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Culture War by Morris Fiorina
The idea behind the culture war in America is familiar to many people since it has been a central point of discussion recently. The comparisons and distinctions between the American's time circumstances and those experienced in Germany in the last decades have brought the idea of the culture war to be in circulation. Nowadays the American culture war is a different cast. The cultural cleavage seems to originate from education. Differences between the Protestants and the Catholics are also big players in the cultural disparities. It is thus important to study the realities that are tied in the culture war and its historical significance as well as the political implications that are prevalent.
The culture war is used to refer to disputes within the societies that involve at least two moral visions that are opposing. There were two opposing moral views in America where some communities held progressive views while others held orthodox views. According to the first vision where some Americans held the orthodox views saw morality, truth, and political outcomes within the society to be fixed. These communities are tightly bounded and allocate their resources in a religious, (Chapman and Ebrary, 136). This kind of allocation is seen to apply regardless of the technology progresses that arises as time passes by. This makes the moral responsibilities remain inflexible and fixed from time to time. In summary, people who abide by the conditions of this moral vision assume that the government must champion morally based politics all over the communities within that society.
Americans that hold the progressive view are aware of their commitments and moral obligations. They view ethical obligations to be well known and that they keep on evolving. Individuals upholding progressive views have autonomous choices which make them support same-sex marriages and abortions. It will be realized that these individuals also oppose traditional views that regard women to take on primary childrearing roles and housework and also they resist public school prayers. People who accept to uphold the progressive view of the moral vision expect the government to safeguard their liberty and defend them against majority tyranny. These differing views have resulted in cultural conflicts in America (Chapman and Ebrary p.136).
New Democrats sought to change the conservative Republican ascendancy. These democrats come from the Border States and surrounded the Democratic council. It was noted that they collectively accepted the cultural liberties which are viewed as mainstreams. They include environmental protection, integration, and rights of abortion. According to their views, they rejected ostracized liberal programs. These included special interests that were regarded to favor economic policies. They were also concerned about cultural issues such as crime, welfare, defense patriotism, and public morality. With these considerations, Bill Clinton and Al Gore won the 1992 elections. Clinton still won the 1996 elections. In his second term, the congressional Republicans inspected his sexual involvements and the deceptive statements regarding the affairs. The liberals in the Democrats were and other independents were annoyed by the actions of the republicans (Williams p.124). This bitterness that arose from Clinton’s era increased the gap that lay in the major parties that were in the culture wars. The liberal democrats were also annoyed by the partisan use of terrorist attacks in 2001 championed by Bush. It was recognized that during the Bush-era culture war that existed between those Democrats who were liberal and the conservative Republicans was highly pronounced. It will be realized that the major components in the two-party systems in America especially the Democratic Party truly comprise varied socioeconomic, ethnocultural, and regional coalitions. This makes the democrats represent the liberals in the culture wars in the country.
The ongoing political arguments over the issues of pornography, death penalties, gay rights, and abortions prevail in the culture war. These have led to increased religious interventions since they violate the traditional views. The modern way of life automatically constitutes to culture war because their views are different from what has been the case since immemorial. It will be realized that most of the progressives based their views partly on the religious stand more especially on the opposition of capital punishment. It is noted that religion has played a big role in the political disagreements among Americans (Singh p. 193).
Cultural war mainly arises from five key areas as revealed by American politics. These areas include education, family, media, law, and electoral politics (Hunter 1991, p.173).
Family: The family shows the relationships and social arrangements and thus it’s very symbolic in revealing the social order of the society. It helps in showing how women and men relate and their authority, the role of children, and the nature of rightful sexuality within the groups of people. These family practices have resulted in social and political issues that have caused differing views.
Education: the education system does not seem to provide the basic skills to the adolescent groups. It is the major cause of culture war because it is the central institution of modern life. It will be noticed that American life is symbolized by the type of literature in the textbooks, social school activities, and the curriculum in general which is mainly based on public education.
Popular media: the media may extend to include films, music, television, and art which reveal the aspirations of the people in the whole nation. Conflicts have aroused from which among the various ideals and aspirations of the people should be reflected in the media that describe the realities within the society. Regarding this, there have been differing views on moral visions from the media.
Law: laws signify patronage within the nation. The laws stipulated in a country relating to the social and cultural norms of the people may cause disparities. Laws that support abortion and gay marriage cause cultural war to arise.
The culture war in America arises from two groups of people who have different ideas regarding the future life of society. It is openly seen that on one side the cultural elites are defending their position and power while on other hand arises another group that accuses the above group of undervaluing the values of the Americans. The latter group is powerless and has a strong belief that they practice morality. These deepened disparities within the society make it to become a key issue to be addressed in American politics.
Studies show that America is deeply divided over core political and moral values (Miroff and Raymond 2009, p. 182). In the fight of the cultural war, the Americans are evenly divided into two moral camps that are opposing (Williams p.123). This is because it touches the core moral values of society. These issues include the rights of abortion, gay marriages among others. The division arises because some people do not abide by these provisions and hold that they figure the picture out of the national image.
Elites and the public masses have differing opinions more especially concerning the culture war. Public opinion is more progressive than the elite opinion on the way they think about abortion. The elite opinion about abortion is not inclined to the progressive views. A substantial difference between the public opinion and the opinions of the elite is that the elites indicate that a political culture is an object that needs to be studied on its own. Elite opinions also indicate that higher education levels not only encourage people to get involved in affairs on the political and social patterns of the society but also help in understanding how both the political and social institutions work( Donsbach p.55). Elite opinions also show the interrelations that exist between ideologies and abstract values and the specific policy issues.
Studies also reveal that public mass opinion actually does not disclose the culture war and that political dialogues only depend on the opinions of the elite. Limiting culture war to the opinions of the elites indicates the traditions that are associated with political science and the decrease in interest in dominant features of the public mass opinions. In terms of consistency in ideologies, the difference in the elite and public opinions will clearly show that the opinions of the elite are more logical and coherent to the issue in discussion (Williams p. 125).
At the elite level studies indicate that Congress is polarized where the members of the party seem to converge towards ideological poles which clearly shows that few fights occur in polling stations. According to Morris Fiorina in his book about the culture war, he argues that most of the voters are not polarized as a result of polarized choices that are provided by the political arena. He further notes that the preferences of the voters remain moderate and do not quickly change due to social issues. It will be realized that not all the scholars of the public opinion agree with the views of Fiorina. According to Jacobson polarization is only witnessed in the unprecedented partisan differences in Bush’s evaluations. According to him, polarization can be seen after evaluations of the policies that Bush used. Other scholars see polarization in the consistency of the conservative and liberal views of the mass public. They argue that polarization is seen from the people’s consistency of responses (Hetherington and Jonathan p.16)
According to Fiorina one of the negative effects of the culture war is that it led to the division of the state into political camps. He argued that the media frame in the polarized nation was ideal or accurate. The division of America into several political camps was a result of the media which was a major component of the culture war. This was not representative of what was the situation in America as the media tried to reveal. Fiorina argued that the red and blue models brought about oversimplification of reality by the media. These terms were only meant to simplify the voting by the public. Culture war thus made the people unidirectional because the people were either labeled as either conservatives or liberals. This made people not consistently align with the political parties and the voters could change their views over time.
Culture warriors in America are seen to revolve around those people who embrace the traditional values and those who are on the journey to change America into a secular progressive country. This conflict in reality differs from the conservative and liberal divide. If cultural warriors are allowed by any chance to be the leading public policy-making bodies then there would automatically be an abuse epidemic, especially on children. The policies would also torment the role of religion and the traditional values of the societies in favor of policies that are geared at realizing a secular progression in the country.
Cultural war in America has led to a deep division of the society into two opposing groups with differing views. Some abide by the progressive views and others to the orthodox views where every group has different expectations from the government. Issues that arise in the culture war include gay marriages, abortion rights among others. The issues that need to be held according to my opinion should not violate traditional values.