As a life-long student of the social sciences, I’ve always been intrigued by the capacity of seemingly honest, intelligent people to twist facts and re-tell events in the cause of resolving their own cognitive dissonance and advancing what they perceive to be the best interests of their tribe.
The current Presidential campaign in the United States is a case and point: Republicans and Democrats are both quite sure that the other side, is at best, embellishing or editing the truth in the cause of winning supporters. At worst, there’s an incredible amount of intentional lying going on. Why?
Heres my explanation. All of us belong to a number of tribes. I am convinced that tribal loyalties not only shape our opinions but empower us to comfortably revise inconvenient truths.
I respectfully invite you to take the following brief test. Without knowing who you are or what your current opinions are I feel confident that I can predict your political preferences from the answers you give.
I. Make a list of all the tribes you identify with. To help you out, here are some categories and possible choices for you can use. Feel free to add your own:
Race: White-European, African-American, Native American, Latino, Asian, etc.
Religion: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Atheist, other
Gender: male, female, transgender, asexual
Current national allegiance: America, Mexico, Canada, France, Italy,…..etc.
Ethnicity: Is there a particular country, or cultural heritage that you and your family identify with?
Humanity: Do you identify yourself as a member of the world-wide community of human beings?
Add whatever groups or tribes you want. Make your list as long as necessary.
II. If you are not an atheist, would you say that your religious beliefs inform or dictate your opinions on controversial political and social issues of the day?
III. Look over your responses to question one and select the four most important tribes or groups you identify with. For example:
Christian, White, American, Republican
African-American, Christian, community of human beings