Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Political tribalism, moral ethnicity

Unlike, apparently, rather a lot of the people I like and respect, I think that the boycotts strategy announced by the ODM is a disastrous move, one that can only lead to greater pain. Let me explain. John Lonsdale somewhere distinguishes between political tribalism and moral ethnicity. (Never mind that I've always thought it a slightly tenuous distinction - everybody thinks the same of most distinctions they didn't first think of themselves.) Political tribalism is the constitution of an ethnicity by competition for state power and largesse against other, similarly constituted, ethnicities. Moral ethnicity on the other hand is a set of assumptions about public virtue for people like us. Political tribalism is inevitably adversarial; moral ethnicity inward-looking.

Read more from Daniel Waweru here.