Mark A. Smith, who teaches political science at the University of Washington, pays close attention to what is now commonly called the “culture war” in America. Though the roots of this cultural conflict reach back to the 1960s, the deep divide over social and moral issues became almost impossible to deny during the late 1970s and ever since. It is now common wisdom to speak of “red” states and “blue” states, and to expect familiar lines of division over questions such as abortion and homosexuality.

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