Sunday, February 12, 2017

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #130 - Tribalism and Happy Endings

Our #1 advice for a happy ending: Don't get a barbed wire tattoo. Those never end well.
  • Beth shares some advice for avoiding tragedy when you have children and guns in the same house
  • Everyone likes a happy ending. Sean tells us about our favorite happy ending, where a home invader is encouraged to lie down and stop moving... permanently.
  • Barron is on assignment and will return soon.
  • In the Main Topic, Sean and Erin tell you why Trump is not your hope and change.
  • Tiffany talks about last week's main topic from the other side: How she and her friends see it when conservatives lump them in with violent protesters.
  • Do you like seemingly contradictory advice? Erin tells you to form a tribe, but don't fall prey to tribalism.
  • This week Weer'd dips into his secret stash of anti-gun nuttery to bring us two golden nuggets of hoplophobia.
  • And our plug of the week is The American Warrior Podcast.
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Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here.

Thanks to LuckyGunner and Remington for their sponsorship, and a special thanks to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.

Blue Collar Prepping Transcript:
Tribe vs. Tribalism
I’ve talked about what the concept of “Tribe” means in previous prepping segments, but I haven’t yet touched on “tribalism”.

Now anyone who’s been paying attention to current events has noticed that Americans are a fractious bunch, ready to divide themselves into an “us” and a “them” and go at each other’s throats. The good news here is that it isn’t just Americans who do this; we just happen to have a country that’s larger than all of Europe and a media that is keen to highlight our differences and our squabbles in pursuit of ratings, so we seem more divided than other countries and cultures. 

But the fact of the matter is that humans are inherently tribal, so we divide ourselves into groups so easily that it’s just accepted as part of our culture. As an example, consider sports teams: when we play a game of baseball, we divide ourselves into two groups, “us” and “them”, despite the fact that prior to this we were one group. Then, based on this arbitrary grouping, we try to defeat people who up until this point were our friends, by engaging in ritual warfare. And other groups of people pick a side to support while cheering for the defeat of the other. 

Humans are just inherently tribal, which means they are inherently prejudicial. Now before you leap to conclusions, let me explain what I mean! I am not saying that humans are inherently racist, sexist, or anything like that; those are learned behaviors. What I am saying is that humans like to pre-judge things -- that’s what prejudice means, judging things without analysis, based only on first impressions -- and all the learned behaviors make for easy lines of prejudice. 

But why are humans prejudicial? Believe it or not, it’s a survival tool from prehistory. If a plant looked funny, a caveman wouldn’t eat it, and over time that would reduce the amount of fatalities from eating poisonous plants and fruit. Similarly, if a stranger looked funny, it likely meant that he wasn’t from your tribe but from the next tribe over, which meant that you were in direct competition with him for food, shelter, and other resources. 

This ties in nicely with the concept of the Monkeysphere that I talked about in Episode 84: human brains can only support a certain number of relationships, and everyone else gets put into the “other” category. Unfortunately, we are wired to see “the other” as competition for resources and we react aggressively. 

So what we are seeing today, with the Berkeley riots and the increasing political schism within our country, is that our culture has reached a point where we now view political viewpoints not as people who disagree with us but as actual threats to our tribe.

How does one prepare for this? Two ways.
  1. First, don’t have an echo chamber. Make a point to surround yourself with viewpoints that challenge you. Not only will he prevent the self-reinforcing “Everyone I know agrees with me, therefore I must be right” attitude which is also self-defeating, but it will help humanize “the others” who disagree with you. It’s very, VERY easy to to devolve to “All liberals hate us, so we must destroy them before they destroy us” if that’s all you hear. Conversely, if you are actual friends with a liberal -- Hi, Tiffany! -- you won’t want to lump your friend into that “other” category and you begin to see those who disagree with you not as threats to your existence, but as people. 
  2. Secondly, form a tribe of your own. While that may seem counter to all my previous advice, what I mean by this is “forge friendships with people who aren’t specifically family.” If you’ve taken my advice about becoming friends with people who challenge your beliefs, invite those people into your tribe. The more diverse your tribe is, the less susceptible you are to the prejudicial “othering” mentality.
So in effect, my advice is “Have a tribe, but don’t be tribal.” I know this is asking a lot, as we’re fighting millions of years of psychology, but the first step to making a change is being aware of what you’re doing wrong.

Don’t push away potential allies because you perceive them as “other”. Don’t turn disagreements into wars. This is something every one of us, including me, needs to work on.

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