Talk:Culture war

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What is a Culture War?[edit]

I Have to agree with the person below, there is no clear definition of culture war or what occurs during one or because of one. THe stuff about Hunter has no contex to todays culture war in America and the campus wars shouldnt be a huge part of the fouxus, what should be is the actual disagreements in a Culture war. The page needs serious work. --Stonelance 22:33, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Introduction is crap[edit]

What the hell is "The culture war (or culture wars) in American usage is a political conflict based on different idealized cultural values" meant to mean? It could be anything. At least include a decent definition of the article's bloody topic!

Need to discuss conflict more between "liberals" & "conservatives"[edit]

Aren't the culture wars the endless battle between secular liberals and evangelical Christian conservatives over social issues? If so, shouldn't the article discuss this in more detail instead of essay-style speculation--Robert Merkel

If you want to throw that in there, I see no reason why not. 20:19 Feb 19, 2003 (UTC)
It's more complex then that. I see the culture war as less between liberals and conservatives as between age groups. My family is fairly liberal, but in some ways could be said to be on the conservative side of the culture war. Somebody Else's ProblemCatDog(aka Alethiophile) 00:46, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
It is extremely complex to be've got religious liberals and conservatives, who are generally (but not always) aligned with their liberal and conservative political counterparts. Then you have atheists, libertarians, people who are socially conservative and fiscally liberal (and vice versa), to just name a few of the complications. I don't think age is so much of an issue, however - if anything the younger "culture war" generation is more polarized than the other generations, and has a good amount of support from both sides of the "war". Of course, everything I just stated is unsourced, but maybe it'll give someone a jumping-off point for some discussion about content for the article. --Tim4christ17 talk 11:39, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
And then you have the centralists like myself, who's rallying cry is 'compromise' and 'listen to the silent majority'. Anyway, it's the older people who are polarized: It occurred in the absence of the internet. But the internet allows us to talk and, more importantly, compromise. The baby boomers are the ones who are polarized04:24, 12 March 2008 (UTC)~

Future - generational issues[edit]

Unless this work is science fiction, how can it discuss events that have not yet occurred? 2005? -- Zoe

Historical eras, like generations, have an average length of around 22 years. The 2005 year is listed because the Culture Wars era would end then if it were of average length. 00:19 May 15, 2003 (UTC)

In the 20:57, 14 Sep 2004 version, this caught my eye: "The Boom Generation, who had control of the culture at the beginning of the era, came under attack from their next juniors, Generation X, who had a distinctive anti-Boom crossculture. These two generations are like oil and water: aggressive moralizers on one side, neo-hedonists on the other." This reads as if the boomers are the moralizers; however, I interpret it the opposite, so I changed it. Let's develop this by citing some sources... <>< tbc

I have removed the following:

Though society had been turning away from tradition and the transcendent for centuries, technology had by this time enabled the decoupling of many biological functions from their respective social functions — sex from its social function of producing the next generation, etc.
The Boom Generation, who had control of the culture at the beginning of the era, came under attack from their next juniors, Generation X, who had a distinctive anti-Boom crossculture. These two generations are like oil and water: the early generation was defined by their neo-hedonism, while their disillusioned children, having lived through the rise of the AIDS epidemic and their own parents' broken marriages, craved restored boundaries on behavior and a return to traditional morality. In schematic summary:

It was unsourced original research and analysis.

[[User:Meelar|Meelar (talk)]] 19:11, Nov 30, 2004 (UTC)

I recognize this. It comes from Strauss & Howe - probably their book The Fourth Turning. While I'm not sure of the quote, this is certainly what's in their books. (talk) 02:00, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

I changed the dating from the 1980's to the 1960's[edit]

here is why. The culture war in America began with the "counter-culture revolution" in the 1960's. The dramatic revolution from traditional views of authority, sexuality, family, and American culture in general began in 60's - not the 80's. We saw the rise of the Moral Majority, Christian Coalition, Americans for Life, Focus on the Family as a response to what happened in the 1960's. The leaders of these movements all point back to the "counter-culture revolution" of the 1960's as a justification for organizing in the 1970's and 80's. The culture war was started by the secular left in the 60's. The religious right did not begin an effective response until the late 70's. (Anonymous post from

Babble. The "Culture War" is simply a label (it's not literally a war after all). The label applies to social phenomena that inspired the label. The first application of the label is the sensible starting point: from that point one may assess the cultural situation that evoked the label. Then one can describe what the label means to its users. If focus is lost, one quickly winds up gabbling, and redefining the label to serve personal agendas does not help. --Wetman 19:25, 13 August 2005 (UTC)
The article simply isn't critical enough of anyone invoking the term. Unless you're literally fighting for your life, you're not in a war. Stop whining. --&rogyny
You're right. We need more pespectives on how the "culture war" is not really a war, and how the term is used in a very loaded way, almost exclusively by people who epsouse conservative values. I'm working on finding some sources.--Farbotron 22:39, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Someone may want to look into whether some of the recently deleted material from this article should be restored; I don't have time right now. I've worked on cleaning up the first three paragraphs, which had decently cited and relevant material; I think they are now quite good, but the rest of the article is almost a total loss. -- Jmabel | Talk 02:05, August 14, 2005 (UTC)

The section on 9-11 is especially aimless and confused. 23:05, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

I would say the Culture War has been going on since at least the 1920s, as evidenced with things like Prohibition and the Scopes Monkey Trial, and probably well before that. The Republican slogan of the 1880s, that the Democrats stood for "Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion" could be seen as an appeal to Culture War-type sentiments. It went into remission during the Great Depression and World War II, but resurfaced sometime in the 50s (with the Red Scare and the Civil Rights Movement). (talk) 16:51, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

There have been culture wars raging at different times, true enough. But the one which underlies the present-day extreme partisanship in the US, by virtue of its frequent reference to events, ideas, or frames of mind that come out of the 1960's, is little more than a latter-day hold-over of the culture war fought primarily amongst the two partisan extremes of the Baby Boomer generation, and which continues to be fought primarily amongst the members of that generation -- only now as members of that generation in positions of power and positions of authorities in the editing rooms of mass media outlets that determine which issues are to be given airing and focus. This was the battle that simmered in the 1970's (but still manifesting, such as in the split between pro- and anti-disco groups and the late 1970's backlash), and come back into full swing with the coming of age of the Boomers in the 1980's. Note, in particular, a large portion of the list of the main protagonists (or antagonists) in the article comprise died-in-the-wool Baby Boomers. In the articles linked above on the various generations, one of the attributes of Generation X is it disavowal of the Culture Wars -- a process that carried through more or less to completion with Generation Y (e.g. the reference of this generation sometimes as "post-racial", i.e. no longer stuck in the 1960's and its preoccupation with issues relating to race and no longer seeing everything through the filtered lens of that issue.) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:21, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

Lead section[edit]

This doesn't now conform to Wikipedia:Lead section. I'll restore some headings, sice the current five-paragraph lead is too dominant. Charles Matthews 06:51, 13 October 2005 (UTC)


This edit changed the characterization of Pat Buchanan from paleoconservative to conservative. It seems to me that his paleoconservatism is precisely the issue in culture war terms: John McCain is a conservative, too, but he'd never have made that sort of speech. I am restoring; if there is a case against the use of the word here, please state it. -- Jmabel | Talk 23:18, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

I agree with his paleoconservatism being very important, but why is A Republic, Not an Empire listed as important reading on the issue of a culture war? That book is about foreign policy. Death of the West is very much about his views on the culture war and State of Emergency explains his take on how the culture war relates to the border issue. That book should be listed instead, because it has a clear and well-written rundown of the paleoconservative arguement that nationhood and culture come before economics and politics. The only instance in which A Republic, Not an Empire even remotely relates to culture war is the part that mentions various ethnic lobbies and their influence over foreign policy. Shield2 04:49, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
Fine, make that edit; I haven't read either; I assume that was not addressed to me in particular. - Jmabel | Talk 06:55, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
Why does Buchanan take such a central role in the article anyway? He's by no means the only voice on the issue, and thus he shouldn't be the only one WP is quoting. Because we only quote him, there's an implicit endorsment of his views. I think this article is rather POV. Alethiophile123 16:03, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Similar debates are occuring elsewhere[edit]

I added Australian related article links in "See also". -- Paul foord 12:49, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

That's one reason I added a clean-up tag just now. The lead article says this is an American political thing, but then parts of the article have been internationalized (at least to the extent of Oz). We all need to decide whether this is to be about the American thing, or about similar things in other Anglophone countries, or more generic (and, to me, less useful and meaningful). --Orange Mike 15:37, 30 March 2007 (UTC)


I've been racking my brain to see the connection of the list "see also" items under "Other" to this article, and I simply don't see it. Very "other", indeed. Unless someone can indicate a relevant connection, I'm really inclined to remove the section. -- Jmabel | Talk 06:30, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

The problem is that the term "culture war" is a generic one that can be used in a variety of contexts. Basically any group that has a culture can have a culture war, and the term is used this way [1] [2] [3]. There was even a debate once that (because of the userbox issue) Wikipedia was in a culture war: [User_talk:StrangerInParadise#In_particular.2C_a_comment_about_your_user_page_discussion see here]. But, in addition to the general use of the term, there are United States Culture War(s), which needs to be put in a separate article, as this one article is trying to do all of the heavy lifting, and (in its current state) failing. This might even need to become a gateway page that leads to various "culture wars" (including the Australian so-called "History wars") where regional specifics and applications of the term can be sorted out.--Esprit15d 13:38, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
Well, some genius decided to move from title 'culture wars', to the current 'culture war'. Which might indeed need to be a disambiguation page, in the fullness of time. Charles Matthews 21:48, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

Hadn't looked at this in months; I take it no one objects to removing these. - Jmabel | Talk 01:41, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

Problems with "Terrorist surveillance program"[edit]

The list of "Battleground issues in the "culture wars" " includes Terrorist surveillance program.

1) This is a POV term: Many people surveilled are not terrorists, but rather "suspected terrorists" (who turn out not to be terrorists) or "people with information about terrorists" or " -contact with terrorists" (but who are not themselves terrorists).

2) Terrorist surveillance program currently redirects to NSA electronic surveillance program, which is a USA-specific article.

I initially changed the entry for Terrorist surveillance program to NSA electronic surveillance program, but immediately realized that this was inappropriate, considering that Culture war / Culture wars currently discusses both the USA and Australia, and might be expected to include other countries in future edits. Any thoughts? -- 14:31, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

I agree that its a loaded term, but the people who came up with the project named it that at first. But when people cried foul, they changed it. Edit: Or atleast it seems that way, no one knows for sure. 21:33, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

Math wars[edit]

I added the Math wars to the list of the Culture war issues because to me, a big part of that conflict involves two radically different approaches of what education is/should be about. Monsieur david 07:58, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

Does this really belong? I'm looking at the scope of the list, and the vast bulk of the items on the list have a very clear distinction in terms of falling in one camp or the other, and being very cultural in nature. A debate on how best to teach math still is essentially a question of effective policy, but with both sides generally agreeing on the desired outcomes (aka competence in mathematical applications, and readiness to apply math to things like economics and science).
In the rest of these issues, you've got a fundamental disagreement on the values which need to be applied. The values debates pits things that cannot be assessed directly, empirically, or objectively. For instance, in euthanasia, it's quality of life vs. the idea that life is sacred in its own right. In abortion, it's whether a fetus is or is not a sacred human life. In LGBT issues, it's whether sex between consenting adults can be considered immoral or not.
The math debate is a matter of policy with astablished values on both sides generally agreed upon. Barring objection or any explicit reference to an outside source that explicitly ties this issue into the larger sense of "culture war," I would like to remove its inclusion on this list. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dolewhite (talkcontribs) 19:18, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
I've gone ahead and eliminated Math Wars. If someone has a source taht directly ties the matter into the broader culture war notion, please include such a source. Dolewhite (talk) 17:02, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Trying to avoid a revert war[edit]

I attempted to create a more NPOV-compliant opening sentence which addressed the fact that many people think the whole thing is more or less fictitious, or vastly exaggerated by those who profit from it (at least psychologically). My effort has been reverted without comment. Could somebody else weigh in on this so we don't get an edit war going? --Orange Mike 15:18, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

if many people think it's imaginary then please add a section saying that will full citations. The lede is not the place to do that. Rjensen 15:25, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, it's not my theory. Most of the cites I am finding at first google are low-grade (i.e., blogs and the like). Myself, I think the conflict is genuine, albeit not so completely monopolar as certain forces on both sides would like to pretend. I was just trying to find a more nuanced expression of something a prior editor had tried to say, and been reverted for without comment or discussion. --Orange Mike 15:33, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
I reverted the POV claim of fictitiousness in the lede/opening, as there were no citations in the article supporting this viewpoint to be in the summary/lede, and there were cited details included in the main article below the summary that indicated that at least one book supported the fact that a culture war exists. A viewpoint that is unsupported by the article doesn't belong in the lede/opening. Yaf 16:26, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

In the contemporary United States, the "Culture War" has been the battle cry of the social conservatives, most notably Bill O'Reilly of Fox News, in which any seemingly slight towards Christianity, or rejection of the "traditional" family unit, is claimed to be evidence of this war. More of this contemporary usage by the extreme right should be explored, along with the, often questionable, arguments put forth by the self-described "culture warriors" that support their view of the existence of this war. JChronop 05:30, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

I actually came looking for more information on exactly this. Hopefully this subject isn't dead in the water. Is the phenomenon of a culture war recognized as a reality by any prominent liberals, or anyone who isn't defending their particular cultural viewpoint? I can't imagine no one's picked up that microphone... scrambledhelix (talk) 13:18, 5 July 2014 (UTC)

Removing Australia[edit]

This article (now?) has nothing to do with the Australian History Wars debate that are an ongoing public debate in Australia over the interpretation of the history of the European colonisation of Australia, and its impact on Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islanders.

I think reference to the History Wars should be removed --Philip Baird Shearer 09:18, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

Ah, i thought the same (before reading this), so moved it here:

"The concept of a "culture war" is also current in Australia, particularly in the area of Australian historiography. The so-called history wars concern how to interpret the country's history, especially regarding Indigenous Australians.[1]"

It simply seems to be aobut a different idea altogether. Maybe worth a see also link, but that is all.YobMod 13:53, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Gun Control[edit]

Why isn't gun control listed as a hot culture war topic? Too much of a noob to link it myself but I think it should be there? Dbxdesign (talk) 23:24, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Gun control should be listed as an issue mentioned by James Davison Hunter only if it is an issue mentioned by James Davison Hunter. The way the article is written, the list isn't a list of hot button topics, but a list of what James Davison Hunter considers hot button issues.Heqwm (talk) 23:35, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

WBC protestors[edit]

The use of WBC protestors in this article is extremely POV. They're a group who almost everyone in the USA disagrees with/dislikes, and are absolutely not representative of "traditionalists". Can we find a photo of some more "moderate" traditionalists? Darimoma (talk) 23:06, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Have changed it. Darimoma (talk) 07:57, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

I removed a picture of radical christians picketing in San Francisco. These people were reminiscent of Fred Phelps's controversial Westboro Baptist Church located in Topeka, KS. These folks display signs like those featured in the photograph. They picket events ranging from gay rights events to the funerals of U.S. soldiers killed in the War on Terror. The photo, therefore, was not an accurate depiction of traditionalism but rather radical Christian fundamentalism. The picture was clearly an effort to discredit the traditionalist movement by associating the views of the Westboro Baptist Church and the like with mainstream traditionalism which does not come anywhere near the garbage Fred Phelps peddles. aint it whut chu think it mean bt whut cn we say —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:57, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Disproportionate Representation[edit]

Apart from the Illuminati YouTube and Yahoo! Answers seem to be about little else. Spend 2 weeks on each and you'll see sources are not necessary for that. Sioraf (talk) 22:19, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

[clarification needed] This sentence is completely incomprehensible. Please decode. --Orange Mike | Talk 17:24, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Progressive Secularism[edit]

Not sure why "secularism" needs to come after "progressive". This appears to have been coined by Bill O'Reilly as a means of weighting down and further polarizing the word "progressive". "Traditionalism" and "Progressivism" work just fine by themselves. Yerocus (talk) 14:08, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

Examples of current cultural warfare worldwide:[edit]

Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemns 'Magnificent Century', a historical soap opera described in this article as 'a titillating weekly series that exaggerates the romance, intrigue and sex life of Suleiman the Magnificent, a revered 16th century Ottoman leader. Hugely popular in Turkey and the Middle East, the show is broadcast in 43 countries and watched by 200 million people.'

"I'm condemning both the director of that series as well as the owner of the television station," Erdogan said in a bizarre speech at the opening of an airport in western Turkey last month. "We have already alerted authorities about this and we are still waiting for a judicial action." Whilst being evidently popular the series offends some socially conservative sensibilities enough to attract prime ministerial comment.


South Africa's President Jacob Zuma is quoted using culture as a rhetorical weapon, asserting 'traditional African values in defence of sexism according to this article: "Let us not be influenced by other cultures… Let us solve African problems the African way, not the white man’s way"


The term 'culture war' is a handy media label for something which is currently going on in the USA but beyond that it describes a wider phenomenon as this commentator puts it 'Culture wars, of course, are fought in every country' [4].

Normskiormski (talk) 09:54, 17 December 2012 (UTC)


The intro of this article refers to the subject as it entered the lexicon in the United States and the struggles facing that country in the 1990s. Not only is this a narrow view of the subject, it's all but contradicted later in the article when various struggles: Kulturkampf, Prohibition, and the Civil Rights Movement are all referred to as culture wars, despite predating the 1990s. Further evidence is the fact that "Prohibition" and "the Civil Rights Movement" are referring specifically to events in the United States with no clarification to that point. Similar issues all point to this article being written from the perspective of one specific culture, namely a modern US one. We should strive to improve the wording to be more inclusive and keep the perspective global. Scoundr3l (talk) 20:35, 16 August 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^ Debates on Genocide - Part One Debates on 'Genocide' in Australian History, Australian Government Department of Education Science and Training
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  4. ^