I’ve suddenly realized what I disliked so vehemently about the NYT article I linked to yesterday. It’s that it nodded approvingly at this characterization of progressives and conservatives:
The linguist George Lakoff suggests that the political right conceives of society as a family ruled by a strict father, whereas the left thinks of it as a family guided by a nurturant parent.
It’s not just the clumsy circumlocution. I think that statements reflects an utter lack of understanding of the United States and what makes us tick. It’s confusing us with Britain or France or Germany.
Families are based on kinship ties, either ties of blood or ties of formal adoption. Being American isn’t based on kinship. It’s more like a religion, as G. K. Chesterton understood a century ago: America is the only nation founded on a creed. Rejecting that creed is like rejecting the creed of a religion. If you reject it, you’re not trying to make the religion better. You’re trying to start a different religion.