The culture war or culture conflict refers to the conflict between "traditionalist or "conservative values and "social democracy, "progressive or "social liberal values in the Western world, as well as other countries. Culture wars have influenced the debate over history, science and other curricula in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and to a much lesser extent, Britian.
The expression culture war entered the vocabulary of United States politics with the publication of "Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America by "James Davison Hunter in 1991. Hunter perceived a dramatic realignment and polarization that had transformed "United States politics and "culture, including the issues of "abortion, "federal and "state gun laws, "global warming, "immigration, "separation of church and state, "privacy, "recreational drug use, "LGBT rights, and "censorship.
In "Canada, culture war refers to differing values between "Western versus "Eastern Canada, "urban versus "rural Canada, as well as "conservatism versus "liberalism. A divide between "French and "English is also a consistent part of Canadian society.
The phrase "culture war" represents a loan translation ("calque) from the German "Kulturkampf. The German word Kulturkampf (culture struggle), refers to the clash between cultural and religious groups in the campaign from 1871 to 1878 under "Chancellor "Otto von Bismarck of the "German Empire against the influence of the "Roman Catholic Church.
In American usage the term culture war may imply a conflict between those values considered "traditionalist or "conservative and those considered "progressive or "liberal. It originated in the 1920s when urban and rural American values came into clear conflict. This followed several decades of immigration to the States by people who earlier European immigrants considered "alien". It was also a result of the cultural shifts and modernizing trends of the "Roaring 20s, culminating in the presidential campaign of "Al Smith in 1928. However, "James Davison Hunter's 1991 book Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America redefined the "culture war" in the United States of America. Hunter traces the concept to the 1960s. The perceived focus of the American culture war and its definition have taken various forms since then.
"James Davison Hunter, a "sociologist at the "University of Virginia, introduced the expression again in his 1991 publication, Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America. Hunter described what he saw as a dramatic realignment and polarization that had transformed "American politics and "culture.
He argued that on an increasing number of "hot-button" defining issues—"abortion, "gun politics, "separation of church and state, "privacy, "recreational drug use, "homosexuality, "censorship—there existed two definable polarities. Furthermore, not only were there a number of divisive issues, but society had divided along essentially the same lines on these issues, so as to constitute two warring groups, defined primarily not by nominal religion, ethnicity, social class, or even political affiliation, but rather by ideological "world-views.
Hunter characterized this polarity as stemming from opposite impulses, toward what he referred to as Progressivism and as Orthodoxy. Others have adopted the dichotomy with varying labels. For example, "Fox News commentator "Bill O'Reilly emphasizes differences between "Secular-Progressives" and "Traditionalists".
In 1990, commentator "Pat Buchanan mounted a campaign for the "Republican nomination for President against incumbent "George H. W. Bush in "1992. He received a prime-time speech-slot at the "1992 Republican National Convention, to give his speech on the culture war. He argued: "There is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we will one day be as was the Cold War itself." In addition to criticizing environmentalists and feminism, he portrayed "public morality as a "defining issue:
"The agenda [Bill] Clinton and [Hillary] Clinton would impose on America—abortion on demand, a "litmus test for the Supreme Court, homosexual rights, discrimination against religious schools, women in combat units—that's change, all right. But it is not the kind of change America wants. It is not the kind of change America needs. And it is not the kind of change we can tolerate in a nation that we still call God's country."
A month later, Buchanan characterized the conflict as about power over society's definition of right and wrong. He named abortion, sexual orientation and popular culture as major fronts—and mentioned other controversies, including clashes over the "Confederate flag, Christmas and taxpayer-funded art. He also said that the negative attention his "culture war" speech received was itself evidence of America's polarization.
The culture war had significant impact on national politics in the 1990s. The rhetoric of the "Christian Coalition of America may have weakened president "George H.W. Bush's chances for reelection in 1992 and helped his successor, "Bill Clinton, win reelection in 1996. On the other hand, the rhetoric of conservative cultural warriors helped Republicans gain control of Congress in 1994.
The culture wars influenced the debate over state-school history curricula in the United States in the 1990s. In particular, debates over the development of national educational standards in 1994 revolved around whether the study of American history should be a "celebratory" or "critical" undertaking and involved such prominent public figures as "Lynne Cheney, "Rush Limbaugh, and historian "Gary Nash.
In a February 2009 column in "The New York Times, "William Saletan stated that a holistic mix of left-wing and right-wing ideas would come out of the culture war. He wrote: "morality has to be practical, and that practicality requires morals." He concluded that conservatives should embrace "family planning as a way to reduce abortion and government assistance while liberals should embrace personal responsibility, which means that unprotected sex is criticized "bluntly." He also advocated same-sex marriage as a way to lead "LGBT Americans to an "ethic of mutual support and sacrifice" involving stricter personal responsibility.
The phrase "culture war" (or "culture wars") in "Canada describes the polarization between the different values of Canadians.["citation needed] This can be "West versus "East, "rural versus "urban, or "traditional values versus "progressive values.["not in citation given] "Culture war" is a relatively new phrase in Canadian political commentary. It can still be used to describe historical events in Canada, such as the "Rebellions of 1837, "Western Alienation, the "Quebec sovereignty movement, and any "Aboriginal conflicts in Canada, but is more relevant to current events such as the "Caledonia conflict with Natives and the increasing hostility between conservative and liberal Canadians.["citation needed] Controversy erupted in 2010 when pollster Frank Graves suggested that the "Liberal Party launch a "culture war" against the "Conservative Party. "I told them that they should invoke a culture war. Cosmopolitanism versus parochialism, secularism versus moralism, Obama versus Palin, tolerance versus racism and homophobia, democracy versus autocracy. If the cranky old men in Alberta don't like it, too bad. Go south and vote for Palin." The phrase "culture wars" has also been used to describe the "Harper government's attitude towards the arts community. "Andrew Coyne termed this negative policy towards the arts community 'class warfare'. References to "culture war" have increased considerably["quantify] recently["when?] on account of "prorogation rallies, abortion, and "the gun registry.["not in citation given]
Interpretations of Aboriginal history became part of the wider political debate sometimes called the 'culture wars' during the tenure of the "Coalition government from 1996–2007, with the "Prime Minister of Australia "John Howard publicly championing the views of some of those associated with Quadrant. This debate extended into a controversy over the way history was presented in the "National Museum of Australia and in "high school history curricula. It also migrated into the general Australian media, with regular opinion pieces being published in major "broadsheets such as "The Australian, "The Sydney Morning Herald and "The Age. "Marcia Langton has referred to much of this wider debate as 'war porn' and an 'intellectual dead end'
Two Australian Prime Ministers, Paul Keating and John Howard, were major participants in the "wars". According to the analysis for the Australian Parliamentary Library of Dr Mark McKenna, "Paul Keating (1991–1996) was believed by "John Howard (1996–2007) to portray Australia pre-"Whitlam in an unduly negative light; while Keating sought to distance the modern "Labor movement from its historical support for the Monarchy and the "White Australia policy by arguing that it was the Conservative Australian Parties who had been barriers to national progress and excessively loyal to the British Empire. He accused Britain of having abandoned Australia during World War II. Keating was a staunch advocate of a symbolic apology to indigenous people for the misdeeds of past governments, and outlined his view of the origins and potential solutions to contemporary Aboriginal disadvantage in his "Redfern Park Speech (drafted with the assistance of historian "Don Watson). In 1999, following the release of the 1998 "Bringing Them Home Report, Howard passed a Parliamentary "Motion of Reconciliation describing treatment of Aborigines as the "most blemished chapter" in Australian history, but he did not make a Parliamentary apology. Howard argued that an apology was inappropriate as it would imply "intergeneration guilt" and said that "practical" measures were a better response to contemporary Aboriginal disadvantage. Keating has argued for the eradication of remaining symbols linked to British origins: including deference for "ANZAC Day, the "Australian Flag and the "Monarchy in Australia, while Howard was a supporter of these institutions. Unlike fellow Labor leaders and contemporaries, "Bob Hawke and "Kim Beazley, Keating never traveled to "Gallipoli for ANZAC Day ceremonies. In 2008 he described those who gathered there as "misguided".
In 2006, John Howard said in a speech to mark the 50th anniversary of Quadrant that "Political Correctness" was dead in Australia but: "we should not underestimate the degree to which the soft-left still holds sway, even dominance, especially in Australia's universities"; and in 2006, "Sydney Morning Herald Political Editor "Peter Hartcher reported that Opposition foreign affairs spokesman "Kevin Rudd was entering the philosophical debate by arguing in response that "John Howard, is guilty of perpetrating 'a fraud' in his so-called culture wars... designed not to make real change but to mask the damage inflicted by the Government's economic policies".
The defeat of the Howard government in the Australian Federal election of 2007, and its replacement by the "Rudd Labor government has altered the dynamic of the debate. Rudd made an official apology to the "Stolen Generation with bi-partisan support. Like Keating, Rudd supports an Australian Republic, but in contrast to Keating, Rudd has declared support for the "Australian flag and supports the commemoration of "ANZAC Day and expressed admiration for Liberal Party founder "Robert Menzies.
Since the change of government, and the passage, with support from all parties, of a Parliamentary apology to indigenous Australians, Professor of Australian Studies Richard Nile has argued: "the culture and history wars are over and with them should also go the adversarial nature of intellectual debate", a view contested by others, including conservative commentator "Janet Albrechtsen. An intention to reengage in the history wars has been indicated by the Federal Opposition's "Christopher Pyne.
Not since Pat Buchanan's famous "culture war" speech in 1992 has a major speaker at a national political convention spoken so hatefully, at such length, about the opposition.
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