Tabletmag: ‘Eagles Fans, the NFL’s Most Notorious, Have an Important Spiritual Lesson to Teach Us – We need a little rowdy tribalism’

I think this is the first time I’ve liked anything Liel Liebovitz had to say.

He writes:

Why would anyone put up with this behavior, let alone revel in it? Why tolerate such boorishness, inflected as it is with violence and disdainful of all that is kind and beautiful in the world? There’s a good reason, I think, and it has more to do with theology than it does with athletics.

Aptly enough, I first stumbled upon this bit of religious insight in Jerusalem. I’m a fan of the city’s local soccer team, Beitar, and I was attending a game one day when the God of Vengeance soured on his hometown boys. Beitar lost, and the fans set out on a nearby mall, seeking revenge. Happening on a McDonald’s, they attempted arson, pouring their wrath on the Chicken McNuggets before the law swooped in and had the hooligans arrested.

Observing these men, my fellow fans, I felt a strange sort of pride that troubled me. Even though I could never partake in their shenanigans, and would, under any other circumstances, denounce them as vile little vandals, I was gratified to see them senselessly express their disappointment by behaving like a gaggle of Visigoths with clubs in their hands and pillage on their minds. In their own idiotic way, I understood, they were pledging their allegiance to their tribe. It didn’t matter much that their tribe revolved around something as trivial as soccer, or that their way of expressing themselves involved light eruptions of asocial behavior. What mattered is that these men wanted to belong.

And wanting to belong, these days, is a problem.

These days, you’re likely to be told that the only collective you can join without care or concern is the biggest one possible, that of the human race. Globalists are welcome, praised for their humanity, celebrated for their universal worldview that insists that all peoples and places and cultures are, at heart, the same. But say that you have an affinity for your nation, say, or for the particulars of your religion, and suspicions arise: Are you some sort of separatist? And isn’t your preference really a way to mask feelings of supremacy? Because isn’t belonging really about choosing, and choosing really about hierarchy, and hierarchy really about discrimination?

If Jews can teach the world that tribalism and nationalism are often good, they will be a light unto the nations.

Dennis Dale blogs:

Wanting to belong is only truly a problem for white Westerners. The author of this piece Liel Liebowitz has not only an exception from the compulsion to self-atomize, but the responsibility to resist it, as a Jew. Even the most secular Jew living outside of Israel can take his ethnic identity–a genetic and cultural lineage going back thousands of years–as such a normative given he doesn’t even see it. White Americans used to have this. The critique of “white privilege” is just the pathologizing of the normative values any nation is necessarily based on.

The tribalism of soccer hooligans and American normals is meaningless, except as another degenerate wasteful release of energy. From the elites’ perspective, having nationalist tendencies subsumed in sportsball enthusiasm, whether by design or happy accident, is a Good Thing.

Recently someone tweeted a photo of an impressive parade of German men turned out to support their soccer team, while their women are raped and seduced at home by men with a deeper sort of tribalism.

Nonetheless, Liebowitz is on to something, and perhaps even comfortable secular Jews are starting to worry about the post-national wonderland that awaits.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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