Culture war is a concept that refers to the conflict and antagonism between the traditionally highly esteemed values, norms and ideals, with the progressive and social behaviors of modernity (Garry, 2007). The 1960s and the 1970s recorded many of such cultural ideals, norms and values transformations, with some of the major changes and transformations in culture that occurred during the period including sexual revolution, family structure alterations and gender roles transformations (Davidson, 2016). During the 1960s-70s, America recorded an upsurge in sexual revolution, such that the traditionally held abominations such as homosexuality started creeping into the mainstream social sexual norms, with the gay and lesbian groups claiming recognition and acceptance. Equally, the family structure altered greatly, where divorces during the two decades became the family social norms, resulting in the divorce rates in the 1970s exceeding the new marriage rates in the United States (Garry, 2007). Equally, the fundamentally held Christian religious culture of the United States started to change significantly, with both secularism and multi-religiosity starting to take the center stage of informing policies and practices in the 1970s. gender role transformations also became rampant during the 1960s-70s, with women starting to strongly make inroads into the social and cultural areas that they had previously been excluded, such as in gaining title to property and also increased employment opportunities (Garry, 2007). In the political arena, the transformations were not lacking, considering that in the 1970s, President Nixon implemented certain political and foreign policy agendas that were perceived by the conservatives as constituting extended acceptance of communism. Thus, the 1960s-70s registered numerous social, cultural and political transformations that were largely contrary to the conservativism principles in America, constituting what is referred to as the ‘culture war’ (Davidson, 2016).
The changing trend in the 1960s-70s, which pointed to the American society losing most of its cultural, religious, political and social values and ideals became a major alarm to the conservatives. The outcome was an upsurge of the renewed conservative rejuvenation, which sought to restore the United States back to its cultural, political and social traditions. Nevertheless, even with the strong rejuvenation efforts to restore conservatism that ensued throughout the 1990s and into the 21st century, conservatism has failed to triumph in America. This is because; inevitably, the United States has registered a high level of racial and cultural diversity in the 21st century, more than it deed in the previous centuries (Foner, 2017). The major factor that has contributed to the shift in the cultural and ethnic diversity is the issue of immigration, where America has seen unusual growth in the numbers of immigrants who are not of the European ethnicity. Racial diversity has therefore become increase visible in the United States, resulting in the difficulty to sustain the once highly esteemed social, cultural and political norms, values and ideals (Davidson, 2016). The increasing racial diversity in the United States means that the dominance of the conservative elements such as the Christian religiosity in America is increasingly diminished by the rise of other religions such as the Islamic, Asiatic and even secular and atheistic following.
We can do it today.
Politically, conservatism in the United States has also continued to lose its footing, especially beginning 2001, when the United States began to assert its political philosophy of anti-communism, through different wars such as the Iraqi and the Afghanistan wars (Garry, 2007). These wars have come back to blow on the face of the conservative, and largely tainted the conservative agenda of asserting the conservative political agenda of liberty, equality and inalienable rights for all throughout the world. The Iraqi and Afghanistan war outcomes have come back to haunt the conservatives, especially due to the fact that all these wars, in addition to a series of other wars that have been entered by the United States on the Premise of asserting American-exceptionalism have also failed greatly (Davidson, 2016).
The social influence of the American-European cultures, social and economic influences have also continued to dwindle in the 21st century, with the Hispanics and the Asians starting to become increasingly visible in these zones (Foner, 2017). Thus, while the American cultural and social systems have largely been built upon the history of slavery, segregation and the racial divide between the Blacks and Whites, the 21st century has seen this tradition largely altered. Therefore, the desire of conservatism, which has been to safeguard and protect the American cultural heritage that has granted both continuity and stability in the United States over the years is now facing serious threats from the alternating racial diversity balance (Garry, 2007). The fact that the Asians and the Hispanics are taking important roles in charting the economic, cultural and political agenda for the United States, is an indication that conservatism in the 21st century will have serious difficulties holding.
Simply put therefore, the American conservatism has largely been built on the premise of a society created upon two-racial system equilibrium of the two major races, the Whites and the Blacks. However, the coming into the purview of rising significance of the Asian and Hispanic communities in the United States means that American traditional culture, social, political and even economic norms can longer be sustained (Foner, 2017). Multiracialism is a factor at the center of destabilizing conservatism triumph in the 21st century.
- Davidson, T. (2016). Culture War. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers.
- Foner, E. (2017). Give Me Liberty!: An American History. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
- Garry, P.M. (2007). A Turning Point for Modern Conservatism. Modern Age 49(1).