The Culture Wars were a debate between a)conservatives and old-line liberals who believed in the objectively defined standards of scientific reason
taken as a living tradition
, the American
ideal, and a loosely-defined set of books known as the Western Canon
and b) intellectual
progressives who believed that any talk about "objectivity
", or "thought
" were mere smokescreens for elitism, never mind talk about science, religion, or the ideals or literature of any country, much less America or Europe. Taken on a broader level, the debate was between traditional
ideas about family
and morality, and those of post-Marxists
, queer theorists
, and other radicals.
Taken to an extreme, both sides were unreadable: on one hand we had unabashed Christian fundamentalists and bigots who sought to remake American education into a dry laundry list of facts, Famous Authors, and unrealistically stern morality tales and on the other, a refusal to teach anything other than political theory, (even reading to a child was considered an oppressive act) buttressed by some of the most turgidly complex prose in history. Both were intolerant to absurd levels, and all but demolished the notion of open discussion in college courses.
Nowadays, the debate seems to have died down, if only because the other side refuses to go away.