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Good sportsmanship in the contests was evident for the first two days but rapidly disintegrated. Rattlers raided the Eagles’ cabin and stole the blue jeans of the group leader, which they painted orange and carried as a flag the next day, inscribed with the legend “The Last of the Eagles”.
The Eagles launched a retaliatory raid on the Rattlers, turning over beds, scattering dirt.
If I had written this essay five years ago, it would be be titled “Why Tribalism Is Stupid And Needs To Be Destroyed”. I’ve found that I enjoy being in tribes as much as anyone else.
Part of this was resolving a major social fallacy I’d had throughout high school and college, which was that the correct way to make friends was to pick the five most interesting people I knew and try to befriend them. The Three Popular Girls Who Went Everywhere Together.
Cults are maybe the most tribal groups that exist in the modern world, and those Cult Screening Tools make good measures for tribalism as well.
The dangers of tribalism are obvious; for example, fascism is based around dialing a country’s tribalism up to eleven, and it ends poorly.
Each group developed a negative stereotype of Them and a contrasting positive stereotype of Us. The Eagles, after winning one game, concluded that the Eagles had won because of their prayers and the Rattlers had lost because they used cuss-words all the time.
It seems like a pretty minor thing to have centuries of animus over.If the researchers had decided that the real difference between the two groups was that the Eagles were adherents of Eagleism, which held cussing as absolutely taboo, and the Rattlers adherents of Rattlerism, which held it a holy duty to cuss five times a day – well, that strikes me as the best equivalent to saying that Sunni and Shia differ over the rightful caliph. Nations, religions, cults, gangs, subcultures, fraternal societies, internet communities, political parties, social movements – these are all really different, but they also have some deep similarities. They all combine comradery within the group with a tendency to dislike other groups of the same type.They all tend to have a stated purpose, like electing a candidate or worshipping a deity, but also serve a very important role as impromptu social clubs whose members mostly interact with one another instead of outsiders.They also concluded that since the Rattlers swore all the time, it would be wiser not to talk to them.The Eagles developed an image of themselves as proper-and-moral; the Rattlers developed an image of themselves as rough-and-tough.