The dangerous rise of the tribal and dumb!


Little Library in the Dark Woods:
The rise of talk radio and the Internet have fueled the rise of The Crazy.

It's surprising to see how many people are drawn to the way of The Crazy. Ben Carson recently took that road with his silly, absurd account of the outlook of people who were brought in chains from their homes in Africa to this brutal new land.

It's surprising to see how many people are drawn by the allure of The Crazy, or at least by the thrill of The Dumb. Over Here, within our infallible tribe, we've spotted some recent examples.

To ponder what recently happened at Middlebury College, we'll suggest you read this appraisal by New York Magazine's Andrew Sullivan, or this piece by the Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf. We'll especially suggest that you watch chunks of the videotape of the incident.

The videotape runs 43 minutes. By the end of the evening, a professor had gone to a hospital, where she was diagnosed with a concussion.

Sullivan blames the incident on the rise of the "academic craze" of "intersectionality." We can't assess his claims. For ourselves, we were mainly struck by how young the Middlebury students looked—and by how dumb their conduct seemed.

In fairness, we all tend to be dumb when we're young. Beyond that, the fact that the conduct looks dumb to us doesn't establish the fact that it actually was.

Today, though, the promotion of dumbness within all our tribes is a big business. Increasingly, the evidence suggests that this promotion works.

It's amazingly easy to spot The Dumb when it occurs Over There. To consider its possible role within our own liberal tents, liberals might consider this letter in today's Washington Post.

The writer complains about an earlier letter, one we cited in real time. That original letter complained about the "racist content," overt and otherwise, in Laura Ingalls Wilder's famous "Little House" series of books.

The original letter came from a librarian in Takoma Park, Maryland, a Washington suburb with a reputation as the Berkeley of the mid-Atlantic states. Today's rebuttal complains about the librarian's attitudes and her professional conduct.

We thought the librarian's letter included some good points, but also that she was perhaps a bit inclined to the tribally crazy and dumb. We thought she had her thumb firmly on the scales as she described the contents of Wilder's books. We were especially struck by her criticism of the second paragraph of Wilder's very first book.

Quite literally, this librarian is brought up short by the second paragraph in Wilder's first book! Here's the full text of her original letter:
LETTER TO THE WASHINGTON POST (2/25/17): Regarding the Feb. 7 Style article “A ‘Little House’ still leaves a big impression,” about the 150th birthday of “Little House” author Laura Ingalls Wilder:

This otherwise well-written article failed to mention that the “Little House” books actually have a problematic reputation among many children’s librarians these days because of racist content and stereotyped characters, particularly in Wilder’s portrayals of American Indians.

One of the most egregious examples of this racism occurs in “Little House on the Prairie,” when Wilder states that her mother believed that “the only good Indian was a dead Indian.” There are numerous other examples of Ma Ingalls’s racism—highlighted by the illustrations by Garth Williams of fierce-looking Indians—found in that same book. Less overt is the racism contained in the second paragraph of “Little House in the Big Woods,” when Wilder details her surroundings and neglects to mention the presence of American Indians who also lived there: “There were no houses. There were no roads. There were no people. There were only trees and the wild animals who had their homes among them.”

At our library, we’ve opted to keep the books in our collection, as they still offer a window on a certain slice of Americana. However, we don’t highlight them or otherwise give them special attention, and I don’t recommend them when asked for book suggestions. When a patron asks for the books, I mention the problem of racist content and suggest that the books offer a good way to talk with children about racism and how we have worked to change things since the books were published decades ago. I also recommend reading the Birchbark series by Louise Erdrich. This critically acclaimed series is set in much the same time period as the “Little House” books but features protagonists who are Ojibwe; Erdrich herself is American Indian.

The “Little House” books are beloved by many generations of readers who grew up reading them (and I’m one of the people who grew up loving these books—I still have the set my father was able to buy me by giving up his lunches for a month). While I may have happy memories of reading the books as a child, that nostalgia doesn’t justify keeping on blinders about them as an adult.
We salute the sacrifice of this woman's father. Beyond that, we agree with one part of her critique. Because they emerge from lived American history, the brilliantly-crafted Little House books do create interpretive challenges for modern readers, who may not be many years old.

Then too, we have the challenges posed by tribal minds, including the occasional mind Over Here:

In her letter, the librarian cites a remark which is said to arise from Ma Ingalls' "racism" toward the American Indians who play a key role in Wilder's third book, Little House on the Prairie. She doesn't mention the specific historical context Ma cites when she makes that remark.

She also doesn't mention the fact that Pa Ingalls has a very different set of reactions to those same Native Americans.

Pa Ingalls constantly speaks with admiration of these neighbors, who are sometimes angry and menacing. Indeed, an array of characters express an array of views about these American Indians. This may reflect the array of views which may have obtained among settlers like the Ingallses.

In Little House on the Prairie, Pa Ingalls is respectful and admiring of the American Indians around him. Little Laura, the star of the book, is enthralled by, and envious of, the relative freedom of the Indian children she sees.

The book involves a fascinating array of reactions and views within the Ingalls family itself. The librarian, who may have some blinders on, managed to mention just one.

As noted above, the librarian was brought up short by the second paragraph of Wilder's first book, Little House in the Big Woods. She complains that Wilder "neglects to mention the presence of American Indians who also lived there" at that time, around 1870, in Wisconsin's "Big Woods."

(Wilder was born in Wisconsin in 1867.)

Did Wilder disappear her Indian neighbors in her famous first book? We don't know, but an historical tract by the state of Wisconsin seems to suggest something different.

According to that historical tract, The Treaty of Prairie du Chien had "demarcated boundaries between settlers and American Indians" as early as 1825 in Wisconsin. Here's the fuller text, with one typo corrected:
In 1804, the government forced the Sauk and Fox tribes to cede their land claims in southern Wisconsin in a treaty they had not agreed to. These actions led to the Black Hawk War of 1832. The largest American Indian population in Wisconsin, the Menominee, was pressured to sell away 11,600 square miles of land along the lower Fox River. The Treaty of Prairie du Chien of 1825 was significant in the history of American Indians in Wisconsin, after European settlement. The treaty was facilitated by the United States government to end the inter-tribal warfare that was disrupting the fur trade and creating tensions between settlers and the tribes. The tension between tribes was created because the United States government had used them against each other to gain more lands. The Treaty of Prairie du Chien established a treaty of peace among the tribes and demarcated boundaries between settlers and American Indians.

By [1871], most American Indians had been placed on reservations
and the government discontinued its use of treaties with them. The government changed its focus to "de-Indianizing" this population, creating schools that attempted to rid them of their cultural traditions and ways of life by breaking tribal ties and molding them into the image of white settlers. However, before this time, between the late nineteenth century through the 1920s, the federal government aimed to mainstream Native Americans through the policies of assimilation and allotment. Some of these schools included Menominee Boarding School at Keshena, Oneida Boarding School at Oneida, Lac du Flambeau Boarding School at Lac du Flambeau, and Tomah Industrial School at Tomah.
That history of the state of Wisconsin isn't meant to sound attractive. If it's accurate, it suggests that Wilder's family wouldn't have encountered a lot of Native Americans until they moved to Kansas, the part of their family history which is fascinatingly described in Little House on the Prairie.

In Little House on the Prairie, Pa Ingalls speaks of the local Indians with great respect; Little Laura wishes she was allowed to ride ponies across the prairie the way the Indian children do. The book provides a fascinating, varied portrait—until it reaches Takoma Park, where an easily-stereotyped liberal critic sifts and condemns and even starts dropping bombs.

The letter in this morning's Post portrays the librarian as a book-burner. Comments to her original letter help us see how we liberals, with our true-believing ways, often contribute to the perception that we're just a bunch of tribalized nuts.

We lose votes in such ways every day. This too sent Donald J. Trump to the White House. In the future, these tribal behaviors may serve to keep him there.

The librarian had the germ of a perfectly reasonable point. But then, she put her thumb on the scale and she started to sift.

People notice such unforced behavior by Us. It makes them think we're foolish. At that point, Rush steps in.


  1. Millions of Americans are about to lose their health care to pay for tax cuts for corporations and plutocrats and you indulge in trivia just as the corporate media does. You are part of the problem not the solution.

    1. TO GET LOAN @ 2% INTEREST RATE with

      IF you are looking for a loan amount of little or huge amount between $10, 000USD to $100,000.00USD @ 2% interest rate, you will have to contact Victoria Financier Trust Company ( ). She help me with funds urgently when i was desperate in need of money to payoff my debt after my husband medical expense and more funds assistance to pay our mortgage and refinance my business. I read about Victoria Lawson on how she have help lots of person and she attend to me urgently when i contacted and explain my situation to her. She has help lots of persons that i refer to her too. Contact her now with VIA EMAIL:

      *Full Name:_________



      *loan amount:_________

      *Loan duration:_________


      *Purpose of loan:_________

      *Monthly Income:__________


      *Next of kin:_________

      *Email :_________

  2. I read every one of these books some five years ago and found them fascinating. My conclusion is that librarian spent too little time with 19th century American history. As I recall, that Indian uprising in 1862 in the Dakotas pretty much ended freedom for the Indians.

  3. One of the burdens that members of visible minority groups bear is the assumption by others that they represent their group. This means that whatever they do as individuals will reflect well or poorly on their group as a whole. Minor screw-ups affect their entire group and there is no leeway to make mistakes, large or small, without it reflecting badly on others.

    Somerby is treating liberals the same way. If some individual person writes a stupid letter, it reflects badly on the whole tribe and we all look dumb, at least in his eyes. If some group of students at a privileged private university engages in suppression of free speech, it reflects on all liberals by giving conservatives and Somerby both a turkey leg to beat us with.

    That librarian doesn't speak for me, nor do those students, nor does Somerby. There are smart and foolish liberals and I can tell the difference between them, even if Somerby and his conservative friends cannot.

    1. somersby is not conservative
      in fact he is very liberal.
      However he spends most of his time being critical of his fellows because he knows that our failure to eliminate our foibles allows the other side to use that against us.
      However Bob is unduly hard on us as against those of the right when what he are doing(ie being tribal) is exactly the same as conservatives.
      He sometime gives the right a pass while holding us lefties to a really high standards that seem unrealistic.
      Tribalism is, i think hard wired in humans.
      Bob please spend time understanding tribalism.
      The right are just as condecending and elitist in their own way as we are towards them.

    2. I used to think that too. I don't any more.

    3. The foolish and dumb among them have overtaken the smart in numbers. Liberals and progressives are practically polar opposites now.

    4. Somerby attracts idiots who call themselves liberal/progressive.

      He attracts more conservative trolls and spammers.

    5. Isn't Somerby's entire activity aimed at influencing how liberals think - the better to be effective at furthering liberal values and policies? How might one do that without citing examples showing how some liberals do think and criticizing them? He can be right or wrong in specific cases, but isn't that what he is trying to do?

    6. Somerby seems to be adhering to Sanders belief that (1) identity politics is hurting the left because class is what matters; (2) the old centrist Democratic establishment has been ineffective (despite Obama's election) and needs to be torn down; (3) progressive values are shared by different groups than the old Democratic coalition so the left needs to reach out to Trump supporters and others not traditionally Democrats; (4) the young need a louder voice in politics; (5) incumbents need to be thrown out and the whole system needs a shake up, so the greater the disarray in Congress, the better; (6) Susan Sarandon is a goddess.

      I think Somerby is promoting this nonsense by attacking Democrats and the left as tribal and dumb, and by undermining identity politics and suggesting that we should be reaching out to Trump voters by empathizing with their reasons for supporting Trump.

      I think Somerby is nearly as foolish as Sanders in this.

    7. reasons for supporting Trump...

      1. Piss off liberals.

      End of list.

    8. Many Trump supporters are former Democrat voters! Not traditionally Democrat? I agree with mm. Many of them, ex Obama voters, made a statement by voting for Trump. a statement along the lines of: F you , you're no good.

    9. no, anonymous jackass 2:32, you don't agree with me. I never said any such thing.

    10. That's not very nice. "jackass". I just meant that a lot of Trump voters voted for him to piss off liberals. And that some of them were ex Obama voters.

    11. Yes, that's what I said. Those would be the people who feast of FOX NEWZ all day, and those who have had their skulls filled with bullshit from hate radio for the last 40 years. I doubt many of those were ex-Obama voters.

    12. We all know many Obama voters voted for Trump as a way to "throw a maltov cocktail" into the system. It's well documented. But do your own research and draw your own conclusions. All the best

    13. They voted for Obama because he was running unopposed (by a Republican), since the number of Republicans in 2008 was something around 2 dozen. The rest changed their name to the "Tea Party" so they wouldn't have the stink of the George W. Bush Presidency on themselves. BTW, outstanding job by the corporate-owned media to make believe the Tea Party was something entirely different from Republicans (despite they were the same people, with the same funding and failed ideology , so Republicans could get away with it. skirting the blame for laying the country in ruins.
      The reason they voted for Obama in 2012 was because the Republican nomination went to a hedge fund capitalist, like the ones who crashed the world's economy a short time before that.
      In 2016, they heard the sweet, sweet sound of Trump's bigotry, so pulling the lever for one who agrees with their bigotry was easy.

  4. Father sacrificed to buy the books. One reason to have the books in the public library to make them free to read.

  5. You don't have to be tribal to be dumb. I think Somerby is attributing dumbness to being tribal when it is just plain dumbness.

    Little House on the Prairie is a children's book intended to entertain them. Analyzing settler-Indian relations for historical accuracy or political correctness seems to miss that point. Custer was still being portrayed as a tragic hero when those books were written. Times change.

  6. Here is another way the Russians interfered in the election to keep Clinton out of office:

    1. Every candidate in a presidential election is the beneficiary of interference from undesirables and corrupt entities. Take Hillary and the reinstatement of voting rights for rapists and murderers.

    2. Not on this scale and with this level of coordination. If collusion is proven, foreign interference is illegal.

    3. Collusion isn't going to be proven because it didn't happen.

    4. You keep believing that.

    5. Most lefties are tiptoeing away from the allegation because they know there is no evidence and don't want to look like fools.

    6. That's total nonsense.

    7. Collusion probably not. Read the long New Yorker article. Putin wanted anyone but Clinton so Trump benefited from that and they were interferin but collusion looks like a stretch.

  7. I grew up with free access to libraries, without censorship. If I was confused by something I read, my mother would explain it, but not hide the book. My wife was a K-8 Library Media Specialist, and fought parents and school board members to keep books on the shelves.
    If kids didn't understand something it was her job to help them find the answers, not hide historical facts.

    "The original letter came from a librarian in Takoma Park, Maryland, a Washington suburb with a reputation as the Berkeley of the mid-Atlantic states."
    Say what? As a D.C. native, I lived for a while in Silver Spring and worked in Takoma Park. Granted, TP is close to a large branch of the U of MD., but it was better known as a 7th Day Adventist enclave, rather than a liberal college town.

    1. " a reputation as the Berkeley of"...says bigoted Bob in his third post on a letter to the editor in his blog supposedly devoted to the media.

      And in his defense his fans are prone to say he doesn't read his own blog's comments.

    2. A google search shows the statement to be factual. Despite the warm feeling of the B bomb.

    3. Google posts feed off one another. For instance, one Google site mention the top ten most liberal cities in Maryland. All are within the Washington DC megalopolis. Indeed, eight are inside the beltway.
      Takoma Park, on the DC/Maryland line, isn’t on that list.
      But that's beside the point.
      Bob is referring to the human tendency to engage in the fallacy of composition, going from specific to general.
      The idea that a school librarian in Takoma Park Maryland, a city that is a clone of the liberal wacko city of Berkeley (home of Bernie high priest Robert Reich), could actually censor a book is proof that all liberals are hypocrites.
      We can't stop everyone from from making dumb comments, but we can at least abstain from making them ourselves.
      BTW, I've been to Berkeley, and it's not just the UCB crowd that's weird. Everyone there is weird.
      Arizonans miffed by Northern California elitism call that part of the world; "The land of fruits, nuts, and vegetables!"
      A Historical note: Spiro Agnew was elected Governor of Maryland by accusing his Democratic opponent of being a racist (which was true). Agnew got 70% of the Black vote. Go figure.

  8. When is Trump going to come up with his replacement of the ACA, which will preserve coverage for millions and be cheaper and better?
    I ask because the bigots who elected him President, keep telling me Trump keeps his promises.


    IF you are looking for a loan amount of little or huge amount between $10, 000USD to $100,000.00USD @ 2% interest rate, you will have to contact Victoria Financier Trust Company ( ). She help me with funds urgently when i was desperate in need of money to payoff my debt after my husband medical expense and more funds assistance to pay our mortgage and refinance my business. I read about Victoria Lawson on how she have help lots of person and she attend to me urgently when i contacted and explain my situation to her. She has help lots of persons that i refer to her too. Contact her now with VIA EMAIL:

    *Full Name:_________



    *loan amount:_________

    *Loan duration:_________


    *Purpose of loan:_________

    *Monthly Income:__________


    *Next of kin:_________

    *Email :_________

  10. Are you going through a break-up or divorce? Do you need your Ex back fast? Dnot cry anymore, contact Dr .Goodluck powerful Love spell that work fast now!! I was hurt and heart broken when my Husband breakup with me, and i could not know what next to do again, I love my Husband so much but he was cheating on me with another woman and this makes him break up with me so that he can be able to get marred to the other lady and this lady i think use witchcraft on my Husband to make him hate me and our kids and this was so critical and uncalled-for,I cry all day and night for God to send me a helper to get back my man until i went to Texas in USA to see a friend and who was having the same problem with me but she latter got her husband back and i asked her how she was able to get her husband back and she told me that their was a powerful spell caster called Dr .Goodluck that help with love spell in getting back lost lover back, and i decided to contact the same Dr .Goodluck and he told me what is needed to be done for me to have my man back and i did it although i doubted it but i did it and the Dr told me that i will get the result after 17hours, and he told me that my husband was going to call me and i still doubted his word, to my surprise my husband really called me and told me that he miss me so much, Oh My God! i was so excited, and today i am happy with my man again and we are joyfully living together as one big family and i thank the powerful spell caster Dr .Goodluck for bringing back my man and i decided to share my story on the internet that Dr .Goodluck is best spell caster online who i will always pray to live long to help his children in the time of trouble, If you have any problem contact Dr .Goodluck and i guarantee you that he will help you,Email him at: ,you can also call him or add him on whats-app: +2348138654465 ,

  11. Hello,
    I Read the article of a very great spell caster and it seems very helpful
    to me. I haven’t had the chance to have a proper relationship with my ex
    because we work together. This will be the final week or work and then I
    wont be around him constantly. Unfortunately, I broke one of the rules in
    the article and have been sleeping with him. Something I’m not proud of,
    especially since he has a girlfriend. Not to mention that she’s a girl he
    dated off and on for 3 years before he dated me.
    When I asked him why he kept sleeping with me even though he was in a
    relationship, his response was because I wanted it, and he wants me to be
    happy. But obviously what would make me happy would be to have him all to
    myself. That was when i read about Dr alexzander on how he help people in
    saving their relationship and i was really desperate for his help. There
    were things in our relationship that were tough. We traveled for 4 months
    right in the beginning, and it was hard due to different expectations. When
    we returned our living situation was unstable which caused a lot of stress
    on my end. And when I ask why he didn’t give me a chance to make things
    better he said he gave me tons of chances. Oh, and he compared our
    relationship with his past. He says that things were great, and then they
    went bad really fast, and that why his back with is Ex. Because it at least
    took them years for things to get that bad. So i was very sad and
    disappointing and decided to contact this spell caster for help with tears
    running out of my eyes and Dr alexzander promised to make things right in
    my relationship and also assured me that my boyfriend is going to come back
    to me within 78hrs. At first i was shock and didn't believe him because i
    thought it was impossible to do. But i gave it a try and trusted him. Dr
    alexzander asked for my details and his, then guarantee me of his return.
    Truly my ex lover started calling me and also begging me to forgive him and
    that's his willing to give us a second chance, then promised me never to
    love any other woman apart from me. it all seem like a miracle to me till
    now. Dr alexzander. Words can't express how i feel right now. it been 2
    month now since you caste that love spell for me and nothing have gone bad
    between us. his now caring more than ever and also the loving kind of Man i
    have ever wanted for myself in life. I thank you Dr alexzander for saving
    my relationship. Indeed you are the best. I want to use this media to share
    my testimony for the whole world to see and know that there is still hope
    in your broken relationship, No matter how bad it seems don't give up hope
    and also contact this man who saved my own. you can reach him through his
    website address or contact him
    direct with his email address I thank you
    Dr alexzander for helping me and i will always share my testimony in every
    social media or place i may go to.
    (From United State Of America).
    Mrs Tracy Grilli.