Blood and Soil Nationalism in Sidney Lanier’s “Corn”

The Orthosphere

Many people find it hard to grasp the notion of a nation because they try to grasp the notion too tightly.  It is, we might say, like a wet bar of soap that flies out of the hand when it is squeezed.

I suspect they do this because their minds are modern, and therefore trammeled by the Cartesian prejudice that a “clear and distinct idea” must stand at the head of every rational thought.  But when nation is apprehended as a clear and distinct idea, it is always reduced to one aspect of the real thing, which is complex, indistinct and obscure.  In a recent post, for instance, I wrote about the way that men like Paul Ryan reduce American nationality to a doctrine, and about their fierce hostility to men who (they allege) reduce that nationality to blood and soil.

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Author: Alfred E. Neuman

71 year old geek, ultra-conservative patriot.