Welcome to the Horde, Part III
To begin this third installment, I feel it is necessary to take a step back and clarify—or re-clarify—some important issues. Based on the commentary here, at WRSA, and a couple of other places online, there seems to be a common misunderstanding of why I chose to write these articles, as well as an understanding of what my stance is on tribalism.
So, before I go any further, some clarifications, in order to ensure better understanding.
1) I am not advocating a return to tribalism. I don’t need to, because I believe it will be largely unavoidable. In every single society in history that has suffered a collapse of a central governing authority, we have seen a return to the natural human state of tribalism. It’s sometimes hard for people to understand or remember in an era of instant messaging and social networking media, but it is unnatural for a human being to have close, psychologically intimate contact with too many people. I’ve read some authorities who argue the number ranging anywhere from 25-100 at most.
My discussion of tribes and tribalism is not about advocacy. It’s about dealing with the realities of what is coming. The fact is, as a reader pointed out in a forum discussion of this article, “Life in a tribal-based survival mode is MUCH different from the way we live now. Trying to live by modern concepts of justice, compassion, etc, in a breakdown of society will get you and yours killed—period, end of story.” Just as I’ve spent more than two years beating on the misconceptions of what “survivalist” guerrilla warfare is and is not, I’m beating on the survivalist concept of what tribalism is and is not.
2) The question can be raised, as a knuckle-dragger, am I really qualified to discuss this subject matter? From a reader, “I think this guy is trying to feel his way around a topic that really could be very important in a post-collapse world….I don’t think he reads and translates the Sagas for himself, nor is he married to someone who does (and has a PhD in the subject)…” She’s absolutely correct. No one at the JFK Special Warfare School offered me the option of learning Icelandic, and my history degrees focused on a completely different era of history. There are—undoubtedly–people FAR more qualified to discuss this topic in this context. Unfortunately, I don’t know who they are, or why they are not writing on the subject (If someone with a post-graduate degree in Anthro and/or sociology is willing to write an article on tribalism for the blog, I will post it, gladly!). Ultimately, this blog is nothing more than my thoughts on the relevant subjects, based on my (in this particular case) limited education, combined with more than a little bit of real-world experience (including in the realm of dealing with tribal societies specifically). Are my conclusions correct? Who the fuck knows? Do I believe they are valid, based on my experiences? Absolutely, or I wouldn’t waste my time posting them (For the record, when she reads this, as I hope she will, I would LOVE it if the commenter that I’m quoting, married to the PhD, would contact me via email. The depth of knowledge she displayed in her other posts is a resource I’d be delighted to mine for non-blog related study.)
So, with those two factors in mind….
A lot of people have made some really poignant comments about these articles. I’d like to take a break from the intended flow of further articles in this series and address some of them. I’m not going to address the specific sites where the comments were made, nor am I going to cite the pseudonyms of the commenters, for the sake of simplicity.
On Oaths and Oath Swearing
I made the comment in the previous article that I though swearing an oath of loyalty to your modern “tribe” was fucking gay.
“except I will say that anyone who has ever actually been to a REAL Oath Ring Ceremony where people are taking it seriously would be hard pressed to find anything ****ing gay about it, unless of course it is a hand-fasting or wedding between a same sex-couple; even then the power of the binding ritual isn’t “gay” it is sheer serious intent when done correctly. People are reminded that what they swear is holy, important and should never be taken lightly; it isn’t the candles (or bon fire) that make it powerful, it is the serious intent.”
My intent was not to belittle anyone’s beliefs. That’s genuinely not my thing. I’m morally certain that the commenter is correct. I know that when I swore my oath of enlistment—both times—I was as serious as a fucking JDAM dropping on your head. Same-same when I spoke my vows to my wife. (Here’s where I offend something like 95% of the readership….). There is a lot that I admire in the faith of the old gods. Unfortunately, modern Odinism/Theodism/Asatru/Whatever label you like, is seriously compromised by a couple of factors. Number one—and most obvious—is the popular (albeit incorrect) conception that it is somehow related to Wicca. I’ve spent quite a little bit of time over the last several weeks reading different authors, blogs, and forums related to Odinism. What I’ve seen is two things: a bunch of people who bear a close resemblance to most “preppers” in that they look like a bunch of out-of-shape suburban soccer mom/dad types, whose idea of a fight is a slumber party pillow fight. I have a little bit of trouble with taking them serious when they make an oath to “defend the faith” of the old gods. Seriously? If Odin or Tyr DOES exist (I don’t know, personally, and I’m not betting either way), I can’t imagine either of them looking at soft-ass modern Americans, or Europeans for that matter, and being anything but offended by these “followers.”
The other is the hijack of an otherwise noble belief system by a bunch of ignorant-fuck racist skinheads whose concept of ethnography is limited to skin color. If your idea of Odinism is that you must be “white,” then I ask…are you Teutonic, Celtic, Hellenic, or some other shade of “white?” 100%? Are you sure?
So again, I misspoke when I said that oath taking is “fucking gay,” and I apologize. I take my oaths extremely serious, and I shouldn’t assume that others don’t, regardless of how silly I think the rituals they choose to solemnize those oaths are.
Thingvellir/Althing, and Things….
(For the record, the “TH” above is a piss poor translation of an Icelandic letter that I don’t know how to make appear on my computer….sorry…)
“...except it isn’t quite as stark as he makes out; one of the things clans do, especially when stuck on an island like Iceland, is provide a FORM of civil government….”
I’m pretty sure the commenter and myself agree on this, I just hadn’t gotten this far in the conversation yet.
For the unschooled, Thingvellir is the place in Iceland where the first Althing was held around 930AD. The Althing, of course, is the national parliament of Iceland. The Althing was derived from the Scandinavian Thing, which was simply a legislative and judicial council (a parliament) of the collected tribe, used to adjudicate disagreements. As such, it was a critical factor in reducing the bloodshed of revenge killings.
It’s an ancient thing in Germanic/Teutonic culture. We know it was old when Tacitus discussed it in Germania, but there’s really no way to know exactly how far back in antiquity it first started happening. Inherent to the Thing is the concept, mentioned by a commenter on the blog in passing, of Wergild, or “man price.” This is the price established as the monetary value of a human being, and it varied depending on the social stature of the individual (for the record, this is not JUST a pagan/heathen concept. It continued well into the Christian era in Europe, and can be seen as the antecedent of “damages” awarded in modern American jurisprudence, I believe.
This is critical.
The idea of blood-feuds and revenge killings must be considered when discussing a reversion to tribalism, but…if all you do is revert to tribalism and start engaging in blood feuds, eventually extinction occurs. So, you establish….a government…Go figure. This, ultimately, was/is the point of this entire article series, the commenter just fucked me by bringing it up before I got there…Now I have to start a new article series….
Other Comments and Some Considerations
“Tribalism is what keeps Islam together. They kill their brothers and sisters who get out of line to keep that authority going.”
While Islam came out of a tribal culture, and there are certainly tribal cultures that are tribal, Islam as a universalist faith, seeks to include EVERYONE in the world within the confines of the faith. By definition then, it is NOT tribal. Wrong, fucked up, and bass-ackwards, yes. Tribal, no more so than Christianity.
Think about this before you get your panties in a twist…Judaism IS a tribal faith. By definition, Jews are Jewish…the Chosen People. Christianity is derived from Judaism. Christianity—like Islam—however is NOT a tribal faith. It is a universalist faith in that it hopes to unite all of mankind under the banners of Christ. Islam hopes to unite all of mankind under the banners of Allah.
If Islam is tribal, then so is Christianity…which it’s not.
“ ‘the good of the clan and the tribe come first…‘ And in that one phrase is encapsulated everything I oppose. This is pure poison.“
Ah, individualism at it’s most retarded. John Donne of course said, “No man is an island.” The fact is, NO ONE can ever hope to accomplish a damned thing all by his lonesome. In a tribal society, the tribe does come first, because the good of the tribe ensures the good of the individual. The inability to understand this is the root of all that is wrong with most of the survivalist community in America today.
If you think you can survive on your own, in the face of opposing forces who outnumber you and will kill you for what they think you might have, more power to you. If you think you can band together with a bunch of other rugged individualists, each of you always putting your own interests first, and still expect them to help you out in your time of need, as part of some “mutually beneficial transaction,” more power to you…I hope you’re in Colorado or Washington so the shit you’re smoking doesn’t get you arrested before the SHTF…
I believe we are seeing a slide back into tribalism. In the long term, there will undoubtedly be a rise in the use of alliance based Things or other parliamentary bodies to mediate disputes. In the short term however, things will get—necessarily—ugly. While it was said that I shouldn’t compare Teutonic/Scandinavian tribes and bands to the Pashtun, I think it works just find. If we look at different tribal cultures from around the world, we see more parallels between them than we see differences. Whether you call it a Thing or a Shura, there will be a need for an over-reaching mediating body to settle disputes unless we want to find ourselves sucked into the vortex of blood feuds and revenge killings.
In order to get there though, as another commenter pointed out, you have to be able to negotiate from a position of strength. That is going to require being part of a clan/tribe/aett that you KNOW you can trust has the Frith of the clan foremost in their consideration, even above their own survival.
That’s not about self-sacrifice versus Objectivist self-centeredness. It’s about ensuring the survival of your genetic material through your offspring, by ensuring the tribe survives to protect them, even if you don’t survive.
But, I could be full of shit too.
My next post will address my hyper-aggressive, patriarchal, foul-mouthed personality.