I am 100% tribeless!

My husband is an atheist, I am Catholic, my son is a trans man (who thinks trans activists are insane) and I am a gender critical fan of JK Rowling (my son laughed out loud when I asked him if he was upset by anything Rowling had said).

My dearest friends come from a wide background of political and religious backgrounds.

But to be honest, I do have a "tribe" of sorts: my people have to be kind.

I don't get along with unkind people. They cannot enter my home.

So, I guess I'm in the Kind Tribe.

Expand full comment

Politics is shifting from left/right divides to authoritarian vs libertarian divides. But the new tribes aren't really political. I don't know for sure that you're tribeless.

I think the tribes now are "If you aren't with us you're against us" and "I'm open to listen and debate and think even if I disagree so long as you don't step on my neck." And it's more cultural in that regard than political. It's why you see odd coalitions or conversations. Jimmy Dore on Tucker Carlson, that kind of thing. The people who want to get at the truth and see even their opponents as human are united against those who want to force you into conformity.

Expand full comment

It might be worth considering that classical liberal may be referencing something distinct in that it may ground the liberalism in a solid understanding of classic Greek and Roman literature (and its derivatives). Perhaps if you concieve of 'tribe' as a political designation, you'll misaprehend the world. We need a tribe but we do not need politics as framing or as function. We may need diplomacy, intimacy, historical grounding, virtues, values, cooperation and sacrifice, but politics is a less useful designation for understanding our world. Tribes help us to communicate when we disagree, they provide a way to disagree without rejection, to test our ideas without overly harsh judgement, to exist in a space where being us is OK.

Perhaps being locked in a political frame, like 'left' means that we lose all tribe, we are stuck in a boundariless land where we never had approval, only assumption of similarity which was never confirmed by spoken word or judged action. Lack of negative signal is not a positive (aspirational) signal, so it lacks and important component which we need to cohere together, that thing, outside of ourselves, which we can agree to come together on. This is in opposition to that thing which we both identify against, which isn't a tribal commonality at all, but a mark of similarity which is illusory. We can disagree on the why, but agree on the 'no' and perhaps that is insufficient.

Expand full comment
Jul 9, 2022·edited Jul 9, 2022

Where you are now I reached 7-8 years ago. Although I'm definitely right side of the fence I was always willing to listen to Liberal thoughts and ideas, some of which I agreed with.

However classic Liberal thinking has disappeared or is in hiding. The Left is now represented by extreme views and seems preoccupied with only certain topics, we all know what they are.

It's time for classic Liberals to stand up and regain your Party.

BTW, unfriended or unfollowed you have to say what you believe. One must live with one's self.

Expand full comment

"Liberal" is one of the first words the Leftwaffe redefined and now we have to refer to ourselves as classically liberal.

I'm in the same boat you're in, but my journey began from the opposite political perspective. At this point I normally label myself as a Libertarian, but even that party has gone batshit crazy on several issues.

Being tribe less sounds like a scary place for the vast majority, but it's the only rational place for rational thinking people.

Expand full comment

I've always been tribeless. Never fit in with the American Jewish community, moved to Israel - did fit in with the immigrant community but back in US and not so happy. I take strength in my nonconformity and independent thinking but amazing how much I irritate people with my "weird" opinions. Be true to yourself and you'll live a happy life.

Expand full comment

much of this speaks to me. that being said, i do adhere to the "right" tribe because these are the people who defend me when i'm attacked and these are the people who don't want me to be materially dispossessed. if i was independently wealthy i would be much more welling to disavow tribal affinities, but those without faction do suffer materially...

Expand full comment
Jul 8, 2022·edited Jul 8, 2022Liked by Katherine Brodsky

I'm very much tribeless, which is, quite honestly, how I like it. I don't like neat little boxes to categorize things and people with. It's too constraining. However, I've seen a multitude of sites here on Substack that seem to foster this type of person, yours being one. A movement is truly forming right now, of disenchantment with the status quo of the binary political establishment. Many people feel that neither side truly represents them, at least completely. This is good news.

I happen to live in Germany right now, and while their political system and governance has its own set of problems, I think they've got it right, when they have now formed 6 different political parties to choose from. This means that in order to form a majority in their parliament, they have to form coalitions of competing interests, forcing compromise. Nothing wrong with the lost art of compromise. This, in turn, tends to keep the political fringes at bay (and they do have them, just like the rest of the Western world), and tends to blunt their overall power a bit.

Anyhow, you're not alone. Those willing to sacrifice friendship and camaraderie over politics have truly crossed into political zealotry, which is very akin to religious zealotry. Therefore, they give in to the mania that overtakes them, and I think they tend to lose a little of their humanity in doing so. This is evident with their loss of empathy for anyone they disagree with. This is why I don't believe them when they decry "fascism" of their ideological rivals, as they themselves tend to proscribe to the same motivations and tactics of those they portend to be against.

Sorry for the long-winded diatribe. All this is to say there are others, myself being one. But there really are many more.

Expand full comment

This resonates. Im tribeless and want to remain that way. The people who put me at ease and give space for listening to me (and I do with them) are more like companion, comrades, collaborators/co-liberators. We don’t always agree but we do respect each other’s ways. It is freeing while participating in the relationships that won’t last the test of time because they’re for temporary purposes ie work. Your post is refreshing!!

Expand full comment

Yes, I live, work and play in a very liberal bubble. There are a few people in my social circle that see things more or less the way I do, and we converse about things quite a bit, but it's nowhere near enough people to constitute a "tribe". I'm used to just staying a way from certain topics and/or steering the conversations towards common ground.

Expand full comment