Mar. 4, 2018

from Tribes to ...what?

Social gathering for mutual protection and benefit is actually at the root of all human, and many animal, advancements. No language was needed, no collective hunting occurred, no farming was considered or histories passed on until a gathering formed, at least for humans.  The gathering evolved into a tribe of like-minded individuals, but at some point, the tribe grew and more territory was needed in order for them to flourish. Strong leaders who could take land by force moved to the front and oligarchies became the standard ruling system while land became the source of their wealth and influence. As the populations continued to expand, city states formed, each with their own ideas of self rule, Some desired to be more inclusive for all citizens, some did not. Eventually, the spoken word was carried further from a home city-state and the exchange of ideas began. Some city states then decided bigger was better and the grand expansions of civilization began in earnest, with land and riches not obtainable in one's home state, being the prize. For this to happen, the absolute power of a single ruler was needed. Religion became another tool for wielding power rather than its original intent to honor a creator. Then came the written word and new thoughts changed the idea of what was fair, just and good. A move towards more inclusive governing with a democratic way of selecting leaders came into being. This worked fine, until times of crisis when fear and foreboding could be disseminated quickly by written word to sway the minds of all involved. Dictatorships became the tool that was even more powerful than the monarchy of most countries. Wars have been waged and philosophies put forth including communism, a failed form that does not reward exceptionalism, the very thing needed to move a society forward. Social democracies have formed, but only with a degree of success in countries with finite populations and undiversified economies. Will there ever be a way for a 'One World' philosphy to exist?

Our world continues to evolve at a pace that is sometimes hard to deal with, much less understand. Many think that open trade with all countries is the answer, however this is possible only if all are of the same mindset. Although many developed, industrialized nations have moved far ahead in their overall economic status and well-being, others with the same historical background (1,000's of years, not decades) often have diametrically opposed mindsets. Look no further than North and South Korea for that. Which system of government seems to be most successful? The so-called DEMOCRATIC people's Republic of Korea or the REPUBLIC of Korea? One would think that they would be about the same since both seem to indicate some form of overall equality in selecting leaders. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. One group controls the media, decides what the general population can hear, see and even speak, promotes a line of thought from birth to death, influencing young minds that there is only one correct way of doing things and all else are ideas of evil doers that would destroy the only world they know. One might say that the country following that philosphy has really reverted to a form of the earliest grouping of individuals, tribalism. Is any form of government suceptible to that degradation of principle and even freedom? The answer is yes, especially in this age of control being handed over to social media as the teaching tool for young minds. As the critics of the original constitutional republic that formed this country continue to espouse it's shortcomings, are we really ready to accept the alternative that could mimic a 'democratic republic'?

Mar. 14, 2014

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.