David Brooks Tells You to Read Bret Stephens on the True Meaning of America


From the New York Times’ column by David Brooks:

… Second, McCain is one of very few Republicans willing to stand up for the American story. Human beings can be rallied around one of three things: religion, tribe or ideals.

How about citizenship?

Donald Trump and the campus multiculturalists want to organize people by ethnic tribe, which has always been the menacing temptation throughout our history. But McCain seeks to preserve our traditional rallying point — our ideals. My colleague Bret Stephens has already quoted from McCain’s speech on Monday at the National Constitution Center. I’d encourage you to read the whole thing because this should be the rallying cry around which the nation rediscovers its soul.

Third and most important, McCain still believes that paideia is essential for democracy. Paideia is the process by which we educate one another for citizenship. …

McCain’s career has had its low moments, as all of ours do — a banking scandal, Sarah Palin — but he exemplifies a practical standard of excellence to an extraordinary degree: enduring in Vietnam, seeking compromise legislation on everything from immigration reform to campaign spending, condemning torture after 9/11.

How exactly can McCain’s long campaign to debase American citizenship by spreading it to lawbreakers and their children be considered moral? We can unite Americas around citizenship’s privileges (you and your descendants get to live in America) and responsibilities (preserving the scarcity value of American citizenship for “ourselves and our posterity” to quote the Preamble, which the Brooks [Email him]  and Stephens  [Email him] never seem to do).

[Comment at Unz.com]