Look, No TocquevilleIssue: Fall 1995
Michael Lind, The Next American Nation (New York: The Free Press, 1995).
Michael Lind is not lacking in ambition. His first book is the "first manifesto" of a "real, not merely metaphorical revolution in politics and society" leading to a new America to be known as Trans-America. Lind compares his revolution to the Civil Rights revolution of the 1960s and expects it will come by election. He offers his personal guarantee that it will be bloodless. His analysis makes a book that, while too long for a genuine manifesto, does suit his ambitious goal: a new understanding of the American nation supported by a new interpretation of American history.
Believing that America is a nation-state--a state arising from a nation--Lind calls himself a "liberal nationalist." As nationalist, he opposes those who define America as an idea, while also distinguishing himself as a liberal from nativists, who define America by its race or religion. Liberal nationalism in his view sees the nation as formed essentially by language and culture, even though up to now America has been held in the grip of a "white overclass" bent on racial and religious domination. But the discrepancy between what a nation has been in the past and what it can be in the future cannot be removed by politics purging the nation of its excrescences, he believes, because politics comes from within a nation and cannot impose solutions from outside.