The Primal Scream of the Tribal Mind

See what a couple of beheadings will do? It looks like the soccer moms of 1996 that became the security moms of 2004 that became the Walmart moms of 2012 have confirmed the Duke of Mantua's complaint: “La donna è mobile.” The fickle little minxes have taken one look at the ISIS beheadings and all of a sudden the ISIS moms have put the president at 37% approval.

Now the girls are back to asking the president “Is it safe?” And the president is having to pretend to make war on the Islamists.

So that's all right.

But it makes you yearn for a strategic mind like Mitt Romney, who could actually think a couple moves ahead in the game of international chess.

To think strategically you need a worldview, a theory about the world, something that takes the random data of the world and makes it into a pattern, because we humans are programmed to interpret everything into a pattern.

But what if your world view is wrong? That is the hit on the Obama era, once we get away from the president's disinterest in coalition building. The president's worldview doesn't fit the facts, not on “soft power,” not on growing the economy, not on race relations. The consequence is that he keeps doing stupid stuff.

Here's a better idea. We should understand the turmoil in the world as the desperation of people that have not yet made the leap from tribal collectivism to responsible individualism. When people sense that their world is ending they first pretend it isn't happening; then when disaster strikes they lash out in impotent fury. They even boo Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

That is how Spengler, David P. Goldman, looks at the Middle East. It is the humiliation, the utter irrelevance of the Middle East, that drives its young men to mayhem.

Eric Hoffer wrote that “Nature has no compassion. Nature accepts no excuses and the only punishment it knows is death.” Nor was primitive man any different. Young men attacked the neighboring village in a dawn raid, killed the men and took the women and children into slavery.

Notice that our lefty friends have a similar adage. They say that capitalism has no compassion; it accepts no excuses and the only punishment it knows is bankruptcy and unemployment. That's why we need universal health insurance and the government must spend 30 percent of GDP on social programs.

In fact, bankruptcy is modern compassion in action. It extinguishes debt that in the old days would be inherited from your parents and bequeathed to your children down to the last generation. These days the feckless are cunning enough to buy a car before declaring bankruptcy and wiping out their unsecured credit card debt.

The Marxists like to tell us that capitalism sprang upon the working class like an economic tiger. But there is another way to tell the modern story. Rebellious sons threw off the chains of the patriarchy. They replaced the omnipotent tribal father with the fatherhood of God, and the blood family with the congregation of the church family. Then their grandsons replaced the mutual-aid pact of blood brotherhood with the brotherhood of fraternal associations: Masons, Oddfellows, Elk, and Moose. They replaced the brotherly bonds of the warrior culture with road-warrior culture; they replaced the blood of the dawn raid with the bloodless corporate raid.

Were they geniuses, connecting our old instincts to non-lethal receptors, or what?

It was the evil genius of Marx to sidetrack this organic transformation of blood family into metaphorical family. He interpreted the primal scream of peasants hurled out of feudal collectivism into industrial individualism as injustice. The workers were oppressed therefore the educated class should have political power to end oppression. Then the cultural Marxists applied the concept to everyone except white males.

The problem with the Marxian ideas is that they return humans to the old days of real oppression and real collective tribalism. They sneer at the faux civil wars between Google and Apple and reignite the real wars of black against white and rich against poor and us against them. They confirm the pre-moderns in their tribalism.

Don't do stupid stuff, says the Obama White House. But that is meaningless without a coherent and serviceable world view. So Obama's defective world view, compounded by his preference for golf over coalition building has dashed the millennial hopes of this generation of progressives, because his politics-with-everything political correctness world view inspired by Adorno and Marcuse does not improve lives in the real world.

Here's an idea for the Obamanoids: when you hear the primal scream of the folks still imprisoned in pre-modern collective hell, don't call stupid plays out of a 160-year-old Marxist playbook.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.