View Full Version : The Politics of Clan

David G
05-30-2017, 10:10 AM
David Brooks on ' The Adventures of Jared Kushner' --


Jared Kushner deserves a bit of sympathy. All his life heís been serving his father or father-in-law. All his career heís been thrust into roles heís not ready for. His background has ill prepared him for national government. Now he is in a realm where his instincts seem to lead him astray and where thereís a chance he will end up in disgrace and possibly under indictment.


We tell young people to serve something beyond self, and Kushner seems to have been fiercely, almost selflessly, loyal to family. But the clannish mentality has often ill served him during his stay in government.

Working in government is about teamwork, majority-building and addition ó adding more and more people to your coalition. It is about working within legal frameworks and bureaucratic institutions. Itís about having a short memory and not taking things personally.

Clannishness, by contrast is about tight and exclusive blood bonds. Itís a moral approach based on loyalty and vengeance against those who attack a member of the clan. Itís an intensely personal and feud-ridden way of being.

Working in government is about trusting the system, and trusting those who have been around and understand the craft. But the essence of clannishness is to build a barrier between family ó inside the zone of trust ó and others, outside that zone. Consequently, Kushner has made some boneheaded blunders in the White House. He reportedly pushed for the firing of F.B.I. Director James Comey even though anybody with a blip of experience could have told you this move would backfire horribly. Heís allowed his feud with Steve Bannon to turn into a public soap opera.