The Culture War is a Total War. We Must Treat it As One
As I wrote in my article on why we must “raise the black flag,” in the culture war and wage our fight against the Jacobins and cultural Marxists without mercy or quarter, it is time for us to drop the insouciant, on again off again approach to the culture war and start taking it more seriously. The best way to conceive of that change in attitude and aim to affect it, I think, is to stop treating the culture war as a limited war and instead as a total war.
Since the culture war began in the 1960s, that horrible time period when the cultural Jacobins rose to power and began to burn the foundations of Western Civilization to the ground, conservatives have largely treated the war as a limited one. From time to time, we rise up against the iconoclasts and defend our culture, values, and civilizations, but we generally sit back and only respond with mild, measured comments and small donations to supposedly pro-conservative organizations.
Sure, there are times when conservatives rise up, as happened during the vast tide of support that swept Reagan back into office in ’84, the Tea Party response to Obama, or the period in 2016 where liberty-loving people across America rallied around the MAGA banner of President Trump.
But those are exceptions to the rule. Generally, we conservatives pen op-eds that are read by the paltry few that still keep up with the National Review, occasionally make a disparaging comment about a given policy or radical leftist public figure (if the coast is clear of those who might forcefully disagree, of course), or donate to a PAC that promises to help fight the battles we’re too scared to (but almost invariably fails to substantively deliver on those promises). We’ve treated the culture war as a limited war, so even the fights we win haven’t been followed up upon are defended with the necessary vigor.
The best example is Trump’s win in 2016. He was swept into office with a GOP-controlled House and Senate, yet the politicians in those formerly august bodies passed a corporate tax cut rather than outlaw abortion, put God back in schools, end the endless wars, restore privacy protections, get rid of unnecessary and economy-stifling executive agencies, protect the 2nd Amendment, kick cultural Marxism and critical race theory out of public schools, or do anything else that their voters had anticipated. We got nothing other than useless judges and temporary tax cuts because Republicans are still stuck in the limited war mindset and won’t wield the levers of power as they should.
Meanwhile, the leftists have fully realized that the culture war should be treated as a total war, not a limited one, and have acted with all due vigor to prosecute the war appropriately. They’ve used subversion and Machiavellian tactics to put their people in power and keep them there at every level of government, in the schools, in the bureaucracy, in every aspect of civic life from museums to churches, and at the highest levels of industry.
As a result, the leftists control corporations, churches, and the leviathan. Conservative employees are fired or kept in career limbo by leftist bosses, churches refuse to speak about abortion or homosexuality and instead spread the heretical and leftist views of Christianity, and individual liberty and autonomy have been actively limited by the power-hungry leftists in charge.
They use cancel culture to remove conservative pieces from the culture war chessboard, refuse to accept the same standard used against conservatives when it is directed back at them, and ensure that the bureaucracy remains firmly on the side of the left, no matter what party occupies 1600 Penn.
And, most importantly, the left has been totally willing to act, whereas the right has not been. Their Antifa stormtroopers and BLM ruffians burn our cities, loot our stores, and terrorize our people with impunity because, when captured, leftist governors and police forces let them off without even a slap on the wrist. Meanwhile, sellouts like Lindsey Graham and his ilk still speak of the trespass at the Capitol with horror, as if punishing their most loyal supporters in the court of public opinion will do any good.
Leftist-run governments, such as Obama’s and now Harris’s, pass laws when possible and sign copious executive orders when not. Republicans, pretending to believe in limited government, refuse to pass the legislation their voters want while letting the bureaucracy operate unchecked. Etc. For every example of Republican action, there is a mirror-like one of Democrat action.
That’s not because, as some conservative commentators have claimed, Republicans are incompetent at wielding the levers of power. Saying such a thing shows historical illiteracy, even of recent events. McConnell and his Janus-faced coterie of sometimes conservative, sometimes RINO political operatives are adept at wielding their power when they want to. McConnell got a huge number of so far useless judges into the court system, for example.
The problem is that they’re unwilling to exercise their power in a way that will make them a Main Street hero but Beltway pariah. They still conceive of the culture war as a limited one in which gentlemanly conduct should be the rule of the game and political enemies can go to each other’s Georgetown cocktail parties after a heated but ultimately useless debate in the CSPAN-televised chambers.
Well, as President Trump, the first Republican politician in a long while to treat the culture war as a total war, might say: “WRONG!”
This fight is one that must be waged at every level. The golden rule is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” but the first rule of culture war politics must be “do unto others before they do unto you.”
Think a leftist colleague wants to cancel you? Cancel them first.
The left tries to silence an opponent or burn that person’s book? Buy their book and post complimentary things about them on your social media.
Work at a conservative company or start your own.
Sell your stocks in companies that work against your interests and then encourage others to do the same.
Make new conservative or libertarian friends and invite them to your BBQ or fishing trip, but shun those that voted for Biden and his abominable, anti-American policies.
If your representative (at the state or federal level) is a Republican, demand they push for conservative policies and primary them if they refuse to do so. If they’re a leftist, never say a good thing about them.
If you hear someone make a derisive remark about what you believe in, don’t let them get away with it; argue with them and make them back down first.
If you see a company with a BLM fist or rainbow flag decorating it, find an alternative.
The list of potential actions could go on forever, but you get the point. Whenever an opportunity to fight presents itself, fight tenaciously and without mercy. The goal isn’t to burn society to the ground, but rather to make the culture war so unpleasant that the Jacobins must surrender. Only if that happens can politics return to the calm middle.
Doing so, of course, is uncomfortable. It goes against our better nature and you will shed a few acquaintances, both on and offline. But remember what the Democrats stand for: infanticide (abortion), confiscatory taxes, socialist policies such as wealth redistribution, canceling everything from statues of Confederate generals to books written by Dr. Seuss, erasing the legacy of the Founding Fathers, and waging a general and all-consuming war against traditional American values. They want to put boys in girl’s sports, grown men in your daughter’s restroom, and indoctrinate the armed forces with woke propaganda. Their policies are anti-American and anti-freedom.
That recognition of the evil of leftist thought must guide us in the culture war and must be used to convince other conservatives to treat these fights as battles in a total war. How did we treat loyalists during the Revolution? How did Jesse James fight the bush war in Missouri or Sherman prosecute his march of terror through the Confederacy’s heartland? Were we merciful to Japanese holdouts on Iwo Jima or SS officers in the dying days of the Third Reich? No. We fought total wars. Wars without rules, mercy, or limits against those enemies. Now the time has come to do the same (although peacefully, of course).
I wish this were not the case. If only we could return to the halcyon days of America’s past when the political battles were about relatively small changes in policy and both sides believed in the spirit of 1776 and wanted to uphold American values. But now, only one side does. The other side wants to erase our history, weaponize the government against those that love America, and radically transform the United States into a nation the Founders would gag at the very sight of.
There can be no compromise. America cannot only 50% exist. We cannot be a half-free, half-slave country. There is liberty or slavery, freedom or servitude, American values or critical race theory. No combination of the two can be long-lasting or just. Fight for freedom, fight for the values of your forefathers, and fight for America. Treat the culture war as a total war; there are no options other than doing that or surrendering to the ravages of the far left.
Finally, I’d like to end with an excerpt from Churchill’s “Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat” speech that I think is quite relevant to the total war we find ourselves in today. Replace “land, sea, and air” with the list of actions adumbrated above and “British Empire” with “American culture” and every word of it is relevant to our present situation:
“You ask, what is our policy? I say it is to wage war by land, sea, and air. War with all our might and with all the strength God has given us, and to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalog of human crime. That is our policy.
You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs — Victory in spite of all terrors — Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival.
Let that be realized. No survival for the British Empire, no survival for all that the British Empire has stood for, no survival for the urge, the impulse of the ages, that mankind shall move forward toward his goal.”