If the language of war tends to centralize power, does the rhetoric of “culture war” tend in some way to deform or even centralize culture? Modern warfare is a winner-take-all, unconditional surrender affair and when a society thinks about culture and a “culture war” in that fashion, it would seem nearly impossible for the culture itself to remain untainted. Local nuances and idiosyncrasies would tend to be obliterated by the perceived need to circle the wagons and defeat the enemy. Nuance has no place in all-out war, and it is surely a casualty of the culture wars where the “enemy” is depicted in the worst possible light and absolute loyalty is the litmus test of the faithful. A bland, homogeneous, lowest-common denominator pseudo-culture is the result of forcing culture into the idiom of war….
Culture war suggests a battle to the death. But the metaphor is wrong and therefore fosters poor thinking. A culture is not something with which to do battle, either as an offensive weapon or an object of attack. A culture is a living thing, an inheritance, passed on from generation to generation. It is preserved by loving care not militant brow-beating. It cannot survive as a merely negative opposition to something perceived as its opposite. It is a creative, developing expression of a people’s view of the world that reaches ultimately to the highest things: to the good, the true, and the beautiful. To weaponize culture is, therefore, to destroy the very thing for which the battle is ostensibly waged.