Human beings, whether you believe they were created “out of” or evolved out of creatures of the Earth are built on a frame of great apes.  This is good when you think in terms of chipping flint or building moon rockets.  But when you think in terms of “why aren’t humans angels?” that’s the answer too.  Because we’re uppity apes.

Me, I’m not a human hater.  I’d like us to be better in many ways, but I don’t expect us to be perfect, because we’re great apes.  It’s a relief we no longer physically fling poo at each other and restrict that to twitter, frankly.

In fact, humanity has the flaws of its virtues, and all of them go back to that “Great Ape” thing.

Recently I landed (accidentally) on a site where the comments were full of people extolling the virtues of tribalism, and tribalism as a way of the future.  These peole were, quite unabashedly, white supremacists.  They weren’t precisely saying white people were “superior” (though they were saying it, sort of) but rather that being white they wanted to support the white race, because it was theirs and this would bring them parity would “other races.” And “Stop the extinction of the white race.”  I could (and would) write volumes about “white race” given the chance, because that name is a massive, yawning falacy all by itself.  What constitutes “white” varies from country to country.  I’ll be absolutely honest, if you’re going to talk of “races” my dad is more accurate when he speaks of races as covalent to countries “the Portuguese race”, “the Spanish race”, “the French race.”  Even though those are mixed as hell, if you translate it as “breed” and stir in culture that’s part born from breed-impulses and which reinforces them, and you come close to having something real.  Sort of.  Kind of.  Because individuals are still individuals, variation is great, and ancestry is complex.

But “White race” encompassing all those with MOSTLY European DNA is not a thing.  It’s not a thing in the same way “black race” or even “African race” is not a thing.  Most people in Africa DO NOT CONSIDER themselves all one race.  (And if you’ve ever visited or had friends of different tribes — if you haven’t, please talk to Dave Freer sometime — you know the differences in body type, let alone in behavior, are even more marked than say between a German and a Chinese, except for the ability to tan rather well.)  Hold on to that.  The “they do not consider themselves.”

What Africans consider themselves as is members of a tribe.

So, what is tribe?

Remember humans are built on a Great Ape frame, right?  Great apes tend to move around in groups.  Bands.  Often with a single male, more often (if I remember my biology right.  I might not.  I feel half dead today) with a dominant male, subordinate males, and a harem of females.

Part of the reason we have an atavistic impulse towards leaders who are “saviors” and men on a white horse if from this.  Bands with a strong leader, obviously, did better.  It’s also according to Dave Freer one of the reasons the notion of “fair” is ingrained in us from the earliest conscious thought.  In a small band, hoarding all the food, say, is unfair.  Unfair and counterproductive as it weakens the band.

We know from archeology that hominid and hominin bands had some strikingly admirable qualities that we still consider moral: for one we have reason to believe they looked after the infirm, the weak and the old.  We don’t know what advantage this conferred on the band.  Perhaps wisdom (the grandmother hypothesis) or perhaps just that knowing they’d look after you if you needed it made you a better band member.

So, we were made to live in a band, or perhaps an extended family.  At least in our legends, memories and dreams those loom large.  So let’s say that’s it (even if living in one is neither as ideal nor as dreamy as our new agers imagine.)

Humans long to belong and to be part of a band.  That’s baked in the cake.  I know for instance that I was much more effective as a writer when I was in a writer’s group that functioned like an extended family.  We all were.

Realistically it made absolutely no sense.  I mean, sure, we encouraged to write more and submit more, but other than that, how could it help success?  Well, we were braver, both in trying new things and knowing that if we got that rejection we’d have a popcorn and chocolate pity party with our friends the next week.  The tribe was real.  We were there for each other in the highs and lows.  And that gave us confidence and strength, which is why humans long for it.

How extended can that family be?  Well, if you’re from a Mediterranean or Latin background, you know the answer to that is “a few hundred.”  I mean you count cousins till the fifth generation, uncles and aunts to the third, and in big celebrations everyone descends on you.

Weirdly science agrees.  We can feel loyalty to groups of about 150 people.

I don’t know what size tribes are.  I KNOW some are much larger, but when they are I suspect they’re more “loosely affiliated clans.”  And people probably feel the bond/loyalty to their little piece of it, unless there is war or whatever.

I do know that tribal warfare is some of the most bloody in history, and I have reason to believe that tribalism, not disparity in arms, but tribalism — aka software in the head — gave the European Empires Africa and most of the Orient.

You see, I read enough of it when I was writing the Magical British Empire trilogy (coming soon in author’s editions, if I can stop looking at houses in most of my free and not free time) about the “conquest” of various lands and I can tell you at least in Africa for d*mn sure, what gave Europeans Africa was tribalism.

You see, contrary to the beliefs of the custard heads, the Zulus weren’t natives of South Africa, any more than the Boers were.  They had conquered down from the North just as the Boers were arriving in South Africa.

The difference was, despite all differences and infighting, the Boer belonged to a super-tribal organization, identifying itself as “civilized man” or “the white race.”  (Though usually the first, as Dutch, Germans etc didn’t consider my ancestors — or the Italians and sometimes the Spaniards, and definitely the Greeks as “white.”)

So when the white people landed and started settling (not just in South Africa, though some of the Zulus actions were the most extreme) the Zulus did what they’d always done to defeat other tribes.  They descended on the settlement and practiced acts of stupendous cruelty and horror.

This was not savagery, but a highly sophisticated response.  If you did that, you created a fear in the other tribe, which would run or at least face you while impaired.

They could not conceive — hardware in the head — of a supra-tribe comprising many countries and lands.  It was “tribe or nothing.”  And tribe was people at least vaguely connected by blood.  “Our kind” or as Portuguese translates relative “belongs to me.” (A lot of un-evolved — in the linguistic sense — languages including, I believe some Scandinavian ones — I only had two years of Swedish thirty two years ago.  So, I don’t remember — and definitely older versions of English, make no distinction between nephews/nieces and grandchildren.  That gives you a sense of WHO was “tribe.”)

Of course their tactics backfired because Europeans had newspapers and shared information over all of Europe, which in turn brought retribution down on these tribes, and degraded them to “less than human” which made the reprisals ferocious and ultimately what won the war and gave Africa to the Europeans.

If you look at it and you don’t even have to squint that hard, what makes Africa the mess it is is tribalism. You have individuals incapable of sharing information or doing commerce with those people over there, who are “not people” which is the meaning of “other tribe at an instinctive level for Most of humanity. It is tribalism that has held humanity in Africa behind in development.  (And yeah, IQ.  Look, guys, if you take IQ that seriously you never studied how it’s arrived at.  Geesh.  Or how conditions of upbringing influence it.  Let’s just say our pediatrician assured us if we adopted our adoptive kids — barring serious impairment — would end up testing about like us.  He said he’d seen it often enough and I believe him.)

But Sarah, you say, when they want tribalism, they don’t mean their family and a few other people, they mean everyone who identifies as white or black or–

Well, that is because the words they say don’t mean what they think they mean, or because they’re using “tribalism” to mean “racism” a word that has been debased.

So let’s examine the virtues of racism.  Um… divided countries filled with people who identify as different races and who work actively against each other SURE are my idea of paradise.  This is why “balkanization” is the highest value to aspire to, right?

Which is where we return to “identify as race” or “there ain’t no such thing as a white — or black or purple or pink with poka dots — race, unless you define it as a national identity.  (And the people who think they can identify a national identity in the US are stark raving bonkers.  Even when it was a British colony, it had Dutch, French, German and yep, a lot of Portuguese in New England.)  Even as a national identity it has holes, but as a combination of “probably some shared genes and culture reinforcing tendencies, it KINDA SORTA makes sense.

“Race” in the ethnographic sense means “tends to have these characteristics” however let me tell you that I visited South Africa during apartheid and at the time one of the big news stories was the finding of a baby girl in a dumpster.  The baby girl was alive, which created an issue: what race was she?  And the ultimate answer was “can’t tell.”  There was nothing on the physical level that could tell you.  Her skin could be dark white or pale African, her hair was not there yet, etc. etc. etc.

To do this we have to figure out how the “black” or “White” or “yellow” race and the idea of identifying with/as them come from.  And the answer is: the twentieth century.

I don’t THINK it started with Marxists (though they eventually jumped into them enthusiastically) but I do know it started with the modern state’s attempt to keep those dependent on the nation state either loyal or (for multi ethnic nations) divided.

As it exists right now, where black people in America identify with Obama though they share no ancestral experiences with him (descended from slave traders on both sides, which you must admit is fitting) it was created by the Marxists, who view creating dissension in a nation as a way in.  And it focuses SOLELY on superficial characteristics.

Which is why they try to convince us there is such a thing as a Latin “ethnicity” visible on site, and not a conglomerate of vaguely related cultures.  And they’re so good at it that people often even pick me (and always my kids) as Latin, but WORSE because they’re muddled in the head, often identify us as Mexican (I swear to you, though neither the kids nor I look it. Someday I’ll tell you about the boss who thought my name was “Feliz Navidad.”  Yeah.)

Look, what I’m saying here is this: the people who want a “white race tribalism” as bringing “parity” in other races only make sense in the context of a super-state who a) keeps these ‘tribes’ from one another’s throat.  b) uses them to keep people from turning on the state.  c) dispenses benes according to victimhood.

Take that state down, or remove most of its powers.  Make governing small, local, more responsive and not only is there no benefit to identifying as the “white race” but the distinctions start surging.  Most people REALLY don’t consider those who are “vaguely like me” tribe.  If you remove the benes/action of big government which make that a thing, the identification reverts to “me and my cousins” or in America “me and my small town.”

Which might not mean that people from podunk are people, but those from Knudop are just animals.  Have you seen how they eat their ice-cream?

BUT it will mean that “White race” means less than “Yeah, Bob is black, but he is my neighbor and our kids go to school together.  Why you want to mess with him?”

The only way these super entities make sense is in the context of the super state.  Which means the people advocating for them MUST want a super state.

I know they imagine that the white “race” being so superior will simply kill or enslave all the others and therefore they’ll rule as little kinds in their fiefdom.  This is because they don’t understand the reason whites did this before was that they eschewed tribalism.

And because I know this will be read by idiots, let me point out I’m not against nation states.  In some ways they’re a great invention, if a recent one.  Nation states, which forge a sense of nationality between everyone within their borders are in a way a great thing.  And yep, they need to have borders and those borders need to be defended.  (Ia nation without borders isn’t a nation.  I have not been an internationalist libertarian for a long time.)

Which is why I invite you to look at France.  France had a massive illegal immigration problem with Portuguese.  At some point they tackled it by making it absolutely mandatory to put kids in from pre-school on.  My cousin was one of those.  He now lives in Portugal, where he married, but I suspect most of his hardware-in-the-head is still French.  By five he knew the anthem of France, all the stories and poems little French kids knew.  By high school he was a Frenchman.

Open borders was still bad for them (eventually they had an illegal immigration problem with Muslims.  Still do.) BUT at least most of the kids, until the French got even crazier notions than open immigration, became French.  As French as they could be.  (And keep in mind genetically Portuguese from the North have a good deal of French, because of the crusades.)  And the country worked as a French country.  Even with a bunch of other contributions.

IF OTOH France had insisted on teaching people Portuguese Pride (which they might now) what is that word again?  Balkanization?  Yep, the highest aspiration of civilization.

In the country as it is now, what we need is less tribalism and more Americanism.  I sympathize that those identified as white get hind teat, but pursuing “white identity” only works if you assume the government teat, with its complementary tyranical tendencies will ALWAYS be there.

If your goal is to reduce the scope of government, oh, sure, be tribal.  You can’t avoid it.  My chosen tribe is “those who belong to me” some of which are, sure, in Portugal and I have blood ties with them, but the vast majority of which aren’t either blood relations or in Portugal.  Some of you are my chosen tribe, my chosen extended family.  And I don’t even know what some of you LOOK like.  You could be purple with tentacles.  You still “belong to me.”  By choice.

BUT being tribal is looking after those who “belong to you” — your family, your group, your buds.

It can’t and doesn’t stretch over “I’m for the white race.”  Really?  Hillary over Thomas Sowell?  Be REAL.

Which is why crazy extended tribalism might be the wave of the future.  If your chosen future looks like 1984.  Mine doesn’t.





253 thoughts on “Tribal

  1. Don’t forget the Irish!

    Other than the migration from Mexico, the migration from Ireland is perhaps the most individually significant.

    Kratman has argued that the Irish were on net harmful. Certainly I’ve noticed a tendency for Americans who identify as Irish to advance American history narratives that are wrong.

    There is no political money to be had going against the Irish. There flat out are not enough people who hate the Irish to build a viable faction with.

    1. I’m inclined to disagree with the Colonel on that one, although I’d like to see his reasoning before I committed one way or the other.

      1. The half-Irish belligerent made it in one of those Everyjoe columns he has been doing about the Mexican issue. It was in the comments. IIRC, he was more ‘it could be argued’ than ‘this is my position’, so I may have misstated a nuance.

        IIRC, there were three elements.

        1. Lower respect for rule of law. You can imagine why this could have been, given Cromwell, and English rule over Ireland. Cromwell’s program would have been as recent as ACW to WWII during the nineteenth century.
        2. A custom of organizing. Combined with 1, and get the Irish mob, and a number of our historical city machines.
        3. Perhaps a higher rate of mental illness. My take: Recent stuff apparently indicates that the Irish had been in Ireland for a very long time. Red hair’s frequency could have been a result of a very small ancestral genetic pool. Possibly there could have been the same thing with bad mental health genes. But maybe I’m making too much of this, because it works for a project of mine.

        1. From my understanding the red hair was a result of a massive infusion of Nordic genes during the Viking era, although I could be mistaken. Also, given the fact that the English kept coming over to Ireland–and, doubtless, leaving bits of their genetic material behind–I think we can rule out mental illness.

          (Although Chesterton thought there was something a bit mad about the Irish, because “all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”)

          1. There was also commerce with Portugal since the 4th century BC. You find a lot of “Irish faces” in the North of Portugal. There people are thought to be a little mad too. It’s the culture, not the genes.

          2. I may have imagined it entirely, though I do not often make that sort of mistake when I am eating, sleeping, and exercising properly. (I probably haven’t been.) It would have been something I read in the past week or two. Certainly, that I made a mistake in recalling where I saw it is not an endorsement.

            I think we’d better count that as my error.

        2. The Irish attitude on drinking adds to their rep. The Irish see being drunk as a perfectly good excuse for Effing up. Latvians give them a run for their money. Many other cultures take the view “You idiot! Why did you let yourself get stupid drunk?”

          The Irish in me occasionally let’s loose. Then it runs and hides the next morning.

          1. Since I’m part Irish, I can tell this one… learned from a Russian in a 90% Irish town 🙂

            Four things that resemble an Irishman:
            — A monkey somewhat resembles a human being, so does an Irishman
            — A parrot talks but has no brains, same as an Irishman
            — A whiskey keg is generally filled with whiskey, so is an Irishman
            — A cow yard is full of bull shit, just like an Irishman

            Now don’t be turnin’ green, cuz not everyone can be Irish. 😉

          2. I’ve heard/read more than once the saying that God invented whisky to prevent the Irish from taking over the world… 😀

            1. The etymology of whisky is old Irish for “water of life”. It’s been central to the culture for ages.

              1. They must be related to the Russians… Vodka is a diminutive form of ‘water’ (similar to making Mike into Mikey or Jim to Jimmy), it’s used, usually for very dear and close family members rather than children.

        3. Cromwell’s program would have been as recent as ACW to WWII during the nineteenth century.

          1865 to 1941 is 76 years.

          The Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland was disolved in 1659. Just to get to the 19th century is 131 years and to get to the mass Irish immigration to the US.during the famine add another 40 at a minimum and we’re well over twice the time even if we count the outer bands (1861 to 1945 or 84 years). It is much closer to save the AMR to WW2.

          This isn’t to excuse Cromwell, but Cromwell as not as immediate a memory to those in Ireland in the 1840s as the ACW was to the boys at Normandy who had at least a chance of knowing an ACW vet. Instead he was one in a long success of British Kings (yes, I know, but to an Irish peasant what was the difference) whose agents and nobles ruled Ireland poorly and exclusively for their gain. The forced immigration to tobacco plantations not withstanding it is a bit unfair to the old Roundhead to put this all on his shoulders.

          1. My thinking was 2010-1940=70 to 2010-1860=150. I still had the timing bungled thoroughly.


        Quoting two of several:
        ‘Actually, you know the real immigration disaster for us? It was the Irish. Yeah, yeah, name notwithstanding I’m mostly Irish. So?

        They came here fleeing the potato famine (yes, they came before and after but that seems to have been the big wave), determined that when things go to shit government must step in. But they had also vast organizational ability, a sense of ethnic solidarity, no particular attachment to law, per se, because British law had fucked them so regularly, and sheer ruthlessness. Think here: “Kennedy.” On the other hand, in our wars they’ll go and fight and die without counting, so it’s hardly been a total loss.

        Mark Twain commented on it once, that if the Jews of the Austro-Hungarian Empire had even a small fraction of the political acumen of the American Irish, they’d be running the place.’

        ‘They had a tendency to take over and corrupt governments, especially at the city level. See, forex, Mayor Curley, as in “vote often and early for James Michael…” See, forex, Tammany Hall. A great deal of the lamentable growth of government in the United States began with the Irish being led to elect people who would grow it so they could loot it.

        You would perhaps have to have grown up in South Boston to have seen it in its purest form.’

        So my element three did not come from Kratman, so I’ve got to wonder where I read it, if I have read it at all.

        1. The Irish, as I recall, also formed a lot of the railroad construction crews during the late 1800s as well, so that’s another benefit.
          I’d also point out that “Irish solidarity” was largely something forced on them by outside forces–it’s been noted that the English used a lot of the same tactics on the Indians in North America that they did on Ireland, including divide-and-rule. Had Americans not reacted quite so violently against Irish immigration, it is probable that the Irish-American voting blocs would not have formed, or at least not as cohesively–something that ended up playing into the hands of the native-born leaders of Tammany Hall.
          However, his point regarding the rule of law is well taken, and needs some more chewing upon.

          1. Did a trace if my family name once. Our map is a barbell, with a big cluster in NYC, a long skinny line of distant relatives across the country with little blobs where one of me great-great decided that was as much train track as any sensible man needed and dropped shovel, and another big cluster in the west, particularly in Idaho for some reason.

          1. Yes and no.

            That article is about the same thing as the one which set me to thinking about plugging the Irish into Lovecraft’s Mythos. (The other recent inspiration was Kirk’s explanations of Cromwell’s genocide of the Irish, which explains a lot about the mid-nineteenth century Irish.)

            My memory made three claims 1) I’d read something about 19th Irish immigration possibly increasing the rate of mental health issues that American society had to deal with. 2) That it was from a reputable source, who’d looked at statistical evidence 3) That it was Tom Kratman in some of his recent Everyjoe articles. This last appears to be entirely wrong.

            Now my memory is trying to argue it was esr at Armed and Dangerous, but I’m not finding evidence of that either. (I was up too late one night reading over there.) (And I’ve searched every article but one I read that, except one.)

            Did find some generally relevant things:

            1. well, the thing is, the mid-19th century and iris… correlation does not equal causation, especially since many types of mental illness were just being recognized then.

              1. 21st century measurements have enough potential issues that they maybe aren’t reliable enough to judge. You are right, I should’ve doubted.

                Which I take as evidence supporting either the idea that I dreamed it, or followed confirmation bias, because my relevant project doesn’t need sound evidence.

                If I didn’t dream reading it in the first place, the thing I read was speaking hypothetically, and in comparison with some of the wilder claims about modern immigration gloom and doom. (I mostly don’t consider the drug cartel and terrorist claims wild.)

                1. Well, to be fair: “Mad” and “Irish” have been used together for a long, LONG time. And although I could be misremembering, weren’t the Celts among those tribes that had a certain respect for certain kinds of lunacy? (As in, bards and holy men–it’s all right if they’re nuts, because it means they’re gods-touched?) And certainly an awful lot of cultural/media portrayals of Irish even to this day contain some elements of insanity (especially if they’re also part of the Irish mob–see the latest season of Daredevil).

                  I suspect it may also be related to the cultural adages of ‘red-hair’ = ‘bad temper’ 😀

        2. Let us not forget that “corruption” was taking over the government and putting Irish in place of Anglo-Americans; taking over the government and putting Anglo-Americans in place of Irish was reversing it.

    2. I dunno , what percentage of the founding fathers were Irish? I know my ancestor was. So was the founder of Georgetown.

  2. Am I really first? Very interesting post Sarah. I agree, I doubt most of the “tribalists” realize what they are setting themselves up for. I have looked at China, and I would say that while tribalism didn’t give China to the Europeans, a sense of abiding racism did (ie a refusal to believe that any other group could be powerful enough to damage the Middle Kingdom) – and caused continuing problems.


  3. Then there is Jack Lew’s racism against the Scots-Irish.

    Andrew Jackson was born Scots-Irish in a time when the Scots-Irish were not considered all that white.

    The Scots-Irish had a reputation for being violent, drunk, and low rent. The sophisticated often didn’t care for them.

    1. The Scots-Irish values have spread over a chunk of America in general, see Meade’s Jacksonian Tribe. I am Jacksonian.
    2. Scots-Irish were and maybe still are found in situations of great poverty.
    3. The prejudice Northeastern urbanites have against Southerners is at least partly their ancestral contempt for the Scots-Irish.

    1. Yeah, but even as a kid watching TOS, I noticed that the Scots-Irish were in firm control of the USS Enterprise…

    2. I’ve run across mention of this in works covering the early life of John Wesley Powell. His father, a Methodist preacher, was repelled by the obscenities, drunkenness, and violence of the Scotch-Irish who were moving into southern Ohio from western Virginia and thereabouts.

      1. Have you read _Albion’s Seed_? it’s very good (don’t let the thickness deter you) history of the four British sub-cultures that settled the eventual-United States. The Scots-Irish (the back-borderers) are one of the four.

        1. And having relatives still in Appalachia and having visited Scotland, I can assure you, comparing the land in Scotland and Appalachia, the Scots-Irish thought they had died and gone to heaven.
          (Although those Scottish cattle are far cuter than any American cows).

        2. No, but it sounds fascinating. Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll have to add it to my non-fiction TBR list.

        3. “Albion’s Seed” is an utterly awesome book. Another, along the same lines but perhaps a bit more free-wheeling is Grady McWhiney’s “Cracker Culture.”

        4. It’s been on my Amazon wishlist for *years*. Glad to know it’s worth the read!

    3. “Scots-Irish were and maybe still are found in situations of great poverty.”

      Yep. I’ve some Scots-Irish on both sides. And yep, still found in “situations of great poverty.” Trailer parks. Backwoods shacks. Et cetera. I know such people, personally.

      “The Scots-Irish had a reputation for being violent, drunk, and low rent. The sophisticated often didn’t care for them. “

      This could well describe a certain branch in my own family. They handle alcohol less well than most, are known for their tender honor, and rarely if ever have two copper pennies to rub together. It’s folk like that what gave my family name a certain reputation in the area I grew up around. We were the moonshiner folks for generations- and to some, will still be, long after the last still is forgotten on a hillside, back beyond the black stump.

  4. There was systemic efforts at what us moderns would term* discrimination against the Germans during WWI. This helped largely extinguish the German language in the US. (Except for the Pennsylvania Dutch, because I know that Pennsylvania Dutchmen might otherwise protest.)

    For most of my life, white identity was so lacking in political fortune that it was mainly followed by criminal gangs, and worshipers of foreign powers. Losers in short. Prison gangs and druggies are not people I would wish to be associated with.

    The racism of Obama has only inspired in me a greater loathing for the destructive effects of racism and of listening to foreigners.

    *At least, if it were directed at any ethnic group that wasn’t white.

    1. Discrimination against Germans?

      Look what what happened to the Saxe-Coburg und Gotha. British anger at the Kaiser was so strident that the family renounced their German titles and posessions and then changed their family name to something more British-sounding.

      1. My paternal grandmother’s family were German immigrants, she was born here in 1909. I asked her once why she didn’t remember more German, even though she taught me a prayer in German. She told me that her parents insisted they speak English when she started school, that “they were Americans now and they would speak English.” She would have started school about the time WWI started, I’ve often wondered if that was the real reason.

        1. Part of it, probably. I also insisted my kids speak english and speak it grammatically, and a war with Portugal would be like Godzilla vs. Bambi.
          Weirdly, I pray and do math in Portuguese. All the rest is in English.

          1. My standard response to the alleged query, “What up?” has for some time now been, “Verbs.” Few seem to get it. No surprise, I suppose.

        2. I’ve talked about this with very elderly Germans who were children around that time, and the answer from them was quite definitely yes.

        3. My father’s family was PA Dutch, here since the 1700’s. My grandmother didn’t speak English (nor did any of the folks in the community) until one of my older aunts got embarrassed and forced her to learn it in the early 1900’s (she was born in 1880). My father was born in 1924 and was the first child in the family (and the last child, incidentally) to be raised “English.” Yes, the attempt at discrimination in WWI was real, but in rural southeastern and central PA it never took, because pretty much everyone there was a native PA Dutch speaker.

          1. My grandmother’s father’s family were mostly German, originally (German-speaking, anyway – they immigrated in the 1730s, before “Germany” was a country rather than a description).

            For generations they married others with similar family histories, and still spoke some German (my grandmother remembers her grandfather speaking it).

            She was a small girl during WW1 – and remembers her father backing down a small drunken mob who wanted to “horsewhip the German” with a shotgun.

            She never said much else about it. But it might explain why nobody in her generation spoke German anymore.

    1. The precise metric where I recall that Ireland and Mexico were high was fraction of people born in those places living in the United States.

    2. Yep – there was a map posted a couple of months ago on (IIRC Daily Mail?) colored to approximate the ethnic origin of American settlers over several centuries. Germans were everywhere – but not so concentrated as to form discrete ethnic islands of Germans, save in a few places.
      WWI and the distaste for German imperialism that grew from that made a fair number of German immigrant populations pitch the language and the identifiably German surnames and just kind of blend in.

      1. several centuries

        Time matters. There was a big spike of Irish during the potato famine. German immigration happened over a period that saw changes in the definition of German.

        1. Would Czech be included in that? The immigration papers for Grandpa JJ list him as Austrian, which isn’t Prussian German (and Austria was a fairly large and multi ethnic empire at the time), but still.

          1. Dutch used to be considered German.

            I dunno about the Czech, I have the impression that they are more distant than that.

            1. Doubtful. If Joe Vasicek’s example predates 1919 or so it was probably just because of today’s Czech Republic being part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

              1. Some Pennsylvania Dutchman, I want to say Dr. Loss, was telling us that the low countries used to be the lowland Germanies.

                This convinced me, as I know the Germanies used to be quite fragmented, and Van Dutch and Von German seem like they could have diverged from the same root tongue.

          2. No, you’d be Austrian, or Bohemian (some census takers/immigration people were Odd.) before 1871, “Germans” were sometimes called German but often specifically from the area they were from (Saxony, Bavarian). If you were from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, unless you were Hungarian or really raised a fuss, you were listed as Austrian.

            1. Yeah, I see a lot of “Bohemian” on the old census records. The later ones that list the country of origin for the parents put them down as “Czechoslovakia.”

              1. Yeah, its kinda like the people who say their ancestors are from Lebanon. But the immigration records (pre-1922) say Syrian, because the Lebanon was a district in Ottoman Syria.

      2. I saw that map. I noticed my old home county was identified as majority German ancestry, which is completely true.

      3. …and the identifiably German surnames and just kind of blend in.

        Reminds me of something I remember from the America Hertitage Picture History of World War II (not one)–On December 7, 1941 there were 49 men named “Adolf Hitler” in the United States; that week 48 changed their name; the last saying in effect let the other guy change his.

        1. He’s probably passed away by now, but I kind of wish I could find that one guy who said, “No, you move,” and shake his hand.

  5. > chosen tribe

    And in the modern world, you can be part of many different, not necessarily overlapping tribes. Not just the ones you get by default from relatives and geography.

    And modern America is *not* a monoculture. One particular subset owns the mass media, but they’re by no means a majority.

      1. Heck, there’s some who say America has no culture. 😉
        But then they’ve likely never looked through a microscope. 😛

        1. You know, this is where corporate America has really dropped the ball – if, instead of treating their workforce as interchangable widgets who are to be discarded at the slightest drop in the market, US corporations had invested in a bit of nobless oblige and built up their “corporate culture” as a real culture, with rights and obligations running both ways, that could very well have turned into the dominant US cultural referent as the main US culture falls apart.

          Instead “corporate culture” is solely internal propaganda for use between layoffs to control defections, and as a result people who notice the US culture disintegrating turn to the tribal affiliations Sarah discusses.

          1. “Company spirit” and such remind me far too much of “school spirit” and that has that “I need to flush” smell about it bigtime. It’s thing talked about, but has no real meaning in practice.

          2. I heard about one company — small, owner-run company — that did act with some noblesse oblige. When the bottom dropped out of the dot-com boom, he told all of his employees, “We’ve lost so many customers that we’re going to end up folding the company. So I’m going to sell off company assets and use that money to help you find new jobs elsewhere.” Many of his employees ended up working at higher-paying jobs as a result.

            Several years later, he had enough capital to re-start the company. When he told his former employees (most of whom he’d stayed in touch with) about that, most of them dropped higher-paying jobs to come back and work for him again.

            Sadly, I can’t remember who told me that story, so I can’t go back and press them for verifiable details. The only thing I remember was that the guy was a Christian, and felt that Biblical principles said “You have an obligation to your employees, just as they have an obligation to you.” I do think the story is true, but I don’t have any way to verify it, so take it with a small dose of salt.

            More people should run their companies the way he did.

            1. I’ve heard stories through the silicon valley grapevine of stuff like that, basically as an object example that all startups are not run by egotistical sociopaths.

              And I’m not fundamentally opposed to any layoffs, but the difference is in the doing – Compare and contrast:

              “We have to lay off and you are on the list – you have two months to start your job hunt and wrap up or transition your projects. If you can find another gig inside this company, great, but if you land something outside in that period, you’ll still get your severance package, and we hope we get to work with you again.”


              “You are being layed off – this minimum wage security contractor will glare at you as you go get your belongings from your cube and then escort you out of the building. Hand over your badge now.”

        2. Yeah, they say that, but they can always pick the Americans out of a crowd, so…

          1. Funnily enough, when I lived in Romania almost no one ever guessed I was American. Foreign yes–because I’m almost six feet tall and red-haired, and even without the hair color I *look* like a Celt–but I spoke the local language (and without a horrible or easily identifiable accent beyond ‘not my first language’ and ‘vaguely foreign’). They always assumed I was either German or British (because big strapping Celt-woman), and were shocked if they learned I was, in fact, American.

            (The reasoning, as it turned out, was because Americans don’t speak anything other than English. :p )

            1. I get pegged, in Germany/Austria, as a Brit because of coloring, clothing (drab), and speaking German with a semi-French accent. That’s if people don’t guess I’m Bavarian or upper Austrian (because of the accent).

            2. Heh; way back when I was in college (originally), I dated a girl from up north; she said my accent would get worse when I went home. I told her it was from my grandmother (just guessing or havering probably). The spring after we had been dating for almost a year (which we never quite did), my family went to Disneyworld. At Epcot, the lovely Scottish lass who sold me my book on Scottish clans and tartans told me I sounded like I was from Scotland. I told her I was from North Carolina (I think I specified the county), and told her to call her grandmother.

              1. VERY weirdly, in GB people think I’m Scottish, from a particular region, and a guess in NC was often “the outer banks.” NO, I don’t hear it myself.

                1. Have they ever heard you say “kill moose and squirrel”?

                  ((ducks the inevitable carp))

                2. Hmm… If you break it down to syllables, I can sort of understand the notion of you being Scottish. It has to do with the way you pronounce certain phonemes. However, that is leaving out ALL of how you put them together to deliver sentences. Your cadence and the pattern of rise and fall of notes throughout sentences are completely different.

                    1. People tend to fit me the closest to where they have experience. Also, it sort of depends on the AREA of Scotland, I understand — as they explained to me.

                    2. I pick out a lot of weird components in people’s voices. It probably is part of the reason that, even though I haven’t gotten mastery of any other languages, I’m told that I get pronunciation right a lot more often than average. My High School French teacher particularly commented on it, which was high praise, because we didn’t like each other.

            1. Cultural appropriation IS my culture. Since all cultures are equally valid the campaign against cultural appropriation is a microagression. Somebody needs to check their cultural privilege.

              1. We’re cultural crows? “Ooh, shiny bit! Tastes like Mexican, looks like Chinese, sounds like Russian. We’ll take a bit of this, ad a bit of that…”

                Any wonder our nests end up with the oddest of shiny bits, but somehow manages to hold together? That is, until some birdbrain gets to picking apart the nest…

                1. And this differs from the English language… how??

                  “The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.”
                  –James D. Nicoll

                  1. Please, don’t give the SJW’s ideas! I don’t want to find more words they suddenly say nobody (or only the right “tribes”) can use.

                    1. The SJW are appropriating our language when they try to take it as their own and govern it. They are not authentic. I am ever so triggered, may swoon, and must go lie down in a darkened room.

                    2. They can only get away with that if you let them. Just laugh at them and continue to use the words correctly.

              2. And hey, it ain’t limited to Americans either. One of my favorite restaurants while living in Brasov, Romania was…a Mexican restaurant, run by Romanians. Pretty decent food, if not, strictly speaking, truly Mexican. (Close enough, although substituting shredded cabbage for shredded lettuce was…odd.)

            1. Redistributing?

              The SJW elites have too much culture. They should be forced to share.

      2. Considering how much change was brought about by cars and interstate highways, I would have to argue that flying cars, even with subsonic speed, would go a long way towards establishing a monoculture.

        1. Oh, it might flatten the bumps out a bit, but when I can travel a hundred miles in any direction and see variances in culture in each of them, flying cars aren’t going to do it.

          But I’m talking about a BIG country, where most of the countries in the world are the size of States here.

        2. Nah. Flying cars would probably bump traffic deaths to 200,000 per year, given all the morons who would now be flying instead of being confined to the roads…..

          1. Not necessarily. Remember that in 3d, intersecting lines are the exception, not the rule.

          2. “Flying cars would probably bump traffic deaths to 200,000 per year, given all the morons who would now be flying instead of being confined to the roads…”

            So, you’re saying there’s no real downside, then?

              1. As long as they’re killing other idiots, it’s still not a downside, it’s a twofer.

                It’s when they’re killing uninvolved bystanders who aren’t idiots that it’s a problem.

      3. Why should transfer booths create a monoculture?

        Just because I am physically near someone doesn’t mean I share their culture. My culture is the people I communicate with, not the shadows I walk among.

        1. I don’t actually think it would, but instant, low cost, travel of arbitrary planetary distance would lend itself to cultural migration and blending on a far larger scale than happens now (though TV, and later, internet, have contributed to that quite a bit, too).

          1. Unfortunately, I see the criminal classes traveling the most miles. Pastures of plenty for the Roma and their ilk

  6. As best I can tell, in the English-speaking world, “race” usually meant “culture” well into the early 1800s. The OED puts the first use of race as implying a set of physical characteristics around 1774 (about the time of nation-states really getting going. Hmmmm . . .) Before that it referred to one’s occupation or culture. You find the older meaning in British writing about the “martial races,” meaning those peoples who tended to be military superior to their neighbors (and the Brits, at least until after the second encounter). Once you get the people taking linguistics (badly), Darwin (misunderstood) and Spencer (mis-applied and incorrectly understood) and mixing them after 1870 or so, you start getting the superior vs. inferior physical types and cultures arguments, and that culture is part of one’s genotype. But even then it took the eugenics movement of the 1900s to really make a hash of things.

    Interesting bit: Before the importation of slaves was banned after 1805, people from certain tribes in Africa were preferred over others, because of their less-aggressive culture, or certain skills known among certain tribes (rice cultivation, for example). Black Africans were not all lumped together, at least for those purposes.

    1. That’s something I’ve noticed, too–you don’t really get “racial characteristics” until sometime around the Enlightenment and Scientific Revolutions.
      Before then, people from other continents were just strange people who dressed funny, didn’t know the language, and had weird and occasionally disturbing customs, kind of like those people three days’ walk from the village, except more so.

      “Before the importation of slaves was banned after 1805, people from certain tribes in Africa were preferred over others, because of their less-aggressive culture, or certain skills known among certain tribes (rice cultivation, for example).”

      (Nods) An oft-overlooked aspect of the Amistad incident is that the men on board that ship were warriors, not farmers.

      1. Reminds me that the “Answers in Genesis” folks (Ken Ham, et al.) assert that racism is a result of Darwinism–people being divided into groups based on appearance; otherwise they’d be “the human race.”

        1. I’ve got to ask about Tim Japeth and Don Shem, but I’m clearly off my game today.

      2. It’s interesting to read Marco Polo’s travels and his descriptions — or rather lack of descriptions — of the races he encountered. He never mentions it. He will say that the women of Province X are handsome, or the men ill-favored, but that’s about it.

        My theory is that when you walk from Europe to China the differences are incremental, but when you get on a boat in Lisbon and get off again in Macao, the distinction is jarring.

        1. ” He will say that the women of Province X are handsome, or the men ill-favored, but that’s about it.”

          That is obviously because Marco Polo was a heteronormative Patriarch; and therefore anything he said should be disregarded.

          1. If Marco was a heteronormative patriarchist, what then was the Great Khan? An agent of Horde privilege?

  7. For Progressives, racism is merely another tool for ‘divide and conquer’. This is why certain Asians are considered ‘white’, and don’t get special quotas and other benefits.
    Transnationalism (now called climate change awareness) is Socialism in disguise, and as multi-cultural Europe shows, trying to join all of Europe with little enclaves of Muslims doesn’t seem to be working well either.
    But race-based tribalism? Exactly how much in common do you suppose most African Americans have with the 1/2 of the Obama family living on $2/month in Africa? Racism in America? Try getting a Chinese family successfully integrated into Japanese society.
    The reason Progressives fail to understand the ‘immigration’ problem in this country is that they fail to understand what ‘legal’ means. After the last 7 years of this Administration, it is pretty clear that Progressive leaders have a very fuzzy understanding of legal.

    1. The Chinese-Japanese thing; I know not how far back it may go, but at least to the ’30s invasion of China. Note also the Koreans hate the Japanese for their invasion of Korea.

      1. The differences between Japanese and Koreans, and Japanese and Chinese go back much further than that.

        1. After the Japanese were kicked out after WWII, Korea literally, not figuratively, but literally tore down and demolished everything that was identifiably Japanese in origin. Except the cherry trees. They kept those. Found that out from Korean’s on one of my two trips to Korea courtesy of the US Navy. Really nice place to visit. South Korea, anyway.

          1. The Russians kicked the Japanese, and native Ainu, out of southern Sakhalin Island after WWII. Korean slave labor was considered a useful asset, so they were not repatriated. There are many Koreans in Yuzhno. You can hear them speaking Korean among themselves. They speak English, however, with a strong Russian accent. With your eyes closed you can’t tell them apart from ethnic Russians when speaking Russian.

      2. It goes back at least 2000 years. The Japanese and Chinese have warred over the Korean Peninsula for centuries. Japan wanted Korea solely as an inroad to China, which they wanted because they had crap for farmland. China wanted Korea as a buffer against Japan. The Chinese assumed the Koreans would become Chinese by osmosis and mostly left them alone as long as they paid their taxes on time. The Japanese were horrified the Koreans weren’t Japanese and set about rectifying that ‘problem’ with fanatic vigor. The Koreans, being a stubborn mountain folk, didn’t cotton to either notion, but they could maintain themselves as themselves under China… not under Japan so they disliked China but they HATED Japan. (Still do though their hatred of China is growing.) And… well, even that’s an over simplification. (My folks grew up in Korea so there are my sources.)

    2. Yes. A lot of people forget this, but Hitler was a radical leftist, and the Nazis were all socialists. Makes a lot of sense when you realize that racism/tribalism is a classic political tool of the left.

      1. It feels less like ‘forgetting’ and more a semi-deliberate effort by the left to change the meaning and convince everyone that the Nazis were right-wing. See: any and all variations of “right-wing Nazi” as insults that have been around for at least a couple of decades…

  8. I like to think that most good folks now days don’t care as much about race or skin color as they do culture, values and behavior. But when society breaks, it’s back to “Me and my brothers against my cousins, me and my cousins against the stranger”.

    The comments about the Irish are interesting. They weren’t seen as “white” even up into the middle of the 20th century and beyond. My “English/Swedish” grandfather was disinherited for marrying an “Irish” girl. This was in Dallas in the 1930’s. That side of the family still doesn’t acknowledge his existence even though it was 5 generations ago. I have a third cousin that was almost disinherited solely for talking to me in a business setting. (The fact that we are also related distantly through another family connection that’s mostly German, made it more surreal.)

    My spouses family has weakish connection to “Irish Travelers/Romni”. People may disagree with their treatment or that or the “Gypsies” in Europe, but many of us that have had first hand contact with them understand the there are cultures that are morally bankrupt in the way they interact with others. Heck, the Irish and the Europeans avoid them with a passion. Too much drama and shenanigans. (I have a friend that believes that the .1% are just a more intelligent Romni-type parasitic culture. It’s about as plausible as the lizard people theory.)

    (And lumping “Latin” or Asian cultures together is idiotic. Accidently call a Mexican a Guatemalan and see how well that works. Don’t even try your novice Vietnamese on a Korean…)

    But I have little faith that civilization is going to tame the human “ape”. We are still greedy irrational animals. Wonder what the next asteroid/Ice Age reboot will bring?

    1. The Hungarian prof I traveled with expressed a certain amount of relish recounting the story of some Roma who took up the banner of “we are poor discriminated against victims” in Brussels. And then demonstrated to the Belgians exactly why Hungarians don’t care for them as a group. (Although to the credit of the Roma in England last year, they managed to get the Sikhs, Brits, and West Indians and even some Pakistanis to agree – they all wanted the Roma out!)

      1. There were a lot of Roma around Zaragoza when I was stationed there, and I saw many more when we traveled around Spain. It was … peculiar to me how very distinct they were in appearance, generally – even though the color of skin, hair eyes – generally not much different from ordinary Spaniards, French, Greeks. You just had to look at them and know – oh, Gypsies.
        It’s an extreme tribal culture, as Europe goes. I’ve always suspected that the reason they are particularly unwelcome is because their culture pretty much views all non-Gypsies as sheep to be sheared. That tends to be unpopular with non-Gypsies. Weird, I know.

        1. I don’t know if this is true, but I read somewhere that the Roma are actually from northern Indian. Perhaps they wore out their welcome there and migrated to greener pastures with more sheep for fleecing.

        2. There was at least one tribe of gypsies in Romania who were all blonde and blue eyed. They would have stood out for that alone (Romanians tend towards ‘dark-and-blue-or-grey-eyed’, or dark hair, dark eyes), but their manner of dress (among other things) instantly identified them as ‘gypsy’ rather than “Hungarian or German or something”

          1. Ugh, the style of dress among the one Romani camp I lived near in Sao Paulo was… visually painful. As for the culture, I tend to believe that every culture has something positive, something worth appropriating in it, but I’m hard pressed to name anything I saw in theirs.

            1. Every ‘practicing’ gypsy woman I saw was wearing an eye-watering combination of colors/patterns, like a fabric store threw up on them. The men were marginally less flamboyant–most of them seemed to be going for ‘sinister’ more than anything else…

            2. It sounds like it is more than the usual friction between sedentary peoples and nomadic peoples that I thought was the explanation.

              1. It is a cultural belief of the Roma that anything that is not nailed, bolted, AND welded down, is lost and looking for a new home. For some reason more sedentary cultures resent this.

                  1. Most nomads simply pick up whatever is loose, or at worst nailed down, if they need a wrench and a cutting torch, they assume someone else must want it more than themselves.

                    1. I heard (from vets of the 1990-91 war or reading an article on cleaning up the country) about the the Bedouin in Saudi Arabia that if you were with it, it was yours; if you let alone it was theirs.

    2. I like to think that most good folks now days don’t care as much about race or skin color as they do culture, values and behavior. But when society breaks

      What I’m hearing has lots to do with broken values, which is then tangentially extrapolated to race/ethnicity and culture. Add to that the “fact” that certain other groups receive preferential treatment (esp. those groups that exhibit broken values), then we’re looking at frustration leading to anger and rage. If society had a method for “fixing” or punishing broken values instead of rewarding them, then I expect there’s much less frustration & anger bubbling up.

      1. Exactly – it is not so much race as it is culture. I came out of a military culture, one which (when I came from it!) was fairly meritocratic.
        I live in a suburban neighborhood at present which as far as race goes, is pretty much reflective of the national averages, give or take a point or two. Which is to say – racially mixed, but not culturally/attitudinally.
        Middle- to working-class striving; small houses, some with beautifully-kept gardens on a tiny 45×100 foot sliver of property, where the house takes up about half of that.

        I shall have to write a blog-post about that teaching consultant who doesn’t believe that students of color should be challenged by showing up on time, and actually … you know … doing their assignments. Because white privilege and all…

        1. I shall have to write a blog-post about that teaching consultant who doesn’t believe that students of color should be challenged by showing up on time, and actually … you know … doing their assignments. Because white privilege and all…
          I don’t suppose holding their head underwater for 40 seconds or so helps with that? (Yes, LMB Shards of Honor; couldn’t resist.)

        2. So Black Privilege is to learn all the wrong things to do and stay poor and ignorant. Why are SJWs and the Left so raaaaacist?

          1. It’s the nature of the thing. “Social justice” gets you the social part, not the justice part. We used to call “Social justice warriors” by another, more accurate, name: Lynch mobs. Social? Oh yeah. Justice? Not hardly.

            1. Of course not. Lynch mobs ran the real danger of being shot or something. What SJW would risk that?

        3. And I loved Glenn Reynolds’ comment that if he’d thought about it for years he couldn’t have come up with a better way to ensure minority kids would be unsuccessful.

          Which is about what I’d expect from the Party of Slavery.

    3. Heh. I would have bought the whole “Gypsies are oppressed!” stuff…right up until I was living in Romania and actually MET them. And there were two distinct sorts: the ethnic Gypsies, who were people who happened to have Roma blood (and so were swarthier than most Romanians, who tend towards ‘pale and dark haired’) but who otherwise assimilated into Romanian culture and put up with a certain amount of discrimination on account of their skin color. But they were more resigned to it than outraged–because you had on the other hand the actual cultural Gypsies, who were–culturally speaking–horrible people when it came to interacting with non-Gypsies.

      Fictional gypsies are interesting like fictional pirates are interesting. The real-life version…ugh. (I was told, more than once, that the Roma mafia is larger, more organized, wider spread, and hella more dangerous than the Sicilian mafia. I’d believe it.)

      1. Most fictional gypsies don’t have much culturally in common with real ones, either. Which gives me an idea for incorporation to an existing story. Thank you. 🙂

  9. “Weirdly science agrees. We can feel loyalty to groups of about 150 people.”
    Isn’t there a Rule of 30 discover by archaeologist Leaky?

    1. That certainly explains why I’ve been fonder of the smaller congregations I’ve been in here in Wyoming than the wards of 500 or more I attended in Colorado. Even though there are people in these smaller groups that I actively dislike more (because I actually know them better, I suppose)

      1. I read a wonderful little essay by a Methodist lay-minister and farmer about small towns forcing you to get along with people that you can avoid in a big city. You don’t have to like them, but you learn to work with them. He describes “Ruth” as “meaner than a snake” and a ten-gallon donor to the Red Cross blood drives, who single handedly improved driving in the county because no one wanted to have to get a transfusion of Ruth in them. And she’s on the school board and coming over to the house in five minutes to look at new books.

        Brent Olson, and the book of essays is “The Lay of the Land.”

  10. I have no idea if these guys are white supremacists or making fun of white supremacists, but dang they’re funny.

    White supremacy and tribalism taken to it’s ultimate conclusion:

          1. Now now, just because Humans think Minotaurs and Dragons are mythical doesn’t mean we’re not real. [Very Very Big Dragon Grin]

            1. At least there’s no undead werecats around here, because that would be a step too far.

  11.      I sympathize that those identified as white get hind teat, but pursuing “white identity” only works if you assume the government teat, with its complementary tyranical tendencies will ALWAYS be there.

    I disagree. Tribal orientation causes those who identify with a tribe to defend its members against those not of the tribe, regardless of the rights and wrongs of the matter. In the U.S., it’s become a major factor in jurors’ decisions to acquit or convict a defendant…and you can ask O.J. Simpson how important that was to him.

    Tribalism practiced by one significant group elicits tribalism by other groups, purely as a matter of survival. It’s the most important segregative force of all in nations that are officially “race-neutral.”

      1. “Nationalism isn’t dead yet in America.”

        But it is political incorrect. Patriotism has been supplanted by graft on all levels of government and business. There is only loyalty to lucre.

    1. Tribalism practiced by one significant group elicits tribalism by other groups, purely as a matter of survival.

      THIS. And, purely as an academic matter, note that only white tribalism results in hysteria, whereas tribalism of all other ethnic groups is met with applause. Either tribalism is bad for everyone or good for everyone — this mixture (good for me, but not for thee) adds to the pressure cooker.

      1. Yep – this is something that is going to explode, and I think very soon. There was a comment on neo-neocon a couple of threads there ago – marveling that there has not been more white racist pushback in the last few months or so; there’s only so far you can go in calling whites racists before those of us of decided pallor begin saying, ‘OK. f**k it, we’re racists. Might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.”

          1. (Waggles hand) As near as I can tell the alt-right is composed of people my age (which drives me up the wall) and old-line racists who went underground politically after the Civil Rights Movement, combined with some people who see them as the less bad alternative to leftist identity politics.

              1. I don’t disagree–there’s a reason that I think the reason the SJWs hate the Volksdeutsche Expatriate is because they see their mirror image when they look at him.

            1. It doesn’t help that the general black population here in the US seems hell-bent on justifying every racial stereotype the old KKK ever threw at them, either. Most recently?


              I despair for the future state of race relations in the US–I think that at the rate things are going, there’s going to be a counter-reaction, and the blacks are going to have a rather pointed lesson in why a minority of only 13% would be well-advised to not rock the boat. The local black/Hispanic relations are a good example for where things may be going, in that I keep hearing the Mexicans we work around talking very disparagingly of the influx of blacks, and how they may “need to do something about that…”.

              ‘Effing delightful. I contemplate the idea of being an innocent bystander at the race wars of the mid-21st Century with a bit of disgust, and I don’t see it “not happening”, either. It’s all so damn unnecessary, but the participants are going to go for it, I suspect. The irony is that the Hispanics can interbreed and pass for white, and likely will. The blacks? They’re screwed. The Hispanics will be safely ensconced in the “white” power structure, and the blacks are going to be dealing with a new population of “white Americans” who not only feel no racial guilt, but who positively hate blacks. That’s going to come as a shock, I suspect.

              1. Or the stupid kid who got himself shot while burglarizing an old woman’s house. (Everyone involved was black, and this was the ghetto)
                His family’s take on it? “He was a good kid, he cared about education, and how else was he going to get the money he needed to buy his clothes?” (paraphrased)

                I think a race war can be avoided, it’s just that no one in a position to avoid it has any interest in taking the steps necessary to do so.

              2. “The local black/Hispanic relations are a good example for where things may be going, in that I keep hearing the Mexicans we work around talking very disparagingly of the influx of blacks, and how they may ‘need to do something about that…’.” – Kirk

                While there’s always exceptions, in my experience, Latinos have always had a low opinion of American Blacks bordering on (usually) passive levels of hatred and contempt. All the way back to when I was a kid growing up in Dallas for levels of “always”.

                (Sorry, Kirk: more and more I refuse to use the made up term “Hispanic” unless I’m writing a character who would use it, as it’s as intrinsically meaningless as saying “Native American” when talking about Amerinds. A Mexican-American is not a Mexican is not a Cuban is not a Guatemalan is not a… )

                “The irony is that the Hispanics can interbreed and pass for white, and likely will. The blacks? They’re screwed. The Hispanics will be safely ensconced in the “white” power structure, and the blacks are going to be dealing with a new population of “white Americans” who not only feel no racial guilt, but who positively hate blacks. That’s going to come as a shock, I suspect.”

                The Latinos will generally side with the whites in a lot of areas. Especially in the more working class parts, if areas of DFW are any indication. Middle class, working class, and business owning Mexican-Americans tend to get along reasonably well with their white counterparts in the same economic levels.

        1. “… there’s only so far you can go in calling whites racists before those of us of decided pallor begin saying, ‘OK. f**k it, we’re racists. Might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.'” – CeliaHayes

          I think we’ve reached the breakover point where “racist”, “sexist”, and soon, “homophobic” has hit the point of no return/no impact and “f*ck it, and f*ck you,” and are in the process of passing the stage where it has any major effect on a large number of people.

          I know that for me, I hit the point several years ago where “racist” was met personally with a flat stare, a shrug, and a “So… ?”

          Which just means that the Left will soon migrate to a new set of insult buzzwords to describe Bad Think and Bad Person. And new and even more outrageous forms of doubling down to outrage and persecute the Bad Thinkers. The process will continue until Leftists begin decorating lampposts, I do believe, at which point they’ll begin screaming in outrage, “See! We told you!” after having finally gotten what they wanted all along: real persecution and a real reason to riot and try to wind up the death camps in order to “protect themselves” from the mythical White Raciss Sexist Homophobic Backlash that’s no longer quite so mythical.

        1. No, Sarah, I must disagree again, and I’ll tell you why.

          “Bad” is an evaluation. It emerges from a set of criteria. Bad for whom? Can the “whom” be disaggregated? And bad according to what values and time scale?

          At this time, tribalism in America is a survival characteristic for whites. It’s the result of our discovery that law and social currents are being used to force us into a subordinate, serf-like position. Resistance to those pressures absent a laagering-up into a cohesive tribe is futile.

          There are many more things I could say about the neo-tribal phenomenon here and in Europe. Some of the most pertinent of them are expressed here and even more topically, here. But concerning “bad,” the critical question for this moment in time would be “Is it bad to survive?”

        2. I must disagree again, and I’ll tell you why.

          “Bad” is an evaluation. It relies upon a set of criteria, whether or not those criteria are explicitly stated. Bad for whom? Can the “whom” be disaggregated? And bad according to what values and time scale?

          At this time, tribalism in America is a survival characteristic for whites. It’s the result of our discovery that developments in the law and social currents are forcing us into a subordinate, serf-like position. Resistance to those pressures without forming into a cohesive tribe is futile.

          I could say much more about neo-tribalism here and in Europe. Some thoughts are expressed here and even more topically, here. But concerning “bad,” the critical question for this moment in time would be “Is it bad to survive?”

          1. Francis, you’re getting this not just wrong but very wrong. At the end of this tribalism and government divide and conquer, you have either 1984 or Kosovo. No one here gets out alive. I’m not saying “whites” — what the fuck are whites, btw? Some people count me and not my kids. Some count my one kid, not me or the other kid. Some think my husband is a race traitor for marrying me. Do we see the fucking insanity yet — should “surrender”. I think sane people call black racism what it is. And don’t seek to imitate it.

            1. Agree.

              This country needs more “pulling ourselves together” than it needs a “White Tribe” to fight against “Other Tribes”.

              That’s not even counting the problem of “Who Is White” you mentioned.

            2. “Francis, you’re getting this not just wrong but very wrong. At the end of this tribalism and government divide and conquer, you have either 1984 or Kosovo. No one here gets out alive.” – AccordingToHoyt

              I’m not going to disagree with you en toto, Mrs. Hoyt. I will state that I suspect strongly that Balkanization via secession is somewhat more likely than Kosovo, probably led by Texas first, with a number of areas following after once Texas sets the lead. And then followed by *drumroll and scarequotes with a Deep Southern Accent Announcer’s Voice* “The War of Northern Aggression Part 2” as the Fed tries to prevent secession via military force.

              Serbia/Bosnia is what we get in the event of Civil War II based on ethnic grounds and (attempted) Federal Intervention in such. Kosovo, Serbia/ Bosnia and Herzegovina et al are what we’re likely to get if we’re not allowed peaceful self segregation. (Which based on the Fed’s leanings and proclivities, along with the Left’s proclivities, I don’t see “peaceful” as likely.)

              ” I’m not saying “whites” — what the fuck are whites, btw?”

              Speaking as someone who is pretty mixed race but visually white, I’m going to state that in my experience over the course of my life, a lot of people tend to operate on a “we know it when we see it” basis, regardless of whether their visual perception is accurate or not. I’m three-eighths Indian – but I look white: Caucasian skin, blue eyes, auburn hair – and all my life, most people sort me according to that appearance. Indians who are not relatives sort me as “white” just based on appearance.

              A group of black toughs who decide to go polar bear hunting aren’t likely to ask me for my pedigree before targeting me. No more than did groups of Choctaw kids deciding to beat up a “white guy” back when I was a kid spending my summers in Southern Oklahoma.

              Tribalism in today’s reality is natural, it exists, and in the face of vehement forced multi-culturalism that manifestly and observably does not work, it’s very sane. And it’s occurring, whether we like it or not, approve of it or not, or see it as having a good outcome or not.

              You are not wrong in stating that this is not going to end well.

              Francis is not wrong in observing and stating that ending well or not, Tribalism is real, tribal alliances are real, and tribal self-segregation (where allowed) is also real. Real, and happening.

              *shrug* I’ll leave the “Good” and “Bad” judgement to others.

          2. Yeah, no. The best-case endgame for that is the surviving “rule of law” types (composed of current constitutionalists and centrist liberals mugged by reality) end up wiping the floor with the racial identitarians.

            1. So current constitutionalists and centrist liberals mugged by reality are all members of the same tribe, and share a tribal identity then?

              1. It’s not so much as they share a tribal identity as they will be cast out or left out of the racial (and sexual, but that tribe can only survive as hangers-on to one of the racial ones) identitarian groups. In terms of where they sit on the political spectrum, think a range from slightly left of Jim Webb Democrats to a fair piece to the right of Ted Cruz Republicans. For lack of a better way to describe it, these people don’t want to have a tribal identity.

                1. Or rather, their tribal identity is as non-tribal.

                  In reality it is kind of like Liberals being called “liberal” they really aren’t, but they identify as such. The non-tribalists identify as not one of those “tribes”, which breaks them into a tribe of their own.

          3. The Z-man over at Z-blog seems to agree with you, Francis:


            His observations match twenty-five years of my observations from living in South-western Dallas.

            “But concerning ‘bad,’ the critical question for this moment in time would be ‘Is it bad to survive?'” – Francis Porretto

            Not at all. And most (sane) people will tend to opt for survival, which in large cases tends to lean heavily toward self-segregation.

            1. “Even the movies they watch are devoid of white guys being tough. Instead, the women do the fighting and the men get in touch with their feelings or act like morons.”
              (Quote from the link)

              Maybe we’re watching different movies, but I’m not seeing that, which makes me suspicious of the rest of his observations.

  12. Humans certainly don’t need solid reasons to become tribal. But I think the current wave of tribalism among white westerners (a handful of whom are certainly outright racists) has to be tied directly to the American left’s need to inject identity politics into everything. Given our great ape-inherited instinct for fairness, it frankly surprises me we’ve made it this long without a widespread backlash to absurd nonsense beliefs such as “minorities can’t be racist against white people” and “your opinion is invalid because you’re a white male.”

      1. Snerk. “Big government” and “leftist” is a redundancy. I’ve never seen a small government leftist. I think that such an animal is as mythical as the fabulous rainbow farting unicorn.

        And… yes and no. Leftists are cult mentality, not tribal. They foster (certain selective types of) tribalism as a means of propagating, fostering, and enhancing the leftism cult.

        Although that’s possibly what you meant, and I just haven’t yet had enough coffee to be reading this, much less commenting on it?

  13. (And yeah, IQ. Look, guys, if you take IQ that seriously you never studied how it’s arrived at. Geesh. Or how conditions of upbringing influence it. Let’s just say our pediatrician assured us if we adopted our adoptive kids — barring serious impairment — would end up testing about like us. He said he’d seen it often enough and I believe him.)

    Get Dan to expatiate on the eigenvectors of the inverse of the covariance matrix – it’s quite beautiful in its way – to understand where Spearman’s g comes from.

    You pediatrician is wrong. IQ is ~75% heritable. That’s a sad and ugly fact that eviscerates equalism, and its denial is the core of the collectivist dream. So why are you, of all people, pushing said denial?

    1. “That’s a sad and ugly fact that eviscerates equalism, and its denial is the core of the collectivist dream.”

      Except for the part where neither one of those statements is true. Fact of the matter is that collectivism relies on the belief that IQ’s are unequal ans always will be, while the belief in the basic equality before the law of all people, no matter their phenotype, has nothing whatsoever to do with those people’s abstract reasoning capacity.

      1. Precisely. We don’t want equality of results, just equality before the law. The people who want equality of results need the state to enforce it BECAUSE we are unequal.

    2. Because I know a lot of adopted kids. Look, for IQ tests what you’re looking at isn’t raw IQ. It’s how to perform. Above a certain IQ people don’t perform that well on ANY tests.
      A lot of the tests, particularly for kids, are based on vocabulary and number manipulation. Any kid of ours would get that very young.
      I’m not saying you can make anyone a genius. I’m saying you can get (just about) any kid to perform well in school and in IQ tests. The difference is how much you PUSH.
      Let’s suppose IQ is 75% inheritable. You know what the other 75% is? Sweat, application, preparation and work. And I’ve seen — and so have you — that 25% overwhelm the 75% in all sorts of situations, and all sorts of tests. So why not IQ tests? Are they magical?

      1. Let’s suppose IQ is 75% inheritable. You know what the other 75% is? Sweat, application, preparation and work.

        Yeah, that seems about how it tends to add up. }:o)

          1. Oh, I know. But still, it does seem that it actually adds up like that. Sort of like some Projects.. after the first 90% is finished, the other 90% remains.

    3. Most IQ tests favor memory and speed. But those aren’t always the proper tools for getting the job done.

      I’d put dogged determination down as the #1 indicator for potential success.

      1. Yep – the number one thing I’d emphasize as a life changing, career enhancing, opportunity enabling life skill, for any age but especially for youngins, is that whole “don’t quit” thing.

        And unfortunately that’s one thing I see as beig actively discouraged in the latest generation by Those In Power.

        1. 1. Show up five minutes early, or at least on time.
          2. Stay ’til the end.
          3. Clean up after yourself.
          4. Work hard.
          5. Don’t quit.
          6. Do unto others as you’d have ’em do unto you.
          7. A man’s got to kill his own snakes.
          8. If you make a promise, keep it.
          9. Do the right thing because it’s the right thing.
          10. Don’t start the fight. But make damn sure you finish it.
          11. Despair is a traitor within your walls.
          12. The purpose of the army is to kill, and to win wars.
          13. Dress for the journey, not the destination.
          14. Know how to take care of yourself. Even if you hire someone else to do it, you’d better know what they’re doing and how.
          15. Tithe. Because someday you’re going to need that help, so contribute while you can.

  14. One of the terms I remember from a History class was Amoral Familism. . The Family group (family, clan tribe) is more important than any larger grouping and the only ones that people trust. This means every-time a new group takes power in a region, they use that power to make up for all the things they missed when they were not in power. The relative peace and domestic tranquillity is something most Americans take for granted. It is not that way in much of the world.
    There are places in the US that have various issues but most civil servants are not requiring bribes to file paperwork. .

  15. Whenever I think of Tribalism, or even cliques, I think of this Peter Gabriel song. Especially this lyric:
    There’s safety in numbers
    When you learn to divide.
    How can you be IN
    When there is no outside.

  16. I suspect many of the “white tribalists” would respond that we already live in Orwell’s 1984, and that tribalism has triumphed. Those without a tribe are at a disadvantage, like a prison inmate who doesn’t have a gang to back him up.

    I’m not sure I agree with this, but it seems uncomfortably not far from the truth.

    1. Okay, I don’t have a gang with the ability to improve my employment situation now.

      I’ve yet to hear a convincing or compelling offer from the white loyalists.

      Ted Cruz has Irish, Italian, and Cuban ancestry. These are all groups that historically were not white, and now maybe are.

      Cruz chose to live in Texas, so I have some cultural reference points for him. I like what I hear from Cruz. His offer interests me, and he sounds like he could be of my tribe. The only effect his ancestry has on that is the way his parents raised him.

      I’m not convinced the outlanders who have betrayed civilization and humanity can beat that in the long run.

      1. “Ted Cruz has Irish, Italian, and Cuban ancestry. These are all groups that historically were not white, and now maybe are.
        Cruz chose to live in Texas, so I have some cultural reference points for him. “
        – BobtheRegisterredFool

        Texas is its own tribe and culture, however. “Texan” or “Texican” is its own identity, and one that in a lot of cases cuts across other bounds, to a much larger extent than in various other parts of the country. Texas has an ingrained cultural attitude of “Well, you may not have been borned in Texas, but you got here as fast as you could,” just as long as you adopt the nationality, culture, and customs of Texas once you settle here.

        That last highlighted and then doubly emphasized bit is important. It’s the whence and the why behind the “Love NY? Take 30 East,” stickers.

        Cruz can be Texan regardless of his Irish, Italian, and Cuban ancestry and his Canadian birth and upbringing just as George W. Bush could be despite his upper East Coast derivation: because both of them settled here and adopted the Texan nationality and culture. (It’s why Bush’s daddy may have lived in Texas, but he’s not a Texan: he’s always remained a patrician New Englander.)

        As a result, I’d put your other statement a different way: Ted Cruz is one of my tribe regardless of whether I like him or not. I’m not required to like another Texan just because he/she is a Texan. They’re still one of mine whether I like them or not, just like I don’t like all of my relatives as people.

        Texans are a lot like the Irish: when we’re not fighting everyone else, we fight each other just for the entertainment value. *grin*

        1. I’m not Texan. I just have enough ties to Texans to know that many of them share my concerns about the management of the Southern border. Or rather, part of why I am paying so much attention is grapevine from Texans.

          Dewhurst is Texan also. I do not much care for Dewhurst, or see that he gets it any more than people from states very far from the border do.

          1. “I’m not Texan. I just have enough ties to Texans to know that many of them share my concerns about the management of the Southern border.”

            *nod* Most of us do, I’d say. Hell, most Oklahomans I know share your/our concerns over the South Texas border way up here in Texarkana where I live. (I’m convinced the border issue will end badly, and end in blood.)

            “Dewhurst is Texan also. I do not much care for Dewhurst”

            I didn’t care for Ann Richards way back when, and she was as much a native as I am. It was why I supported GWB against her even way back in my Libertarian phase.

            My response was basically to speak to how Cruz can be considered a Texan by Texans regardless of where he was born, not to slag on you for liking him. He fits the qualification: he acculturated once he was here.

              1. Good. Hey, easy to misinterpret on the web, so I thought I’d make sure I was clear on that.

    2. When I was Navy– we were told that we were blue and everyone here was blue– so anyone who tried to be black or white got “educated.” Anyway, we saw ourselves in the Navy tribe and there was the Army tribe and so forth. Then there was the military tribe vs. the civilian tribe. When I got out– I was shocked that the change in the American society had happened so rapidly– i.e. black vs. white vs hispanic… vs Asian… we were becoming balkanized. I saw this in the late 90s.

        1. I bet that the “targets” enjoyed “targeting” you especially in the local navy bar. 👿

          1. You are right, there was a bar near the Connecticut College campus in New London, CT where the female student body drain many sailors wallet.

      1. “When I was Navy– we were told that we were blue and everyone here was blue– so anyone who tried to be black or white got “educated.””

        Educated=”blued” And by the time the colors faded, they were culturally blue?

  17. After spending 18 months in South Africa, I came back with a very different view of tribalism than the one I grew up with (yep–the American view). When I tried to explain it– as in blacks were not a tribe but various tribes and clans– my family and anyone I talked to — couldn’t understand what I was saying. It was incomprehensible. So I quit talking after being told I was a racist because of my experiences and what I learned there. *sigh

    1. Nod.

      I’ve never really been outside the US but a few years back I was talking with this African student about his home country (Somila?).

      He was clear that he viewed himself as a member of a tribe within his home country not as a “citizen” of that country.

      The other American listening to him didn’t understand that view but it was clear to me.

      Oh, the other American didn’t say anything about “racism” but it would be interesting to hear your family/friends reaction to an African telling them about the “tribal differences” in his home country. 😈

  18. I wonder how many Native American tribes’ names for themselves translate as “people” or “human” and their names for neighboring tribes translate as “animal” or “not-human”?

    1. Quite a few, is my understanding. IIRC, Aniwunyiya loosely translates into English as “The True People” (by implication, everyone else is “not true people) and “Cherokee” is a name applied to us by other (enemy) nations and later self adopted and standardized because that was what the European settlers and later the U.S. Gov adopted as the name for the Aniwunyiya.

      Apocryphal, probably, but it fits what I was told by some (much) older relatives. Unless they were just having fun having the half-breed on, which is always possible. 🙂

    2. Stranger equals danger seems to be a “normal” default switch for humans. Some cultures do emphasize hospitality and generosity as virtues… probably because they are “hard” to do.

      1. Guests are sacred and they have rules about “when does a person become a guest”.

        1. And in some cultures, proximity has an effect on whether the stranger is seen as “potentially hostile” or “potentially a guest” depending on their actions.

          Your neighbors (the tribes nearest you) are more likely to be potential or actual enemy because they compete directly with you for resources.

          A traveler from a distant area is less likely to be a threat because he’s a) not a direct competitor, and b) cut off from his own tribe and support, so he’s more vulnerable and therefore more reliant upon your hospitality and good will.

          (Plus the distant traveler brings with him the promise of news of far away people’s and places, and entertaining stories of distant lands and adventures. And entertainment is always at a premium in eras before mass media.)

  19. Sarah makes a good case here against simplistically defining all whites as a new tribe — but as I see it, she also makes a good strong case in favor of creating new, organized tribes smaller than nation states, and transferring a lot of our loyalty and energy to them — the kind of groups called “phyles” in Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age.

    I like this idea a lot, because such constructive organizations can sustain civilized life and lead the recovery if the system, or even just the economy, does collapse. Which unlike her, I expect will happen in my lifetime.

    1. We should all be establishing networks, formal or not. And honestly, I do expect a collapse in the next 20 years. I just don’t expect a mad max collapse. If you’ve read my “Build under, build over, build around” you’d know I advise forming structures to take the essential societal functions if needed.

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