There are things that a full room can do for us. It can reassure us. It can offer comfort. It can offer luxury and pleasant distractions. A full room can be cozy and a crowded refrigerator reassuring. A room can be full of company. We can be and feel less alone. A full room can teach us to share.
If I attempt to follow Berry’s underwater route too closely, I’m afraid I will drown. Rather than try to summarize it, then, I will instead distill from it a set of guidelines for improving the quality of our language. The shouters who dominate our public discourse are unlikely to heed Berry’s advice, but those of us who are weary of shrill denunciations have much to learn from Berry’s sanity.
Despite Americans’ instinctive openness, decades of deadly overdoses and mass shooting victims remind them that there have to be boundaries. The difficulty of controlling protests in Russia and China reminds them that closing down too hard can destabilize the government’s hold on society and trigger an exodus. The question that remains to be answered is whether these vast societies will push their limits to the extreme such that they lose the things that closure was meant to secure and that openness was meant to allow.
In Greenwich at Rush Hour and thinking Kauffman's suggestion to go see Father Boyd speak his wisdom on Chesterton a good one, I reluctantly...
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