Political Tribes: A book review

The first thing we should say about Amy Chua’s new book “Political Tribes,” is that she deserves great credit for highlighting the importance of group identity to modern politics. Nothing else can explain our current social dynamic, which is driven to a greater and greater degree by social identity, not policy issues. The second thing … Continue reading Political Tribes: A book review

“Tribalism” in political commentary means “social identity”

Henri Tajfel

Recently heard an interesting interview on local radio with author Amy Chua about tribalism in modern politics. While it’s great to hear the discussion of our identities as a driving force between our choices in politics, it’s a little frustrating that the word “tribalism” is being used ubiquitously to refer to social identity. To be … Continue reading “Tribalism” in political commentary means “social identity”

California Secede? Never(ish).

Flag of California, the Bear Flag

Perhaps we should’ve mentioned that while we didn’t see a single confederate flag in California, we did spot approximately 10,000 Bear Flags. And they wave as something like a flag of the Trump “resistance.” California, today the world’s sixth largest economy, has been raising eyebrows for seeming to live up to the "Republic" title on … Continue reading California Secede? Never(ish).

Confederate flags in LA: 0

Neither near the beaches nor up in the hills did we see a single Confederate flag during a recent visit to the larger Los Angeles area. In a place where travel is measured more in time than in miles, we spent interminable hours on I-5, the 605, the 405, the 101 and their many siblings. … Continue reading Confederate flags in LA: 0

Russians indicted for plying Confederate crusades

Captain Confederate

Thirteen Russians were indicted this week as part of the special investigation into Kremlin efforts to sway the last presidential election. The legal details of the FBI's Russian investigation are fascinating, but consistently bury how these cyber operatives won American hearts and minds. As most people know, Russian fronts created innumerable fake social media accounts, … Continue reading Russians indicted for plying Confederate crusades

Sex, identity and an Alabama Senate race

There’s a notable experiment in social identity theory in which people were asked to sign up for a program that offered a small amount of cash if their favorite team lost. There was virtually no downside. You signed the paper. If your team won, great. If your team lost, you got paid. But people wouldn’t … Continue reading Sex, identity and an Alabama Senate race

When compromise ends, war begins

As unimportant as it may seem to left-side political commentators now, the Civil War was in fact brought on by an inability to compromise. It’s worth remembering that although slavery was widespread throughout the Western Hemisphere, only in the United States did it come to an end through war—the bloodiest conflict in American history. Why? … Continue reading When compromise ends, war begins

What Catalonia and the Confederacy have in Common

The near-revolution in Catalonia, where violence broke out as Spanish authorities attempted to intervene in the region's independence vote, and the regional legislature has now voted for secession and drawn a rebuke from the federal government, has something to tell us about Confederacy. That is, it speaks to a version of nationalism the South once … Continue reading What Catalonia and the Confederacy have in Common

WaPost: How the Russians pretended to be Texans — and Texans believed them

The Heart of Texas was the most popular pro-secession page on Facebook. It turned out to be run by Russians, who only needed a cartoonish understanding of Confederate feelings to rack up millions of views. As Casey Michel writes in the Washington Post: "Its organizers had a strangely one-dimensional idea of its subject. They seemed … Continue reading WaPost: How the Russians pretended to be Texans — and Texans believed them