The decline of "democracy", and tribalism
0 comment Sunday, June 8, 2014 |
Over at American Thinker there is a pretty good piece entitled 'How Democracies Become Tyrannies'. It sums up the process rather well, by examining Plato's Republic.
In the Republic, two young men, Glaucon and Adeimantus, accompany the much older Socrates on a journey of discovery into the nature of the individual soul and its connection to the harmony of the state. During the course of their adventure, as the two disciples demonstrate greater maturity and self-control, they are gradually exposed to deeper and more complex teachings regarding the relationship between virtue, self-sufficiency, and happiness. In short, the boys begin to realize that justice and happiness in a community rests upon the moral condition of its citizens. This is what Socrates meant when he said: "The state is man writ large."
Near the end of the Republic Socrates decides to drive this point home by showing Adeimantus what happens to a regime when its parents and educators neglect the proper moral education of its children. In the course of this chilling illustration Adeimantus comes to discover a dark and ominous secret: without proper moral conditioning a regime's "defining principle" will be the source of its ultimate destruction. For democracy, that defining principle is freedom. According to Socrates, freedom makes a democracy but freedom also eventually breaks a democracy.''
It's good as far as it goes, and it applies to our present situation. Still, it could be said that our decline into tyranny was in the cards, given the trends of the last half-century, or even a century -- or more, depending on how you read and interpret our history.
But over at Gates of Vienna, El Inglés writes a piece called Pick a Tribe, Any Tribe, in which he examines how the presence of Moslems in the European countries, including the UK, has been a destructive force for democracy and freedom. And he discusses how a resurgence of tribalism may be the only way in which the incursions of Islam may be resisted.
The central contention of this essay is that tribalism will prove to be an essential component, if not the central component, in allowing a defense of Western societies against Islam. There are two reasons for this. The first is that such tribalisms will tend to keep Muslims out of those societies in the first place, and the second is that certain types of situations impose such severe psychological pressure on those who would confront them that they cannot consistently or usefully do so without a type and degree of psychological reinforcement that can only be provided by a tribe.''
But wait; he does not define 'tribes' by the conventional dictionary definition.
According to my old Webster's, the word 'tribe' means 'a social group comprising a series of families, clans, or generations...', whereas El Inglés says that
The most obvious and common tribal types would be those organized along racial lines (for the most obvious and literal type of tribe), cultural lines, religious lines (which tribes could be considered a subset of cultural tribes, as they pertain to behaviour and belief), ideological lines (Communists vs. Fascists), regional lines (my nation against yours, North against South), or organizational lines (a British Army regiment).''
I've said on this blog before that 'tribes' which have been formed on ideological lines, such as the hard-core left in this country, have taken the place of real tribes in postmodern America. Certain other groups, such as young single people under, say 30 or perhaps 35 also have become a kind of tribe. This goes back at least to the Woodstock days -- remember how the Woodstock rock festival was billed as 'the gathering of the tribes'? For some people, the American identity is their only 'tribal' identity, but the people who are that kind of 'patriot' also tend to be the types who aver that anybody and everybody is potentially one of us, by virtue of saluting our flag or 'believing in freedom.'
But I would say that these quasi-tribes, these superficial identities would not have morphed into 'tribal' groupings had we not become deracinated. For years there has been a conscious effort to remove all vestiges of genetic tribal loyalties, and to convince us that we are all brothers under the skin, at least as long as we believe in 'freedom and democracy.'
It's obvious, though, to those who have not been blinded to group and race differences that when an American, or a Western European, says 'freedom' it likely has a much different meaning than it does to a Middle Easterner or a Latin American or an Asian.
Yet we engage in this pretense that all men speak a common language and are of the same mind when it comes to these slogans and shibboleths like 'freedom', 'liberty' and 'democracy.' And it is this pretense that has allowed so many people to believe that we can admit millions of people from very alien societies under the assumption that they 'love freedom and democracy' in exactly the same way that we do, and moreover, who are we to deny 'freedom and democracy' to these poor people by refusing to let them come and live with us?
El Ingles discusses how 'principle' is not sufficient to motivate Europeans to oppose Islam, and how principle itself can be (and has been) corrupted in the attempt to 'dialogue' or engage peaceably with Moslems. And it's not only the Moslems themselves who twist and pervert principles, but their multicultist groupies in the West also do their part.
He points out how principle, had it been applied usefully to prevent the mass settlement of Moslems in Europe, might have been sufficient, but once the enemy is within the gates and using Western rhetoric to diminish the rights of their host peoples, it's too late.
This applies very much to America, too, although our percentage of Moslems is at this point considerably smaller than in Europe. However the tidal wave of Latin American immigrants, legal and illegal, are our equivalent of the Moslem problem. And we are weakened in defending ourselves for the same reasons: we have become deracinated and stripped of normal and healthy tribalism, while they themselves are allowed to be openly tribal and aggressively ethnocentric towards us.
Many Europeans, and even many shortsighted Americans, refuse to recognize the fact that Latino immigration is as big a threat to us as Moslems are to Europe. The people who minimize the threat they pose usually justify that attitude by saying 'well, at least they aren't trying to blow us up, and at least they are Christian, and at least they are hard workers...'' and so on. In fact, I would say that the sort of 'humble' image Latinos have acquired makes them appear more harmless than they are. The idea that 'at least they don't blow us up' is sufficient reason to welcome them is absurd, and I wonder if the people who say that ever read their local newspapers or look at the 'most wanted' posters for their towns or cities. So far there is no open terrorism, but many, many crimes against Americans by Latino immigrants constitute a kind of low-grade terrorism in my book, and it's fact that more Americans have been killed by those 'hard-working' folk than in the Iraq war, as of now.
And even were they not committing violence, low-grade or otherwise against us, it's clear that their presence is changing our country beyond recognition in many areas, and that they are bringing their culture with them, and replacing ours.
And the real way to deal with this problem should have been to act preventively, but once we have masses of these interlopers in our country, we have already sacrificed a great deal of our right to speak freely and candidly and honestly, because of the PC censors, and because we censor ourselves. It's easy and painless to declare pre-emptively that we don't want immigrants from certain countries, and we used to have such sensible policies, before 1965. But now that we have tens of millions of Latinos and who knows how many other immigrants in our midst, we cannot speak so frankly. And once we 'know' individuals from each group, we soften somewhat; somebody has a Hispanic co-worker, or they have Hispanic famiies attending their church, or someone knows friendly Moslems who run a local business. On and on it goes, and soon it becomes unthinkable to think of suggesting these people don't belong among us. We begin to see them as part of the natural American landscape, or we feel pity or sympathy for them. Nobody wants to be the hard-hearted person who would repatriate them. So the more of them living among us, the harder it becomes for us to think tribally and thus 'exclude' anybody. Even if we are not multiculturalist bleeding-hearts, most of us don't want to be harsh or unfriendly when we look at the outsiders who are among us -- even if they have no problem being hostile towards us.
I used to believe that the UK and the rest of Europe had an advantage in resisting the invasions of their countries, in that Islam is a much more obviously threatening system which is so obviously alien to Europe. For that reason, one would think that the natural ethnocentrism and desire to defend oneself and one's people would kick in and enable the Europeans to resist the Islamization of their countries. But for some reason, such doesn't seem to be the case.
We, on the other hand, are lulled by the fact that we have been next door to Mexico for centuries, and we have had small numbers of Hispanic immigrants for decades, with many of them having become quasi-assimilated after several generations. Again, we are lulled into thinking that they are 'Christian' like most of us, or that they are 'Western' as some people strangely claim. Many Americans thus blind themselves to the Hispanic presence here.
I don't quite understand El Ingles's ambivalence towards the BNP:
Let me put it succinctly: if the BNP won two seats at the next general election, I would be delighted. If it won two hundred, I would emigrate. I view BNP support as playing a role similar to that of a price in a free-market economy, which is to say that I see it as a signal conveying a certain type of information. If the BNP were to be banned and its support therefore to disappear at the electoral level, this information would be lost to the system, easing the pressure on the establishment parties to formulate a real response to Islamization, which I fervently hope they will eventually do. Lamenting the advances of nativist groups at this level would be like lamenting a rise in the price in oil when demand grows more quickly than supply. That said, given my beliefs about the gap between the true ideological commitments of the BNP leadership and the motivations of those who vote for it, it is impossible for me to avoid the conclusion that it would be a disaster for it to obtain real power.''
but then I am not British; I don't know the full situation as he might.
I encourage you to read the whole piece.
From where I sit, the BNP are the only party speaking up for the historic British people; without them or someone like them, there would be no hope, as the two major parties are as anti-British and pro-multiculturalist as our two useless parties are.
My doubts about the BNP come from the opposite direction: it seems I detect some efforts to be 'inclusive' and to thus play to the politically correct and the timid. I think this is always a bad move. Being 'inclusive' to outsiders or attempting to prove one's lack of 'bigotry' is always a victory for political correctness. I believe that a sharp correction to the right is absolutely essential to counter the many decades of leftward movement. The effort to prove one's lack of 'xenophobia' or 'racism' is exactly what has put the West at the edge of the precipice. More of the same will push us over the edge.
I fear that ingrained vestiges of political correctness on the right will doom any nativist efforts to resist what is happening. We have been taught for so long that ethnocentrism and nativism are evil, and that we must lean over backwards to expunge any hint of these things from ourselves and our political organizations. This merely helps our foes and may ultimately doom the West, if it continues.

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