A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars by Andrew Hartman

By Andrew Hartman

When Patrick Buchanan took the level on the Republican nationwide conference in 1992 and proclaimed, “There is a non secular warfare occurring for the soul of our country,” his viewers knew what he used to be conversing approximately: the tradition wars, which had raged in the course of the earlier decade and may proceed till the century’s finish, pitting conservative and non secular american citizens opposed to their liberal, secular fellow electorate. It used to be an period marked via polarization and posturing fueled through deep-rooted anger and insecurity.
 
Buchanan’s fiery speech marked a excessive element within the tradition wars, yet as Andrew Hartman indicates during this richly analytical historical past, their roots lay farther again, within the tumult of the 1960s—and their value is way more than regularly assumed. way over a trifling sideshow or shouting fit, the tradition wars, Hartman argues, have been the very public face of America’s fight over the extraordinary social alterations of the interval, because the cluster of social norms that had lengthy ruled American existence started to collapse to a brand new openness to various rules, identities, and articulations of what it intended to be an American. The hot-button concerns like abortion, affirmative motion, paintings, censorship, feminism, and homosexuality that ruled politics within the interval have been signs of the bigger fight, as conservative americans slowly started to acknowledge—if at the beginning via rejection—many primary adjustments of yankee life.
 
As an ever-more partisan but in addition an ever-more different and accepting the USA keeps to discover its approach in a altering international, A battle for the Soul of America reminds us of ways we came, and what all of the shouting has relatively been about.

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Extra resources for A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars

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Anticipating a slew of later conservative welfare critics, Kristol argued that a more generous welfare system would create more dependency. Such logic had prevailed in The Public Interest as early as 1966, when frequent contributor Earl Raab wrote an article critical of President Lyndon Johnson’s “war on poverty,” a key piece in Johnson’s larger efforts to create a Great Society. 9 Even though Kristol acknowledged in 1963 that he considered some aspects of the Democratic Party’s efforts to expand the welfare state dubious, his allegiance to the party of Cold War liberalism persisted through 1968, when he voted for Democratic presidential nominee Hubert Humphrey.

In a Redstockings consciousness-raising group, she finally came out of the closet as a lesbian. “Coming out” as a political tactic elevated consciousnessraising to a new level of importance for gay liberation. “Speaking freely and honestly to other gays in the protected atmosphere of a consciousness-raising session,” Jay explained, would, in theory, “ramify outward” to obliterate the heteronormativity at the core of traditional American identity. ”51 If gay liberation represented the apex of sixties-era liberation for some, for others it signaled the decline of Western civilization.

Cleaver, for instance, claimed it was Fanon who showed him that American blacks were part of the vast colonized peoples of the world. At first glance, it would seem that Fanon eschewed identity politics. He concluded his 1952 book Black Skin, White Masks on a universal note that rejected racial identity: “The Negro is not. ” In his seminal 1963 book The Wretched of the Earth, an anticolonial text par excellence, he criticized black nationalist celebrations of ancient African civilization. 29 Harold Cruse, another intellectual who helped shape Black Power, argued in his 1967 tour de force The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual that the role of black intellectuals was to reconceptualize black identity as independent of white society.

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