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Self Defense/Feuds and Tribalism on micro and macro identities, and dignity and honor cultures


FIrst to bring up your comment

"You won't be able to understand this subject until you know the difference between honor and dignity cultures.

Although this addresses the growing 'victim culture' in this country, it's a good starting point.

Then research more into the different kinds of honor culture (shame/guilt), rule of law (places with dignity culture have rule of law, honor culture, less so) and the different attitudes in individualistic/sociocentric/divine societies.

There are lots of keywords in what I just gave you. What I can tell you is the mindset (hence the actions) of people"

First I want to thank you with sending a reply (even though You could not directly answer my question). I also wanted to let you know I did research your topics before posting this so I now understand the basics.

But all the writings on the stuff you posted I found on the internet seems not only naively black and white  (and too simplistic) but the stuff you brought up in my response sort of ignored the main question.

Yes I understand dignity cultures generally find themselves too civilized to commit "feuds among themselves". While Honor cultures often emphasize the feuding mentality to defend the family honor because local law is often too corrupt and inefficient to handle crime.

But my original question was:Tribalism- Why are brutal behavior so common with macro identities (IG I'm French and you're German, I'm Muslim and you're Jewish,  you're communist so I'll kill you because I'm capitalist)? But overall incredibly rare in micro identities (I'm Parisian but I won't kill you just because you're from Britanny or I may be Catholic and you may be Calvinist but if us Catholics start burning your homes down I would be horrified)?

Yes after reading the concepts you put I am fully aware in more savage regions such as parts of Africa, its common to see one family rape members of another family as revenge for stolen cattle.

But the dignity culture and honor culture have nothing oto do with my original question.

I mean for example many recent warcrimes have happened in Iraq and Afghanistan as committed by American soldiers. But you can in many American citizens try to downplay or justify the warcrimes often using simplistic excuses such as "its war!" or "the Iraqis ae sending kids to shoot us so we have no choice but to kill them!" and other stuff.

In fact I know patriotic American who even delight at incidents of Iraqis and Afghanis being raped and massacred in said warcrimes.

OK this is coming from the United States- A CULTURE that is STRICTLY DIGNIFIED. A culture where tribalism and blood feuds are taboo and looked down on as uncivilized and savage to the point they are illegal.

Yet despite the fact the American mentality is to believe the McCoys VS Hatfield feuds as being un-American and savage because of the violence and bigotry involved (I hate you simply because Hatfield is your last name!), many Americans have no qualms about seeing Iraqi children get gunned down by Chris Kyle  in American Sniper.

Nor are Americans above bombing entire Iraqi cities (consisting of children and babies as casualties) just so one American can come home safely.

To use another related example, I know Americans who hate Japan because of World War II. To the point patriotic Americans call younger generations into Japanese culture (such as games, anime/manga, and martial arts) as traitors to America and the most radical of conservatives and patriots even want to see Japan get nuked today because the country  denies warcrimes they committed against Americans (or at least many Anglo nations seem to assume Japan never attempted to admit guilt).

We're a culture that thinks tribalism on a micro level (and especially violence because of) is so backwards. But we're fine with excusing and justifying warcrimes against countries we get involved with (as seen in the many rapes in the Vietnam War) and we're even guilty of holding grudges against specific nations that hurt us in the past such as Japan (and get this-there are even diehard conservatives such as Mel Gibson who hold ANTI-BRITISH sentiment simply because of the Revolutionary War and War of 1812!).

So this is a clarification of what I meant y my question.

Now to go even more specific this time, I am curious if there is an overlap between the concepts you mention as far as it relates to feuding and tribalism?

I already technically listed one example, the United States who is guilty of incredible bigotry against many other groups. Hell I knew an American- who was a CATHOLIC and had FRENCH BLOOD- who was racist against French people simply because of a few decisions they made concerning Iraq. To the point he even wants France to be bombed, calls you anti-American for liking anything French (even just minor things such as thnking French bread is yummy),  and a few times he yelled out how he'd like genocide to happen to French people.

But to put another example in the equation, I mentioned before that while the Capulet and Montagues were not above murdering each other but not once has a  Capulet raped a Montague woman. Nor has a Montague killed an 8 year old Capulet just for being Capulet. In fact the Montagues and Capulets shown far more restraint after Juleit and Romeo died together because they realized how destructive the feud was and agreed to discontinue it.

As opposed to many honor cultures in my research in which even after a Rome and Juliet romance ends in tragedy, they still keep hacking each other (as seen in Yugoslavia between a specific Serb and Bosnian family- to this day they still hold grudges toward each other and violent crimes have been happening over the years even after the war ended between members both families).

I mean even in Afghanistan where blood feuds are common, there is a system of law acting as mediator. Should one tribe go over the edge (such as raping the women of the nobles class of another tribe) the rest of Afghanistan (or at least other nearby tribes) will step in and intervene to halt the feud and demand  over the guilty tribe to hand over the rapists. If not, the rest of the nearby tribals will wage war to against this trie who refuses to abide by the "blood feud rules".

So in addition tot he main question I had previously (why is it fine to kill others who differ from you over a huge macro level identity such as Turks VS Greeks but inacceptable over micro level identities such as I have the right to rape yo because you're from Liverpool and you're not human to me because I'm a Londoner), I am curious if dignity culture and honor cultures are not mutually exclusive and if there is an overlap in violence as well as "restraint"/"Culture".

Because the stuff I've read online make it seem black and white "in otehrwords because you're family stole cows from my family, I'm going to murder each and every one of you". Well in fact I noted different cultures view different crimes proportionality (for example in many Arabic countries its  fine for me to rape another tribe's women because we both agree women are property but in Mexico we may not hold a life long grudge over stolen property; but if you rape a woman of my famil, I will kill you and a blood feud will happen).

Not even going into how cultures that may accpet violence because its honor  may find it horrifying to kill civilians of an enemy nation (even if their identities are macro- you may be Muslim but our code of honor forbids us from killing your children and women even though we're Catholic).

While any cultures that pride themselves as "dignified" such as the United States are perfectly fine with killing people of other macro-identity (as seen in Iraq and Afghanistan).

Because I failed to see how honor and dignified culture (if we take the onine articles which portrays thema s being black and white and mutally exclusive) could explain why its forbidden for a Russian living in Moscow to kill a Russian living in Serbia. But its perfectly fine for him to rape Polish people (as seen in World War 2).

Humans are humans.

They are not rational animals, they are rationalizing animals.

Most of what we operate from is not knowledge, it's beliefs. Beliefs do not have to be rational, logical or consistent. As such, neither are humans.

There is no formula, model or theory that is completely and exactly going to explain human behavior from macro all the way down to the micro and back up again.

We are complex, often contradictory critters

Many people who believe they are being logical and trying to 'understand' something
a- are trying to integrate different -- if not contradictory data into preexisting assumptions b- a hanging onto preexisting assumption that are blocking understanding
c- are overgeneralizing
d- are using 'classic logic/Aristotelian logic.

About D this where there are no shades of gray. Things are either 100% true or 100% false. Anything that isn't 100% true is therefore false.

You've shifted from asking about how followers of certain ideologies are likely going to act given a set of circumstances to asking 'why do people act this way?'  

Which is the first step in either understanding the answer of "Because they're human and that's what humans tend to do"

OR the first step into thinking that because something doesn't make sense to you the person doing it is stupid, wrong(if not evil) and is ignorant. Which incidentally the second step in that path is how you are superior to them because you're smarter than them.  This is often a curse among the young and inexperienced, who grow to be the old and closeminded. (Take a look at what's happening on college campuses right now where you're seeing "we already know the absolute truth and you're wrong." This is an ugly hybrid of the worst of the old and the young.)

Humans are not clocks. No idea is ever going to explain all of human behavior, so don't bother looking for 'The One Answer' to why humans do what they do. It'll always be wrong if you try to make anything an absolute.

Humans can -- and often do --use violence to achieve goals. How they do this is strongly influenced by their culture and how they think. While trying to understand the myriad of ways that manifests is a good and worthy cause, trying to get any more universal, yet absolute and specific, is a giant hamster wheel.  

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Marc MacYoung


Street self-defense, crime avoidance and personal safety


I grew up in the streets of Los Angeles in 'situational poverty.' I have dealt with criminals and violent people all my life -- both personally and professionally. I have written 15 books and 6 videos on surviving street violence. I was originally published under the name Marc Animal MacYoung. (Animal was my street name). I've taught police and military both internationally and within the US. I've lectured at universities, academies and done countless TV, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews. I'm a professional speaker on crime avoidance and personal safety. And I am an expert witness recognized by the US court system. My bio is at My abridged CV (Curriculum Vitae) is at

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