In-group and out-group

Insty’s got a link to the Star Slate Codex – wherein a bubbled liberal actually notices that he lives in a bubble and that “his tribe” is full of a lot of screaming hypocrites. Uh-huh. As the (well worth reading) comments on Insty say: “It would probably shock the author to know that conservatives interact with intolerant liberals all the time.

That’s not to say that “Red Tribe” folks can’t insulate themselves in their own 1/10^45 strength bubble. But for a Red Triber to do so, would require that person to basically cut themselves off from the greater society to a nearly unimaginable extent, and that person would be well aware of being inside that bubble. A Red bubble that strong could only be formed by living in the appropriate geographical area, never going to college, AND cutting oneself off from the following: television, movies, newspapers, magazines, books (except for ones specifically vetted by less-bubbled Reds, or published before about 1850-ish, maybe), radio, and last but not least, the internet. So yeah: Red bubbles exist, but it takes a lot of work to maintain them and they’re very thin and transparent for those who refuse to give up modern entertainment. That Red Tribe dark-matter universe keeps getting bombarded by all the Blue Tribe light photons just by accident even without the Blue Tribe crusaders that specifically come to the Dark Universe just to make annoying evangelists of themselves.

But I do appreciate Scott’s recognition that Blue Tribe “tolerance” is not a moral virtue. That is the #1 trait of Blue Tribers that drives me personally up a wall – the moral superiority crap. I mean, I don’t really care if the Blue Tribers claim to be the smart ones and the Red Tribe the dumb ones (even though they do, and it’s not true; both sides have their idiots and low-information voters) – that doesn’t get under my skin. I mean, that just makes them dumb, not evil. But claiming moral superiority? You just hit my “will not tolerate” button. Probably because my specific subset of Red Tribe subculture lists that kind of self-righteousness as a literal “sign that you are going to Hell”! Thankfully, Blue Tribers might be wrong, but most of them aren’t actually evil, as the saying goes.

After reading Scott’s article, I tried to think of what my own “in-group” might be – you know, the group that you’d face physical fear responses just at the thought of criticizing. Uh, I think there’s a problem with that diagnostic tool: it’s the Blue Team that crucifies people who criticize them. Not the Red Team. Anybody who’d go ballistic on me for criticism to the point of provoking a physical fight-or-flight response is definitively not part of my in-group, because one of the core defining features of my in-group is “will accept criticism and logical debate over differences of opinion.” That’s why I stopped counting The National Review as part of my in-group: they engaged in Blue Tribe social ostracism rather than stand their ground for freedom of expression from various shades of Red Team people.

However, I have felt physical reactions to getting into a debate with “Blue Tribe” people. Does that mean I’m actually part of the Blue Tribe? (I don’t think so!) No, I chalked up that unsettled feeling to the whole socialized-niceness triggers – nobody wants to be disliked, but cross a Blue Tribe shibboleth and you will be accused of being worse than Hitler. Reliably. Which is why I despise Social Justice Whiners so much: they use triggers meant to keep people polite with each other, meant to preserve social fabric, as tools to squash intellectual debate. Also, they ruin people’s lives while claiming that identical behavior on the part of their opponents is The Worst Thing Ever. Which goes back to the hypocrites claiming moral superiority thing as the tribal indicator that says to me that “You are not part of my tribe; you are The ENEMY.” Want gay marriage? Not my tribe, but not necessarily my enemy. Think abortion should be legal? Definitely not my tribe – but even though I think you’re tragically wrong and your position has resulted in the deaths of millions of innocent lives, and is one of the most obscene forms of murder ever invented by fallen humanity, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to do everything in my power to silence you, get you fired from your job, or otherwise shun you from the public sphere and force you to become a hermit in the wilds. Basically: I don’t believe in using thought police to impose morality. Would that the Blue Tribe were so courteous, but courtesy only suits them when they don’t have power, and ensconced in their bubbles or not, they have quite a lot.

“Change your opinion, shut up, or leave” is not a Red Tribe principle when it comes to civil life. That’s not to say that “ideological purity tests” are inappropriate in some spheres: there’s no such thing as a Lutheran Pope for a very good reason, and the Cat Lovers Society has no obligation to extend membership resources on a “Dogs rule!” message. I happen to think that the Red Tribe needs to get a little more exclusive, because the Blue Tribe has a particular strategy that’s worked out very well for them, and it goes like this: infiltrate (taking advantage of Red Tribe tolerance), subvert (use insider position to gather more Blues into the organization, also taking advantage of Red Tribe tolerance for Blue Tribers), and then exclude – as soon as the Blue Tribers have enough power, they get rid of any lingering Reddish people who are left and specifically bar any more from joining. That’s how Blue Tribers like Scott end up in their 1/10^45 bubbles without even noticing.

And then they have the utter gall to whine about how they’re the “victims” of “intolerance” while specifically targeting any remaining Red Tribe organizations for destruction. Yeah. Sure. In what universe would that be, again?

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1 Response to In-group and out-group

  1. The comments on Red Tribe and Blue Tribe remind me of Urban California gang colors, which bring to mind military uniforms which make it possible to distinguish friend from foe on battle fields.

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