Some political commentators claim the results of Election 2000 show that U.S. citizens have changed the way they usually vote. They argue that individual moral beliefs now motivate voters' judgments rather than group affinities such as socioeconomic status, ethnicity, gender, region, and urban-rural residence. This claim simply isn't true. Moral beliefs have always collectively reflected the social influence of people's group connections. Election 2000 does, however, reflect the increasing "culture war" in U.S. society. But people's group affinities continue to influence which side they take in our culture's internal conflicts.
CULTURAL CONTRADICTIONS AND CULTURAL CONFLICTS
A national culture is never a homogeneous thing of one piece. In every culture there are internal contradictions or polarities. U.S. culture is no exception For example, the most familiar internal contradiction in the United States is thai between Anglo-American beliefs about equality of opportunity and universal rights, on the one hand, and racism and Anglo ethnocentrism, on the other. Both are equally American.
The so-called culture war arises out of internal contradictions in our culture. The current conflict can be traced back to the rapid social changes of the 1960s, although it began emerging decades before. The essence of the conflict exists between certain traditional ethnic, Anglo-American cultural values versus modernist, pluralistic, multicultural values that depart from Anglo-American tradition. Anglo-American traditionalists, and those assimilated to traditional Anglo culture, reject many of the social changes of the 1960s, such as those in gender role expectations, sexual attitudes, tolerance for diverse beliefs and lifestyles, and especially in the acceptance of cultural relativism. Modernists are more receptive to the social changes of the 1960s because they are in demographic groups that benefit more from the changes. Many of them are also Anglo-Americans, but they are cosmopolitans who live in large metropolitan areas and are open to many nontraditional cultural influences.
TRADITIONAL ANGLO-AMERICAN CULTURE AND POLITICAL ATTITUDES
An "ethnic group," for many Anglo-Americans, connotes those slightly foreign neighbors who maintain some "different" ways of …