The term “Culture Wars” has become a popular term in public discourse.  My first inquiry into this term was in 1991 when I read and reviewed James Davidson Hunter’s book on the subject.  The thesis and solution is the same as it was 22 years ago.


Culture Wars:  The Struggle to Define America, by James Davison Hunter (Basic Books, 416 pp.; $25.00).


James Davidson Hunter has searched the sociological dimensions of the North American culture.  He categorized the various disciplines within the sociological range of problems in North America to help understand the conflict between orthodoxy and progressivism. 

Hunter's thesis was well defined and articulated.  He said, "The argument of this book is that these voices and events [the mainstream of American public culture] are related to each other in complex ways. . . ."  He goes on to explain that America is in the midst of a "culture war."  His argument throughout the book is typical of Calvinistic thinkers.  Hunter wants debate.  That is the purpose of this book.  In his final analysis, he says "Though perhaps a bit fanciful, the idea that public discourse could accommodate to conditions such as these remains a vital possibility."  In his notes, he attributed the possibility to such thinkers as Alasdair MacIntyre and Os Guinness. 

Hunter has made some very astute observations about the present cultural dilemma.  He referred to the current battle as a "struggle to establish new agreements over the character and content of American public culture."  No one, on any side, can disagree with that statement. 

The solutions to the problems raised in this book will not be soon forth coming without a startling reformation within the church.  In every area of the cultural field, (family, education, popular media, law, and electoral politics), Hunter has not only detected and defined the problems, he has declared war on them.