Thursday, May 01, 2014


Clannishness and tribalism are our heritage. Morris Hoffman's The Punisher's Brain is a fine read on this topic. We gain social capital if we move on and establish trust between tribes and focus less on cementing ties within tribes. My guess is that the U.S. is currently the least tribal place on Earth. We have made good progress and I wish we build on the momentum. I first saw the Jim Crow South in the early 1960s and it was (as they say) "a different country."

The trouble is that many people feast on the divisions we still have.

Most people living in LA have long known that Donald Sterling is not someone you want to have dinner with. On top of that, he was caught saying dumb and distasteful things on an open mic. How many stories on this has the LA Times done on all this in the past four days?  Their website shows 198. (I have seen their wall-to-wall coverage in print but was not expecting that many.)

And there has been the piling on -- from Gov. Jerry Brown to the LA City Council to just about any and all local media and "personalities." I am not trained in psychiatry and cannot fathom the Sturm und Drang to be seen as on the side of the angels. But feasting on nasty racial stuff (some of which is alas always to be found) does not bring us closer to less tribalism.

The WSJ's Daniel Henninger devotes his column to "Sotomayor's Race Dissent."  He ends this way:
One is left to conclude from the Sotomayor dissent that no matter how much progress people think has been made toward fulfilling the mandate of the 14th Amendment, an argument of some sort will be fashioned to say that equality is forever disappearing toward the horizon, and unattainable. After 50 years, where does that leave us? Polarized. 
I would say that polarized is not the direction that does anyone any good.


Here is an important economic angle.