Society benefits from tolerant tribalism because it prevents the emergence of “One Big System” of an authoritarian bent and prevents divisions and strife along tribal lines. Tolerant tribalism is where you identify with a tribe but you do not have intolerance toward other tribes in your community or society. Tolerant tribalism is unity in diversity, intolerant tribalism is hatred and authoritarianism.
The tendency to always view an ethnic group, race, religious group, Party or a other group as always good or bad, with no exceptions, is a form of intolerant tribalism. Intolerant tribalism is when your identity with your perceived tribe is the only thing that you consider it right or OK to be part of. It’s beyond simple tribalism, where you adopt a tribal identity of some kind but don’t have intolerance toward other tribes.
Feeling your tribe is the best isn’t intolerance. Feeling your tribe is best and others are just a pure evil that needs to be expunged from society is intolerance.
Those who argue against all forms of tribalism, even tolerant tribalism, are coming from the perspective of atomized individualism wherein we are all separate but non-differentiated and are only subject to One Big System (OBS) which everyone is subjected to. Tribalism forms voluntary identities and purposes shared by numbers of people and is a necessary intermediary between OBS and the individual. Without some form of tolerant tribalism we become mere nameless cogs in the machine!
For example, Christians believe Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to salvation, but they recognize the humanity and dignity of people of all faiths and don’t assume everyone in any faith community is all this or that. There are those who become intolerant tribal toward others, and in the name of Christ, but this is a contradiction of the Gospel and of core Christian ethics.
When your tribe and the leaders and/or institutions that represent your tribe, like a politician or a news source, cannot ever be wrong while the others are always wrong, you lose the power of critical thinking. You cannot see things objectively and are likely to miss good ideas and opportunities that are presented by other tribes you have foolishly dismissed.
Often, people infected with this malady of intolerant tribalism do not know or refuse to use basic rules and principles of critical thinking. They generally don’t really have a “true north” set of ideals, principles, or values that govern their thinking. Not using or knowing these things makes intolerant tribalissts easily controlled by the tribal leaders they associate with, to the point where it becomes hero worship and idolatry. Knowing your true north and using critical thinking and logic in light of your core beliefs, values, and convictions prevents you from falling for intolerant tribalism. It prevents you from missing good ideas from other tribes. It keeps you safe from hero worship.
The intentional tribal identity of our new platform, Upadaria, as “Upadarians”, is a purely voluntary identity based on explicitly shared ideals, principles, and practices. It is a tolerant tribalism that welcomes others, even within that same platform, on the basis of shared human dignity and a love for freeedom for all.
A society riven by intolerant tribalism is a society headed for some form of crisis where one tribe wins power and lords it over others in some authoritarian fashion or where the tribes fly apart, resulting in upheavals and even potentially civil war or secession, or some form of insurrection. Eventually, violence follows intolerant tribalism.
As for tolerant tribalism, it does not cause division, it can engender organic unity across diverse groups. Tolerant tribalism prevents the individual from beyond absorbed by an OBS while also preventing them from becoming separated from or hostile to the larger society.
Intolerant tribalism is bad for any society and if we adopt it, becoming blind to any flaws in our tribe and to any good ideas from other tribes, we shorten our own horizon of opportunities and we increase the chances for upheaval and crisis in our society.