Richard Nisley

History - World Released - Jan 04, 2019
You hear the word "tribalism" a lot these days, referring to extreme elements on the far right. The term is not new, and may have been coined by Václav Havel (pronounced Vatslave Hah’vel). Havel led the movement in 1977 to free Czechoslovakia from the Soviet iron grip.

Havel (1936-2011) saw the best and worst in mankind, but never lost faith in the goodness of people. When he was born Europe was fast falling under the evil spell of Nazism. At its core was venomous hatred for all that did not conform to its corrupt vision of mankind. In his prime, as one of the world’s foremost playwrights, essayist and dissidents, Eastern Europe was in the death-grip of Soviet Communism.

Havel pointed out a connection between the two “isms” which he called “tribal togetherness” or "tribalism." The people who comprise such groups, he said, are “people who are weak . . . who prefer dissolving in the anonymity of the crowd, where a leader does all the thinking for them, who accept the identity of the pack rather than engage in the difficult process of seeking, building, and defending their identity as individuals—such people made possible the emergence of Nazism in Europe. Communist collectivism had a similar background. Both inevitably produced totalitarian systems that trampled the very foundation of humanity . . . ."

Obviously: tribalism cannot countenance democracy or free thought, or, for that matter, simple human decency.

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