Turkey on the table, smiles on the faces. Family together and music in the background. And here, now we gather to give thanks. But what is it, then, that we give thanks for? Turkey on the table, smiles on the faces, family together and music in the background. Peace and comfort. Food and drink. Family and neighbors. A slice of annual happiness that we try to conjure up with some sights, sounds, and smells.

Jack Donovan in his book Becoming a Barbarian has a chapter titled “The Empire of Nothing.” In it he offers a compelling critique of our current political and cultural milieu. In fact, he argues that it isn’t so much a culture that is being forwarded but an anticulture where there is no “Emperor, no center and no people.” Instead, the Empire of Nothing is a collection of businesses and institutions that have aligned against identity in some vague hope of “progress.”