Symposium: The Rule of the Clan
Bold. We might favor the bold, but taking such a tack can be dangerous. So why be bold? Perhaps because you have an insight, a vision, and it compels you to say what you see. Mark Weiner’s Rule of the Clan is bold in this way. It presents how an ancient, persistent part of society, the clan, shapes our world. Mark says we may hope that societies are either clan-based or liberal modern ones, but that is not so. He shows why that is the case. And he shows that if we fail to understand the clan impulse, we fail to see the ways the very liberal, modern state we cherish may rot from within. The lack of normative coherence that may be inherent for modern liberal states and the way clans reemerge when the state is weak create fertile ground for clans to take over. When that happens the freedom and space for individuality we cherish and take as a given, give way to clan structures. Those structures are understandable. They provide societies a certain stability and meaning, but when we embrace them, we give up the freedom we want. Mark shows that the cry to dismantle the state undermines the institution that gives us freedom. We must learn the way the drive towards clans operates, if our freedoms are to persist.
There is much more to say, and I will post my thoughts later. For now let me say Concurring Opinions is honored to host this symposium on The Rule of the Clan. As Mark’s initial post notes, we have a great, international and interdisciplinary group participating with us this week. We look forward to their contributions and your comments.