The Eternal Return of the Tribe
Published on: July 6, 2011
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  • Adam

    I would only point out that the lead review in the current issue of The American Interest is entitled “Tribal Realism.” It is a review of Lionel Tiger’s newest book by Roger Sandall. I recommend it, but then I’m the editor, so I would, wouldn’t I?

    Let me also point out that Frank Fukuyama’s newest book, The Origins of Political Order, spends a lot of ink discussing patrimonialism and the rise of the state, as well as institutional decay. I recommend it, too. But then I would, wouldn’t I?

  • Richard Treitel

    I can’t say much without reading that issue of the _Annals_, but one kind of place that comes to mind immediately is the public school, or large (public or private) university, where a student is likely to be a statistically disaggregated list of characteristics. Some of the teachers may be quite skilled assembly line workers, but schooling on an assembly line is not a valid replacement for education that treats its raw material as whole people.

  • Wayne Lusvardi

    A prosecutor friend of mine in postmodern California tells me humorous stories about how criminal court prosecutors suffer from role confusion. They sometimes believe their job is to be a social worker or a priest who can exonerate perpetrators from their crimes rather than a prosecutor seeking justice for victims and society.

    The apparent reason they suffer from role confusion is due to cultural value confusion. In postmodern relativist California there is a rejection against the rationalization of law as pointed out by sociologist Max Weber long ago. The Rational-Legal form of modern law no longer is desired in many sectors of the California legal system such as tort law, environmental law, and criminal law.

    Japanese political scientist Nathan Quimpo has an apt definition of patrimonialism as “a type of rule in which the ruler does not distinguish between personal and public patrimony and treats matters and resources of state as his personal affair.

    Infamous California Supreme Court Chief Justice Rose Bird might have fit Quimpo’s definition of an oxymoronic feminist-patrimonialist jurist who could not distinguish between the courtroom and her personal and political predilections.

    Professor Berger wrote about the phenomenon of demodernized consciousness in his book The Homeless Mind: Modernization and Consciousness which I would recommend to anyone wanting to understand why patrimonialism is sometimes still desired over modern concepts and systems of law.

    Another book that might be helpful is Postmodern Legal Movements by Gary Minda (New York University, 1995) but this book lacks a conceptual or cultural framework from which to understand postmodern legal movements.

  • abraham aponte

    If Jacques Barzun’s thesis, From Dawn to Decadence is correct and the return of patrimonialism is also correct then as an individual I’m caught between being an enlightened citizen living as a disaggreagte member of many institutions that care little for my personal welfare, rather the welfare of the institution itself. It is a struggle to make each day filled with rays of hope. Are we really better with patrimonialism or is it a collective “instinct” to preserve our individual selves in a collective self?

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  • ARH

    I recently picked up the new Fukuyama book but have yet to begin. Reading this article made me think of a review I read about it. Excellent article on a topic I know little about, but have been pondering a lot lately.

    I’m particularly fascinated about the transformation of a society not from patrimony to rule of law, but the other way around. While the US is still a very stable country, I can’t help but wonder how little the political partisans (party supporters, not the politicians themselves) believe in patrimony rather than rule of law, even of they claim the latter. Partisans trust their tribe, even if the policy isn’t sacrosanct, hence why Kennedy and Reagan are held up as paradigms of virtue despite being less ideologically wed to the party faithful than they realize.

  • I will say yes God is much above than any constitution or anything else.He is only who create this world.He has all type of power and other things.We to say, Yes God is above than all things.

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