A rarely discussed fault line in this polarized cultural landscape, is that between individualism and tribalism.
On one side, cultural Marxists and the alt- Right share an overriding belief in race’s importance and therefore tribalism, and that race should be a cornerstone of life, culture as well as politics.
Contrastingly, traditional conservatives and pragmatic progressives often reject using immutable characteristics to base political activism. Subsequently, they make arguments along individualistic lines, arguing primary focuses should be on the content of a person’s character, as opposed to the colour of their skin. Among such figures is Tucker Carlson, who passionately rebutted accusations of White Nationalism by claiming; ‘Tribalism is dehumanising.’
However, an answer regarding the true virtue of either tribalism or individualism, likely emerges in the middle.
Individualism has been vital to Western Civilisation, with private property, capitalism, freedom of speech, association and religion all irreplaceable features of modern life. Individualism is what allows us to charter our own course, and it best ensures each human life is given an opportunity to prosper in the pursuits they desire. Further, it would be ill- conceived to overlook individualism and base entire political ideologies upon ethnicity, as race is impossible to select or change.
But there are some differences along racial lines which are significant. For instance, East Asians have higher average IQ’s, whereas Africans possess genetics predisposed to greater muscle growth. Similarly, tribalism of some description will always be necessary to achieve political victories, as any successful cause first requires sufficient public support. Whether it be pursued along ethnic, gender, cultural, religious or political lines, some form of group membership and thus tribalism will always exist.
And if separation along ethnic/ cultural lines is divisive, then what can bring people together? Clearly, some form of tribalism is necessary, regardless of if this manifests as civic nationalism, ethnonationalism, White Nationalism, religious nationalism, internationalism or some other variety.
Evidently, the debate should not be over whether individualism or tribalism is desirable. Rather, we ought consider which type of tribalism should be embraced, and to what degree.
For Tucker Carlson’s full rebuke of tribalism, see below: