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Amy Chua Political Tribes book cover

Discussing Amy Chua’s Political Tribes

Occasionally we talk about what we’re currently reading, watching or listening to —not at the level of a full review, but simply to point out arguments, perspectives and issues worth considering. This is one of those discussions.

Amy Chua, professor of law at Yale, urges us to take seriously the growing phenomenon of tribalism. In her recent book Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations, she argues that Americans have been blind to the importance of tribalism, not only in other societies but also in our own.

I disagreed with much of Chua’s analysis and her way of thinking about tribalism, but I gained a lot by engaging with the book and thinking about the phenomenon she’s trying to analyze. In this video Ben Bayer and I discuss the issue of tribalism in America, then look at aspects of Chua’s approach to it (without assuming you’ve read the book), and finally broaden the focus to examine how Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism sheds light on tribalism and offers an alternative: the ideal of individualism.

Audio only, for immediate listening or download:

During the conversation, Ben and I mention several articles and resources you might want to look up:

Have a question? Send it to us.

Elan Journo

Elan Journo is a senior fellow and director of Policy Research at the Ayn Rand Institute. His latest book is titled What Justice Demands: America and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Elan is a senior editor of New Ideal.

Ben Bayer

Ben Bayer, Ph.D. in philosophy and formerly a professor, is a fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute.

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