'Tribalism, democracy incompatible':
"Tribalism and democracy are incompatible -- they cannot exist together as political systems in the one nation. As the late New Zealand historian Professor Peter Munz noted, the condition for democracy is everywhere the end of tribalism, with its birth-ascribed inequality and exclusive kin membership.

"The incompatibility goes deep into the very structure of politics. Tribalism is based on principles of inequality. Democracy is based on equality. Kin status is what matters in the tribe; citizenship is the democratic status.

"Tribalism is exclusive. To belong, you must have ancestors who were themselves born into the system. Democracy, by contrast, includes people from all backgrounds...

"The equality versus inequality, inclusion versus exclusion incompatibility goes deep into the very nature of the political system. Democracy has three elements: the nation, the state, and the citizen. The nation is the overall framework and idea we have of ourselves as the nation... The state is parliament and all the institutions and systems of government. Citizens are the subjects of the nation-state and have rights that flow from, along with responsibilities to, the system.

"The principle of universalism is the base upon which these three elements rest. Indeed, democracy could only become a political system once this principle was widely accepted. UNIVERSALISM JUSTIFIES THE EQUAL STATUS OF THE CITIZEN. It justifies our human rights, including the right to have a cultural or religious identity. DEMOCRATIC UNIVERSALISM DOESN'T RULE OUT VARIOUS FORMS OF CULTURAL IDENTITY WITHIN THE ONE NATION. TRIBALISM DOES.

"DEMOCRACY SEPARATES POLITICAL STATUS FROM CULTURAL/RACIAL IDENTITY. TRIBALISM IS UNABLE TO DO SO...

"Many...have a religion but their religious identity is not part of the political arrangements, although the right to exercise their religion is. RACE AND CULTURE ARE LIKE RELIGION -- AN IDENTITY, BUT NOT A POLITICAL STATUS. WE MEET IN THE POLITICAL SPHERE AS EQUAL CITIZENS -- not as members of a religion, a race, or a tribe.

"FOR THIS REASON, RACE OR CULTURAL IDENTITY CANNOT BE INCLUDED AS A POLITICAL STATUS IN A CONSTITUTION. What a constitution can include...is the right that each individual has to exercise his or her cultural identity. It is a right enshrined in legislation which protects the ongoing identification people may have with their racial heritage. It is a right that can exist only because of our equal status as citizens, a status that comes from the universalist principle that we are all equal as human beings...

"Just as bishops and priests lost their considerable political power to democracy's system of accountable leadership, so too must today's iwi {Indian} leaders accept the same limitations. Their influence on the political system should be that of any other social organisation or business corporation. Just as one sun in the sky is true for the nation's sovereignty, so it is true for our institutions.

"Democracy can only exist in one unified nation with a constituted government accountable to its equal citizens. Its three elements must stand united upon the foundation of the universal human being."

--Dr. Elizabeth Rata, New Zealand Herald, Jan 29, 2013
Dr. Elizabeth Rata is an associate professor in the School of Critical Studies at the University of Auckland and a member of the Independent Constitutional Review Panel.
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Comment:
"Elizabeth Rata is to be commended for her cogent and timely article published in the NZ Herald on tribalism and its effect on societies.

"It requires little reflection on international history over the past century to conclude that the slaughter of humans over all of Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East, Turkey, India, Sri Lanka. China, Indonesia, Japan, Eastern Europe, Indonesia, The Philippines, et al, has been the result of Tribal Cultures.

Societies of diverse ethnicities have existed side by side over long periods before some event, political, social, religious, economic ignites the tinder box and long-suppressed grievances explode and mindless savagery follows.

It then becomes Us and Them, the biological need for the Tribe to survive. Is this what we want...?"

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