Back to the contents
Culture Wars in Macedonia
read in Macedonian


For roughly 20 years, from 1955 to 1975, youth movements in America waged a culture war on university campuses, in the media, in their communities and against what was called “the establishment.”  Those first 20 years though were just the beginning and these culture wars continue today and have profoundly changed the face of America.  For instance, the so-called “sexual revolution,” part of the culture wars of then, have led to legalized abortion, climbing divorce rates, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and the belief that “if it feels good, do it,” without taking into consideration the cost.  Other aspects of this continuing American culture war have led to a host of other problems, including the breakdown of the traditional unit of any society, the family, increased prison rates, less educated children, and a general decline in values, morals and the very things that made America the envy of the world in the first place. 

Macedonia, today, has its own culture wars going on and as Macedonia turns 20 years young (the subject of my column next week), you must consider, now, what direction Macedonia is going to take when it comes to the very basic issues of society which govern how society lives – morals, values and traditions. 

American educator and writer Mark Bauerlein writes in “The Dumbest Generation,” about culture wars in America and the whole issue of the “marketplace of ideas,”  a term which often applies to the political realm.  He writes “When values, ideas and customs collide in an open public contest, one side wins and the other retires, not returning for further contest until it amends its case.  And the winning side gains, too, for a steady and improving adversary keeps it from slipping into complacency and groupthink.  Good ideas stay fresh by challenge, and bad ideas go away; at least until they are modified and repackaged.” 

Think of the political arena and the above.  One side wins, the other loses.  The loser must engage in a lot of inward thinking and self-examination trying to figure out why their ideas did not resonate with the electorate.  They must change and adapt those ideas (or at least their strategy) and prepare for the next election battle.  The winner must take note of how the other side did in the election and do some self-examination of their own; are our ideas all working?  How can we improve?  Do we know the other side’s arguments so we can refute them?  

This battle of ideas, however, often elevates into a culture war, something many people fear.  As Bauerlein writes, “Culture wars break out when groups form that renounce basic, long-standing norms and values in a society and carry their agenda into mass media, schools, and halls of power.  The battle lines aren’t just political or economic, and people don’ fight only over resources and access.  They attack and defend the ‘hegemony,’ that is, the systems of ideals, standards, customs and expectations that govern daily affairs by ordinary people and big decisions by public figures….The conflict veers toward psycho-political and religious terrain where minds don’t easily meet and common grounds are lacking.  The war is ideological, a trail of fundamental assumptions about justice, truth, beauty, and identity, and its outcome is sweeping.” 

This is the essence of what is happening in Macedonia today.  On the one hand, you have the status quo, the old and ancient traditions and customs of the Macedonians stretching back through the ages.  These include a belief in and worship of God, traditional family values (which encompasses many different things), respect for and a faith in the individual (as opposed to the collective), the proper role of government, among other things.   

On the other hand, you have individuals in two other groups now raising their voices in the “mass media, schools and halls of power.” One group has a worldview which rejects God and his authority, does not believe in traditional family values or the traditional values and beliefs of Macedonian society and who celebrate the collective over the individual.  Another group has a worldview which worships another god, the god of Islam.  Both are using the tools of the modern warrior to try to get their views, beliefs, and values codified into law, placed in the schools, delivered through the media, and ultimately, into the homes and heads of all of Macedonia’s citizens, but especially the youth.  And both groups wish to prevail. 

At the heart of the opposing side which rejects tradition is a focus on self.  The individuals which make up the group which has been waging this culture war against traditional Macedonian beliefs and values has, as their highest value and goal in life, the elevation of self above others.  Ultimately, that type of life is soulless and devoid of meaning.  That too, is the subject of another column. 

Make no mistake – the culture wars will continue in the United States, in Macedonia and around the world.  The question is which side are you on and what are you going to do about it?

Copyright ©
Jason Miko
Designed & hosted by
Jurak OT Petrof Studio