America still has the gloss of post-tribal technology and ideas, but underneath it is the counter-tribal rot. And that counter-tribalism was paradoxically nurtured by the post-tribal Soviet Union, which reverted from Communist industrial post-tribalism to nationalistic romantic tribalism. Socialism’s embrace of industry had temporarily broken the romantic obsessions of the left, but did not last. The elites always had a weakness for counter-tribalism because it allowed their egos to triumph over any sense of national or tribal origins. And egotism and its accompanying insecurity had their day.

Counter-tribalism perverts post-tribalism and yet it is also the natural outcome of post-tribalism. The expansion of boundaries eventually leads to the collapse of boundaries and the search for boundaries. The certainty that we live in a material universe with no need for taboos or higher powers eventually ends in the manufacture of taboos and apocalypses, a new grammar of post-rational superstitions and fears of the self. The destruction of the tribe and its certainties leads to the construction of new tribes based on that mingled sense of superiority and inferiority that characterizes the modern neurotic.

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The counter-tribal is escaping the future and the past by running toward a jumbled amalgam of both, forever seeking a reality and authenticity of experience that he cannot find within his own self. He is driven to expose and destroy, to avert some greater apocalypse that he senses is coming. The post-tribal believed that man would rule the universe, but the counter-tribal is possessed of the certainty that man is a bug on a windshield. The counter-tribal, like the tribal,fears the future.

Tangled in his own sense of unreality, he flees the past for the future and the future for the past, seeking a spirit guide of the Other to guide him out of the urban mazes of New York, San Francisco and London back to the natural realm of the real.

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Daniel Greenfield is an Israeli born blogger and columnist, and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. His work covers American, European and Israeli politics as well as the War on Terror. His writing can be found at http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/ These opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

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