Ahmari appears to envision politics, and government action, as an escape from culture and excoriates French for the heavy emphasis he puts on cultural transformation. But politics isn’t a magic wand. In a liberal democracy, it depends on public sentiment, which is decisively shaped by culture.

If this country had more faithful believers, its culture would be in a better place and so would its politics. This is what makes it so strange that Ahmari pours scorn on the idea that we need religious conversions. “Calls for religious revival,” he writes, “are often little more than an idle wish that all men become moral, so that we might dispense with moral regulation.”

Who, one wonders, is going to do this moral regulating? Unless it is self-appointed guardians of virtue, it has to be people who win political office through democratic elections. And it helps immensely in that cause to have more socially conservative, religious Americans rather than less.