Culture Wars: Where Are We Now?

Culture Wars: Where Are We Now? By Rod Dreher commenting on an interview with sociologist James Davison Hunter, coiner of the term “culture wars.”

Hunter says that conservatives may have a culture war advantage in government, but have badly lost elsewhere. To use a Marxist term, liberals control the major means of cultural production (the news and entertainment industries, the academy, etc.).

Because liberals control “the credentialing institutions of our society,” he says, those who want to get to a middle or upper middle class life are going to have to kowtow to liberal culture — a culture that likes to think of itself as open, but which is as closed as any other. Hunter: “So the Harvard Law School prides itself on its diversity, but it’s a diversity in which basically everyone views the world the exact same way.”

Here’s the key insight: Hunter believes that the total dominance progressives have in the culture-making institutions of our society means that their vision is going to win in the long run. …

The victory of progressives in the culture war will not bring peace, because it cannot bring peace. Religious and moral conservatives may well be sidelined in defeat, but that only means that the culture war will rage on other fronts. As Hunter avers, there is no way to settle these issues absent a shared source of cultural authority. …

If orthodox Christian beliefs are a barrier to full participation in the middle and upper middle class, then a lot of people are going to cast them aside. … When being a Christian costs us something in terms of social access, professional success, and economic prosperity, then we are going to see far fewer Christians.

hat-tip Stephen Neil