June 15, 2004
Across the Minor Divide

It's a culture war! You're either with us, or against us! If your side wins, it's all over! If your side stays in power, the country's going to fall apart!

Polarized rhetoric reflecting a polarized nation, right? Wrong:

"The two big surprises in our research," Professor DiMaggio [a sociologist at Princeton who has studied this issue] said, "were the increasing agreement between churchgoing evangelicals and mainline Protestants, even on abortion, and the lack of increasing polarization between African-Americans and whites. Evangelicals have become less doctrinaire and more liberal on issues like gender roles. African-Americans are showing more diversity in straying from the liberal line on issues like government programs that assist minorities."

Of course, this is a journalist reporting on something that undercuts most of what his career is built on, so the article later sort of comes off the rails as he counter-quotes people who say "are too! Are too! Are too!"

My own experience and reading tracks well with the initial idea... that Americans are actually coming together rather than flying apart. It only feels chaotic because the period from 1965-1975, when there were real differences that resulted in a genuine culture war, one that included guns and bullets, is now nearly two generations behind us. When you've never been to a KISS concert, even Yani will sound pretty loud.

Via Cobb

Posted by scott at June 15, 2004 10:42 AM

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