Dreher’s book is a tribute to his sister and also to a place. Many successful people tell him of the meaninglessness of their pursuit of wealth and accomplishment. Our rootlessness and individualism often leave our lives without purpose or meaning. A strong connection to a place can give us just that.
Dreher is not naïve about the shortcomings of small towns. They are often small-minded and provincial. Still, the book’s dedication says it all. He dedicates the book to his sister’s children, writing “This is your mother; these are your people.”
We in South Dakota have many of the same virtues as small-town Louisiana. The pastoral simplicity of our state is not for everybody, but we should recognize its value and the hazards of rootless cosmopolitanism. This is our land. These are our people. Nothing to be ashamed of there.