One of the sad facts about our post-modern world is that the architecture of the various big cities around the planet looks boringly similar. Cities which once reflected the unique culture of the local people now have become quite homogeneous in appearance. There has been a marked lack of imagination on the part of the designers of especially the tall buildings of these cities, which often become famous landmarks for which the city is known. Isn’t it sad that buildings in China, Arabia, Africa, South America and here in Dixie all look the same? This was the perspective I was pleasantly surprised to hear advocated this afternoon by a guest and professor on NPR’s ‘Science Friday’ radio program. He specifically noted that he advocates in his classes that buildings should reflect the local culture of the people. In fact, he used the example of how people in Chicago would naturally wonder what was going on if someone built a large, Arabic-inspired building in their city. It would be out of place. The buildings of Chicago should reflect the culture there, as the buildings of Arabia should reflect the culture in that part of the world.
I was surprised at this sort of thinking being expressed on NPR because this is essentially an argument for maintaining and promoting the local culture of the people rather than blending together all the various cultures of the planet. This is not a very politically-correct line of thinking these days. It is only a step or two removed from advocacy for maintaining and promoting the local people themselves rather than blending everyone together into a boring, homogeneous single human race and culture. Of course, many of the predominantly Left-wing listeners of NPR might not make this connection to the argument for organic nationalism, but it was certainly not lost on me. I’m sure many others picked up on it as well.