Mac versus PC, mainstream versus social media, democrat versus republican, male versus female, Chevy versus Ford, religion versus religion, and the list goes on.
Culture wars are not new and they are not going away. But, they are not all created equal.
A culture war over brand of truck or computer is playful and inconsequential to either tribe. In fact, people want the other side to exist so that they have the ability to engage in a playful war.
Many culture wars are so narrow that few people know they’re occurring. Are you in on the debate about the Theory of Relativity or the battle between 2nd and 3rd wave feminists? Probably not, few are. Word of warning if you go check it out, gear-up before you enter the battlefield because the wars are bloody, confusing, and you won’t come out unscathed.
A culture war is fueled when ideas clash to the point that tribes emerge. The wars today are a series of skirmishes scattered across countless battlefields. Some don’t have any connection to others. The biggest wars today are interconnected and either came from the political realm or are taken into that world.
In most cases, culture wars are healthy because they foster new ideas and lifestyles. However, in any war there are casualties and it has been said that truth is the first to go. As we observe and analyze culture wars — regardless of whether we are on one side or the other — we should always bandage-up and offer crutches to truth so that as the fighting goes on, truth can remain in the battlefield of ideas.
“In war, truth is the first casualty.” –Aeschylus
Society has likely not been this divided since the 1960’s which can be disorienting. While that feeling is natural, this environment could provide immense fuel for creative destruction — a process that eliminates ideas and institutions that may be standing, but are no longer contributing. Creative destruction makes way for the new, the next, and the promise of better. It’s a powerful and positive force. It’s also a painful one.
However, better will only happen if we’re open to conversation. Without dialog we will continue to have a fractured, unproductive society and nothing will get better.
Trust is the most essential ingredient needed to foster constructive dialog.
Throughout 2019, we will be publishing monthly snapshots of the culture war and its influence on individuals, companies, relationships, and society as a whole. Some will be serious and sociological, others much lighter and rooted in product categories.
There has been no bigger victim in the culture war than the most precious asset we have — trust.
We’re not on any particular side of the wars and most of the time we won’t be presenting a point of view or a solution. What we will be doing is offering a lens into the issues, opportunities, and questions the culture wars are presenting to all of us.
The inquiry starts with a deep dive into trust and the interplay between it and the culture war. We believe it’s important to start here because there has been no bigger casualty in the culture war than the most precious asset we have — trust. Click here to read the trust issue.
February will focus on advertising and marketing. The rest of 2019, we’ll look at different product categories through the lens of the culture wars.