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Culture Politics

"The results of political changes are hardly ever those which their friends hope for or their foes fear."
—T.H. Huxley

In political circles, it has become fashionable to talk about "culture wars." The discussions usually touch on the issues of abortion, euthanasia, sexual orientation, school prayer, gun control, and welfare, among others. These are issues that campaign consultants can use to polarize the electorate in attempts to maximize support for their clients and minimize support for their clients' opponents. The only casualties arc the defeated candidates, and as for fatalities, well, it's just not that sort of war. Even the non-politicos, the activists who yell at each other from opposite sides of the street, are doing just that, yelling and not shooting each other. When an activist does break the rules of engagement and actually commits a violent act which results in someone getting hurt or killed, the perpetrator is punished accordingly.

The phrase culture war is a misnomer; culture politics is more descriptive, highlighting the push to control the policymaking processes. Indeed, these are contests, and there is a correlation between the winners in these political contests and the pace of cultural development. However, I am not convinced that electing Bob Dole will significantly alter the direction of cultural development, as...

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