Notes on National Identity in America. Commentator David Brooks describes Donald Trump as a "blood and soil nationalist," intending a pejorative connotation. But might this actually count as a compliment? Did Harvard philosopher Samuel Huntington predict our current political moment -- a "clash of civilizations" conjoined with a muddled sense of "who we are" as Americans? We gauge the divide between untethered globalist elites and the more anchored citizenry of Western civilization. Is America truly a disembodied "propositional" nation -- or should there be a rightful place for existing patterns of language, culture, religion and identity? If our conservative creeds have become too abstract, to what extent is America still a "sustainable" experiment? Could the lack of "national spirit" in America be contributing to our cultural disintegration? We survey the pessimistic outlook of French intellectual Michel Houellebecq, who compares the nations of Europe to hopeless "zombies," as does Italian philosopher Giacomo Leopardi. Also, we consider the phenomenon of "tattoos" in our common culture with homage to Sylvester McMonkey McBean and the Dr. Seuss classic, The Sneetches. Coda: Our stirring defense of candidate Trump. With Listener Calls and Music via Maren Morris, Pavement, Kylie Minogue and R.E.M.
July 17, 2016