Politicians benefit from American tribal warfare

Politicians benefit from American tribal warfare, by Glenn Reynolds (from 2014).

Tribalism is the default state of humanity: The tendency to defend our own tribe even when we think it’s wrong, and to attack other tribes even when they’re right. Societies that temper those tribal tendencies do much better. But there is much opportunity for political empire-building in tribalism, and if the benefits of stoking tribal fires exceed the costs, then expect political actors to pour gasoline on even the smallest spark.

That’s pretty much what has happened. In America, we have both a police culture that is too quick to escalate force, and an aggressive victim culture, embodied by the loathsome Al Sharpton, that seeks to portray every police use of force, at least against members of the wrong racial and ethnic groups, as excessive.

A healthy society would stigmatize, marginalize and shun the tribalizers.