In her new book “Commonwealth and Covenant,” Marcia Pally of N.Y.U. and Fordham offers a clarifying concept. What we want, she suggests, is “separability amid situatedness.” We want to go off and create and explore and experiment with new ways of thinking and living. But we also want to be situated — embedded in loving families and enveloping communities, thriving within a healthy cultural infrastructure that provides us with values and goals.Brooks thinks America will be revived, but that's not going to happen on terms he will like, and even then the odds drop considerably if there's another 4 years of open borders, plus amnesty.
Creating situatedness requires a different way of thinking. When we go out and do a deal, we make a contract. When we are situated within something it is because we have made a covenant. A contract protects interests, Pally notes, but a covenant protects relationships. A covenant exists between people who understand they are part of one another. It involves a vow to serve the relationship that is sealed by love: Where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay. Your people shall be my people.
If instead the continent spanning nation state is dead and globalization remains, what follows will allow for greater diversity, but also less integration. Instead of reclaiming the nation state as physical territory, the nation will be reclaimed as a phyle or a tribe, whether organic or constructed for a common purpose. An encrypted national financial network has no geographic limit and the economic benefits bestowed by the nation-state, via its issuance of currency and ability to tax (which is dependent today on its ability to violate privacy), is the last remaining attraction.