A 'chosen people'

Without the myths that form its spiritual “glue” the United States would disintegrate, argues historian Richard Hughes. Hughes gives these myths five easy-to-remember labels: that Americans are “the chosen people,” and that America is “nature’s nation,” “the Christian nation,” “the millennial nation” and “the innocent nation.” “Contrary to colloquial usage,” he says, “a myth is not a story that is patently untrue. Rather, a myth is a story that speaks of meaning and purpose, and for that reason it speaks truth to those who take it seriously.” Hughes rebuffs citizens and scholars who can muster only cynicism in regard to America’s myths. He believes that antipatriotic unbelievers, the “fundamentalists of the left, who can find no good in America whatsoever,” actually pose a danger to the republic.


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