Tribalism Is The Emperor Of All Isms

by Uzor Maxim Uzoatu

Tribalism is the ism topping all isms!

All the talk of Socialism, Communism, Humanism and so on must now be put on one side to make way for the true king of the jungle: Tribalism!

Of all the isms of the whole wide world, the most triumphant ism is without any question whatsoever Tribalism.

Look, I’m not just writing about Nigeria where the current wave of Tribalism has exposed all the erstwhile charlatans of the land.

Many pseudo-intellectuals and para-academics have made a meal of wearing tattered beards all over the place and crowning themselves Emperors of Communism or Kings of Marxism.

The former Marxists have all been unmasked and the erstwhile apostles of Communism have all been excommunicated.

Please this is not a Nigerian matter, so the Nigerian pretenders should stop being uncomfortable because I am not writing about the current tribal shenanigans in the country.

The time is nigh to go deep into the roots of recent world history to uncover the rise and rise of Tribalism as the one true living ism.

Back in 1989, in the heady days of the commotion in the then Soviet Union and much of Eastern Europe, a hitherto unknown scholar, Francis Fukuyama, published an essay in the American magazine The National Interest entitled “The End of History?”

The article quickly made Fukuyama one of the most famous names in the 20th century and beyond.

Fukuyama definitely had more than Andy Warhol’s touted 15 minutes of fame.

In his essay, Fukuyama celebrated the collapse of the Soviet Union and the reformation in Eastern Europe as “The triumph of the West, of the Western idea.”

Fukuyama stressed quite forcefully: “What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.”

Fukuyama’s voice carried in the wake of the ultra-rightist sweep of the regimes of Ronald Reagan in the United States and Margaret Thatcher in Britain.

That was when Dame Thatcher crooned that she would follow tough guy Reagan to the end of the earth, and happy-go-lucky Ronnie Reagan swore to organize it.

The market was seen as the god of all economies, and the erstwhile big government presence in the eastern hemisphere was made ample mockery of.

Everybody started singing about market forces as the only way, but then Fukuyama’s voice went dead quiet as per market forces when in 2008 the global financial system collapsed, and the state had to step in to save the economies of the world.

Well, beyond the economic front of market forces, Fukuyama’s yarn about “the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government” did not envisage the political rise of ultra-nationalism alias Tribalism.

The nationality question put to the shade all manners of isms in the inescapable sense that “all politics is local”.

Josip Broz Tito did reign large over the old Yugoslavia but once the old man kicked the bucket the vast union of yore broke into pieces of little nation-states based on the ideology of Tribalism.

The old Soviet Union after Gorbachev’s Glasnost and Perestroika are today individual states based on Tribalism.

The tribal war between Russia and Ukraine needs a tear or two.

Good old Czechoslovakia has been sharply sundered into two: the Czech Republic and the land of the Slovaks.

Now, tell me why Nigerians who earlier pretended to be communists, socialists and ill-assorted activists should not come out swinging as agents of Tribalism?

It is a tribal war out there, and it is incumbent on all tribesmen of worth to put up support for the tribal champion, warts and all!

One is bound by blood to one’s tribesman whether he is an armed robber or a reckless prostitute or even a devil-may-care murderer.

Let’s get back to the intellectual front, and it is my duty to inform the world that the point really is that Fukuyama misread the German philosopher, G.W.F. Hegel, whose ideas gave the pedestal to the “End of History” thesis.

Hegel who incidentally was the forerunner of Karl Marx asserted that the motor of history is the Idea.

Of course the Idea in Hegelian dialectics is holistically made up of Thesis, Antithesis and Synthesis.

In Fukuyama’s misreading of Hegel, he thinks that Synthesis in any given application of things ought to be the end of the matter.

The fact though is that the Synthesis of an earlier stage of history inevitably forges the Thesis of current time in the endless cycles of history.

This way, the Synthesis of commotion in the then Soviet Union and Eastern Europe can only be seen as underpinning the Thesis and Antithesis of Nationalism and Tribalism we are now witnessing.

The dialectics of history can therefore not come to an end in the short-sighted manner
germane to impulsive thinkers like Fukuyama.

The truism “world without end” goes with the realism “history without end.”

This definitely puts an end to the “endism” of Fukuyama and his fellow starry-eyed tinsel intellectuals who have been overtaken by Tribalism!

History is theatre with all the climaxes and sub-plots until Tribalism gets smaller and smaller – as it is wont to – before being upended by Individualism!

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