Widow's walk

Among the inside-the-beltway commentariat, it goes without saying—although the commentators frequently say it anyway—that the United States is in the midst of a culture war. But Wayne Baker, who teaches management and sociology at the University of Michigan, joins others, including Princeton’s Paul DiMaggio and Stanford’s Morris Fiorina, in arguing that the culture war is largely a myth.

When social scientists examine the distribution of American opinions on a wide variety of issues, including “hot button” ones such as abortion and gay marriage, they are invariably impressed by how moderate the views tend to be. On abortion, for example, very few Americans favor either abortion on demand or an unconditional ban on the procedure; to the degree that widespread disagreement exists at all, it is over whether parental permission ought

 

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