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What's Behind Tribalism in America?

Tribalism in America must end because it threatens our existence as a society. That’s the view of author and historian Michael C. Anderson, who says social media and a biased news media must share the blame.

Anderson, an IT consultant by trade with a PhD in Information Science, has just published his fourth book on the subject, titled Twilight of the American Experiment, Without Moral Balance our Republic will Fail. He's our guest on the Lean to the Left podcast.

What's behind tribalism in America? Why is it such a problem?

"The main problem is that because the country's gone tribal, and almost everyone to the right, left of center has entered their tribe, the tribes don't communicate," Anderson says. "And because they don't communicate, the society, American society is fractured, and government can't make any progress because there's no consensus on how it should move forward."

Lack of Political Morality

Anderson believes the major issue is the lack of political morality, which he defines as the application of personal morality to politics.

"There is the risk to the future of the United States unless we get back to moral balance," he says, because the morality in our country is not balanced now; it's controlled by the left, basically."

What about the political right?

"They're just as bad," Anderson acknowledges. "There's no question that the radical right is like the radical left and behavior, I just don't think they get as much press, maybe. So it, you don't read as much about them and you hear from the progressives a lot causes reaction against the progressives because they're in your face."

Anderson says tribalism in America is "not all on one side."

"It takes consensus to move forward," he says, "and the Republicans have a very different personality, and I'll separate conservatives from Republicans because you can be a conservative and not be a Republican, which I, is the bucket I fall into. But the left is more open and interested in change and desires equality and they're attracted to government programs that help the needy.

"The right is... It has other moral priorities. The right prefers loyalty and authority. They believe that the hierarchy is the right way for humans to organize. They like tradition and the status quo, so they don't like things that in their mind ruin their traditions. They're each right and they're each wrong for their own reasons. They're just different. And as I meant to say, neither is right and neither is wrong, but that means that they have to work together to move us forward."

About the Media

Anderson believes that social media has had a greater impact on human communications than any other type of dialogue in history.

"The problem is that social media being an open platform allows anyone to get their 15 minutes of fame by posting comments or stories or opinions. The media itself attracts outliers who have dangerous points of view and are inflammatory when they express themselves.

"What makes that even worse," Anderson contends, "is the fact that the media companies look at the number of eyeballs that are reading the content that they present. And the crazier the presentation, the more eyeballs it gets. So it actually is beneficial to the media companies to have controversial information posted."

Anderson says the mainstream media, which Donald Trump infamously called "the enemy of the people," "is slightly biased to the left," except for Fox News.

"I don't see that's a huge problem," he adds, although when you're looking at the news or. listening to the news, you can detect some bias. That's just, I think, an artifact of the fact that most journalists these days lean toward the left because they're trained in universities who lean toward the left."

To hear more, please view the interview here:

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