- Audible Audiobook
- Listening Length: 7 hours and 3 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Penguin Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: February 20, 2018
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English, English
- ASIN: B075F96L8N
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Her fascinating and well-written descriptions of the various groups into which American democracy is dissolving make very good reading — must-reading, for anyone interested in The USA or The World, in this Age of Trump and Age of Asia. But whether it all boils down to Tribalism, or to anything else understandable or manageable, much less a characterization of how things-political will proceed going forward, well, I’m still a sceptic — still it seems like a dissolution, to me, simply a mess now, and Trump simply a bottom-feeder opportunist taking advantage.
I hope I’m wrong and she’s right, as I’d love to believe that we somehow can bring order out of all the chaos she so elegantly describes. But I fear it’s just chaos, in fact — that her Tribalism is simply what’s left-over when systems fail, the primal soup from which we emerged in the 15th century to found our nation-states, and to which we seem to be returning now that our Terrible-20th century Long War and Pax Americana are gone.
Everyone everywhere needs to read her book, I think — it is that good, and that general, and all of us around the globe need some reassurance now that we do not face just-chaos, in our 2 great paradigm shifts from Manufacturing to Digital, and from Empires to Asia — but as we grasp for straws, and I fear Tribalism may be one such, we must remember Yeats’ warning that this may be, only,
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
— and that Trump and various other similar disasters elsewhere may be our own “rough beast, its hour come round at last”. I’d still prefer liberal democracy, a 2-Party System, multilateral treaties and foreign policies, and universalized Human Rights, over the tribalized-world Chua appears to be recommending here.
Subtly provocative, Chua's analysis of domestic politics transcends political parties. Instead of taking sides, she makes clear-eyed critiques of the ways both parties have contributed to our current polarization and divisiveness. Members of BOTH parties will no doubt be challenged (and perhaps even angered!) by different parts of the book, but republicans, democrats and independents alike would all do well to read the book and think deeply about Chua's argument. The book is filled with fascinating statistics and studies that will make you think differently about things like occupy wall street, the rise of Trump, immigration, and economic inequality. And though Political Tribes is truly harrowing at times, I definitely found it to be, ultimately, a hopeful book.
Overall, insightful, but it felt half baked. This is kind of a running theme with Chua's work. She excels at identifying problems that seem obvious in hindsight, but finishes on half-earned high notes without evaluating how societies can work through the problems she identifies. At her most uninspired, she tends to drift into cultural superiority arguments without empirical evidence to support her claims.
That being said, worth a read, especially if you haven't read any of her ethnic conflict-related work before.
In thinking, there is optimism. America's history showed early tribal conflict, with Hamilton's faction seeking British institutions, so bad that Jefferson left retirement to become our third President and block Hamilton's attacks made through Washington and Adams. We had other tribal conflicts. Some were handled well on the first try. Others needed several tries. Some yet unresolved need another try. America survives. It is too important for human freedom not to survive. We are still the only example of bottom-up partitioned Presidential democracy, where 13 States diverse in economy and religion agreed in 1787 to share defense, diplomacy, and treasury, then over many years added 37 more States diverse in economy and religion asking to join that sharing. States are peers, with Constitutions and governments. Americans can and do choose partitions. The world needs a partition example to survive. Every stressed country in Amy Chua's chapters needs partitions to keep tribes from excess contact fueling their fires. America needs new kinds of partitions keeping fire breathing attackers like bots from contact with people who interact without fire. Those people are Amy Chua's optimism. Her book points the way. We can't only wait and see.