How long have culture wars/cultural dichotomies been around?

How long have culture wars/cultural dichotomies been around?

It seems that most contemporary societies have some sort of cultural dichotomy or culture war going on. In the West it is Left vs. Right. In Middle Eastern countries it is Secular vs. Religious. In India it is Hindu-nationalist vs. Multi-cultural Indians.

At first I was tempted to assume that this started because of the counter-culture in 1960s (and then spread to other cultures and got modified accordingly).

But then I realized that a lot of this ideological tensions predate the 1960s by a lot of time. In the Middle East, Secular-Nationalists vs. Religious dates to the early 20th century.

In Europe, Monarchist vs. Republican has been around since the French Revolution, etc…

So when exactly did having a cultural dichotomy/culture war mindset in any given society start? Was it the enlightenment? Or has it been always the case, since the beginning of civilized times (i.e. it is in a sense part of the human condition)?


Insofar as I'm aware, the left vs right dichotomy specifically dates back from the French Revolution, during which conservative royalists sat right and liberal republicans sat left.

Dichotomies within societies, on the other hand, are much older. As early as Ancient Greece, (one would presume conservative) elders were railing about (presumably more progressive) youngsters owing to their lack of deference to traditions as explained in the answers to this question. And as pointed out in Mark's comment, there's no reason to assume it's not older.


There are always (ok, nearly always) conflicts within a culture. Your problem is seeing them as simplistic dichotomies, when there are many different sides. For instance, in the US the right as represented by the Republican Party is (over-simplifing considerably) divided between the economic & political conservatives and the cultural conservative/religious right, who often espouse economic policies more suited to the left. Then on the left/Democratic Party side you have everything from traditional liberals to outright socialists like Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez. And outside the non-dichotomy of the two major party system, you have everything from Libertarians to Greens.