Mr. Jones And I Stare At The Beautiful...Politics?
Politics and Activism

Mr. Jones And I Stare At The Beautiful...Politics?

How the Counting Crows guy can help us to understand political tribalization.

12
Wikipedia.org

In my first piece, I posited that relationships tend to involve and breed antagonism when multiple parties are pursuing an object that can only be possessed by one party. By contrast, shared pursuit of an object can be healthy when that object is beyond sole possession. (If that sounds confusingly abstract, I used romantic relationships to illustrate what it looks like in action.) Starting in this piece, I want to begin describing how this dynamic explains a lot of the heat around contentious cultural and political issues.

It won’t work to just claim that my argument above explains "the culture wars." It accounts for at least some instances of antagonism, but not necessarily all. If my argument explains a lot about present-day cultural/political jousting, it’s because the different "tribes" in a given conflict are all pursuing a common object that only one "tribe" can hold. Before discussing how cultural "tribes" pursue that kind of object (and what I think that object is), I should explain how I think cultural/political "tribalization" tends to happen.

With Adam Duritz’s brilliant existential phrase, “you don’t wanna waste your life,” let me walk through a few observations about how the desire to not waste one’s life applies to one’s political and cultural views.

First, if you’re anything like the rest of us, you want to believe true things about how politics and culture should run, because you don’t want to go through life believing wrong things about big issues. Further, because of confirmation bias, if you’re anything like the rest of us you want the things you believe to be true. In at least some cases, this drives you less toward open-handed truth-seeking and more toward claims that validate your existing ideas about, for example, how politics and culture should run.

Second, there are a few reasons why the present-day Americans can tend to think that one’s opinions about "macro-level" politics are an especially important part of one’s moral life. For one, as we experience the overall disintegration of "micro-level" and "meso-level" forms of community, we lose sight of how civic organizations at these levels can be societally influential. Additionally, the internet constantly reminds us of the sweeping, global scope of human society. It’s easy to understand how we can tend to think only of extremely high-powered political positions and entities–the U.S. presidency, for example, or a major political party–as really meaningfully influential, and thus as the proper objects of our societally-oriented moral focus.

From these two observations, it should be clear how one’s desire to not waste one’s life can tend to produce political tribalization. Of course you want to be right about major socio-cultural issues, and of course the highest and most influential sectors of politics are the place to really have an opinion, and so–of course–you tie in and sign on with the high-powered group (most typically, the political party) that best represents your macro-level moral priorities.

Since this has turned out to be pretty theory heavy, I’ll conclude here. Tune in next week for more!

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Lifestyle

Founders Of Color Q&A: Yarlap's MaryEllen Reider On Destigmatizing Women's Health

The father-daughter duo co-founded the brand and has since generated a passionate, dedicated community of women.

MaryEllen Reider

I was lucky enough to meet MaryEllen Reider over a decade ago as a fellow freshman in college. Since then, I had the luxury of being able to witness her evolution from the faithful companion I went to my first job fair with to the woman who is now a pioneer in destigmatizing the portrayal of women's reproductive health.

Keep Reading... Show less

My favorite Editor was feeling under the weather yesterday. All I wanted was to make her a vegan iced matcha latte. With distance forbidding it, I instead decided to write up this quick, easy recipe. I made it to be vegan and organic for optimal health benefits.

Matcha green tea is made from grounded green tea leaf and it comes with the most antioxidant boost ever.

Keep Reading... Show less

This coffee brand is USDA organic. Newman's Own Keurig coffee flavors are all organic. They have French Roast, Decaf, and a Special Blend. I'm in a committed relationship with the French Roast flavor. The smell alone from dispensing 1 cup of coffee sets a whole cafe jazz vibe.

I'm already relaxed when I smell the coffee all ready for dressing. The way I make my coffee is simple and sweet, literally. I add a spoon of organic brown sugar and a splash of organic almond vanilla milk. This cup of coffee has changed my life forever. I have never been so productive in my life and I truly believe it's because the coffee is organic.

Keep Reading... Show less

These organic, cruelty-free skincare products are great for hot, sweaty summers. I use them every day, so you will find my honest opinion about them all. I highly recommend using organic products because they are least likely to be harmful to your body.

This may seem like an extra step when it comes to your beauty routine, but it's really easy. These 5 products could be the start of your next beauty venture.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

These 5 Black Handbag Designers Should Be On Every Accessory Lover's Radar

With the push to support more Black-owned businesses, we've put together a list of Black owned handbag designers.

Ever since the current upheaval of societal silence happening in the country caused by the #BlackLivesMatter movement, there has been a bigger push for people to support Black-owned businesses.

Granted, there are a lot fo Black-owned businesses to support, it just takes time to find them. With that being said, fashion is a sector, just like any sector really, in a culture that still has people of color calling out for more diversity.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Feel A Lil' Better: Because Therapy Dogs Aren't Just Cute, They're Working

Your weekly wellness boost from Odyssey.

No matter how good (or bad) you'd describe your health, one thing is for sure: a little boost is ALWAYS a good idea. Whether that's reading a new, motivating book, or listening to a song that speaks to your soul, there are plenty of resources to help your health thrive on any given day.

There are many different ways people overcome obstacles in their lives. Thankfully, the stigma surrounding therapy is slowly (but surely) slipping away and we're opening up about our problems and needs. For some, a good workout is just as relaxing. Others are learning how meditation can be a helpful tool in their mental health journey.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments