. But normally we keep our opinions within our own groups, where they function to increase group cohesion and punish deviators.
This is your brain on tribalism.
Contrary to what some sociologists claim, bringing people into contact with people whom they don’t like seems to increase conflict, not decrease it. Familiarity breeds contempt.
Being constantly exposed to other people’s ideas about how awful you are seems to have two effects on people: either they agree (become infected–pozzed, if you will) that they are awful and start trying to help the people who hate them (this might be a kind of Stockholm Syndrome); or they react negatively, become immune, and hate back.
The former I refer to as the “suicide meme.” More on this later, but in short, the suicide meme happens when you absorb the memes of people who want you dead.
To the gazelle, the lion is a monster; to the lion, the gazelle is lunch. Neither of them benefits from adopting the other’s ideas.
To the grass, of course, the gazelle is a torturer and the lion a perfect gentleman.
There is something ironic about getting lectured to about treatment of Latinos by someone who is literally named “Cortez,” (Hernando Cortes was the Spanish conquistador who conquered Mexico and destroyed the Aztec empire; he apparently also created a lot of children in the process.)
Quoting Cortez (the modern one):
We must have respect for… human rights and respect for the right of human mobility. Because it is a right. [Applause] Because we are standing on native land. And Latino people are descendants of native people. And we cannot be told, and criminalized, simply because for our identity or our status. Period.
There are multiple lies in this statement. “Human mobility” isn’t a right. Not across national borders. If you think it is, go try it on the North Korea border and report back on how it works. There is no country in the world that recognizes the right of non-citizens to traipse across its borders whenever they please.
Second, we are not standing on native land. This was filmed at the US capitol. This is AMERICAN land. It is American land because Americans killed the people who used to live here.
Every single piece of land in the entire world belongs to the person who actually has the ability to physically enforce their claim to that land. China is a country today and Tibet isn’t because the PRC has physical control over Tibet and Tibet does’t. Italy is a country because no other country has the ability to take control of Italy’s land. Bhutan is a country because it controls the borders of Bhutan.
Third, while Latinos are descended from “native” peoples, they aren’t descended from Native Americans. They’re descended from natives from other countries that are not America. White people are also “native” peoples by this logic; they are descended from the native peoples of Europe. Asians are descended from the native peoples of Asia. Blacks are descended from the native peoples of Africa. Etc. Just because Latinos are descended from people from the North and South American continents is not meaningful–Germans and Poles are both native to Europe, but that doesn’t mean Germans have some inherent right to invade Poland.
Fourth, you certainly can be criminalized for your “status” (as illegal immigrants.) In fact, immigration status is exactly what is being criminalized.
There are many other issues with this speech–like the part where AOC blames ICE for the death of a little girl they actually were trying to save (despite the fact that our border patrol has no moral obligation to spend American taxpayers’ money to save the lives of non-Americans) and her promotion of the idea that non-citizens deserve “Constitutional protections” (fact: they already have constitutional protections, under the constitutions of the countries they are citizens of. They don’t have constitutional protections in countries they are not citizens of,)–but the most troubling thing about this speech is the fact that Ocasio-Cortez is an actual member of Congress.
Ocasio-Cortez’s comments would make sense over on the Mexican side of the border–a Mexican advocating for things that benefit Mexicans is perfectly reasonable.
But for a member of the American government to advocate that Americans have no right to control their own borders and assert that the territory of America actually belongs to someone else–including non-citizens–is straight up treason.