Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan has given up on America. In his new book, Suicide of a Superpower, he writes: "Our nation is disintegrating, ethnically, culturally, morally, politically. . . . we seem to detest each other in ways as deep as Southerners detested a mercantile North and North­erners detested an agrarian slaveholding South."

To be fair, Buchanan's book bears the subtitle Will America Survive to 2025? and Buchan­an allows there is just enough time to snatch victory from defeat—if his prescriptions are followed right now. But it remains clear that Buchanan is deeply alienated from much that actually is America today.

I can understand such alienation. For reasons very different from Buchanan's, I was sorely tempted toward alienation during the George W. Bush years. But I recognized alienation as a temptation to be fought.