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Creed or Culture?

Via Political Theory Daily Review, this fascinating essay asks: what's really at the root of our national identity?

Yet the patriotism of indignation and fear can only go so far. When the threat recedes, when the malefactor has been punished, the sentiment cools. Unless we know what about our national identity ought to command admiration and love, we are left at our enemies' mercy. We pay them the supreme and undeserved compliment of letting them define us, even if indirectly. Unsure of our national identity, we are left uncertain of our national interests too; now even the war brought on by 9/11 seems strangely indefinite.
The author attacks the idea (which he attributes to Samuel Huntington) that the culture of Anglo-Protestantism is the "dominant strain of [our] national identity." He argues instead that our "ideology" or "creed" (universal principles such as those of the Declaration of Independence) is much more fundamental.

I think the essay's criticism of culture-centrics like Huntington is right. (Nick R., is this where we disagree?)

I do quibble with the author about what, exactly, the American creed consists of, but I'm much more comfortable with these disagreements about creed than I am with Huntington's elevation of culture as the most important element of our national identity. That road, I think, inevitably leads to the doorstep of racism, xenophobia, fascism, and all the other evils I've ever accused Pat Buchanan of flirting with.

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