Saturday, February 7, 2009

Ending the Culture Wars?

The Culture Wars in America have a simple goal - to make the United States into a legally mandated monoculture. Damon Linker, at The New Republic postulates that one can end the Culture Wars by returning American jurisprudence to a time when the law and the courts were silent (and thus, effectively neutral) on cultural issues. I like the reasoning, but I suspect that it's deeply flawed.

For starters, because there is a difference between the American legal system (at the Federal level) being silent on the issues that one can say make up the modern culture wars - "church-state separation, homosexual rights/gay marriage, and abortion," and having always been silent on culture war issues, such as civil rights/racial equality. Couple this with the fact that both Congress and the Federal courts have shown a willingness to take sides on certain issues, and, in doing so, impose a legally mandated monoculture on the nation, and it's unlikely that either side would accept losing "fair and square, in the court of public opinion." Instead, they would, as they do now, seek the imposition and legitimation of their views through Congress and the courts.

It seems to me that the Culture Wars will endure until the dream of a monoculture dies, rather than simply being put off. Wars never end until both sides see no more reason to fight. This one is no exception.

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