Before the Shooting Begins: Searching for Democracy in America's Culture War

James Davison Hunter, Author Free Press $15.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-02-915501-1
Hunter follows up his 1991 book Culture Wars with this extended case study of the seemingly intractable abortion controversy, astutely probing the shortcomings in the current discourse. He carefully lays out the rhetorical distortions of activists on both sides and points out unarticulated interests like the unwillingness of ``pro-lifers'' to question the concept of ``traditional family.'' Analyzing interviews and survey data, he suggests that most Americans are ignorant of actual abortion regulations, which leads to a politics of emotion. He criticizes the superficiality of press coverage in probing the implications of the controversy, conservatives and progressives alike who misrepresent the historical and legal record, and he warns that multicultural education may reinforce a ``culture of emotivism.'' Hunter's solution, however--``an enlarged and deepened debate,'' beginning in local and regional forums--deserves a more thorough exposition. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
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