Higher Ed’s Role in a Culture War
Americans agree on little these days, but they agree on this: the country is embroiled in a culture war. The signs are not hard to find. The draft Supreme Court decision by Justice Samuel Alito that would overturn Roe v. Wade claims the certainty of a culture warrior who wants to enshrine a particular ideology of what is “deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions.” Populist governors invoke the rhetoric of battle as they style themselves protectors of the sanctity of families and the safety of children. In Florida, it wasn’t enough for Governor DeSantis to stoke panic about grooming gay children; when criticized, he attacked the “woke executives” from California hiding behind Mickey Mouse. Authoritarian Abbott of Texas is worried about being outflanked by even more extreme figures on the right, and so he cynically enhances solidarity through targeted cruelty, recoding medically approved care for gender-nonconforming children as child abuse.
Originally published: June 1, 2022
Author: Michael S. Roth
Institution: Wesleyan University
Published by: Inside Higher Ed