Human beings need narratives. They provide purpose, explanation, and meaning. They underlie religions and nations alike. To be sure, they sometimes reinforce preordained categories that prohibit nuance and leave listeners less willing to grapple with others' narratives. Many people end up reading and watching "analysis" that only convinces them of his or her own story, while simultaneously condemning the unfamiliar. It is a rather sad condition in a country whose founding story is one of mutual respect and pluralism.
Unfortunately, Robert Putnam and David Campbell's "God & Caesar in America" (March/April 2011) falls victim to an exclusionary narrative. Their essay employs powerful statistical evidence to conclude that young Americans have decided to "opt out of...TAGGED: Politics