Shared Culture, Shared Beliefs
Michael Lind is to be commended for trying to reunite America under “cultural nationalism” (“The Case for Cultural Nationalism,” September 11). He defines this as “an American national majority defined by a common culture.” He affirms that “there is and long has been an American cultural majority.” I am with him completely, on all of this, so far.
I have one objection to make. He is also selling us short. Very short. He rejects the idea of a “common. . . creed.” But all groups have a creed, whether stated or implied. Everybody acts on some sort of belief or principle. And guess what the principle — the creed — is that Lind seems to have left out?
It is Honest Abe’s creed, which Lincoln got from the Founders, whom he revered. That creed is in the first sentence of the Declaration of Independence. Natural law, defined as: “Submission to the Creator — be creative, not destructive. Be honest.” Abe honored the Founders at Gettysburg when he said: “This nation, under God.”
Orange County, Va.
Michael Lind responds: As the author of What Lincoln Believed: The Values and Convictions of America’s Greatest President (2004), I could not agree more that what is called the American creed has been and should remain the basis for our political community — the “state” half of the compound phrase “nation-state.” My point was that the American nation always has been united by more than the American creed, which, in principle, can be adopted by all nations and therefore cannot be used to distinguish one nation from another.
It was not Paul McCartney who took John Lennon to the roof of Abbey Road Studios during the latter’s acid trip of March 21, 1967, but George Martin (“That Magic Feeling,” September 11). However, Paul and George Harrison swiftly joined them there, and it was Paul who took John to Paul’s Cavendish home thereafter. The incident did not prompt Paul to take LSD for the first time — Paul had done that with friend Tara Browne the year before — but it did prompt him to take the drug with one of his fellow Beatles for the first time, an event that occurred later that night, at Cavendish.