Tribal mentality, World and at home!
We often find ourselves wondering why the rest of the world doesn't understand or come to believe in our system, or our view, of democracy. First, let's all be sure we understand that the United States is not a true "democracy", rather we are a "republic". If you ever get into an argument and aren't sure about the differences, just ask your opponent to whom they "pledge allegiance" when facing the flag. Although a "democratic" form of government is a desireable system from the standpoint of certain freedoms and guarantees, it may not be the best system for a fledgling society or one that has been accustomed to tribalism. Tribal mentality is not new, and in fact is the oldest form of human interaction. Tribes formed for companionship, procreation, protection,and overall mutual benefit. In some societies, even today, that is all that is wanted or expected. Religion, advanced education, monetary exchange or anything we associate with modern society is not something they really want or need. Yet modern societies, especially in the west, feel that it is most important to export these ideas, even to those that still exist with a tribal mentality. In ancient times, similar tribes would come together to fight a common foe before returning to their intertribal warfare. Whether it was the Greeks and Spartans joining forces with other Greek nations against the invading Persians, or the Amercian Sioux and Cheyenne putting aside their differences to fight the white man, history is full of tales of war and valor related to tribal conflicts or tribes coming together against a common foe only to fall back into battling one another once the outside conflict was resolved. In modern times, we only need look as far as the middle east to see the tribal conflicts between the Sunni, Shite, and Kurdish tribes. However, do we really need to look any further than our own backyards to see forms of "tribal" mentality ? Gang related warfare for "turf" is certainly one example although the drug culture has certainly become an integral part of that equation. Daily we watch the verbal sparring between liberals and conservatives where, at least for now, words have replaced weapons. If confronted with a common foe from outside, however, we rally behind the flag ! The 9/11 attack demonstrated that as did the consensus opinion to become involved in Iraq. Understanding this, that tribalism will always exist, and that perhaps NOT interfering is a better way to let a society evolve is something we should all consider when actively exporting our ideas and philosphies. True democracies will not work in places where too many tribes still exist and where the tribal mentality takes precedence over the well being of a nation as a whole. For that reason alone, a true democracy will never work in most of the countries in the middle east and in fact is the reason the Swiss adopted their form of government with cantons ruling different ethic groups within the country. Maybe we should look to them for better ideas if we insist on exporting some form of freedom.