Initiation rituals among boys from a tribe of the Yao people in Malawi (from here)

One of the accusations that has been flung my way is “tribalism”. The first time that happened I was more puzzled than insulted. I thought: “What the heck is that about?” When I think of tribalism, I think of a primitive people (sort of like that picture above). Admittedly, my arguments are not especially sophisticated, but “tribalism”? I am just trying to avoid making things more complicated than necessary.

Here is the definition of the term.

1 : tribal consciousness and loyalty; especially : exaltation of the tribe above other groups
2 : strong in-group loyalty

I am a Christian, and I am sort of tribal about that. I love the members of my family more than I love other people. So I don’t necessarily see anything wrong with tribalism. However, we can justify many bad behaviors based upon loyalty to some type of group identity. So we have to be careful how we rank our loyalties. Since our first and foremost love should be God, we must strive to see our behavior from His point of view.

Typically, I have found that Liberal Democrats accuse Conservative Republicans of “tribalism”. Liberal Democrats love everyone, supposedly. Conservative Republicans, however, are “haters”. So it is remarkable is how hateful loving Liberal Democrats can be towards people like President Donald Trump. Is it possible that Liberal Democrats are projecting their own form of tribalism onto Conservative Republicans? How would that work? Well, let’s look at some popular Liberal Democrat publications.

Capitalism creates a small number of very wealthy people, while democracy potentially empowers a poor majority resentful of that wealth. In the wrong conditions, that tension can set in motion intensely destructive politics. All over the world, one circumstance in particular has invariably had this effect: the presence of a market-dominant minority — a minority group, perceived by the rest of the population as outsiders, who control vastly disproportionate amounts of a nation’s wealth. (from here (www.nytimes.com))

Robert Reich is more direct.

We are witnessing a reversion to tribalism around the world, away from nation states. The the same pattern can be seen even in America – especially in American politics.

Before the rise of the nation-state, between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, the world was mostly tribal. Tribes were united by language, religion, blood, and belief. They feared other tribes and often warred against them. Kings and emperors imposed temporary truces, at most.

But in the past three hundred years the idea of nationhood took root in most of the world. Members of tribes started to become citizens, viewing themselves as a single people with patriotic sentiments and duties toward their homeland. Although nationalism never fully supplanted tribalism in some former colonial territories, the transition from tribe to nation was mostly completed by the mid twentieth century. (continued here (salon.com))

When you are a Socialist like Reich, history is suppose to be on your side. So I suppose the poor man must find a “reversion” horribly horrifying.

If Liberal Democrats were not such dead serious and dangerous busybodies, they would be funny. Consider. When they accuse Conservative Republicans of tribalism, what are they complaining about? Is it tribalism? No. Their complaint is that Conservative Republican don’t believe what the members of their tribal federation believes. Liberal Democrats don’t have a problem with tribalism. Using “tolerance” as an excuse, they are just intolerantly demanding conformance with the beliefs of their tribal federation.

Tribal federation? Yep! The Democratic Party subsists upon identity politics. Consider how busily Democrats strive to divide Americans into tribal interests.

  • Racism: One way or another Democrats have been focused on race since the party’s founding. Given the party’s history on race and its current policies, it is puzzling over 90 percent of blacks vote Democrat. Why would blacks want to vote for a bunch of racists? With the help of the mainstream news media, Liberal Democrats have set themselves up as the big government defenders of racial minorities.
  • Class warfare: Democrats use our economic divisions to pit the rich and the poor against the wage earners in the middle. To fool the poor, rich Liberal Democrats have set themselves up as the big government defenders of the poor.
  • Creed: Over the decades as Democrats have become the party of big government, they have become the party of Secularism. Instead of insisting that government be neutral towards religious belief, they have tried to use the government to suppress religious belief, Christianity in particular. So they can silence Christian opposition, Liberal Democrats have set themselves up as the big government defenders of freedom from religion.
  • Sex:  Just as Liberal Democrats insisted we should vote for Barack Obama because he is black, the same people insisted we should vote for Hillary Clinton because she was the most qualified woman. By advocating a reversal in bias Liberal Democrats have set themselves up as the big government defenders of feminism.
  • Gender Identity: Fifty years ago no one would have predicted the absolute absurdity of dividing people into dozens of different gender identities, but Liberal Democrats take identity politics quite seriously. See The gender identity terms you need to know (cbsnews.com) and A (nearly) complete glossary of gender identities for your next census (telegraph.co.uk). Thus, Liberal Democrats have set themselves up as the big government defenders of the sexually confused.
  • Ableism: If you have handicap of some sort, most people just assume that handicap is going to make doing some things more difficult. That’s why we call it a handicap, but never fear! Liberal Democrats have set themselves up as the big government defenders of the disabled. With enough of other people’s money, they will make it all well.
  • Labor unions: If you are the member of a union, that generally means you have organized to get Liberal Democrats to help you twist your employer’s arm. This support is especially effective when government is the employer. Hence taxpayers need to be fearful, but most don’t seem to understand the problem. So it is that Liberal Democrats have set themselves up as the big government paymasters of government employees.
  • Ethnic identity: We all come from somewhere, and our ancestors passed on their genes and their cultural heritage. Because we have a better understanding of people who look like and were raised like “us”, we are generally are more comfortable with people who share our ethnic identity. To increase that comfort, Liberal Democrats have set themselves up as the big government defenders of ethnic minorities.

I could go on with this list. That’s because we can make almost anything part of our identity.

Examples include social organizations based on age, religion, social class or caste, culture, dialect, disability, education, ethnicity, language, nationality, sex, gender identity, generation, occupation, profession, race, political party affiliation, sexual orientation, settlement, urban and rural habitation, and veteran status. (from here (en.wikipedia.org))

Here is the BEST, what I have saved for last. What is especially amazing is that Liberal Democrats have even figured out how to turn illegal immigrants (another identity group) into one of the groups they provide special protections and rights. These people are not Americans,  don’t belong in our country, and quite definitely should not be able to vote. Yet instead of tracking them down and sending illegal immigrants back to their home country, our government looks the other way and gives them access to “free” social services (especially our public schools) at taxpayer expense. Why?

  • Corrupt politicians have donors who want access to cheap labor.
  • Corrupt Liberal Democrats see illegal immigrants as a new pool of voters guaranteed to vote for big government defenders. In fact, Liberal Democrats are so eager for these potential voters to vote they fight voter ID tooth and nail.

So what is the pattern here? How do Liberal Democrats manage to unify the diverse range of people encompassed by these various identity groups. The answer is that appearances are deceiving. All these people may look and sound quite different from each other, but they are still human beings, and the vast majority of the human race is quite happy to get something for nothing.

What Liberal Democrats do to peddle their nonsense is an old sales technique. They convinced each of the various members of their tribal federation that they deserve what they want.

  • Blacks deserve “affirmative action”.
  • Non-Christians deserve the right to silence Christians.
  • The sexually promiscuous deserve government funding to help them “fix” or “prevent” their sexual blunders.
  • The sexually confused deserve approbation when they proudly parade their gender identity.
  • The disabled deserve to be treated as if their problems did not exist.
  • Because their work is so important, unionized employees deserve all the money and benefits they can beg, borrow and steal.
  • Ethnic minorities deserve a country that looks just like the one they came from. Just wealthier.
  • Illegal immigrants deserve government handouts, good jobs, citizenship and the right to vote even before they become citizens.

In other words, Liberal Democrats have convinced all these people that government is the solution to all their problems. The effect? Liberal Democrats have convinced the members of their tribal federation to idolize government.

So how should you react if someone accuses you of “tribalism”? I think it is a pretty good guess you should thank them for an unintended compliment.


  1. Reblogged this on Rudy u Martinka and commented:
    Should our political identification word be changed from Democrat or Republican “Parties” to Democrat or Republican “Tribes?”

    If interested,
    Read this post and the comment I made to Tomm to suggest why.

  2. Tom,

    I myself tend to agree with your accuser’s choice of word tribal vs. party.
    The word party implies something festive which I believe the word was altered over time to be used to include a political group too.

    Frankly, the party usually ends soon after the drinks and refreshments run out. Frankly, the USA has regressed being 20 trillion dollars in debt, to continue the celebration of spending and other festivities political parties have expanded in the USA with their policies.

    Let’s use the word Democratic or Republican Tribes instead of parties.

    You should not be offended if a Democrat shoots an arrow word at you. It is the only thing they can do nowadays to get attention. For example, Democrats never offer any solutions how to permanently solve the 35-year-old immigration problem plaguing the USA.

    Instead, they shoot arrows to accuse you of not being Christian, even though their political agenda is anti-Christian.

    And same as the original tribes of American Indians used to claim power, they measurer success by the number of scalps (voters) they can claim by shooting arrows instead of solutions at you, in my opinion.

    Good and timely post.

    Yes, the Democrat vs. The Republican Tribe, instead of party. Or the truth instead of façade.

    Regards and good will blogging.

  3. Ha! I forgot that “tribalism” can sometimes be used as an insult. It’s simply our innate in group preferences, our biological wiring. I happen to believe tribalism is hard wired into us and rather than being a bad thing, it serves a vital and necessary purpose. We have a limited amount of time,energy,and compassion, so we exist in social groups of about 30 people at any given time. My grandkids are simply going to be the best out of all the others because…tribalism. It’s designed that way. I’d never say all grandkids are equal and the same. Sorry,mine are better. 🙂

    So,if you look about at our culture, the new global community, the destruction of the family structure, what we’re actually experiencing is really a loss or a lack of tribalism. Community, the local church, small networks….state’s rights, all these things sprung from our innate tribalism.

    Tribalism can also throw a real wrench in our perception of morality. That’s not necessarily bad either, but being aware of it can help when we’re trying to figure things out. The Apostle Paul really had his hands full, he had Greeks,Jews, slaves, meat eaters, the uncircumcised, this whole diverse group of people he needed to unite into the church. You see that same unity sometimes today, we are united by a common loyalty to the cross.

  4. The left has perfected the use of tribalism to the point that they are eating their own because everyone outside of straight white males is now an aggrieved group all fighting for their own favored treatment. Seems to be a bit pf projection going on in calling you a tribalist Tom.

    1. @Tricia

      Because government does not produce anything, Liberal Democrats have steal from someone to reward their most devoted followers. So they have made the supposed intolerance of straight white males their bogey man and their excuse for robbery. Of course, with all the hoopla not many notice that it is not the richest of the straight white males they are robbing. Often they are not even robbing straight white males. Crooks prey on the most vulnerable. Usually, those people are not straight white males.

  5. I’m confused why someone would accuse you of tribalism, unless it’s the Left using Alinsky tactics. Identity politics creates tribalism. Tribalism in a pluralistic society won’t go well. The Left is pushing tribalism faster than you can say Hutu and Tutsi.

    1. Liberal Democrats frame almost every issue in terms of identity politics and tolerance, but they think tolerance is forcing other people to be tolerant of what they approve and intolerant of what they disapprove. Since they won’t tolerate people with beliefs that differ from their own, they are not actually tolerant. Thus, they have turned the ideas of diversity and tolerance on their heads.

      Unfortunately, the news media is largely part of the Democratic Party. Our education system is for the most part owned by Democrats. So people have been taught this nonsense and had it ingrained into them.

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