The Tribe, the Outsider and the Scapegoat
August 5, 2010
The leftist Mommy State
now growing like a cancer in the U.S. wants to force all the boys and girls to
share and get along. That may sort of work with five-year-olds, although not
very well as any parent will attest, but it doesn't work at all with adults.
These days, forcing the
boys and girls to "share" and "get along" is called "multiculturalism." It has
never worked in the past, anywhere. It doesn't work now, anywhere, and it won't
in the future, ever. There are many reasons why it doesn't work, but I think the
simplest is what I call the Tribe, the Outsider and the Scapegoat.
Human nature is such
that people instinctively gather into tribes. Every living creature, from ants
to elephants, does it; why should people be any different?
This tribalism will
never go away, so there is no way around accepting it, although many try not to.
People want community, and that community involves being with people like them,
or who they like. This has to be dealt with, which is something libertarians
rarely do because of their obsession with "the individual."
"Tribes" may be a
primitive term, but it was applicable not only in the past but also certainly
today. You might want to call them "ethnic groups" or "nations" instead. It
doesn't matter. They're still tribes, whether they're big or little, powerful or
Problems arise because every tribe in the past has, with monotonous regularity, because of our inborn narcissism, grandiosely called itself “the People" or "the Humans." Anyone outside the tribe was, obviously, devalued into being non-People and non-Human. That gives a foot in the door to murdering them.
All tribes today still consider themselves "the Humans," even though they use different words. No country today is going to call itself "the United States of All Humans" or "The Union of All People, and Everyone Outside Isn't," but all countries will say God has chosen them and is on their side, which logically means the Other Guy is on the other tribe’s side. That's saying the same thing as "We're human, and you ain't."
During World War II, for
example, the Russians spoke of "Holy Mother Russia," which implied that God had
Their opponents, the Germans, did the same thing the Russians did, when they talked of the “Fatherland” (and today, for us, ominously, it’s the “Homeland”).
German soldiers used to
march into battle with “Gott mit uns” on their belt buckles, I suppose as a
magic talisman to stop bullets. The question is: on whose side was God during
the battle of Stalingrad, where both sides lost, combined, more soldiers than
It's painfully obvious
that a grandiose certainty that God is on your side does not equal God being on
your side, even if Jerry Falwell believes it. Neither does it mean your tribe is
human and the other is not, even if you think God told you that. A movie example
that comes to mind: I remember watching a Japanese officer, in
The Last Emperor, exclaim, "The Japanese are the only divine race!"
Later, when Russian soldiers closed in on him, he scrambled his brains with a
pistol bullet. Self-proclaimed divinity always has a price, never a good one.
People in the
People say, "God bless
It's all pretty
grandiose. It's assuming Americans are the Chosen, just as every tribe in the
past has thought it was the
The biggest problem,
though, is that every tribe projects its problems onto the outsider. There are,
not surprisingly, two archetypes in literature called the Scapegoat and the
Outsider. Often — maybe always — they are the one and the same.
The most famous, or
maybe infamous, story about the Outsider and the Scapegoat is Shirley Jackson's
The Lottery, which everyone in the recent past had to read in middle
school. Every year, someone was chosen as a scapegoat, which made them an
outsider to be stoned to death. It was an example of scapegoating always leading
to human sacrifice, of projecting "badness" on someone and then killing them, in
order to "save" the tribe.
The human sacrifice in
The well-known novel that best illustrates the Tribe, the Outsider and the Scapegoat (and fertility rites) is that psychopathology textbook known as Atlas Shrugged. Rand’s grandiose and god-like heroes withdraw into their retreat and, being perfect, have to project their unacknowledged flaws onto the Outsiders and Scapegoats — her “looters” and “parasites.”
These Outsiders/Scapegoats then collapse into a Dionysian frenzy of self-destruction, and after it’s over, Rand’s heroes come out into a plowed-under world where they can plant their seeds of reason, selfishness and capitalism.
Since every tribe grandiosely considers itself "good," all "evil" must be projected elsewhere. If one tribe considers itself human and good and chosen by God, then the other tribe, the outsider, must necessarily be evil, sub-human, and of the Devil.
Maybe we don't consciously believe it, but emotionally we do. It’s why many people don't care — indeed sometimes even cheer — if foreigners die in wars. Then we act shocked when foreigners cheer when we die, the way some cheered about 9-11. How dare they act like us! Since we are good, they must be evil!
It was horrible that
nearly 3000 innocent people were murdered on 9-11, but was it was a good thing
the federal government murdered all those people in
Today in the
And since scapegoating and human sacrifice are always fertility rites, bombing and destroying other countries is of course supposed to make them be reborn and “grow” right — usually by trying to seed them with democracy and feminism.
When resentment, envy, anger and hate sent blowback our way on 9-11, we denied the bad things we had done to others, and instead claimed our attackers had to be "evil," and attacked us because we are "good." Maybe things are that simple in the childish, Black-and-White fantasy of Bizarro World, but certainly not in reality.
It's bad enough to have different tribes in different countries get into wars, but when tribes in the same country fight, that is a prescription for national suicide. And multiculturalism, if it is anything, is several ethnically-different tribes warring over the same land and for political power, which is power over others. It is therefore an attempt at national suicide.
Each tribe is going to grandiosely call itself "the Humans" in some form, then deny its flaws and instead project them onto the devalued other, which it will want to remove or murder. Each tribe will also try to use other tribes as fertilizer, to make their own tribe and its culture grow and prosper.
Every empire in the past has fallen not because of attacks from the outside, but because of attacks from the inside. Once the barbarians are inside the gate it's harder to remove them. They may claim they're not barbarians, but apparently the Greek story of the Trojan Horse isn't taught to Americans in school anymore.
Some examples of tribal warfare? How about "Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan," whose motto is "Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada." It translates as, "Everything for the race. Everything outside the race, nothing." That's clearly grandiose, and fits exactly the idea of one tribe denying its flaws and projecting them onto a devalued other. It is projection/scapegoating leading to human sacrifice. They're the cause of our problems, not us. Remove them or rub them out!
Another example in the
People will always define themselves not just as individuals but as part of family, nation, religion. If large enough different groups of people try to share the same land and vie for political power, each is going to define itself as good, the others as bad, then deny its own flaws and instead project their problems on those defined as outsiders. Leftists who support multiculturalism don’t merely misunderstand human nature but instead don’t understand it at all, not when they believe several large tribes can co-exist peacefully on the same land.
The only way that
different tribes can occupy the same land is if one is tribe is 95% of the
population, and the other tribe is five percent. But four tribes that are each
one-fourth of the population – say, Black, White, Yellow and Brown? There has
never been a society in the history of the world that has survived such an
The problem is made far worse when the State gets involved, because each group will fight for political power to protect itself and hurt the other. Each group will try to capture the State to use for its own purposes, which involves removing the others, or, ultimately, killing them.
State-sponsored "multiculturalism," a misguided attempt to force different
tribes to get along on the same land, will, as it always does when the State
gets involved, have the exact opposite effect: it will make them fight even
more, to the detriment of those involved, and, ultimately, the nation. Not only
are the boys and girls not going to share and get along, they're going to get
into constant vicious, bloody, murderous brawls.
Bob Wallace (email him) has a degree in Mass
Communications and is a former newspaper reporter and editor. He writes
occasionally about economics and cultural issues.
Bob Wallace (email him) has a degree in Mass Communications and is a former newspaper reporter and editor. He writes occasionally about economics and cultural issues.