American politics, to David Brooks, has descended to a state of tribal warfare where incivility reigns and no one trusts their neighbor.
Brooks, a cultural commentator and marquee columnist for The New York Times, spoke Tuesday at the University of Charleston on how to bring civility back to American politics.
In an interview before the speech, Brooks said the reasoning behind the contemporary nastiness is twofold. For one, he said social science shows Americans are just a less trusting people than they used to be; coupled with this, he said a tendency toward tribalism is spurring a lack of civility.
“Tribalism is identifying your group by defining it against some other group,” he said. “You’re always making friend-and-enemy, us-them distinctions, so it’s always us against them.”