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The Moderns Modern culture originally emerged five hundred years ago in Europe, and over the past three centuries, it has had im51 portant roots in the urban merchant classes and the creators of the modern economy, in the rise of the modern state and armies, and in the successes, of scientists, technologists, and intellectuals. It invented our contemporary world, reshaping almost every place on the planet to meet its needs. ) Today’s business conservatives tend to idealize 1920s or 1950s images of Modernism, while liberals-to-moderates prefer idealized 1930s and 1960s images.

The fight the Cultural Creatives walked in on is basically about who will define our social reality, and whose values will be the official values of our culture. It is a no-holds-barred match over who has the moral authority to decide how Americans live, both in public and in private. As sociologist James Davison Hunter points out in Culture Wars, the idea of cultural conflict may sound abstract, but nothing less than a way of life is at stake. ”. . 49 Values Relativism and Values Pluralism In battle cries that resound through the daily press, Traditional ideologues claim that America has descended into a shallow, permissive period of values relativism.

They keep cutting across social class and racial lines, across ideological lines of liberal and conservative, and across national boundaries, rejecting militarism and exploitation, seeking long-term ecological sanity. Cultural Creatives are interested in experimenting with what might be called women’s nonhierarchical models, including feeling and action, the personal and the political, in a search for humane ways of social transformation. These are, of course, ideals. Their search, like any other, will cover the gamut of human wisdom and folly, honor and criminality.

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