Culture War

While this term has meant various things historically and internationally, in the United States “culture war” has come to refer to what Hunter first called in 1992 the ongoing contest between “Progressivism” (liberal-secularist convictions) and as Orthodoxy (conservative-traditionalist conviction).

To some, the rhetoric of “culture war” reflects a polarized and distorted lens of Americans who are far more moderate than portrayed - with blame placed on battle rhetoric for making the hostility worse than it has to be in a kind of ‘self-fulfilling prophesy.’   

Without excusing media overemphasis on sensationalized warfare, others argue that the boundaries in the culture war reflect fundamentally meaningful disagreements along moral issues. Rather than “an artificial creation of political parties seeking to drum up support” Rod Dreher describes these cultural conflicts as "inevitable".

To the degree we are in the middle of cultural warfare, the appropriate tactics and goals are also contested. While some speak of the crucial place of compromise within the “culture war” (see Saletan, 2009), others insist that winning is the ultimate focus - with each side accusing the other of striving at "winning" the culture wars for their side (while claiming unique willingness to compromise on their own side).

 

QUESTIONS TO PLAY WITH:

Do believe the cultural conflict happening today in America is inevitable or somehow avoidable?  If so, how?  

Is there one side more to ‘blame’ for the current conflict?  Given blame being cast on both sides, how are we to decide where responsibility lies?  

Conversation Catalysts: 

Hunter, James Davison, Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America (New York: Basic Books, 1992)

D'Antonio, William V., Steven A. Tuch and Josiah R. Baker, Religion, Politics, and Polarization: How Religiopolitical Conflict Is Changing Congress and American Democracy (Rowman & Littlefield, 2013)

Fiorina, Morris P., with Samuel J. Abrams and Jeremy C. Pope, Culture War?: The Myth of a Polarized America (Longman, 2004)

 

Contributors: 

Jacob Hess

There is currently no content classified with this term.