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Whom Are We Fighting For?

Whom Are We Fighting For?

The great English philosopher and poet G.K. Chesterton said: “A real soldier does not fight because he has something that he hates in front of him. He fights because he has something that he loves behind his back.”

War is an analogy that has fallen out of favor in the West. This helps explain why the so-called culture war can be a touchy subject. Chesterton helps us circumvent this reticence to see what is really at stake. We “fight” not for spite, nor for sport, but for the objects of our compassion and concern.

So, whom do we fight for?

Consider how you might answer this question while I recount how I was conscripted in the culture war.

What first got my attention was the aggressive—even artificial—push for secularization in Western societies. In particular, I was highly suspicious of the evolutionary worldview that purported to explain our origins without any reference to the transcendent and that clearly provided much of the wind in secularism’s sails. Decoupling from the divine, it seemed to me, was a fast and risky route to a moral free-for-all.

However, I was well into my early 30s before I became willing to speak up on some of the perennial hot-button issues normally associated with the culture war—issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. I did so reluctantly at first, well aware of the reputational price I would pay.

As the years ticked on, the West’s moral guardrails continued falling away. Pro-abortion slogans like “safe, legal, and rare” were exchanged for the euphemistic language of “reproductive freedom” and “women’s health rights.” The de-gendering of marriage gave way to the de-gendering of everything—transporting queer theory from society’s fringes all the way into school classrooms, public libraries, corporate boardrooms, and pop culture at large.

The year 2020 alerted me to at least three more major battle fronts: renewed racial animosity in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter riots; the importance of election integrity to stop eleventh-hour “emergency” provisions designed to help certain candidates; and Big Tech’s overt use of censorship to skew the public’s perception of these and many other issues.

Of course, 2020 was also the year that health became a contentious topic, as restrictions on movement, along with mask and vaccine mandates, put a temporary stop to once-unquestioned human rights, not least informed consent.

Illegal immigration, drug legalization, and climate alarmism are some of the more recent topics to have caught my attention—all of which will significantly shape the West in the years ahead.

On all of these battlefronts, what matters to me is not who I fight but who I am fighting for.

I am defending the unborn, who only have a three-in-four chance of making it out of the womb alive.

I am defending children, who deserve to grow up free from ideologies that will rob their joy and steal their future.

I am defending the natural family unit—the fundamental building block of society and an unrivalled safeguard for every one of its members.

I am defending parents, whose right to raise their own children must not and cannot be replaced with the state’s.

I am defending women, who need and deserve the safety of their own sporting leagues, bathrooms, locker rooms, and prisons.

I am defending every individual who conscientiously objects to the secularist hegemony and does not deserve to be silenced or punished for doing so.

I am not ashamed to be defending Christians in particular, who are the repository of the faith and worldview that civilized the West.

I am defending racial minorities, who are just as victimized by 2020s woke racism as their forebears were by the racism of former decades.

I am defending legal immigrants, who waited their turn, obeyed the law, and are hurt as much as anyone else by open borders.

I am defending everyday citizens who want to live free lives and who deserve to keep their hard-won earnings to pass on as an inheritance to their descendants.

I am defending small business owners who take big risks that benefit all of us and the men and women in uniform who lay their lives on the line to defend us.

I am defending taxpayers whose treasure should not be wasted and voters whose will should be respected.

These are the people who will suffer—this is what will be lost—if the Left’s cultural revolution is successful.

We stay in the proverbial trenches, not for hate, but for love.

As a brand-new father, I believe this more now than I ever did before.

In a recent social media post, Daily Wire reporter Megan Basham responded to the criticism that these cultural issues are just frivolous distractions. She explained that while such criticism is valid regarding individual culture skirmishes, the “meta culture war, the culture war writ large, IS meaningful.” Why? She continued:

Because what we are warring for is the reestablishment of things that foster human flourishing.

The family. Procreation. Distinctions between men and women and what they tell us about our best chance to live lives free of tyranny and dependence. Most of all, lives enlivened by belief in the transcendent truth only found in God.

So yes, I’m for spending less time on the shiny object culture war. But the capital letter Culture War is really the only war that matters. Because if we lose that, we’ve lost everything.

I’m sure Chesterton would agree. I certainly do.

Image credit: Unsplash

Kurt Mahlburg
Kurt Mahlburg

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  • Avatar
    Kalikiano Kalie
    March 12, 2024, 4:47 pm

    Well spoken, Kurt! Regrettably, youth is a time for resistance, rebellion and truculence. We must all pass through youth as a rite of passage, in order to gain some deeper understandings of what exactly the Human life experience is in its greater, more far-reaching context. Those that survive youth, and assuming they are not as stupid as a bedpost, generally reach older age with some of that 'deeper understanding' I reference. When I was in my 20s and early 30s I too embraced radical hopes and aspirations. Fortunately, my own passage through puerile uncertainties and hopeless ideals proved to be a great benefit. Thus, in this sense, the 'culture war' you cite is to a great extent a product of ageism, personal development and gaining maturity. In so many words, a war between youth and old age. Sad, but oh-so-true!

    Also, sadly enough, in the ultimate, cosmic balance none of all these contentious bickerings that so characterise human experience, whether interpersonal or international, have any greater transcendent meaning. What each of us makes of all of it is utterly meaningless and irrelevant, as each new generations is born and dies, doomed to complete their brief journey on the 'Great Manadala' before they too jump off the jagged cliff into the abyss of infinity.

    As a non-religious individual, everything is relative to me, of course, but that doesn't mean I do not wish all the other voyagers the best of luck in their own journeys. As Michael Caine's character so memorably put it in the 1971 vintage 'The Last Valley', "Make your peace with your god, whomever he may be…" [Also equally worth reflecting upon is The Firesign Theatre's advice to make sure the Conductor punches your banana for the return trip…]

  • Avatar
    Cadence McManimon
    March 12, 2024, 5:38 pm


  • Avatar
    March 12, 2024, 6:59 pm

    Good one, Mark, spot on. I would like to chat to you sometime. I live in Brissie. Email me.
    Nils. Ph.D. Author and columnist.


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