The individual of methodological individualism...

is a modern invention:
Prince Modupe of the So-so tribe says that at the turn of the century in Africa, “Any destiny apart from the tribe was, of course, beyond the limits of either imagination or intuition. It was as un­thinkable as that one of the bright orange legs of a milli­pede should detach itself from the long black body of the creature and go walking off by itself.”[9]

Chief Luther Standing Bear reports that a Lakota “could not consider himself as separate from the band or nation…to cut himself off from the whole meant to lose identity or to die.”[10]

Alexis de Tocqueville emphasizes that in premodern Europe an “aristocracy link[ed] everybody, from the peasant to the king, in one long chain.”[11] Jacob Burckhardt, the great scholar of the Italian Renaissance, explains that during the Middle Ages a “man was conscious of himself only as a member of a race, people, party, family, or corporation.”[12] If I were born in Medieval Europe, I would have understood myself as a part of a whole. When asked “Who are you?”, I may have replied, “A Vignola from Padua, a stone carver, and a member of St. Anne’s Parish.”
Query: do you think the So-so tribe is a kind of mediocre bunch?


  1. An interesting question I was asked once: Do you believe in “women and children first”?

    I do. Only the WEIRD even think to question it. women and children first though is the essence of patriotism broadly meant, loyalty to a polity. The tribe matters.


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