For example, I thought one of the most interesting ideas in the book was Bauerlein’s take on cultural warfare:
Culture wars break down the walls. They don’t stop sectarianism, and they can aggravate group commitments, but they also pierce the insulation of each group. Insiders may grow more polarized, but they have to face the arguments and strategies of outsiders. If they ignore them,keeping to themselves and shoring up turf, not articulating values, they lose the war, for the theater has spread to the public square, and combatants can’t rely on the rhetoric that sufficeswithin familiar niches. (p. 220)
That’s not exactly the way most people feel about cultural warfare—in fact, the recent election was supposed to be all about ‘transcending’ these sorts of divisions. But Bauerlein maintains that cultural warfare is an important democratic dynamic, and he worries that we will soon be incapable of generating that sort of interaction or participating in that kind of conflict.
For example, a week ago, our parish community participated in the annual March For Life through downtown Austin. As the march formed up, a small group of counter-demonstrators appeared, and one of them climbed up on a bike rack and began to address the crowd. But the marchers wouldn’t even let him speak—they began to chant slogans in order to drown him out. When I think of culture wars, I think of this sort of clash—either that or those ridiculous television show where commentators and guests interrupt each other and shout at one another.
Apparently, Bauerlein thinks there is another way. Or maybe these are simply the more ‘exciting’ aspects of what he feels is a valuable cultural dynamic.
So what do ya’ll think?