Scott Tibbs

When political tribalism overrides love of country

By Scott Tibbs, July 10, 2023

Jonah Goldberg recently linked to this old column, and it's worth re-examining how our political tribalism has distorted and corrupted our public discourse, with "loyalty" to one's political tribe even overriding love of the country itself. There was a time when Republicans and conservatives understood that Julian Assange is a toxic person and a danger to our national security, and shared the view that Goldberg expresses here:
Military and other government officials insist that WikiLeaks is doing serious damage to American national security and is going to get people killed, including brave Iraqis and Afghans who've risked their lives and the lives of their families to help us.

Even Assange agrees. He told the New Yorker earlier this year that he fully understands innocent people might die as a result of the "collateral damage" of his work and that WikiLeaks may have "blood on our hands." WikiLeaks is easily among the most significant and well-publicized breaches of American national security since the Rosenbergs gave the Soviets the bomb.
Then came 2016 and WikiLeaks posting hacked e-mails from the Democratic National Committee. The WikiLeaks document dumps may have been the tipping point that cost Hillary Clinton the presidential election. At that point, many conservatives turned heel, with some praising Assange as a heroic whistleblower for years afterward. One prominent conservative claimed, laughably, that Assange was arrested for "telling the truth." Of course, this is total nonsense, and every clear-thinking conservative knows it.

This is the poison of extreme political tribalism. It reduces everything and everyone to good and bad. There is no room for shades of gray, much less a recognition that people can do things that are both good and bad. No, if someone helps our political tribe, he is good, no matter what. This is where political tribalism goes well beyond simple partisanship and becomes outright idolatry. Politics and the tribe becomes the god one worships. It is terribly wicked.

This does not need to be complicated. It actually is possible to think that Assange and WikiLeaks performed a valuable public service by exposing the inner workings of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party, while also recognizing that Assange is an enemy of these United States, did serious damage to our national security, and got innocent people killed in the process. There is no good reason to adopt an "all or nothing" mentality regarding Assange or anyone else.

People, think for yourselves. Recognize that the world is complicated, and that there is no one who is a pure hero. Stop putting everything into a simplistic "good/bad" categories. Even King David, one of the greatest heroes of the Old Testament, committed adultery and then committed murder to cover up the adultery. Wicked King Manasseh, who burned his own children to death in sacrifice to demons, is in the genealogy of the Lord Jesus Christ. Above all else, repent of the wicked idolatry of hyper-tribalism.

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