Sunday, November 07, 2010

The rise of tribalism

Discussing the plagiarism matter related to Del Castillo and the Philippine Supreme Court, Raul V. Fabella writes:

When the Supreme Court voted in October to dismiss the plagiarism complaint against one of its own on the pretext that an underling made a mistake, it provoked a fit of national protest. Criticized by UP law professors of condoning plagiarism, the Supreme Court stoked a wildfire by counterattacking -- threatening legal sanctions against the critics. One wonders whether the Supreme Court was out to confirm the verdict. How this morality play will end is anybody’s guess. One compromise suggested by some lawmakers is that the Supreme Court retreat from its threatened sanctions in return for the critics’ tuning down. Integral to such a compromise is that Associate Justice Del Castillo remains absolved. If so the Supreme Court shall have effectively if immorally bailed out its own. I will focus on a neglected subtext of the plagiarism issue.

The subtext of interest is tribalism. The Supreme Court justices sworn to weigh and decide on the evidence without fear or favor act instead like tribesmen circling the wagons around one of their own in the service of something other than justice. If the rule of the tribe reigns in a court conceived to advance the rule of law, where in the length and breath of this land will the rule of the tribe be stayed? The rule of the tribe is the twin brother of corruption. Far worse than being assigned by Transparency International to the heart of darkness is the realization that the very keeper of light has snuffed it.

One recalls that the theme of tribalism had been invoked in ClimateGate:

An IPBiz post on ClimateGate included a quote from Judith Curry, a researcher at Georgia Institute of Technology:

"In my opinion, there are two broader issues raised by these emails that are impeding the public credibility of climate research: lack of transparency in climate data, and 'tribalism' in some segments of the climate research community that is impeding peer review and the assessment process."

On the decision of Evan Bayh not to seek re-election, the Christian Scientist Monitor noted that in a phone interview with the Monitor, Senator Bayh elaborated. "Our politics has almost become tribal, with the different political tribes bent on destroying their adversaries," he said. "It's a constant quest for political power that renders its effective use impossible once you've attained it."
[from previous IPBiz post: Tribal]


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