Saturday, June 10, 2023


Timothy Carney:
Humans are tribal creatures. We are made to belong to things — families, churches, communities, clubs, subcultures, teams, et cetera. Individuals deprived of these natural sources of belonging and connection will seek a tribe in some other way.

In Alienated America in 2019, I argued that America’s deficit of belonging explained so many of our current social maladies. It explained our retreat from marriage, our falling birthrates, our deaths of despair, and our contentious politics....

Young men join street gangs, white supremacist groups, and ISIS because they need belonging, and society doesn’t give it to them in healthier ways. In a far less acute manner, I argued, Americans join MAGA, Occupy Wall Street, and the #Resistance out of a deep need for a tribe. ....

Sociologist Miloš Broćić finds that “alienation in the forms of meaninglessness and social isolation predicts participating in both radical and reactionary movements.”

Broćić relies on the National Survey of Youth and Religion, which includes surveys and interviews of more than 3,000 teenagers and their parents from 2003 through 2013.

The kids were asked if they generally “feel alone and misunderstood” and if life felt “meaningless” to them. Children who felt alone or meaningless were far more likely to participate in protests. Specifically, “meaninglessness and social isolation were the strongest predictors for Occupy Wall Street.” ....

If you want to keep your children out of antifa or insurrections, bring them to church or put them on a good baseball team. If you think that our problem is tribalism, you’re missing the fact that we all need something to belong to.
Timothy P. Carney, "Social isolation causes extremism," Washington Examiner, June 9, 2023.

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