Top positive review
Not tribes, just chaos
Reviewed in the United States on June 24, 2018
I would like to believe Chua’s thesis, that the interest-group warfare we have right now is something — she calls it Tribalism — but when something is everything then maybe it’s nothing.
Her fascinating and well-written descriptions of the various groups into which American democracy is dissolving make very good reading — must-reading, for anyone interested in The USA or The World, in this Age of Trump and Age of Asia. But whether it all boils down to Tribalism, or to anything else understandable or manageable, much less a characterization of how things-political will proceed going forward, well, I’m still a sceptic — still it seems like a dissolution, to me, simply a mess now, and Trump simply a bottom-feeder opportunist taking advantage.
I hope I’m wrong and she’s right, as I’d love to believe that we somehow can bring order out of all the chaos she so elegantly describes. But I fear it’s just chaos, in fact — that her Tribalism is simply what’s left-over when systems fail, the primal soup from which we emerged in the 15th century to found our nation-states, and to which we seem to be returning now that our Terrible-20th century Long War and Pax Americana are gone.
Everyone everywhere needs to read her book, I think — it is that good, and that general, and all of us around the globe need some reassurance now that we do not face just-chaos, in our 2 great paradigm shifts from Manufacturing to Digital, and from Empires to Asia — but as we grasp for straws, and I fear Tribalism may be one such, we must remember Yeats’ warning that this may be, only,
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
— and that Trump and various other similar disasters elsewhere may be our own “rough beast, its hour come round at last”. I’d still prefer liberal democracy, a 2-Party System, multilateral treaties and foreign policies, and universalized Human Rights, over the tribalized-world Chua appears to be recommending here.