Something That Doesn’t Love a Wall
The world is divided into two categories: those who love neat, clear, divisions; and those who can live with, or even delight in, the doubtful border areas. The first delight in policing the boundaries, the second in exploring the liminal areas, as in Saki’s story about “those uncomfortable piebald times when a third of the people were Pagan, and a third Christian, and the biggest third of all just followed whichever religion the Court happened to profess.”
My mood varies: I see the importance of keeping black-and-white moral areas from dissolving into a uniform gray, but I feel that other things benefit from a lack of hard edges. With roots in an American Border State, I enjoy both lobster roll and spoon bread, in which I see a happy complementarity, not a contradiction.
Europeans wish that Germany and France could have seen in Alsace a via media instead of a battlefield. Alsatians especially wish it. Their capital, Strasbourg, now houses the European Parliament. Alsatians would like national identities to be blurred in a Europe composed of regions whose peace and security is guaranteed by new European structures.
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Leon J. Podles holds a Ph.D. in Old English and Old Icelandic from the University of Virginia and is a senior editor of Touchstone. His latest book is Losing the Good Portion: Why Men Are Alienated from Christianity (St. Augustine's Press, 2020). He and his wife Mary (author of the Touchstone column "A Thousand Words") are the parents of six children. He resides in Baltimore, Maryland.
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