A student sits in a cafe during a protest Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

The Roots of Western Tribalism

The nationalist, populist, anti-immigrant, and anti-globalization movements of the past few years have revived tribal politics, which favors in-group identity over civic bonds based on shared values. The problem is not merely inequality, as one often hears, but also a neglect of the humanities in public life.

ABU DHABI – In Hermann Hesse’s novel Journey to the East, the character of H.H., a novice in a religious group known as The League, describes a figurine depicting himself next to the group’s leader, Leo. “It seemed that, in time, all the substance from one image would flow into the other and only one would remain: Leo. He must grow, I must disappear.”