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Tuesday, June 29, 2021


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So we do agree on a fair bit. Let me ask you about two things here.

You say you're not just an animal, member of a specific race or sex. I agree, but I don't really understand what this is meant to tell us about tribalism. You're not just an American but you seem to have no similar worries about "identifying" as an American. We all have many identities, or identities with many dimensions. If to "self-identify" as a white person (for example) is to believe that one is *nothing more* than an instance of some racial type, then I certainly agree that such an identification is false and unhealthy. If that's what a tribalist is doing then tribalism is inherently bad. But there's also an attitude--call it something other than "tribalism", if that helps--which is true and healthy at least in situations where one is under attack from another tribe. This is just to "identify" with one's own tribe in the sense of recognizing membership, shared history and shared interests. Even if being a white man is not essential to my identity it's still an *important* property in lots of ways. In caring about this property when white people are under attack just for being white, I'm not committing to any deep claims about the nature of human or personal identity or anything like that.

When you say you'd prefer not to stick up for the white tribe, I'm not sure why. Is it because you feel that in sticking up for white people as white people you'd risk committing to this false and unhealthy reductionism about identity? I'm quite happy to stick up for us when we're being viciously and unjustly attacked. There might be some situations where I'd prefer not to do that. Again, if others were being respectful and fair I wouldn't want to make a big thing out of racial identity. But are you saying that in any situation you find it distasteful to stick up for us?

In answer to your second comment, what I am saying is that I would prefer to live in a world in which there would be no need to go tribal in response to the tribalism of others.

More later.

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