Letter: Mr. Sowell speaks the truth for once
Despite the fact that I almost always disagree with Tom Sowell, I read his columns in the Miner because once in a while he surprises me. Today was one of those days (Sept. 21) with a knowledgeable column headlined, "Time to consider the high cost of racial hype."
He speaks of what he calls "tribalism" wherein he says, "Blind tribalism means letting the lowest common denominator [LCD] determine the norms and the fate of the whole group." He aims his commentary on his own black community, but not exclusively. So being white, I can attest to his commentary when I recall my school days many years ago when the dumbest (and often the biggest) kid was the playground bully. School was a place where "teacher's pets," "curve breakers" and good citizens received less than friendship by their tribe of fellow students.
I attended schools in Wisconsin, Kentucky, Connecticut and California. As a "new kid" I found there was very little difference in student behavior at all points of the compass. Unfortunately, Sowell is right and I'm convinced that his tribalism is a universal human instinct.
Sowell's thrust was racial (black urban) poverty, but obviously, other ethnic groups or tribes would also fit. But it seems to me that it applies to many other areas of human grouping, such as the political parties, and of course, religions.
Most of us are members of one of the three functional political parties, the Democrats the Republicans and the Everybody Else party, (EE). We Democrats who believe everyone is somehow worth saving in an egalitarian sense look down upon the Republicans as being narrow minded, self-centered "NeoCons" while I'm sure that Republicans think the Democrats are soft, wimpy, pinko "liberals" who are striving to squelch their fabled "American Dream" and destroy their Constitution, which their God wrote and sent down to a motley group of deist Forefathers in order to form a more perfect Christian nation.
These two tribes propagandize their promises in greater detail than ever before yet they shout at each as being wishy-washy, inexplicit and even liars! This is especially true if you include the Internet as another source for bickering! Frankly, the din ends up with most people being turned off after 18 months of incessant bombardment!
Meanwhile, the EE tribe with its typical playground LCD genius sits on the sidelines watching and wondering. It is the EEs who, although often decrying the low returns for losers like Ron Paul or Ralph Nader, end up making the choice without ever quite understanding what anything is all about. You often hear their mantra: "Those parties are so much alike, I just can't make up my mind who to vote for." That's reminiscent of a Sowell tribal identity of ignorance and sloth overriding intelligence and responsibility.
Yet, ultimately, they decide which candidate ends up in the barrel - the senile old warrior with his Wonder Woman or the audacious black guy with his own Mr. Smith (who went to Congress a very long time ago). So, we'll leave it up to the EEs to decide whether we ever get out of Iraq; clean up our environmental, economic and energy messes; attack Iran, Russia, North Korea and/or the Chinese; or even try to make friends with other nations.
They can decide about our right to pack "heat" in a bar, who can get married, a woman's ownership of her body (men own theirs!), or whether God created the Earth 7,000 or 12 billion years ago. Ultimately, it will be up to the EEs to decide whether we restructure our nation from a secular, diversified government or return to a former 17th century state church. It was vigorously opposed by those deist fathers in our Constitution's First Amendment, which has allowed a diversity of religions and everyman's freedom of choice. Hopefully, that Amendment won't ever be amended!
So finally, since the EEs will decide our nation's destiny, I hope they shrug off the old tribal shroud of LCD mediocrity and decide how it should be with a modicum of logic and intelligence.