How Humanity is Hobbled by Tribalism

I do have a general scheme in work, for which all of these items are supporting evidence. (And how this really does relate to science fiction.)

  • A rogue GOP congressman who spouts unsupported conspiracy theories;
  • How RFK Jr. supporters rationalize their political choices;
  • And a host of items demonstrating conservative/tribal thinking: how some want to execute gays; how Trump spreads the lie about Easter; how the current economy under Biden is stronger than that of other developed nations and they refuse to acknowledge it; how Republican claims that crime has skyrocketed under Biden are simply not true; how Trump lied about speaking the family of a victim of an illegal immigrant; Roseanne Barr’s latest crackpot comments; an Arizona Republican condemns non-Christians and LGBTQ people to eternal damnation; others about Satan’s religion of the leftism, how Democrats will cheat in elections, how praying in tongues will stop witch attacks; … and more.
  • With, in the background, my gelling conclusions about morality, which takes into account, and understands, the conservative view. But concludes it’s simply not appropriate in the modern, global, multicultural, world. It’s become counter-productive. (Aside from simply being wrong on many counts.)

They just make stuff up, to twist reality into conforming with their preferred worldview.

NYT, 4 Apr 2024: G.O.P. Congressman’s Wild Claim: F.B.I. Entrapped Jan. 6 Rioters, subtitled “More than three years after the attack on Congress, a Republican subcommittee chairman offered a series of baseless and disproved claims about it, reflecting an effort on the right to falsify what occurred.”

Even by a conspiracy theorist’s standards, the wild claims made by Representative Clay Higgins, Republican of Louisiana, stand out.

The hard-right congressman, now in his fourth term in the House, has said that “ghost buses” took agents provocateurs to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to instigate the riot. He has claimed that the federal government is waging a “civil war” against Texas. And he has called the criminal charges against former President Donald J. Trump for mishandling classified documents a “perimeter probe from the oppressors.”

But far from relegating Mr. Higgins to the fringe of their increasingly fractious conference, House Republicans have elevated him. They made him the chairman of the subcommittee overseeing border enforcement, and Speaker Mike Johnson named him one of 11 impeachment managers tasked with trying to remove the homeland security secretary from office in a Senate trial set to take place next week.

None of it has dampened Mr. Higgins’s penchant for spreading unsupported theories, many of which portray law enforcement and the government in an evil, conspiratorial light.

That “House Republicans have elevated him” is exactly what I’d expect from the party that has elevated Trump. It has nothing to do with reality, everything to do with tribalism.


What’s fascinating in this next piece is to see how people rationalize their political choices. Almost never on the basis of policies, or how those policies have played out. Nor, obviously, character. More about the psychology of ‘us’ vs. ‘them’, i.e. deeply tribal thinking. I’ll quote just the opening; as I explained a couple posts ago, all the NYT links here are free to non-subscribers for 30 days.

NY Times, Michelle Goldberg, 4 Apr 2024: Terrified Parents, New Age Health Nuts, MAGA Exiles. Meet the R.F.K. Jr. Faithful.

Chris Inclan, an alcohol and drug counselor from Sonoma, Calif., voted for the Green Party candidate Jill Stein in 2016. In 2020 he backed Andrew Yang in the Democratic primary and cast a ballot for Donald Trump in the general election. Joe Biden, he said, was “so ingrained in the establishment and politics as usual,” while Trump “went against the grain on a lot of issues,” including wars and government regulation. But Inclan, a big bearded 39-year-old with tattoos on his hands, doesn’t want to have to make that choice again, which is why he’s now enthusiastically supporting Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

I met Inclan at the Oakland rally where Kennedy introduced his new running mate, the 38-year-old political donor Nicole Shanahan. Held in the auditorium of the Henry J. Kaiser Center for the Arts, it was the first political rally Inclan had ever attended.

“The system is corrupt,” he said of what he called the two-party “duopoly.” “We keep playing the same game. But I think Americans are fed up.” He’d joined Kennedy’s We the People Party, formed to help Kennedy get on the ballot in several states, and has aspirations to run for office himself someday.

Inclan’s politics are hard to understand in purely left or right terms. The more relevant dichotomy, for him as for many Kennedy voters, is insider versus outsider, which is why Kennedy’s following sometimes overlaps, in unexpected ways, with the MAGA movement.


Next, a lot more shorter items.


LGBTQNation, 4 Apr 2024: Donald Trump endorses pastor who wants to execute “evil” LGBTQ+ people and allies, subtitled “We should start putting some of those parents in jail for abusing their child’s minds.”


MSNBC, Sarah Posner, 4 Apr 2024: Trump’s ‘Christian Day of Visibility’ tantrum is also a warning, subtitled “The former president’s linking of ‘Christian visibility’ and the election is similarly deliberate.”

Once again, Trump accuses Biden of having “declared Easter Sunday to be trans visibility day.” This was not true. But he can keep saying it because his fans don’t know about better. File this under: cynicism.


CNBC, 4 Apr 2024: Biden says U.S. economy is world’s best. Trump calls it a ‘cesspool.’ Data is clear.

By the numbers, Biden is correct: America’s economy is stronger than that of other developed nations.

Once again, evidence and policies don’t matter to conservatives.


On the same note. Nancy Mace is R-S.C (Republican, South Carolina).

PolitiFact, 3 Apr 2024: Nancy Mace: “Since Joe Biden took office, crime has skyrocketed across our country.”

No, crime has not ‘skyrocketed’ under Joe Biden, as Rep. Nancy Mace claimed

Why would Republicans say those untrue things? Flat out lie? I’ll get there.


Media Matters, Matt Gertz, 3 Apr 2024: Fox highlighted Trump’s comments about a slain woman without noting the family says he lied about talking with them

Trump claims he spoke with the family of “Ruby Garcia, a 25-year-old allegedly killed by her undocumented immigrant boyfriend.” The family denied that Trump contacted them. Trump lied; Fox lied.


Roseanne Barr — remember her?

Joe.My.God, 4 Apr 2024: Roseanne Barr: Drop Out Of College, It’s Nothing But “Devil-Worshiping Blood-Drinking Democrat Donors”

Crackpot. Delusional, and anti-education, as conservatives tend to be. Because…


Joe.My.God, 3 Apr 2024: Arizona GOP Rep Condemns Non-Christians And LGBTQ People As Worthy Of Eternal Damnation In Floor Prayer

Is Christianity an evil religion? That is, one that advocates violence against everyone who is not Christian?


Joe.My.God, 4 Apr 2024: FRC: We’re At War Against Satan’s Religion Of Leftism

This person is deeply, deeply, confused, and as usual prone to black and white thinking.


Joe.My.God, 5 Apr 2024: TX Supreme Court Justice: Dems Will Cheat In Election

Another tribal moralist. Evidence that this will happen, please?


Joe.My.God, 5 Apr 2024: Televangelist: Pray In Tongues To Stop Witch Attacks

So, what is the difference between believing in God and believing in witchcraft? And what are we think of people who think that “praying in tongues” is a thing, and not a psychological delusion? There’s a real world out here of which they seem to have no clue about.


Right Wing Watch, 4 Apr 2024: Benny Johnson Spreads False Christian Nationalist History

Right Wing Watch has noted multiple times in the past that there seems to be a common theme among Christian nationalist commentators who, time and time again, spread blatant falsehoods in defense of their ideology.

The latest example comes courtesy of right-wing commentator and TPUSA contributor Benny Johnson, who recently delivered a rant in which he declared that “if you are a Christian, there is no excuse for voting for Democrats” and attempted to buttress this claim by telling a bunch of falsehoods about Benjamin Franklin and the Constitutional Convention in 1787.

And then he lies about a Ben Franklin speech; what he said, when it happened.


Joe.My.God, 6 Apr 2024: Watters: No Difference Between Gay And Transgender

He’s wrong, of course (of course!), but who does he think himself to to say?


More tribal morality.

Joe.My.God, 6 Apr 2024: Michael Knowles: Every Adult Involved In “Grave Evil” Of Surrogacy Should Be “Imprisoned For Life, At Least”


Finally, how to tell the world you have an IQ of 60, without saying you have an IQ of 60.

Salon, Kelly McClure, 5 Apr 2024: Marjorie Taylor Greene thinks earthquake and eclipse are a warning from God, subtitled “Following a 4.8-magnitude earthquake felt in NYC and nearby cities, Greene says it’s time to repent”


Joe.My.God, 6 Apr 2024: Giuliani: God Sends “Communist States” Earthquakes


I worry if I need to spell this out. There have always been eclipses. There are plenty of earthquakes around the world every day, that affect people outside of the areas where MTG and Rudy live. Do they think God is behind all those too? (Do they think *any* of these things through? No, they don’t, and smart people simply ignore them, except to study them.) Factors: The vast arrogance of those who think God intervenes to express anger about exactly the things they disapprove of. That there is such a God who takes minute interest in such incidental matters, given the vast age and size of the universe. These people are arrogant, and ignorant, and I don’t think cynical, so much as stupid. (Why do I keep paying attention to them? Because I’m fascinating about epistemology, and what will happen in the future of the world, given that such people exists.)

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