Friday, April 12, 2013

Tribal Politics

James sent along a link about tribes and politics, from a Catholic perspective. Faction against faction.

1 comment:

Texan99 said...

I'm thinking of taking a break from argument about gender roles for a bit, because most of what I've been reading lately has lost even its usual power to arouse my anger and now is leaving me with only a sort of corrosive and uncharitable disgust. But this linked article begins with an interesting formulation of the dominant tendency among men to be team players focused on competition, and for women to be whatever the opposite of that is (something that doesn't concern the author, other than to suggest that women get what they aren't entitled to via prostitution, while men choose politics for the same purpose).

I would say that much of the challenge of government (and more broadly, all civilized institutions that attempt to promote public order and justice) is to take realistic account of the troublemakers in our midst. It's not just a question of figuring out how to deal with the raiding hordes of men who will ride in on horseback, confiscate the crops, and kill or rape everyone they can find, though of course that's always uppermost in the priorities of any civilization that expects to survive long. Nor is it only a matter of creating institutions to deal with the knowledge that some fraction of citizens will live by theft rather than by working if they get a chance, though that's a critical task that must be accomplished.

A broader problem is that half of the human race is predominated by people who think in terms of team and competition for their own sakes, while half is predominated by people who think more in terms of service, individual respect and autonomy, and the importance of dealing with other human souls as much as possible on the basis of consent rather than force. (Those divisions are said to split roughly but not exactly along gender lines.) We might do better if the latter half of the population had gravitated to positions of power, but they can only do so if they address the need to control the predilections of the members of the first half. And that's not an easy issue, because competitive team players generally are good at grabbing and maintaining power and at using force to enormous advantage, even if to their own detriment in the long run--not to mention the impact on the rest of us.